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The Exclusive Magazine for the Building Service Contracting Industry Since 1981



OK, We Have a Budget. Now What?

6 Tips for Effectively Managing Your Budget

Much has been written about the value of having a budget to manage the financial affairs of a business. And the premise of all those paragraphs of prose is correct: A budget is the most powerful way to achieve profit goals.

Uh oh! It’s that time again! Time to dust off the coat and tie and arrange a visit with a client for the daunting task of requesting a price increase. My father, Don McLemore, a BSCAI past president, used to say that obtaining price increases from customers is like “pulling hen’s teeth.”

As competition ever increases and precious clients become harder to hold onto over the long term, service companies continue to search for creative ways to build value to their clients and prospects. However, many companies have taken that concept a step or two too far by actually diluting the core services they offer--often  at the risk of jeopardizing current business. 

After 45-plus years in the building service contracting business, one of the questions I get asked most is, “How can I secure the good customers?”

As a business owner or manager, do you cringe at the thought of having to “network” to grow your cleaning company? If so, you need to get over it, because networking is the best way to meet people and build relationships, which is the cornerstone of growing a successful cleaning business.

Retaining old customers is the least expensive and most efficient way to grow, so customer retention is more important than ever, especially given our current economy.

A little more than four years ago when I was hired to start Gatekeeper Maintenance, a full-service commercial maintenance company, our president made a profound statement. He said something along the lines of, “A few years from now we may not be doing the same type of work that we are doing now, and it will be interesting to see what new doors open for us.”

 Day cleaning, which usually refers to cleaning that is performed while building occupants are still using or working in a facility, is certainly not new. Some of us may not have taken notice of it, but large public facilities such as airports, convention centers, megahotels and other locations have been cleaned during the day—when scores of people are using the facilities—for decades.

Almost every successful building service company will at some point reach that fork in the road where it must decide whether to open a branch office location. While many forces may lead to this predicament, the one that generally pushes us to make this move is that never-ending drive to capture opportunity.

What's the best way for a building services contractor to view the current economic downturn? According to Armando Rodriguez, CEO and president of A&A Maintenance’s New York branch office, “A business owner must always stay optimistic. He must view tough times like these as the glass being half full, not half empty.”

As building service contractors, we have the great privilege of being able to expand our business into a variety of new services. The opportunity for BSCs to grow and diversify is limitless. Commercial buildings is an excellent arena for a service business to make itself an invaluable asset to the facilities it services.