How Are We Different?
There are many different philosophies on how to run a cleaning business. Some companies position their selves as the “price guy” who offers cheap prices, which leads to poor quality results because he must cut corners to stay in business. Other companies are purely sales reps, in that they close the deal with a customer and then sell the contract to a franchisee after taking a large commission for their efforts. The result there is a customer that may be paying a fair price, but as the saying goes, there are too many hands in the cookie jar. The franchisee is forced to cut man-hours (services) to keep from losing money. You also have the “mom & pop” cleaning service which is a small operation of one or two people that cleans part-time. They can do a decent job at a fair price, but they are too small to keep up with emerging technologies and methods or be insured or bonded. This creates a liability to your company. In addition, they usually don’t provide any background check, and have no backup plan in case of an illness, family emergency, vacation, etc.
At Stewart Facility Services, we position ourselves right in the middle, plus do a few other things differently:
Have you ever been very unhappy with your cleaning service and wanted to make a change but the cleaning service kept throwing a contract up in your face to force you to continue paying them? In the past, some of my customers have even been threatened with legal action when they wanted to discontinue service. At Stewart Facility Services we believe that if we are providing value and service to you, then that is as good as a contract because you will not want to change if we are doing our job. Our competitors will offer a 15-day “opt out” policy before the 1 or 2 year contract kicks in. We believe that anyone can do a quality job for two weeks, but then they have you locked in, regardless of how much the quality of work slips. In the beginning, we ask for a 60 or 90-day agreement with a review period at the end of that agreement. This short-term agreement protects everyone involved, by making sure our companies are a good fit. At the end of the 60 or 90 day period, everyone sits down and evaluates the relationship with the scope of work, pricing, and anything else subject to be altered. After that, we operate on a handshake agreement. Open communication is key to our business, and we want to ensure that you are pleased with the service you are paying for.
In addition to being insured and bonded, all of our people must pass a background check. We pay our people more than our competitors and during the hiring process, we give strong preference to people who are working in full-time professional careers but are looking to make some money on the side. I am proud to say we have a staff full of quality people, who come to work for us to make car payments, pay for children’s education, or to just have a little extra spending money. Among our staff, we have educators, bankers, restaurant managers, cable technicians, office managers, and construction supervisors working with us. We have found that this practice creates both a better quality work force and an environment that is much more likely for a sustained long-term relationship.
Responsible Cleaning Methods
At Stewart Facility Services, we believe that it is our responsibility to be good stewards of the environment that God has given us. Cleaning your facility is job #1, but if we can do it in an environmentally friendly way, we make every effort to do that. Sometimes, the reality is that “green” products do not get the job done in a satisfactory way so we have traditional products and methods available as well.
Quality Supplies and Equipment
We strongly believe in the philosophy that there is a huge difference between price and cost. Price is what you pay for an item; cost is the true cost of buying and using that item. A cleaning company can have the most comprehensive training program, a solid management support system, and the best of intentions but you are only as good as the tools you work with. Across many industries, some business operators believe they will be able to save their way into prosperity and a profitable business by purchasing supplies as cheaply as possible. At Stewart Facility Services, we believe in buying the best quality equipment and chemicals, and many times that results in lower costs. It sounds strange but here is an example:
Our tile cleaning detergent is one of the highest priced in the market and it is purchased from a different part of the country. There are other products available locally and about $25 cheaper per container, with each container lasting about 20 jobs. The less expensive detergent works decently, but requires a good bit of scrubbing and therefore more manpower. However, the detergent we use requires almost no scrubbing. The result is a much lower labor cost per job by spending $1.25 more in chemicals. In that scenario, we are able to use a top quality product and lower costs at the same time. Those lower costs, plus having our own equipment for carpet, tile, stripping and waxing, etc. enable us to stay competitively priced in the marketplace.
Many companies will have you contact a sales representative, who may or may not still be with the company the next time you have a need. Even worse, some will give you the dreaded 1-800 number for the complaint department. If you like doing business with a 1-800 number then we are probably not the company for you. However, If you like doing business with a company in which you have the owners personal cell number, then we would probably be a good fit. It would be easy for me to tell you that we are a flawless company and every single job we do is picture perfect, but that’s not true. I don’t mind saying that both I, and my people can make mistakes….. we will forget a trash can, miss dusting a table or go too fast while cleaning a section of carpet or tile. My goal is to be the most responsive company whenever there is an issue. Up front, we try our best to eliminate as much of a possibility for errors as possible, but when they happen, we are quick to take corrective action to fix the problem and ensure that mistakes are not repeated. As the owner of the company, my name is on every job we do. I take pride in that and in the work we do. Regularly, I remind myself and my team that it is our customer that pays our bills, buys the kids shoes, and puts food on our tables.