Saturday, October 31, 2015

Seasonal cleaning projects...

Salem Oregon rains usually sneak up on us and somehow keep coming. Next thing you know, the dry sunny days are few and far between. As a cleaning company the workload usually moves from outside pressure washing jobs to inside tile and grout cleaning work. Throw in an occasional carpet cleaning package to the mix as well. That is the way it is for residential services. More cleaning is done at or around the holidays, for those who want their company to know they are clean. During this time of year we tend to balance these residential customers with commercial cleaning accounts. For us it isn't a high volume business model. We are not looking for tons of clients. We are a bit more focused on quality of work matched to quality of client. This is the only way we gave insured repeat business. Before we got into the business for ourselves, we learned a valuable lesson. Every year we hired a carpet cleaner from the weekly paper add with a whole house special.  Usually it was around the $100--150 price range. We always took the cheaper deal advertised. What we didn't know is what we were not getting in the deal. Now, before I get into it, let me say we were never unhappy with the work that was done.. Visually it looked good and we always felt like we were taken care of after the job finished.
Fast forward to being in the business, I now realize I hired the cheapest price company who basically did a splash and dash. And every year we repeated the process, and it was with the next cheapest add listed in the paper. We never used the same company twice as far as I know and never had a real reason to remember.

In order to make any sense I had to explain the above real scenario as this is the type of company that Fast Finish did not want to become. In order to not jump in that "me too" arena we had to have specific marketing plans in place. We also had to have the expertise and services to match those plans. We had to make sure that there would be clear cut measurable differences that a client could understand and clearly see. This involved relationship building at the highest possible level. It also required a very focused market. Yes, there are jobs we actually turn down if it does not meet or exceed a preset expectation. It does not mean we are elite cleaning snobs. It means we have elite clientele that expect the best and get it. 
Every once in a while we get a client who expects the best for nothing, but not many. And usually they become our biggest cheerleaders for the business if handled properly.
We are entering our fourth winter, and business is growing. We are always looking at adding services that make sense. Services that bring value to the customer. Our type of cleaning is an art. It brings surfaces back to new or even better than new often times. There is a huge market in Salem Oregon that requires cleaning and maintenance constantly. Fast finish has carved out a niche market catering to the discriminating client. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fast Finish Consultation

ROI or ROA = return on investment or asset. One of the first concepts taught at any business school or college. 

Fast Finish the cleaning and restoration service company has donated hundreds of hours in time and money back to the community for continued education. Daily we are asked for contributions to different local events. As a small company we are simply unable to address everything we would like to financially just yet. So, without guilt we came up with ways to give without breaking our own budget with the resources we have. Those resources being- the ability to clean, restore various surfaces and the ability to digitally market with a great SEO educational background.
Up until recently we only used our digital marketing background for Fast Finish use only. Makes sense. But after an unforeseen injury, that affected the physical laborious part of our industry, we had to focus on the marketing to keep the work flow coming. This created additional business needs that made us restructure how we do business.
Forced to market at the highest rate of return was essential. Knocking on endless doors and stuffing three jobs a day into our calendar wasn't going to work any longer!  We needed larger high quality jobs with less frequency to the tune of three to four days a week so the injury could heal in between. The 3-4 jobs 5-6 days a week was no longer viable. Although this had supported us early on it would only serve our business to an early grave. Now as a new TMT business owner, most would give anything to be that busy with that kind of work load. You can envision the hiring of help and expanding with multiple units etc., out cleaning tile and grout, carpets, cement and aggregate driveways forever. 
But as a prior new business development manager for a multi billion dollar company prior to starting Fast Finish, I saw a familiar already traveled road. The same road that made me start Fast Finish. I wanted to be a small succeful family business with no employees, no drama, no HR, no employee taxes, etc...
In order to make this happen I had to re structure quickly or not only lose the current work flow even shut down the pipeline of clients we worked so hard to attain. 
We did this through the magic of digital marketing and redirection to W9 sub contracting. This meant I had to partner up with like minded business in the same industry.( not an easy feat) as most would never engage a competitor. I carefully selected other small companies that would welcome the work in exchange for a small fee. Build trust and give more to them. We could carry on as before, build our reputation, and help another struggling business in return. As trust was being built my SEO time increased and allowed me to focus on all the web site items I wanted to get done but did not have time to do. I also saw a benefit in helping my business's  I mentored and partnered with as well. I could grow my income by growing theirs at the same time. After taking several of them under SEO wing we were able to survive the dreadful early years where most business are subject to fail.
Now today Fast Finish will offer private tried and true consultation for those in the industry.  It is very hyper focused on the cleaning industry! Unlike most SEO companies we are actually empowering business owners to take control of their own digital marketing and branding themselves. Because,in house is the only  way, that is agreed upon in any textbook or advanced class that creates the culture of your business that reflects you !
Not some other companies perception of you..,
Until next post- warm regards
For more information on private affordable one on one consultations 
We guarantee your return on investment!
Direct results that are measurable with money...

Thursday, October 22, 2015

SEO is a those that..

Jump into any forum and mention the word SEO and you will likely get the mob with pitchforks and torches ready to administer justice in unkind ways...
Why?  Frankly, it is because there are thousands of run of the mill start up companies peddling it like snake oil carpet baggers. There is so much static that no one listens to the message...And though they target a lot of start up companies, and small business owners, they are especially honed in on carpet cleaners, pressure washing and tile and grout type companies.  The calls are relentless about fixing your web site and the analytics they have run on your web presence and what you need to do to fix it. I get those calls, or at least I used to a lot more than I do now three years later. After a couple technical questions about what and how they are going go make me a better site, it usually turns into a learning experience for them. I guess the $ 200k budget I had for building a corporate web presence for a billion dollar company taught
 me a few things as far as what to do and what not to do. As an executive who inherited this IT department project, I had to track where all this money was going and the return on investment. It made me learn real quick the intangibles of marketing. I had to prove results in this performance based environment, and that meant understanding the details and workings of each change that money made. I look at it as my $200k education.
Even with a team of programmers and IT support people, we made mistakes and bad purchases. How? IT people are not always familiar with SEO and marketing. They might be able to write programs and move things around on a web site, but that does not mean they understand  how it impacts it. In fact I would say many have no clue. I learned that the expensive way. You can't just submit your site to a search engine processor and joila, have a top ranking page on Google....
The above collage of SEO option packages 
highlight the diversity of the culture. Note the pricing jumps all over the board, with what they offer. Each one with a good, better , best type format. But how do you know what to choose and why?
Most people just pass on SEO of any kind and label it a scam. 
And a part of me agrees with this assessment, but not for the same reason. It is a scam for people who actually do it for their own website. They understand how grossly over priced it is and can laugh at how much money they saved by doing it on their own and how much better they can impact it.
But to those of you who jump in on the same scam wagon mantra and have a few updated pictures, videos and rewording....(( Jokes on you)) seriously it is.
Now, if you are reading this and just shut down mentally on the criticism, then that is ok. Perhaps you built your business and have what you need all figured out. You generate enough income, get enough jobs, and did it without this SEO stuff. You are probably a type A personality who has figured out how to just get it done by hard work and relationships.  I applaud all your hard work, and yes you have just shown the rest of the world it can be done that way.
But what about all these new business owners, who don't have the time or resources and are pressed with financial payments...,?Will they have the same exact fortune? Can they afford to ignore the opportunity to drive the phone calls to them? Can they rely on door to door and  demo to demo with flyer in hand? Perhaps... 
I see a real need for SEO help that isn't overpriced and actually delivers measurable results. One that explains what they are doing and why it works and what you can expect by doing it.
I don't know if I am that guy to do that...
I help three new business owners now. The first one fell into my lap when I sold one of my specialty cleaning services to another business. He wanted his business to grow like ours and wanted our existing web presence and phone inquiries to just flow into his. He offered to pay extra on his 3 year contract to do it, so I agreed to take it on. I am very busy with my own business so we agreed to work on it for only a year and go from there. The first month we landed 10 new clients that we can directly attribute to SEO improvements. I suspect ,that winter may slow down, but that the foundation will be set for next year. 
I can't tell you how cool it is to see something translate so well so quickly.
This only confirms to me how important this tool is and will be in the future.
I can even boldly say that if Google searches didn't exist... Neither would my business...
But that's just us, in our pressure washing, cement, aggregate, cleaning and sealing Oregon world.
Until next post, peace to you!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Cleaning up, cleaners blog

Add Words...

We ran three adds with google add words,since basically late 2012.
The exact adds are shown above.
Moss and mold treatments, pressure washing, custom concrete surfaces.
I think that Google matched our $150 we spent at the time. They still offer this special all the time through out the year.
New business owners take note!
These very adds started the phone ringing much faster than going door to door and business to business... This is the first crucial thing we did. The second crucial item that we did was label each and every picture with the exact key words as the adds we ran. Every video and every page in our web site included these key tag words for the page.
I don't want to talk above the rim as they would say in basketball. It is important to understand that the names and labels you attach to your web site pictures is what Google looks for when it crawls through the Internet looking for relevant content.
Subscribe to this blog and I will continue some simple steps to making your cleaning web site a site that drives business to you like ours. The very same information that the SEO companies charge premiums monthly to companies who don't want to mess with the process  or just feel they don't have the ability to do it on their own..
Until next post! 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Surviving winter for contract cleaners

TMT new business owners have a challenge ahead of them once the first winter starts to set in.  That first year of business can be a back breaker for many who have chosen to step out and pursue their dreams of financial freedom.
It is especially difficult for those who live in areas where the weather becomes the biggest obstacle to getting out. Constant rain, snow or freezing temperatures can bring what little cash flow there is  to a grinding halt. To a new low cash flow start up that can be disastrous. 
For Savy customers looking for the best deals, it can be a gold mine of savings on the best services  available from these eager new business owners..the value of savings and the eagerness of new business owners coupled together is a recipe for success.  So how can we make that happen?
The blog post! This very post, explaining the obvious connection in writing and finding its way through googles magic search engine is starting that very connection. The fresh content that is written about fabulous deals and new TMT business owners will find its way to the top of a search page, when a customer looking for service types in: pressure washing, power washing, roof cleaning, moss removal, tile cleaning, concrete staining, concrete sealer, carpet cleaning, natural stone, stains, sealers, best cleaners, Salem Oregon , etc...( see what I did there?)
The only difference is that the customer will find the Fast Finish cleaning links at or near the top of the searches instead of the new TMT business owners. At least for local searches that is. A national representation is a whole new game. One that we don't need right now.
Within this post, Google will find key words, regarding new business, and all the services listed that Fast Finish provides along with the business name, winter deals, etc multiple times. 
The customer will type in one of those services and fast finish will be one of the options listed. As a new business owner, you don't care how the phone rings, as long as it does. Granted, there will be tons of solicitors trying to sell you their magical SEO services, and advertisement. But what you really need is a blog embedded into your web site that delivers content that is new. Let's face it, you don't have time to constantly change your web pages everyday with new photos and videos all the time. But you can make a post like this one every couple days. What is 15 minutes in your day when you are not working as a new business owner? Count it as blogging therapy that is tied to your success. Everyone can brag a little about their business and services they provide. Let's face it, as a new owner, you have some of the most innovative and awesome equipment available for cleaning just about anything. There is that, and you as a business owner have to be awesome, for taking the step to invest in it. All that is missing is making the customer see and understand it so they can experience how great your cleaning company is and will he for them.
Until your next cleaning needs are met..,
Fast Finish business mentoring...

Monday, October 12, 2015

Cleaning Crayon stains in carpet

Crayons or Candles= wax

-what to do -
Your customer calls you and frantically describes the mess her three- year-old has created with his crayons on her carpet. Not only did he grind his crayon into the carpet in an attempt to draw a pretty picture, but the sunlight coming in from the window seems to have melted his mess into the fibers!

Crayon is a greasy, waxy substance and can be tricky to remove, especially if it is melted into the carpet. But it’s not impossible!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Concrete sealer removal

Caustic strippers are a great option when removing latex, alkyds or enamel paints from concrete. However, They are not a good choice for removing acrylic, epoxy or polyurethane coatings because these resins have good resistance to caustic chemicals. A caustic stripper also doesn't work well when temperatures are low and thicker-build coatings will require many applications, more so than with other types of chemical strippers.

 An advantage of caustic alkaline strippers is that they are less harmful and easier to handle than solvent-based strippers. (Also less fumes and safer flash points) After the stripper has finished working, a neutralizing acid wash is required to remove the coating and any remaining stripper to prepare the concrete for the next process. Make sure to dispose of the waste material properly, as caustic strippers tend to stay active and can react with other chemicals even after they are removed from the concrete.

 Solvent-based strippers are by far the most common type of stripper used today for a variety of finishes..The reason they are so popular is because they work fast, and a small amount of stripper goes a long way. Methylene based strippers are very popular, and work very well on all resin types and thicknesses. Other types of solvent strippers include N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP), esters (DBEs) and combinations of toluene, acetone. Solvent-based strippers only work when they are wet, so taking steps to slow the evaporation of the solvent is important for product performance, so covering during dwell time is common in some surfaces. Once the coating residue and any remaining stripper have been removed, cleanup consists of scrubbing with soap and water followed by rinsing with clean water. Using a high-pressure washer on concrete is recommended with an alkaline cleaner.

Most professional applicators like to use solvent-based strippers because they are fast, aggressive and will remove almost all types of coatings or sealers in one or two applications. The common sealer resins used on concrete (acrylic, epoxy, polyurethane, polyaspartic and polyurea) are no match for a good solvent-based chemical strippers. However, these products are more effective when used in cool, draft-free conditions because heat and wind tend to cause rapid solvent evaporation and slow or stop the stripping process., a challenge on outdoor work. Extreme caution should be used when working with methylene-chloride-based strippers, as they can cause severe skin irritation and permanent liver damage if used excessively. The other types of solvent strippers are less harmful to work with, but tend to evaporate quickly and can be highly flammable. Good ventilation is always important when using solvent-based strippers, so open windows and doors, and keep fans running to circulate the air. Which can also be counter productive due to evaporation. Thus a battle to remove finishes. It is recommended to work in small manageable amounts..

 Biochemical strippers are the newest category of stripper, growing steadily in popularity and availability over the last five years. Their popularity stems from their sustainability (they are made from natural plant materials, most popular being soy and citrus) and low environmental impact (they contain no solvents or harsh caustic chemicals). The active ingredients found in biochemical strippers are typically acids or esters derived from plants.

 The professional will only use biochemical strippers if the work being done is in an environmentally sensitive area where solvent odors, stripper overspray or rinse water could potentially kill plant life...Biochemical strippers are the easiest of the stripper categories to work with, have the least offensive odor, and are often considered to be eco-friendly. However, they are the least aggressive type of stripper and need to remain on the surface for long periods of time to get the job done. Coating thickness also has a major effect on the amount of stripper needed and how long it needs to stay on the surface. I have seen it take overnight hours for a biochemical stripper to remove a thick-build epoxy from a concrete floor.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Moss removal from roofs

Oregon has an endless supply of moss and mold. There are tons of companies that now offer a roof cleaning service. Our interest is in cleaning a roof and not selling the client a new one. Keep that in mind when hiring a roof cleaning company. We don't sell roofs! We clean them so you don't have to replace it!
Always a favorite company and two time award winner on Angies list! Great reviews on roof cleaning..