Business Restrooms as an Indicator of Company Worth

Below is a summary of an article I found on the internet recently.

Is this business well run? Check the restrooms first

February 18, 2012 12:00 am  •  By Michael G. Goldsby – Executive Director of the Entrepreneurship Center and the Stoops distinguished professor of entrepreneurship at Ball State University.

Advice from Leland Boren, an 87-year-old force of nature who has seen it all in nearly seven decades in business. He is the CEO of Avis International Corp. He also owns 23 businesses and has built, bought and sold many others during a 67 year career. When it comes to examining a potential target for acquisition, he advises to:

  • First, examine the company’s history with cash. Accounts receivables and payables are good indicators of cash management.
  • Second, he looks at their product line and considers whether improvements can be made to them.
  • Third, analyze if there is the potential to expand the product line.
  • Fourth, remove any intangibles and goodwill out of the company valuation, allowing for negotiation and management based on the true performance of the company.
  • Fifth, examines the company’s sales team performance to determine whether it is performing as well as it can.

But there’s another little secret:

If you really want to see a good indicator of how a company is run, go into the restrooms. It will tell a lot about a company’s attention to detail. If the restrooms are not clean, it might be a good sign that new management is needed in the company.

Source: http://www.nwitimes.com/news/opinion/guest-commentary/guest-commentary-is-this-business-well-run-check-the-restrooms/article_525fca25-982a-5bdb-b064-277d091ee6b2.html

The Flawed Benchmark of Facebook

My business, Washroom Wizard, provides restroom services to other businesses. It has two distinct markets. One is the consumer of the service, other businesses. The other is the market of prospective workers who can provide the labor of the service.

The work is very unglamorous and does not offer a career opportunity. It is, however, a good situation for those wanting supplemental income so they can reduce their debt, be full time parents, support a hobby or fulfill some other activity. Clearly the market for prospective workers is a totally different demographic from the market of customers. But, one without the other cannot exist.

In order to reach these two distinct markets I established two Facebook pages; Washroom Wizard and Part Time Work for People with a Full Time Life (my tag line for recruiting).
Part time work for people with a full time life facebook page
Since most of my market for prospective workers uses Facebook I set-up some ads to run. These ads were not approved because according to Facebook

“it violates Facebook’s Ad Guidelines by advertising “work from home”, MLM, get rich quick and other inaccurate money-making opportunities.”

Coming up next:
The Flawed Algorithms of Facebook

Restroom cleanliness as a parameter for job acceptance

I recently read an article about a job seeker who received two job offers. The offers were almost identical. This made comparison very difficult. The final decision making parameter became the condition of the restrooms. The assumption that the job seeker made was that the employer with the cleaner restrooms valued their employees more.

For employers this situation begs questions such as:

  • What kind of employees are you attracting?
  • What is your rate of turnover? Could it be lower?
  • How valued do your employees feel?
  • What about employee moral? Could it be improved?

So, what was the real significance for the job seeker to use restroom cleanliness as a parameter in the decision making process for accepting a job? Within a year the company that was not selected for employment because of the condition of their restrooms went out of business. The job seeker continued to be employed by the company with the cleaner restrooms and did not fall among the ranks of the unemployed again.

Are you missing out on good employees due to the condition of your restrooms?

Cleaning Service Results-by the Numbers

There is no correlation between the visual appearance of a surface and its level of cleanliness.  Surfaces that may appear clean can be laden with bacteria. When it comes to cleaning service results, the only way to determine how clean a surface might be is to conduct tests that count the bacteria.

The cleaning methods of Washroom Wizard! have been subjected to such tests.  The results of these tests in one of our client locations are below.  How many other cleaning services do you know of that conduct such tests; and then publish them?

Excerpt from letter to client regarding cleaning service results

Compliments? for a service station restroom?

Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 10.56.41 PMI recently had a call from a client who owns a service station. We have been cleaning his customer restroom for quite some time and he wanted us to also add his shop restroom to our cleaning schedule. What he said about his present service was:

We get a lot of compliments on our restrooms;
and that’s rare for a service station.

Exceeding the expectations of your customers produces goodwill, positive business image, and return customers. Feedback like this confirms my supposition that the value our customers receive as a result of our services is far greater that the cost of our services.

Solutions that create problems

One of the products that we use in our service and sell on the website EasyEcoClean.com is called the Shaws Pad.  Recently I had the following question from a potential customer for the Shaws Pad:

Hello, I have 2 toilets with an EverClean finish and you are not supposed to use abrasives which I am assuming your product is? Can you please confirm or explain. I am getting mineral buildup in the bowls and would prefer not to use chemicals. Thank you.
The first thing I had to do was find out what “EverClean” was. A search of the web indicated that it was a proprietary coating developed by a long standing manufacturer of bathroom fixtures call American Standard.

American Standard website information
What is “Everclean” surface? On toilets the super smooth mirror like EverClean® surface…is a silver based, double coat surface which inhibits the growth of stain and odor causing bacteria, mold and mildew.
Silver does inhibit the growth of mold and mildew as they claim but silver is also a metal which can be abraded by use of the Shaws Pad. In this situation I believe use of the Shaws Pad would eventually remove this surface coating leaving the porcelain finish which, then, can be easily cleaned with the Pad.

The unfortunate fact for this consumer is that they still have hard water build up. I’m not quite sure which was the bigger problem; mold and mildew or hard water build-up. It’s clear that the mold and mildew situation is remediated by this new coating but its application to the surface of the porcelain has removed the Shaws Pad as a non-chemical solution to hard water build-up.

There are trade offs for many aspects of our lives and we have just discovered another.

Work place reality – the non-productivity conundrum

One of the services we provide is air freshener.  For a flat monthly fee we provide:

  • all of the research time needed to find and select an environmentally sound product
  • provision of all equipment
  • installation of equipment
  • replacement of equipment as it wears out
  • all the supplies needed for servicing (air freshener elements, batteries, etc.)
  • labor and expertise to service the air freshener unit

When you compare this service to the prospect of doing it in-house, you have the present workplace reality.

  • The cash outlay to buy a case toxic air fresheners from a supplier is minimal.
  • You install it, then you have to find a place to store the product.
  • When it comes time to service the unit your employee gets distracted with their primary job responsibilities and forgets to do it.
  • Or they go to service the units but someone has moved the case of product and they can’t find it.
  • Even if you can manage to keep the units serviced; you will run out of the product and no one will know that it needs to be reordered or even remember what they ordered from whom.

This results in you paying for unproductive employee time and periods of time when there is no odor control.  Work place reality.  So the non-productivity conundrum is “What is the real cost to your business?”

The Fallacy of Labeling and testing for “environmentally safe”

Featured

In my Service Order Agreement I have the following term.

HAZARDS – Due to environmental and worker safety concerns, customer agrees to secure approval from Washroom Wizard! before using urinal, toilet bowl or air treatment systems.

I learned many years ago that the labeling and branding of products, especially chemicals, cannot be trusted.  Therefore, I had to develop another standard of trust.  My standard for “environmentally safe” became Section II of the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet).  To meet my standard for “safe” this section must have NOTHING listed.

The purpose of Section II is to identify components of the product that are known to be hazardous to a person’s health.  In the case of air freshener products, there are very, very few products that have nothing in this section.  Most of them list 2-6 ingredients.  This list is a very good indicator that use of the product will produce adverse effects in individuals when exposed to it.

Effects such as eyes tearing, noses running, coughing from an irritation to the throat and becoming dizzy or nauseated can be experienced.  This is not an exaggeration; this is exactly what happens to me.   The probability of these adverse effects increases the longer a person is in a room where these products are used.  A user of the restroom can escape after a minute or two; my workers cannot.

Chemical exposure of this nature is not what I want for my workers.  We are a mobile service, regardless of where our work is performed I have a responsibility to ensure the safety of my workers.  My client’s workplace becomes the workplace for my people; therefore, the term on HAZARDS.  This term reverberates a positive effect for the employees and customers of my clients by sustaining a healthy environment for them.

Insurance that ensures

I know you all think that Washroom Wizard! sells a specialized cleaning service…
but, actually, we sell insurance.

  • We ensure that employee morale stays high and that your employees feel valued.
  • We ensure that the image of your organization does not suffer any negative consequences because of the condition of the restrooms.
  • We ensure everyone in your place of business stays healthy by minimizing the potential for cross contamination.
  • We ensure that management time is not spent on issues related to restroom cleanliness.

When you consider the benefits, our rates are very reasonable.