Kathleen Bands is a third-generation owner of My Cleaning Service Inc.,
a Baltimore based cleaning company that recently turned 50 years old. Lately, Kathleen has been featured by the Baltimore Business Journal for her family’s unique story and The Daily Record for her stellar leadership. My Cleaning Service Inc. offers commercial and post construction cleaning as well as contract janitorial services. How did Kathleen innovate and capitalize on the opportunity COVID-19 presented for her business and her industry? Moreover, what is her advice for those assuming leadership in generational businesses? We find out on today’s blog post.
When she first started leading the company, a colleague told Kathleen, “Be patient; it’s a long road.” Being a third-generation business owner, Kathleen has set her priorities: family always comes first. She also understands the natural growing pains that come with mixing business and family together. She acknowledged, “There are sensitivities all the way around, but you have to realize it’s not just something that happens overnight.”
The Set Up
Kathleen is all about automation and processes, so it should come as no surprise that her and her team were able to go virtual in the blink of an eye. Prior to the pandemic, Kathleen invested in IT infrastructure that made operating from a cloud possible. This way, many of her managers could access information they needed in the field instantaneously. Switching to a cloud enabled her employees to get right to work once at a job site. Her philosophy? “I focus on doing the best I can for my team, so they can do their best in their roles.” Thus, when COVID-19 hit, My Cleaning Service Inc. didn’t miss a beat. Kathleen met with her staff virtually, and everything her team needed was available online. She recalls someone asking her early on, “How are you going to continue operating if you close your office?” She wasn’t fazed; her company was already there. Her team was already trained on the different software they needed.
Kathleen’s team has been working day and night to keep everyone safe in the midst of this health crisis, and she is pretty blunt about the experience, “It’s been very stressful. It’s a whirlwind. We wanted to keep our crews working.”
My Cleaning Service Inc. also added new segments of project work (high dusting, high glass and carpet cleaning, etc.) in addition to serving their current clients. They capitalized on the fact that no one was in their office spaces, so her team could get to different pieces of the building. Additionally, she turned her post construction crew and mobile teams into mobile disinfection crews. Quickly the company began receiving calls from different companies they had never worked with before. Instead of property management or construction companies, her clients became retailers, restaurants, libraries, hotels, etc.
Her team also took the time to work with their clients and ensure they had re-entry plans tailored to their facilities and needs. Then, her team layered in a positive response plan. In the event a client’s employee tests positive for COVID-19, all they have to do is set the plan in motion. The client can email or call My Cleaning Service Inc., and the cleaning company will deploy the disinfection crew. Then, the business is able to open right back up. The whole process is very seemless, and it has helped a lot of people feel more comfortable coming back into the workplace.
Another new addition is a site sanitizer, a person whose only responsibilities are disinfecting high touch surfaces, from door handles to elevator buttons to restroom fixtures. According to Kathleen, “We wanted to equip our clients with a menu of different services.” This way, her clients could utilize the site sanitizer and/or full disinfections. My Cleaning Service Inc. offers many different options for businesses to invest in keeping their spaces safe and clean.
How to Stay Healthy
Oddly enough, Kathleen is a huge believer in hand washing. She describes it as one of the biggest ways to combat the transmission of the virus or any kind of germs. As someone who travels quite frequently, Kathleen has a habit of wiping down everything on an airplane. Do some people make fun of her? Sure, but no matter “uncool” it is, Kathleen knows the importance of keeping germs at bay.
How to Keep Your Business Safe
Kathleen cites disinfection as the important piece of keeping a business safe when re-opening. Frequently wiping off the high touch surfaces is an extremely important practice to maintain. For this reason, cleaning services like My Cleaning Service Inc. offer incredible options to keep your business up and running. Another important aspect is ensuring your business has a process in the event of a positive case. It is important to know what disinfectant is being used, the process behind the protocol, and if the cleaning company has standard operating procedures in place.
Kathleen likened the impact COVID-19 has had on cleaning industry, to what 911 did to the security industry. For her, she does not want to walk through an airport that doesn’t have all of the proper security measures in place, she wouldn’t feel comfortable getting on a plane if the security was lax. She thinks it’s the same thing moving forward in the cleaning industry. Kathleen ended our time together with this, “I hope that everyone realizes the value of cleaning and keeping people healthy is so extraordinary.”
To listen to the full episode with Kathleen Bands, check out the links below.
Keep evolving, entrepreneur. I believe in you!
ABOUT ANNETTE WALTER
Much like Marcus Lemonis, host of CNBC’s “The Profit,” who lends his expertise to struggling businesses, Annette analyzes businesses, supports them with the right resources, and designs the plan they need in order to go from surviving to thriving.
Annette Walter has started, acquired, owned and operated more than 15 companies in her lifetime. As a wife, mother of two young boys, and owner of a national company, Timber Industries, that was included on last year’s Inc. 5000 list, she is able to serve her true purpose and passion in coaching and consulting entrepreneurs through her business coaching company, iEvolve Consulting. Annette works with business owners across the globe in various industries to support their overall well-being, teams, and operations. As an operations expert and strategist, she works with business owners to help them identify organizational gaps and opportunities in their companies. She works with businesses to help make their finances, marketing efforts, technology solutions, and sales more efficient and effective.
If you would like to know more about iEvolve Consulting, visit: http://www.ievolveconsulting.com, or send an email to YouRock@iEvolveConsulting.com.
Purpose. Process. Propel.