Disrupt Your Janitorial Business

Impact your bottom line

Disrupt Your Janitorial Business

If you aren’t familiar with the term “disruption,” you‘re probably wondering why on earth you would want to “disrupt” your business. Businesses in various arenas are abuzz with this bold concept that can be lucrative when it happens.

Disruption is what Uber did to the taxi industry and what Airbnb is doing to hotel chains. Did you know, for example, that online marketplace Airbnb is on track to book more rooms than the world’s largest hotel chains? Many of you may not have even heard of Airbnb yet, which proves that when disruption occurs, it can happen in a big way, and you probably won’t even see it coming.

There are already disruptions happening in the janitorial industry, and if you aren’t aware of them, much less using them to your advantage, you will be left behind. With most of our days spent putting out fires, meeting client expectations, checking off the long to-do lists, and scrambling to find new business in a highly competitive market, it’s not surprising that major projects end up on the back burner. Accomplishing tasks the way we’ve always done them may be easier and faster in the short term, but in the long term, it’s a recipe for stagnation and eventual failure.

I invite you to look inside your own business to find areas where a major disruption in your operations could greatly impact your bottom line. Here are some areas to start:


The availability of cleaning software technology has been a major game changer for the industry. Real-time inspection systems, workloading programs, and time tracking all provide innovative ways to reduce labor and administrative costs, while increasing transparency and accountability.

Virtual Staff

Need to reduce your overhead? Think about hiring people virtually. On websites like and, you’ll find thousands of people to handle the noncleaning aspects of your business, such as serving as a virtual assistant or running your marketing campaign from remote locations, often at a fraction of the cost to hire full-time staff.

Follow Your Customers

The internet puts news about your customers at your fingertips. Set up Google Alerts to stay abreast of news that might signal changes of direction in your customers’ organizations. This could put you ahead of the curve in offering new services. Also, monitor the web for news and other information that might be useful to them.

Learn From Other Industries

Keep an eye on other industries for information that could benefit your own operations. I attend many seminars outside the cleaning industry and always learn something new—a new idea, a new technology, a new book, or a new way of thinking. Why waste time reinventing if you can copy, adapt, and implement quickly?

Reduce Complexity

Have a look around your company. I bet you can identify some overly complex systems without even looking hard. It’s easy to get into a rut by running processes the same way for years at a time. Often a new approach starts out simple, but somehow, over time, it builds into a much bigger, more complex task without us even noticing. Newbies may find it easier to identify overly complex systems. Don’t discount their ideas. Remember, less is usually more.

Look Beyond Your Standard Customer Base

Look beyond your current customer base for new customers who can use your services. This can help to stay ahead of changing industries and workplace models. It may require tweaking your services, but finding a new niche customer base may be the golden nugget you have been seeking.

So go ahead, disrupt your business—and watch your bottom line take off.

Posted On June 1, 2016

Judy Gillies

Founder and President of The Surge Group, Inc.

Judy Gillies is the founder and president of The Surge Group, Inc., a cleaning consulting company in Toronto that helps facilities managers improve their cleaning operations. She is a co-author of Behind the Broom. For more information, visit

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