How to create win-win partnerships with George Boutsalis
Many take commercial cleaning for granted, treating it like a commodity that everyone can do.
From managing hundreds of employees to meeting more demanding standards while struggling with razor-thin margins, this business requires deep experience and skillset - especially when things are changing fast.
This episode of Cleaning the Built World looks at how George Boutsalis, VP at Impact Cleaning Services, steered his team to stay ahead of the game.
George delves into the importance of relying on data-driven decisions, the need to champion new technologies, and how to align incentives with clients to drive change and improve performance. Tune in to get a peak under the hood of a multigenerational family-owned business and insights from an executive with 17 years of experience.
Watch the full episode:
"The idea that contract hours are set in stone is something I disagree with. We should be able to recoup costs by finding cheaper and more efficient ways while maintaining standards. We follow the APA standards whether the contract asks for it or not. But I also want to find ways to do it cheaper for customers, by using less labor and paying a higher rate. This will lead to lower turnover and better-paid employees. “
Three top takeaways:
Here are the three most important takeaways from the episode:
Takeaway 1: Stop relying on gut instincts
Expected behaviors we used to rely on are gone. For instance, open-style offices used to be high-density but occupancy is now fluctuating.
Doing a building tour and walking into the lobby and checking a washroom and saying “Okay, I’ve seen it all” won’t do.
George suggests pulling data from occupancy sensing or autonomous equipment and making educated decisions. This includes being aware of the occupancy levels, garbage collection, and patterns of usage.
How much garbage is ramping tonight? Are Mondays pretty quiet? And when are these offices packed?
By pulling all this information together, you can make data-driven decisions on a case-by-case basis and be in a better position to adapt going forward.
Takeaway 2: Get buy-in for new technologies from supervisors
George emphasizes the need to champion site and cleaning supervisors. Explain to them that new technology isn’t to replace them or spy on them, it’s to get better data so they can price better, make their service more competitive, and find efficiencies that they can drive back to the customers.
By finding these efficiencies, you can improve your cleaning staff’s work experience by giving out bonuses or hosting a Christmas lunch for the site team.
Quality of service improves so the customers succeed. New efficiencies are unlocked so Impact wins. And cleaners get to spend less time on mundane tasks. It’s hard to come by win-win-win scenarios in a business with razor-thin margins and that’s why George so heavily leans on technology to drive process improvements.
Takeaway 3: Lead change by aligning incentives with clients
George echoes Charlie Munger’s quote: “show me the incentives and I’ll show you the outcome”.
If incentives are focused on finding efficiencies and improving performance, it leads to better outcomes and shared benefits. But if the approach is making sure all hours are used up, you’re incentivized to maintain the status quo rather than driving efficiencies. There is no incentive to bring in new technology to improve processes.
Start having those conversations with your clients.
George is seeing positive changes in the pipeline. More and more property managers are starting to understand that with a high vacancy rate, they need to focus on driving efficiencies to make their lives and the lives of their tenants easier.
This will lead to mutually beneficial win-win contracts where upfront savings for property managers driven by outsized efficiencies are the norm.