I talk to a lot of CEOs and vice presidents of sales in the jansan industry, and one of the biggest problems I’m hearing regarding recruiting and hiring is that prospective candidates don’t find the jansan industry very glamorous. So how does one sell the industry to prospects to bring in fresh, new talent? What does the jansan industry offer that other industries don’t? The answer is actually a lot.
To get different perspectives, I enlisted the help of some of my clients within the cleaning industry as well as a few of the individuals that, as a jansan recruiter, I have placed who were recruited from outside the industry. Below are the top reasons these individuals cited as to why the cleaning industry attracted them and still attracts them to this day.
Opportunity. The jansan business is a US$51 billion industry. Because of the size of the industry, there is tremendous opportunity to make money and build an exciting, long-term career whether in manufacturing, distribution, or as a manufacturer rep. or cleaning professional. In fact, the cleaning services industry, both In-house providers and building service contractors, is expected to enjoy 12 percent job growth from 2012 to 2022, according to the U.S. Labor Department, Bureau of Labor Statistics. This equates to 280,000 new jobs, strong growth for a career that does not require a formal education or a lot of experience to get started. And as the headcount continues to increase so, too, will the need for more supervisors and managers, which means upward mobility.
Monetary success. The cleaning industry’s products and services are always in demand. Sure, sometimes it seems cleaning is the first budget line to be cut, but unlike many industries, it cannot be tossed aside for long! And as the public’s perception of the connection between cleaning and human and environmental health continues to strengthen (as the Value of Clean continues to hit home), there is all the more opportunity to be extremely successful and handsomely rewarded in this business.
Residual returns. Whether you work for a manufacturer or a distributor, you benefit from consumable products that, once used, must be replenished. For service providers, what buildings do not need to be cleaned and maintained regularly to remain inhabitable and healthy? In many other industries, the sales people close a sale and have to move on to the next one. No matter what segment of the jansan industry chosen, you can build momentum as opposed to having to start from scratch each week or month.
Reoccurring commissions. For cleaning industry sales professionals, not only can money be made by selling products or services, but unlike a lot of other industries that only pay a one-time or sliding scale commission for new customers, a majority of companies in the cleaning industry pay a commission on every single profit dollar sold to the customer for the life of an account. By building a solid account base, it is easier to grow your income as you manage and grow existing accounts while still building new ones. In other words, the jansan industry offers an enjoyable long-term business model.
Relationships. Because customers will continue to reorder and purchase products and services on a continuous basis, professionals in our industry get to develop long-term relationships with their clients—and vice versa.
Large customer pool. Who does not need cleaning products or services? Healthcare, industrial, education, government, commercial, hospitality, food service…. The list is virtually endless as are the facilities that house these services versus many industries where the audience is narrow, targeted—and shrinking.
Innovation. The move towards more technology has impacted every industry, not the least of which is the cleaning industry. From e-commerce, mobile apps, and quieter vacuums for day cleaning to software helping streamline budget analysis, inventory control, and work loading, this is NOT the same mop and bucket days of yore. Consider such cutting-edge products as self-cleaning surfaces, robotics, sensors, green cleaners, battery powered equipment, advanced dispensing systems, vacuum backpacks, floor finish polymers, hand care sanitizers and foams…. Just attend the annual ISSA/INTERCLEAN trade show, and you will be amazed at what has been developed in the industry from one year to the next! Trends, such as increased health and safety, energy and labor savings, and sustainability, have fueled the cleaning industry and will continue to do so for years to come. Manufacturers in the jansan industry will continue to invest in research and development and product innovation to stay on the cutting-edge. This is good news for engineers, designers, software development, and those in information technology. It is also good for the distributors who will have a steady stream of new products to sell and the service providers who will have new ways to do their work faster and more efficiently.
Extensive product/service lines. With the exception of some niche manufacturers, the ability of cleaning industry product or service suppliers to expand, cross-sell, and bundle their offerings is limited only by their own imaginations—food service, safety, etc.
Consultative selling. Sales professionals in the industry help customers be more cost-effective, maximize worker productivity and solve their challenges by fulfilling their needs. This saves those in the industry from having to compete on price only where profits are limited.
Continuous improvement. ISSA, IEHA, and Building Service Contractors Association International are just a few examples of associations that offer ongoing educational conferences and trade shows to keep your industry knowledge and skills sharp.
Certified status. An opportunity to become an expert—ISSA certifications and credentials such as Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS), ISSA Certification Experts (I.C.E.) and Cleaning Industry Training Standard (CITS) as well as others, such as Environmental Health Services (EHS) or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)—all these offer a chance for professionals to achieve certification, raising their professional status and stature and often pay and revenue.
Savvy buying. Afflink, Nissco, Pro-Link, TripleS, and other buying groups that serve the industry help improve purchasing power and negotiate better terms for distributors while helping drive prices down for buyers. They also allow their members to share ideas and discuss solutions to common problems within the industry
Selling the Industry
Now that we have reviewed all that the industry has to offer how do we sell these attributes to prospective employees? Below are some tips:
Find what matters. Ask candidates a lot of questions and then ask more to find out what’s important to them. Then customize the advantages of being in the jansan industry based on what they value as opposed to just telling them how wonderful the industry is. For example, if a candidate’s interest lie in nice cars or saving for a new home, stress the money potential. Similarly, if a good, friendly work environment appears paramount, you might stress the industry’s welcoming camaraderie.
Promote solutions. When describing the jansan industry, talk about the specific problems you solve for your customers, not what you sell or what you do, which any candidate that has done his/her homework already knows. By discussing the problems you solve, you are going to separate the jansan industry from others. “We help companies reduce employee absenteeism,” or, “We help companies increase worker productivity” sounds much more appealing than just saying “We sell soap, disposable gloves, vacuums, towels, hand dryers.” Plus it will give the candidate a perspective of the industry’s great overall value from the start.
Look ahead. Talk about the future of the industry and some of the new innovations: quieter and more energy efficient equipment, robotic-sensor controlled cleaning systems, technology enabled monitoring systems, automatic dispensing, and other more sustainable choices. These innovations are the future of the industry and are likely to be of interest to potential hires.
Glam it up a bit. If you don’t think “janitorial” or “sanitary” sounds very glamorous, use other words to describe the jansan business. Hygiene, facility solutions, environmental services, cleaning solutions, cleaning technologies, health and safety consultants, facility maintenance are just a few of the viable options.
Get excited. Make sure everyone who interviews the candidate is excited about the industry. If the interviewer doesn’t believe in and have passion for the industry, the candidate won’t either. Both lethargy and enthusiasm are contagious; it’s up to you and your team to set the right tone from the start.
This article originally appeared in the February 2016 edition of ISSA Today.