Straight Talk: The State of the BSC IndustryBy Jeff Cross | July 27, 2022 << Back to Articles
Matt Vonachen says that those involved in the are considered an outsourced labor provider, and the work BSCs do for clients pertain to tasks not part of a client’s core competencies.
I like that statement, because it encapsulates a real truth. The cleaning industry is needed. It is critical as part of a building’s operation, and without it, chaos would quickly follow. How long would it take for everyone to notice if you stopped emptying trash cans and stocking bathroom supplies? Although funny, most ladies stuck in a stall don’t like to ask, “Can you spare a square?” What if you decided that cleaning toilets and urinals was something your team just didn’t need to do on a regular basis?
Your client’s core competencies do not involve cleaning tasks and facility maintenance services. That’s your job and the reason you are needed, a critical service sector that is finally getting recognized as valuable. Critical. In large part because a microscopic virus took a global road trip in early 2020 and is still on the move.
Vonachen is the CEO at Vonachen Group in Peoria, Illinois, and the vice president/president-elect of ISSA. Vonachen Group is a full-service facility maintenance leader that does it all. In a special video presentation that you can find at issa.com/bsc-industry, you can hear him speak to how critical a BSC is to the operation of a building—and not just related to typical cleaning tasks. It goes much deeper than that. He discusses tasks that some of you may not have considered offering your clients.
“We also get involved in providing laborers for material handling, forklift drivers, and we get involved in shipping and receiving… anything the customer needs done that doesn’t pertain to whatever their core competency is,” Vonachen explained. “And given the labor market today, most of our clients are trying to gather all their employees to focus on what their core competency is in their business, and they’ve looked for people like us to provide labor to perform different functions that they normally would have done in-house.”
I would hazard a guess that not many of your employees run a forklift, but what Vonachen describes is thinking outside the box. You are in a prime position to really take care of a facility, and the bigger the building, the more there is to do. The value BSCs bring to the table in the entire operation of a building is extremely valuable. Besides typical cleaning tasks, you do much more every day.
“We ingrain ourselves with our clients as an extension of their management team,” added Christi Redfearn, the CEO of REDLEE/SCS Inc. operating in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. “We often are involved in their staff meetings, with their security vendors, their landscaping vendors, and the rest of the facility maintenance group. We are there to solve their problems.” She goes on to explain how her company also refers work to other organizations if REDLEE/SCS doesn’t offer a specific service. “We look at ourselves as ‘I’ve got a guy,’ and we’ll make sure whatever problem they are facing is taken care of.” Like most of you, her company has traditionally handled routine cleaning tasks, but REDLEE/SCS has reached the point where the client looks to them to provide additional services, above and beyond the norm. They are a “go-to” full-service company.
Then we have Laurie Sewell. She is the president and CEO of Servicon Systems Inc., located in the greater Los Angeles area. “We provide healthy environments for people to thrive—that’s the outcome of our work,” she said. Like Vonachen and Redfearn, she focuses on the people, her team, her employees as the key to success. “We start with attracting, developing, engaging, and retaining good people. We look at it as if we have the right people, we do the right thing by them, we train them well, and then the business will flourish.” That model has worked well for Servicon over some 50 years. What does this mean for the client? As Sewell explains, “It bleeds into a fantastic client experience, which allows us to maintain our customer base.”
In a nutshell, as I recorded the three of them discussing their business and success, it is the people who are the key to what works. While most of us say those words frequently, and it’s almost a cliché, what do we do to make it a reality, to ensure we have the very best staff and tap into their strengths, so everyone wins?
Vonachen shared one strategy. Charge more and pay more. You want good people, the very best team. You need to think of a business model that pivots with changes in the economy. This concept can be a challenge.
“What we have found in this business is that growth is not only essential for the ownership of the company, but it’s essential for the employees. If we don’t grow, we are not creating opportunities for our people,” he explained. “If you think about our front-line workers, who are really the bread and butter of our business, how do they advance if you have contracts with fixed monthly fees and you don’t have an opportunity to raise wages where you’d like to raise them, how do you give them other opportunities?”
It’s a great question. One of Vonachen’s solutions is growth, considering new markets, verticals, and accounts, and creating opportunities for his team. He calls this “absolutely critical.”
There is much more in the video interview with Vonachen, Redfearn, and Sewell below. Watch, learn, embrace, and make your company a better place for your employees and an example in the building service contracting industry.
About the Author.
Jeff Cross is the ISSA Media Director. He can be reached at [email protected].