Revisiting Our Time at the 2018 ISSA Conference

With over 9,000+ members, ISSA has more than solidified itself as a leading trade association and point of reference for cleaning professionals and contractors worldwide. Each and every year we are eager to attend ISSA’s North America Conference to hear more about the trends shaping the commercial and residential cleaning industries. Here are some of the highlights from our week in Dallas:

Pay and Safety

Whether in the residential or commercial cleaning space, how to broach and implement impactful business policies were a hot button topic. Countless businesses are struggling to implement effective business standards, leaving many to adopt practices on merely their intuition, hoping that it hits the mark. Two major concerns heard loud and clear at this year’s conference were both employee compensation and safety:

  • Pay: Many companies are struggling to attract and keep top talent. But as minimum wages rise, employees have higher expectations for compensation. And while many cleaning companies are cost sensitive around wages, experts in the field suggest that employees should be compensated anywhere from 15% to 30% more than their state’s minimum wage. Additional data suggests companies who do not prescribe to this benchmark experience longer lag times to fill positions and see more employee turnover.
  • Injury Prevention & Safety: The starting point to avoiding injuries is to understand the types of injuries that workers commonly suffer, then eliminate or reduce hazards that exist. For instance, training employees on how to properly clean, handle and use cleaning supplies/chemicals, and use protective equipment can go a long way in reducing both physical and property damage. Businesses should also establish a personal relationship with their insurance provider to understand the proper policies to cover liability, property damages and workers compensation.

Advancements in Technology

Whether investigating the latest cleaning formulations and products, evaluating how IOT could impact your business, or looking to ditch your outdated software in lieu of something new, technology came in many shapes and sizes. In fact, technology seemed to find its way into almost every conversation, forum and speaking session. The tradeshow floor was riddled with new cleaning products and applications that boasted a more thorough, greener cleaning performance. Next-gen machines offered smarter solutions for receptacles, intelligent chemical dispensing and automated floor care cleaning; harnessing the technology as a means to increase cleaning performance without human-intervention. Software that helps manage your team’s workday, track vehicles in the field, and streamline billing and invoicing was also a big part of the conversation in Dallas. In one way or another, traditional or non-traditional, the overwhelming trend we encountered was that technology is becoming significantly more entrenched in the cleaning industry as we know it.

Universal Challenges

Last week’s conference attracted a worldwide audience. At our booth alone, we spoke with business owners and operators from a myriad of regions and countries. From small mom and pops to large janitorial outfits, we gained some interesting perspective on challenges that exist within their businesses. Interesting enough, businesses large and small find themselves at similar crossroads asking themselves the same questions: how do we manage growth? What can we do to maintain high customer satisfaction and fend off competition? Are there simpler ways to manage our businesses? As we shared some of our best practices (like investing in powerful business management software), we found businesses that have overcome these challenges have used networking channels, business associations such as ISSA, and continued education in new and steadfast business management tactics to navigate uncharted waters.

Motivation to succeed

From start to finish, there was no shortage of inspirational and motivational speakers to grace the ISSA stage. Some of our favorites included David Goggins and Darryl Strawberry. Goggins, a retired Navy SEAL, shared how reducing negative mentality and adopting a positive mindset can help you push through obstacles and overcome your natural tendencies to give up. Strawberry, a former professional baseball player, encouraged his listeners to learn from their missteps and transform their lives and businesses using those lessons. And then there was keynote speaker and 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush, who shared his wisdom on how to properly lead, instill trust in your people, and challenge the status quo.

We are looking forward to seeing you next year at the 2019 ISSA Conference in Las Vegas.

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