Ideologies of a successful PNW commercial cleaning company: This one question has been asked of me numerous times over the past 20 years of building my cleaning company: What constitutes a good cleaning company?

Or more direct, what makes “you” better than the competition? That is a good question and as a business owner who takes pride in his business, I must have an answer. Someone could scour the Internet and come up with a reasonable answer.

In fact, they wouldn’t have to scour long to find a list of what makes a great business. For the sake of not sounding redundant, I want to share what I believe makes a great PNW commercial cleaning company. And I believe that this mindset will work with any business. It starts with the notion that every customer you acquire, you are now in a relationship with.

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Relationships are vitally important not only in our personal lives with wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends, children, friends and so on, they are just as essential in our business “lives.” Every customer that we serve, we want to maintain, nurture, communicate, share, and be honest with. Relationships take work.

I want to expand on a few ideologies of developing good working relationships with our client or prospective client. I would also like to interject that a majority of our customers stay with our service for an extended amount of time because of the reasons that I’m going to lay out: The average retention rate of janitorial businesses keeping their customers is about 12 months. Not very good if you ask me. How about 7 years? 10 years? This is the period of time we aim to keep our customers.


Every successful relationship relies on GOOD communication. I reiterate GOOD. This is foundational to being successful in this industry. Being a good communicator is not making excuses but rather “finding solutions.” Cleaning is a “human” business meaning that we are dealing with people. People are providing a service. It is not a complicated service but a service none the less. It is people that are trusted and invited into your business after hours, working to make your environment one that is clean and healthy.

With that said, people make mistakes. These cleaners have lives, some are going through tough things while trying to make your office clean. When mistakes are made, successful cleaning companies don’t make excuses, rather, they find solutions. No business wants to hear their service provider make excuses for poor cleaning.

  • Good communication means rapid response time. If you come into your office and find things not the way you expect and you call your service provider you want an answer or at least an assurance that things will be resolved.
  • Good communication means multiple ways of reaching out whether that means text, email, phone or whatever way you determine. Another way we at Cleanstart communicate is by sending out monthly surveys. We do this to get a pulse on how each one is doing.
  • Good communication means listening! The most fundamental lesson in communication is listening. Being a good listener makes you a good communicator.


Just like communication is important, so is honesty. Honesty even starts with the bidding process. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard in the bidding process what the customer is paying for their current service and being amazed at how expensive it is. Instead of taking that number and dropping it a little, we must exercise ethics and bid what is honest. In the end, honesty wins. Honesty means confessing when mistakes are made and being resolute to fix the issue.

Honesty trickles down to your employees. Every customer wants an honest cleaner in their facility. We have a surprisingly low amount of theft with our employees because we train them with the mindset of honesty. We even stress to our cleaners that taking candy from a free candy bowl should not be done!

There have been times I’ve been on bids and have forgotten a pen and ask to borrow one from the potential customer. I always return it. Honesty is very important in developing long-term relationships. Even taking a pen that is not yours shows your character.


Every relationship needs to be nurtured. That means going out of your way to see how the other party is doing. Just like in a natural relationship, it doesn’t  just work on its own. Relationships take work. It takes going out of your way to see how the other party is doing. Routine check-ins are vital in this business. Random phone calls are important even when there are no complaints. Nurturing is key in developing long-term relationships.

At Cleanstart, we like to think of our customers as friends. We share in life with them. We are excited when their business is successful. We are compassionate when a contact is going through a hard time. We try to use the service they provide when needed or necessary. Maintaining a successful business relationship takes effort, time, energy, good communication, honesty and nurturing. These are the core building blocks of our business.

Article was written by Caleb Ferling- coowner of cleanstart-

Give us a call, send us an email or fill out the online contact form for a FREE quote today! (253) 921-2593  

Cleanstart has over 20 years of experience providing PNW commercial cleaning services for a variety of industries and businesses of all types and our highly knowledgeable staff has the expertise needed to do the job right!

Our full range of commercial floor cleaning and restorationoffice cleaning & maintenancewindow cleaning; final clean servicespressure washing; and overall building cleaning services are competitively priced, fully insured, and come with quick response times! We service the following PNW areas: Auburn, Bellevue, Bremerton, Factoria, Fife, Gig Harbor, Lakewood, Olympia, Puyallup, Renton, Seattle, Tacoma, Tukwila, King County, Kitsap County, Pierce County, and Thurston County.


5009 Pacific Hwy E unit 17 Fife, WA 98424 • Phone: 253.921.2593 • Email: cferling(@)