As we head into spring organizing the schedule becomes extremely important. I work in a two-person team with my stepdad Craig. He has been cleaning windows for almost forty years, I have been cleaning windows for about three years.
We really take into consideration our strengths and weaknesses to organize the work in the most efficient manner.
Being a 5’2” female, I do not do much ladder work, a six foot step ladder is where my comfort level maxes out, because of this Craig does the high ladder work and I focus on other lower-level areas. When we do water-fed work, Craig handles the work that requires taller poles and I usually handle second floor on down since I do not have nearly as much control over those poles due to my height and build.
Since Craig has significantly much more experience than me, he puts together the flow of the work and explains his reasoning to me so that I can understand and learn how we can maximize efficiency and therefore effectively lay out the job in the future. I handle most of the office work such as communicating with customers, invoicing, checking the phones, etc. Computers are more of a strength for me, so I am able to get those tasks done quickly.
When we start to get closer to the busy season, we lay out all of the work by month as well as the weather and then look at possible dates to propose to the clients. We try to put clients that are in the same neighborhoods or cities on the same day to minimize the drive time between each job. Over the last three years I have gotten to learn a lot about the different types of clients we have and how to handle each of them. We do not use any automated CRM tools, since it is just the two of us, we are able to do that ourselves and it helps to keep that personal connection with our clients.
I have learned that some clients enjoy having some talk time while we are at the job and therefore, we account for more time spent at their job, whereas other clients don’t do as much talking with us so we know we will only be there for however long the actual work itself takes. I enjoy getting to know all of our clients and I have learned that for most of them it means a lot that we personally contact them to schedule work and that it is just Craig and myself coming to do the job. I know many people think it is inefficient the way we handle the customer relations, however, I think it works really well with our business model and the region we live in. Our city is very small business and family business oriented.
Learning your clients is a very important part of efficiency in my opinion.
Obviously, the goal is to be as efficient as possible to maximize the work we can get done in a given amount of time but taking the time to get to know your customers and their habits, though it may eat up some of that efficiency initially is a great way to know how to schedule your jobs for the future. When we have a new job that we have not done before we always account for more time spent because you never know what you might run into.
As I learn more about this industry and have more and more practice cleaning glass our efficiency increases more and more. As a two person team Craig and I are able to discuss our strengths and weakness to be as productive and efficient as we can, and as I advance I am now able to make suggestions for our work flow and bring a different perspective, we can bounce ideas off of each other and figure out how to do our work effectively, efficiency, and most of all work smarter not harder.
By Grace V. Gerengher