Tips N Chat Throwback #22: "The Elements of a Successful Business"

The Elements of a Successful Business

Lewis Migliore of Magic Steam Cleaning in Rochester, New York has been a part of the cleaning industry since 1973. He is currently a Regional Supervisor for IICUC, a Regional Coordinator for SCT and a member of Ed York's Consultant Sales Team.

Magic Steam Carpet Cleaning, Inc., owned by Lewis and Bruce Migliore, was started in March of 1973 with the philosophy of delivering quality service at a fair price as well as becoming the biggest and best in its field. This was quite a task, but not impossible for two brothers who have been successful and determined since boyhood days. The organization has grown, in this short period, to cover an area of 10,000 square feet and employs five full-time people plus a number of sub-contractors and agents. The plan we follow is not without pitfalls and problems and certainly should not be considered perfect, for we continually investigate and improve each aspect of the business. As we grow, we learn and as we learn, we change things to be more profitable, easier, more efficient and less costly, regardless of what it takes. One thing we are not afraid to do is change when it is necessary. All these statements are generalizations, but our business functions on a careful balance which no one is exempt from adhering to. This is the most important reason for our success.

From point one, our exposure to the public maintains an important image whether it be yellow pages, newspaper, T.V., or radio. Our business tie-ins with the largest and most recognized carpet and furniture retailers, the Hoover Co., Welcome Wagon, beauty salons, auto dealers, realtors, contractors, etc., keep our name in front of the public. But the only reason they do this is because they are dealt with sincerely by business people, not people in business for themselves.

When our phones ring they are answered by a pleasant voice which smiles and is nothing but cheerful, courteous, and can sell! Our girl's job is to get us in the home or business for a written estimate, or if that is not possible, which is relatively rare, they sell over the phone and sell our best package besides, with very little trouble. All work is written up on job sheets specifically by our girls or by inspectors making calls. Any agent who works with us must supply the same information for his jobs or they are "No-Go's".

Our men are prompt, courteous, knowledgeable, neat, skilled and well-equipped. We treat them well and pay them well and they deliver for us. They are "the company" in many cases. We have very little turnover of personnel, but we demand they produce! We do not skimp by on "cheap" chemicals or equipment. If it is evaluated as beingbetter but costing more, and yet can justify our use of it, we buy. If not, it doesn't get in. Our men also leave our customers with evaluation sheets to critique our business and a carpet care guide. We know how long each job takes, who did it, when it was done, where, how, where they got our name, why they purchased their service from us, etc., etc., etc. We take cash, check, Master Charge, VISA, and if they qualify they can charge for seven days.

Follow-up is imperative! Each customer gets a thank you from us at the end of each month. We keep a separate folder on each job. We make call-backs on all pending, previous, and lead jobs, and it pays. We produce approximately $2000.00 extra per month because we are consistent at follow-up and everybody works at it. It's called paying attention to detail. Our furniture cleaning operation is handled a little differently. We feel it is one of the best in the country and getting better every day. Everything comes to our shop for cleaning and is picked up and delivered in a large truck purchased especially for the furniture operation. All furniture is cleaned by women. Total time from pickup to delivery is 4 days. Our furniture business grows daily as does our entire operation.

We are heavily involved with the Chamber of Commerce, registered with the Better Business Bureau, registered with Dunn and Bradstreet, belong to a neighborhood business group, and are constantly investigating areas to make money. There is much strategy involved in the way our business is run. One point I can give you and it is the most important part of our business. We sell and market SERVICE not cleaning, and that's something that doesn't come cheap. We aren't the first to do it and we won't be the last. There is no reason why everyone shouldn't be doing the same. It's probably the best thing our industry can do. It's a little slower and demands more from everyone, but when it starts to pay off — it comes in bushels. I'm sure that all of us would rather have it that way!

Michael M.
Marketing Coordinator
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