City Wide Facility Solutions Steps Up in ‘Y2K Moment’

Like most businesses, City Wide Facilities Solutions had a tumultuous 2020. In what was already set to be a year of change, including a rebranding and tweaks to lay a foundation for further growth, the COVID-19 pandemic was a major curveball.

Troy Hartman joined the company April 1, 2020, at the peak of confusion across the entire business world. He said there was “no fooling” for his first day.

“People didn’t 100 percent know what was going on, we were still trying to sort it out. So, there were daily conference calls discussing what was happening. Sharing lots of information across the network, trying to understand what was happening. People needed masks. Then you had some sharing around the PPP loan information so we just kept the lines of communication open,” said Hartman. “We were not COVID experts, we tried to remind our franchisees and clients that the largest governments don’t know what to do, so what can we do? But if we get on the phone every day, we can come up with a game plan for us.”

The company split clients in the CRM into essential and non-essential buckets, tweaked services and bought a lot of hydrostatic cleaning guns. But for a company mostly known for sourcing and overseeing contracted janitorial and light facility work, one of the biggest changes was the mindset.

“I don’t know that there was some official memo that showed up, but as all that was happening we saw we were essential,” said Hartman. “There was a realization that our job was really around health and safety and ultimately enabling businesses to do what they were doing. There was this higher-level mission that came out of it. It’s like, wow, it’s not just about cleaning a window or scrubbing a floor or paving a driveway, what you’re really doing is enabling other essential businesses to do their work.”

He said among medical facilities, schools, logistics centers and all the other day-to-day needs that got us all through the last year, there was a lot of new needs and new questions as the same mindset shift happened across the client base.

“The vast majority if our markets excelled, not just revenue but we changed how we sell, how important being seen as a solutions provider is not just a janitorial service. Changes that may have taken three years happened in six months,” said Hartman.

He said it was a sort of Y2K moment. When people heard that their computers were vulnerable, the focus on IT infrastructure was elevated.

“All the sudden people started asking question about who is our data provider? When things become elevated, people start asking questions differently. And say, ‘Hmm who are we choosing for these services, and what are they really doing?'” said Hartman. “It wasn’t just finding the cheapest vendor, but realizing it might be worth a couple dollars more and they’re janitors are not running their business out of their house. If I’m betting my health and safety and my employees’ health and wellness, it’s probably worth it.”

The person asking the questions changed, too. It wasn’t middle managers or company handymen calling anymore.

“There were more owners, CEOs, VP-level people engaged in asking a lot different questions. I think the general awareness of what you’re really doing became more important. They had to answer the question for their employees and say, ‘We’re not coming back into the office until we clean in this way,'” said Hartman.

While he’s not quite ready to develop his own vaccine, he said the organization had to learn a lot about the pandemic buzzwords and have good answers for scientific inquiries, something Anago Cleaning Systems had to figure out, too.

Above all, he said the changes worked, the rebranding went well and the core model proved effective. He said the latter has spurred the company’s development pipeline as more people see the franchise as a rescission-resistant and pandemic-proof business. While the trials aren’t over yet, he said the company is eager to see the vaccines roll out and all those non-essential businesses come back online.

By Nicholas Upton | Story originally appeared on Franchise Times.  To read more of the article click here.

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