Jared Sarbit of Picture Perfect Cleaning tells us about their priority to create a healthy, safe, and clean working environment for your employees and customers.
First of all, how are you and your family doing?
Jared Sarbit: My family and I are doing very well. My wife and I are grateful for our three sweet kids. As busy as life can be, family to us is everything.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Picture Perfect Cleaning.
Jared Sarbit: I am originally from Brandon, Manitoba, and moved to Calgary, Alberta, 20 years ago (half my life ago) to go to College. I took Hotel and Restaurant Management, while at the same time, I was a manager at one of Canada’s top national hospitality chains.
I always knew I wanted to own my own business but did not know what type of business. I had an entrepreneurial spirit in me from as far back as I can remember. I was constantly coming up with business ideas and writing business plans for the ideas, but typically I would get halfway through and realize the business would not work.
My wife then suggested the janitorial business. At first, I did not take her suggestion too seriously. However, after looking at the type of poor janitorial service we were getting at the restaurant I was managing, how bad the owner treated his staff, and how unorganized and unprofessional the janitorial company was. How much he was charging us, I realized I should investigate it further.
I wrote a business plan and discovered that it was quite a great idea after all! I spoke to some other janitorial owners, and the one consistent challenge they all said was finding and keeping good cleaners. I knew if I treated people better than anyone else in the industry in the world (which I believe we do), I could easily solve this challenge.
At the same time, I hired a gentleman named Aaron Graham at the restaurant as a server. He was from Australia and was here working at a summer camp to gain some life experience. I was incredibly impressed by his positive attitude, extremely hard work ethic, charming personality, and willingness to do whatever it took for the customer, as well as to help his follow servers.
I scheduled Aaron to mirror my shifts, and we would often talk during and after work hours about our dreams and ambitions. I knew he was the right guy to partner with, but to make sure, I started testing him by giving him difficult jobs that most would say no to. Like staying a few hours after work to bleach the coffee mugs or handle unhappy customers that were not his table/customer. I would send him over to the customers, and they were all laughing and happy again before long.
After finishing the business plan, I sat Aaron down and said, I have an idea, and I would like to talk to you about partnering on it. Before I went further, he replied, “whatever you’re doing, count me in.” The rest was history. Twelve years later, we still have an amazing partnership, roughly 120 happy custodians, and roughly 165 commercial clients.
How does Picture Perfect Cleaning market its product/services online?
Jared Sarbit: We take a multi-pronged approach when it comes to our online presence. We do some paid advertising on Google, LinkedIn, and a little of Facebook. We also focus on creating an authentic website that really highlights who we are to help in our organic rankings on Google.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how did you get through it?
Jared Sarbit: When COVID first hit, we lost a significant amount of business, as many of our clients temporarily closed. They were all shutting down from gyms, daycares, schools, churches, dental offices, regular offices, and more. It was very scary in the first few months, with little information to go off.
We quickly increased our attention to industries that not only still needed us but needed to increase services. We managed to move into helping multiple seniors’ homes that were having COVID outbreaks. We even ended up working directly with the Alberta Government in assisting them in a major outbreak of senior residents. We were incredibly successful in helping these residents get completely out of COVID. We have had a perfect track record of every property we went into. The numbers would immediately go down until they were at zero cases of COVID.
This helped us tremendously, and now most of our clients are back. During the pandemic, we also gained many other clients who now take janitorial services much more seriously and want to spend a little extra for a more professional experience. We were positioned very well for this. Janitorial companies have never been taken so seriously and are no longer the service that no one thinks about. Like us, those janitorial companies that have been extremely professional from the beginning have benefited in this time.
As things normalize, things are really coming back strong for us. We have now significantly passed our pre-COVID revenue numbers, and we are in the best position we have ever been in as a business. We are also positioned very nicely to continue growing, with strong management and systems in place.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
Jared Sarbit: We have hired a company to manage our online presence. We really rely on them as the experts to decide what tools and software to use. We focus on servicing the heck out of our clients, and by doing this, our reputation naturally, organically, strengthens online.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Jared Sarbit: When we started this business, my partner and I committed not to pay attention to the industry competitors. We didn’t want to know what they were doing because we didn’t want to be them. We wanted to be something different and something special. We wanted to provide a very fresh face in a “dirty” industry. Over the years, it has become very clear that the industry has been waiting for a company like ours. Our clients love us because we are not your typical cleaning company, and we enjoy every minute of being who we are without getting distracted by the other janitorial companies.
The fact is, in Canada alone, the cleaning and janitorial industry is an $8.6 Billion industry and is expected to grow to $9.6 Billion by 2026. There are 34,000 janitorial businesses, and 65% do not have employees, 90% of them of fewer than 20 employees. There is so much a large pie for everyone to be successful, and as long as we are committed to being the best in the world at what we do (ongoing janitorial services), then we will continue to grow.
Your final thoughts?
Jared Sarbit: At first glance, the janitorial industry may not seem like the most glamour and may not be taken very seriously; however, now more than ever, we are called to ensure good hygiene in the workplace. People are going back to work, the office, the gym, the shopping centers, etc., and they want to know they are safe and in a clean environment. I truly believe Picture Perfect Cleaning provides that better than anyone else in the world in the janitorial industry.