Labor and Travel Time Cost Considerations for Mobile Contract Cleaners – Some Advice
One thing interesting about being in the service business, specifically the service cleaning business, is that often you will travel to your customers, some of which you are less than geographically ideal. In other words they are out of your way, but the account is good enough that you go ahead and spend the extra money to travel to their location and do those services. Not long ago, I was talking to an acquaintance about all this, someone who was trying to maintain their cash flow, but had watched their business spread out over time.
Why did this happen you ask? Well, during the recession there was less business locally, and therefore he had to travel to get larger accounts and more business. Then, the fuel prices increased, which very much hurt his cash flow due to the increase costs. Worse, some of these larger accounts required that he take more labor with him to do the job, therefore he was paying the labor for travel time as well as working. On top of that, by the time the workers got there, they were so tired from driving, they worked too slow, therefore, all his efficiency was lost as well.
One piece of advice to mobile operators running small service businesses would be to take a hard look at what you are doing, along with your routing and scheduling. Next it makes sense to figure out a way to cut down on those costs, combine trips, and perhaps even hire local labor once you get there, rather than using you regular crew coming from your home base. This way you don’t have the extra weight in your vehicle, therefore your vehicle will get better fuel mileage, but also you don’t have to pay those workers for all that travel time.
Is this difficult to do you ask? It might cost a little bit to train those workers at a faraway location to do the work, but over time if it is a reoccurring account, it will probably be worth it. Also, under the casual labor laws, they would only be part-time employees, perhaps only working a few hours. And as long as we are in a recession, and the unemployment rate is well over 8%, you can bet there will be people who will be willing to take those jobs even if it is only for three or four hours every other week or so.
Indeed, this might be perhaps, one solution to this dilemma if you run a small service business that has found itself spread out due to economic factors over the last few years. I hope you will please consider all this and think on.