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Small cleaning businesses usually have their employees track time on a paper timesheet. But as your cleaning business grows, deciphering data and adding up hours from numerous time sheets can take time away from other profit-making activities as you burn up your time doing payroll. This article shows the benefits of automating your timekeeping system.

Do You Need an Automated Timekeeping System for your Cleaning Business?

Do You Need an Automated Timekeeping System for your Cleaning Business?Copyright 2006 The Janitorial StoreAs your cleaning business grows and you add employees, keeping track of time sheets and adding up hours can be a big headache. If you have just one or two employees a paper time sheet where employees "clock in" and "clock out" for each location they clean may be all that you need to track their hours. However, deciphering data and adding up hours from numerous time sheets can take time away from other profit-making activities as you burn up your time doing payroll.There are options available to your cleaning company other than hiring a full-time bookkeeper. Telephone timekeeping systems are ideal for cleaning companies. They allow employees to call from any location they are working at and "clock in" and "clock out" by using their employee pin number and location pin number.These timekeeping systems have many time-saving benefits and features:1. Tracks each employee's time down to the minute.2. Reassurance that there's no cheating, as there can be with a handwritten time sheet.3. Tracks travel time between buildings.4. Caller ID capabilities to ensure employees are calling from the correct location.5. The ability to leave messages for employees. As soon as they call into the system they receive their messages.6. Employee scheduling and management.7. Tracking of no shows or late arrivals. The system alerts supervisors with a call to their cell phone or pager.8. Supervisors can call into the system to see who is clocked into a building at any given time.9. The ability to track by job number as well as employee.10. Easy way to import payroll information. Hours are automatically added up for you, including travel time. Various reports available. Two such automated timekeeping systems are: Express Time from A&B Express Products LLC, http://www.expresstime.net/index.html, and MITC's Telephone Timekeeping Software, http://www.mitcsoftware.com.MITC's software has a one-time fee. You can buy added blocks of support time from them. Express Time is different in that it has a monthly charge as well as a per call fee. The MITC program does require added hardware and software installed on your computer or you can buy a ready-to-use computer from them.Express Time has two different systems available: Express Time and Express Time Online. Express Time has a one-time fee, and you can buy added support hours. Express Time Online has a recurring monthly fee as well as a 12 cent per charge for each incoming call. Each system has software that must be downloaded on to your computer. They do not have hardware that is installed on to your computer, but they do have specific computer recommendations for the software to work efficiently. Express Time also states high-speed broadband is needed for technical support.On either system, employees can call in any time of day, seven days a week, as long as you have the software is running on your computer. The MITC system has different modules that can you can add depending on your specific needs.Either software, MITC or Express Time, will require a time commitment on your part to learn the system, which may seem overwhelming at first. But after a couple of weeks using the system you will be flying around it like pro.Adding an "automated timekeeping system" may be the next step to growing your "cleaning business" . Any type of automated system you buy will require a financial investment, but it will free up your time from doing the mundane tasks of timekeeping and allow you to spend your time in more productive ways.

Switching To Day-Time Cleaning

Switching To Day-Time Cleaning

All the talk in the cleaning press at the moment and over the past few months has been about the move to cleaning offices during normal working hours. Machine manufacturers are coming up with quiet vacuum cleaners, scrubber driers and buffing machines all of which supposedly allow you to carry out the cleaning without disturbing the occupants of the premises.For cleaning companies this would make life a lot more pleasant and cleans easier and cheaper to manage and the cleaners would be able to work more sociable hours. According to some reports in the cleaning press companies are falling over themselves to switch their cleaning to office hours as opposed to after they have closed down for the day. My own experience would not indicate that this is so. None of our clients have asked to move their cleaning times or even considered it as a feasible option when they have been approached about the possibilities of changing the cleaning times.Vacuuming with silent vacuums is not a problem. Cleaning toilet areas is not a problem. Cleaning kitchen areas is a problem as they tend to be in constant use during the day. Doing anything to hard floors is also a problem. If there are people using those hard floors then while they are being cleaned they have to be diverted away from those areas which is obviously an inconvenience to them and something that is not going to be tolerated for long.. Any food deposited in waste disposal units, bins etc will be left overnight with the potential to smell come the following day. Also there can be no attempt at cleaning work stations whilst someone is at work.All in all the problems of cleaners trying to do their work whilst the occupants of a building are trying to carry on with their work far outweigh the advantages. Cleaning times will be extended and prices will rise. The theory is good and I would love to be able to get all the cleaning out of the way come five in the evening but the practicalities will not allow it to happen in many work environments.

The Business Of Factoring & How It Works

The Business Of Factoring & How It Works

Factoring, also known as accounts receivable factoring, is a business term used to describe a method in which companies sell their outstanding receivable invoices in order to gain immediate cash for their business. When a company sells a product or service, an invoice is created stating the amount due and the number of days in which the invoice must be paid. This invoice instantly becomes a part of accounts receivable, which is money that is owed to a business. After the invoice is generated, it must be sent to the customer and the business must wait for the specified amount of time before that invoice is paid. Often times, for reasons of misfortune or lack of attention, a debt may go unpaid and extend past the due date. This presents a problem for the business, which is awaiting payment, in that it interferes with the cash flow when a debt is not collected. This is especially true of new, or struggling, businesses. The process of factoring works when an institution purchases the invoice for an amount that is somewhat less than the face value of the debt. This amount can be anywhere between 70-90%. The factoring company then proceeds to collect the full amount due for the invoice, which is then delivered to the original business less a factoring fee. If a business offers credit terms as part of their sales, factoring is one way of eliminating cash flow problems. Many businesses who use factoring receive their money, from the sale of their invoices, within 24 to 48 hours. This unique approach also offers a company with the ability to extend competitive credit terms to their best customers and not have to worry about waiting for the credit payments. By offering attractive credit terms, more customers will be drawn to a business. Most businesses compete in pricing, but a company is much more appealing if they offer financing options direct to their buyers. Many consumers do not have the funds to pay for items upfront, especially if a business markets more expensive sales, but a customer may be able to agree on delayed payments. Therefore, a business offering such a deal would sell more inventory than a company who requires total payment upfront. Its important to realize that factoring is not a loan or a debt. In addition, unlike bank loans, collateral is not required. Its simply the sale of invoices, on which people owe money, to another business for a slightly smaller percentage than the total due. The original business gets immediate cash and, for a fee, the factoring company collects the face value of the debt. Many businesses, who extend credit, opt for factoring in order to avoid the hassle of trying to collect money. In addition, it costs more to have a billing department who is responsible for creating invoices every month. By factoring, a business eliminates their need for a billing department and saves money on the hassle of attempting to collect debts. The cash generated from factoring will allow a business to purchase new equipment, pay existing debts, increase marketing efforts, improve planning, process new credit approvals, improve customer relations and save money on accounting procedures.

Online Faxing - A Dream Come True

Online Faxing - A Dream Come True

Advances in technology have increased our work and business-related capabilities. The everyday tools of the modern business owner were unheard of twenty years ago.Remember seeing your first fax machine? You just knew you had to have one. Although it would and did bring your business operations into the new age of highly resourceful technology, it also presented a new set of challenges.But then came e-mail, the answer to instant communication making the fax seem obsolete ... until the discovery that e-mail isn't exactly perfect for forwarding certain documents such as maps, off-line magazine articles, documents with editing marks, photos, etc. What about a solution that features the best of both worlds ... the capacity of faxing, minus the headaches, with the simplicity of e-mail, and without the troubles of sending attachments? Thank goodness technology is constantly evolving and at last online faxing has arrived!Say it ain't so! Yes, online faxing is now a reality and is the perfect solution for sending documents of all kinds. Consider the advantages of online faxing compared to traditional faxing. Disadvantages of traditional faxing:* Equipment requirements - fax machines cost money and have to be maintained ... not to mention the monthly expense of a designated phone line and more extra wires running through your office. And heaven forbid if the cables come unplugged or get tangled. No power or phone connection means no faxing. More than one professional has been spotted down on all fours tracing wires and cables ... not a very flattering sight for clients and customers. * Cost of incidentals - incidentals aren't actually incidentals but definite requirements to fax. You have to have toner, which can cost almost as much as the fax machine and has to be replaced frequently. Toner never runs out unless you're faxing. It always runs out in the middle of receiving an important document, just after your local officer supply store sells the last one in stock that fits your fax. Then add the cost of paper, wasted by junk faxes. Advantages of online faxing:* Minimal start-up cost - you can set up an online fax account for as little as $0 to $15, depending upon the service package you select.* No Monthly Fee - One online faxing service, FaxItNice.com even has a "No Monthly Fee" option that totally dispenses with the monthly fee allowing you to pay as you go. * Supply costs - on average, about .09 cents per page for ink and paper to print a hardcopy of faxes. * Mobility/Portability - send a fax from any computer in the world with online faxing without being chained to a fax machine. * Free storage - online faxing archives your faxes for viewing later as often as you need. * Automatic file conversion - send files of multiple formats with online faxing ... advanced technology converts your files for you. * Direct to your inbox - online faxes are sent directly to your e-mail address, so you can see it as soon as it arrives.* Online support - get help from a pro, usually for free with online faxing. Let's see, minimal start-up cost, low monthly fees, an average of less than .10 cents per fax for supplies, mobility, free storage, automatic file conversion, faxes direct to your e-mail and online support. What's not to love?To make the switch to online faxing even easier take advantage of a special offer from a leader in the online fax world, FaxItNice.com. Recognizing that consumers are its true source of success they created FaxItForFree.com to immediately give credit where credit is due by offering a free fax with no strings attached. FaxItNice.com is a pioneer in practical and affordable business solutions and they offer a variety of online faxing packages to help you take your business to the next level. (c) 2006, Angelina Jordan. Reprint rights granted so long as article and by-line are printed intact and all links made live.

Business systems what are they?

You may have heard about them before, but never quite thought about how they can help you personally. They seem to be an ambiguous element of the business world, and when they are discussed, always seem to be thisthingthat other companies and organizations do.What I am referring to is Business SystemsFrom the beginning of modern capitalism in our society, the most successful companies were those that developed a system, or group of systems, to complete their tasks and meet the needs of their customers. Take Henry Ford and the Ford Company, for example. Mr Ford obviously realized the power of developing and implementing a system that saw his Model T Ford produced quicker and more efficiently as his company grew. His never-ending approach to finding a simpler and more effective method of completing a task pioneered the way for many major corporations, and helped Ford stay competitive in the motor vehicle business.But, most people in business don't make cars. In fact, they most likely sell clothes, books, time (through a job), commodity goods, intellect (through consulting), and so on. But, what particular business systems could possibly put into practice that will see their organisation become more proficient, easier to manage and produce better results for their customers?A system can be defined as methods, organisation, or considered principles of procedure (Oxford Dictionary). And throughout your daily activities, there are certain tasks that you do every day or often enough that you have a certain way of doing them.So, what types of activities could you systemize or create considered principles of procedure for, that will enable your organisation to be more efficient?Emails - there are most likely a number of emails that arrive in your inbox daily or weekly, that you can create a system for processing them. Set up rules or commands in your email processor that automatically places emails from specific people into topic-related folders. For example, email newsletters into the folder for that email newsletter. As the emails arrive, they will be filtered through this system, and your inbox will not be overly cluttered with emails from many different topics.Staff training - Do you have a specific approach to how you train new staff? Is it documented the steps that you take to educate the new staff member about your business, its goals, the OH&S discussion? Even if you don't have staff yet, imagine what you must put into a system for when you do. Make a list of all the steps in the staff training process - almost like a checklist. This alone will help you to train your staff in a systematic way that leaves little to no room for forgetting an important part of their induction.Inventory management - Inventory control and management is a large part of many organisations. There have been numerous software packages created that assist companies in managing their physical stock. If you have large stock levels, then consider investing in these established software systems for the business. If not, then spend some time breaking down those typical steps that are taken in the stock control, stock ordering and quality control procedures. When is the stock checked for minim quantity levels? What is the minimum order of stock for each item? Is there a procedure that checks the stock when it arrives from the manufacturer, ensuring a minimal loss of damaged goods, and ultimately upset customers? A good way to start this is to also make a list of those things that need to be managed and monitored on a regular basis.Sales process - if you are involved in selling in any way, then you most likely have an approach that works for you already. However, what if there are 4 sales people all selling the same product, and all selling it totally differently? Of course, a human being's personality must be allowed to shine through, but there are going to be specific tasks that every sales person must carry out to maintain the image of the company. Write these tasks down. Spell out exactly what the staff member must do, say, wear, act like, and so on, so that every customer can come to expect the same level of service and approach from each member of your sales team. Create a system that they earn, rather than hoping they will make sales in their own way using their own methods.The reality is you are already operating a number of systems in your organisation. These are sometimes referred to as habits. The way you manage your files, phone calls and even how you make your tea or coffee are all systems. However, to be truly successful in a business, you need to record and officially structure these systems so that the organisation continues to function without your presence - for example, when you are on holiday.Then, all your hard work and effort in creating a business that your customers have grown to depend on will not be wasted. Others can continue doing exactly the same thing, in exactly the same way, for many more years to come.

7 Strategies Guaranteed to Increase Your Productivity

Copyright 2006 Sandra P. MartiniHave you ever felt exhausted at the end of the day, knowing you worked your butt off and yet wondering what the heck you actually accomplished or, worse yet, wondering why nothing has been crossed off your to do list? Its frustrating to say the least.Here are seven strategies guaranteed to increase your productivityand I dont use the word guaranteed lightly!1. Most To-Do lists are useless.There, Ive said it and those time management companies who insist we make lists and put pretty-colored A, B, and C identifiers after tasks will have to deal with it.The reason why, quite simply, is that tasks have start times, but no end times. If you make just one change, do this: Put a start and an end time for everything you do and watch how much you get done!2. The right toolsYou need to have a schedule one where YOU purposefully script out those things that are your priorities for the day and you insure that nothing bumps them. I have a schedule for each day, week and for the year so if a client asks me to attend a call or visit his office, I know what Im doing.Your schedule should include those things that you need to do every day until you have built a routine around them. I write every day. Not some days, not most days, but every day and it was only by having it on my schedule that it got done. Its now a routine that I rarely miss.Another critical tool is what I affectionately call my Chat Pad. I have a steno notebook for each client/key person that I deal with and keep a list of what I need to discuss with them (and the resulting actions of that discussion) so I can group phone calls or send one summary email rather than several throughout the day.3. Ask this question.What is the most effective use of your time RIGHT NOW?For those rare times when you havent scheduled your time, ask yourself the above question and then follow through with working on the answer. You will dramatically increase the quality of the work you do.4. Know your worth.How much money do you want to make this year? If we assume that you work 8-hour workdays and you will earn $50,000 this year, then each hour is worth $25.61 and every minute is worth $0.427.You intend on making $100,000 this year? Then double the above figures: every hour is worth $51.23 and every minute is worth $0.852.So for every workday hour that you waste, you have lost $6,250 on a $50,000 income and $12,500 on a $100,000 income.5. Delegate, dont abdicate.As an entrepreneur (or aspiring entrepreneur) who now knows the value of his time, you recognize that it is worthwhile to delegate those activities that you either arent good at or dislike.While delegating is critical to the most optimal use of your time and energies, be sure not to abdicate responsibility for those items. Keep a running list of the tasks youve delegated and check in with that person (remind yourself using your Chat Pad).6. Post your goals.Having your goals posted provides consistent motivation on why you are doing the things you are doing.Want an extra kick in the pants? Post a picture of that new car, new home, or dream vacation. Seeing the reason you are working to meet your goals will provide your subconscious with extra motivation to get the job done.7. Keep a success journalSuccess journals can be done several ways. You can simply keep a written record of all your successes or, you can follow Arnold Palmers method: he had a table wherein he inlaid his golf medals and, when he placed one medal in the table, he had a new hole grouted for the next, as-yet-to-be-won medal. Always looking ahead, always anticipating the next success.Remember this: time can not be replaced. You can replace money, you can replace clients or projects. You can not replace time. Use it wisely.

Summary

Small cleaning businesses usually have their employees track time on a paper timesheet. But as your cleaning business grows, deciphering data and adding up hours from numerous time sheets can take time away from other profit-making activities as you burn up your time doing payroll. This article shows the benefits of automating your timekeeping system.