Tuesday, May 31, 2011

City Wide Maintenance Works On Marketing

Maintenance firm wants to boost share in busy market

A Bloomington firm that manages facilities services in a cluttered market is looking to clean up its message. City Wide Maintenance of Minnesota President Greg Mansfield opened the business in 2006 with his wife, Kelly Mansfield, and father, Dick Mansfield. It now manages cleaning and maintenance contracts at more than 125 properties.

Facility service managers work with clients to coordinate and carry out services, identify preventative maintenance issues and control costs. The company specializes in clean-critical facilities, such as manufacturing plants, medical clinics and surgery centers.

City Wide, which has about a dozen employees including sales staff and some skilled laborers, brought in more than $3 million last year.

About three-quarters of the cash flow comes from repetitive service contracts for regular cleaning, lawn care and snow removal. The rest comes from as-needed services, such as window washing and carpet cleaning. The company is projecting revenue between $3 million and $4 million in 2011.

“We want to be a very specialized niche,” Mansfield said. “We want to be the No. 1 provider of property facility services for mid-range commercial property in town.”

Mansfield said the company’s market share is less than 1 percent now, but he wants to grow that to 3 percent by targeting 50,000- to 100,000-square-foot clients that don’t have facility managers.

“We’re looking for people that really need to take care of their property and need somebody to be there to help manage it and make sure the people are doing the job right,” he said.

Mansfield said the company invested in mobile device software to track property data, letting a quality control manager pull up service records, special customer requests and issue invoices from the field.

The company is structured heavily toward management, sales and site managers, who oversee the contractors that carry out the facility work.

“We always have on-site management available, just like a general contractor would if they were building you a home,” Mansfield said.

The recession helped business, which he said increased by nearly 45 percent last year. Looking to pinch pennies, companies reduced their maintenance budgets and outsourced the work to firms like City Wide.

The sour economy also has increased City Wide’s competition. The industry doesn’t cost much to get into, which many former facility managers and others had to do as unemployment grew. They’re calling on the same clients — existing and potential — as City Wide, but often offering lower rates.

“Once we get an opportunity, almost 50 percent of the time we’re able to secure the business,” Mansfield said. “But how do we generate the leads when there’s thousands of snow removal and cleaning companies in town that are calling on folks all the time?”

City Wide will get the business by demonstrating the difference between it and competitors, said a panel of industry veterans and business experts convened by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal to help the company spruce up its marketing efforts.

City Wide relies on lots of traditional sales approaches, networking through trade associations, following up on referrals and making cold calls to potential customers.

“We went and completely rebranded ourselves two years ago. That’s had some effect, but it’s limited in its ability to generate leads,” Mansfield said.

City Wide already has an e-mail marketing program in place that registers what Mansfield said are above-industry average click-through rates, or good numbers of e-mail recipients visiting the company’s website by clicking on links in the e-mails.

Successful email campaigns ignore the subscribers who sign up but don’t follow up, said Kim Wittmers, who has coordinated these kinds of efforts as marketing manager for Eden Prairie accounting firm Boulay, Heutmaker, Zibell & Co.

She said the recipients who never look at the messages they’re sent often delete them right away.
“You’re going to waste a lot of time and energy trying to get those other companies to pay attention,” Wittmers said.

Wittmers said it’s counter intuitive but proven that the program can be made more effective by removing inactive subscribers. She recommended culling the e-mail addresses that haven’t actively read the e-mails to focus on the “low-hanging fruit,” or most promising leads.

“You’re going to get better click-through rates and it’ll save you from getting dinged as spam,” she said.
Minnetonka-based building services provider and supplier All Source Inc. President Dan Shanesy said City Wide should stick to its pricing and resist the urge to race to the bottom. Property managers need to understand that there is a price floor to these services, despite what low-ballers might say.

“If they’re just continually choosing the low number, they’re setting themselves up to fail,” he said.
Shanesy said every first-time service is an audition for what could be a long business relationship.

“You want it to be priced right, you want them to be happy and then you have a door open,” Shanesy said.
He also said City Wide should develop a formal reward program to pay and officially recognize employees throughout the operation for delivering leads.

“Everyone needs to be on the ‘Get New Business’ wagon,” Shanesy said. “Everybody likes money.”
The panelists suggested sponsoring events for manufacturing and medical clients, which would be receptive to the company’s specialized experience if it can demonstrate its expertise.

Jennifer Spadine, principal at New Brighton-based Guardian Property Management, said City Wide can make a name for itself by showing off its familiarity with facility regulations specific to those industries.
“Look for that niche and focus on that niche,” she said.

Lauren Carlstrom, marketing manager for St. Paul-based Yocum Oil Co. Inc., a petroleum-services and supply company, said City Wide could feature in e-mails and on the company’s website satisfied customers to demonstrate its wide breadth of services and industry specialization.

Wittmers said that would not just show what the company can do, but how well it can do it in the words of current, happy customers.

“Clients are more than happy to do that for their vendors if they’re happy with them,” she said.
Effective marketing requires specific targets, a thought-out strategy and a healthy dose of self-awareness, Carlstrom said.

“Who you’re contacting, who you’re following up with and the messaging are the most important things in a campaign,” she said. “Know very clearly what separates you from every other company.”



~Your City Wide Team

Friday, May 27, 2011

Week in Review: May 23rd - 27th

Greg Mansfield - President:
Another busy week here at City Wide. I arrived back home to Minnesota on Monday after attending our annual convention down in Kansas City. Not only was my mind buzzing all about what I want to share and implement here at City Wide of Minnesota, but training is in full force with Jarrad joining the team in addition to my normal weekly schedule.

The convention was fantastic as always. A big thank you goes out to City Wide corporate in Kansas City for throwing an extremely successful and educational convention once again. It was great to see my fellow colleagues from other markets—to bounce ideas off each other, brainstorm, learn, share, and of course catch up. We were finalists for City of the Year (2010) this year. In our company was Jeff Smith from Indianapolis, Karen and Bob Sommers from Boston, and Cary Foreman from Jacksonville. Cary won and we’re extremely happy for him.

Among meetings and presentations, we also took part in a company-wide Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournament for charity. Grank Hinkle who won the world series of poker in 2008 made an appearance and played in the tournament with us. It was a fun night! Our Keynote speaker of the weekend was Brian Sullivan, President of PRECISE Selling. He was a fabulous presenter and really inspired us all to energetically attack our lives to the fullest potential.

On the last day of the convention, we enjoyed an Operations Field Trip. I tried out the new Chariot floor cleaning unit—notice me in my suit ;-) I’ll stop at nothing to keep your floors sparkling clean!

Afterwards, we all grouped up for our annual Golf Tournament. It was a beautiful day, and get this—my team ended up winning the tournament! We were pretty excited.

Aside from the convention, we also got great news while I was in Kansas City about a few new signed contracts. One account is a very large technical college here in the Twin Cities. We cannot wait to get started!

This weekend I’m headed up to Lake of the Woods to partake in some fishing. We’re hoping to “smack” the walleyes like my dad, Kelly, and I did last Memorial Day up at Lake of the Woods. Hopefully the weather cooperates and that we’ll be having a fresh fish fry each night!
Happy Memorial Day weekend, all!
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Mitch Brunette -  Facility Service Manager:

I have been behind on blogging lately and I will make better strides to keep up with things! After looking at last month’s list of completed extra charge projects there is no question that carpet cleaning and window washing were the name of the game this spring! I am glad to say that today is the last day of window washing scheduled at our several buildings. Every day we have had a low rise window cleaning project going on since the 9th of this month, and there were a couple weekend jobs going on too! I believe the total number of windows washed in the south metro were well over 10,000 from the last 3 weeks, and square feet of carpet must be 75,000-100,000 square feet completed! I took a couple brief videos of some stairs cleaning of very dirty carpet at an apartment complex showing some major improvement on dirt but the carpet is also worn and cleaning won’t fix that unfortunately (but routine maintenance will keep it where it is at) I will submit those videos and see if they can be added to a future collaboration of carpet cleaning videos since there wasn’t any audio on the video.

We have some really neat upcoming new starts for our clients. We have a very cool and unique building in downtown St Paul that I am excited to get going on. It is a very beautiful building inside and out with big wood I-beams, and lots of tenants varying from office type functions to even dental! A couple of the offices have some really entertaining posters and pictures hung up showing the character of not just the office but the individuals that make up the environment. I look forward to rolling this one out and getting to know these people over the next several years.

One of our new large accounts took a tour of my 8 story high rise building, spending over an hour in the building looking for anything that would scare them off from wanting to sign on with City Wide, and found nothing but a great looking building! City Wide works hard at maintaining a thoroughly clean building for each client— not just “fire drill” type scenarios for when VIPs are scheduled to arrive or walk though the building. We do of course pay special attention on the evening before and the morning of to make sure some things weren’t overlooked for such a visit. In this case it went very well, and after my client was finished showing them whatever they wanted to see, he called me up and said, “They left saying they were thoroughly impressed!” That is a win for me (no pop culture reference intended ;-)) That’s what we do, that’s why we do it! My night manger Eric lives by those simple words on a nightly basis. He is animate about the fact that we impress our customers daily and when we need to hit that home run, we are Jim Thome at the plate…of course Eric, the Brewers fan would probably have said Prince Fielder—but you get the point :-)

This week has been a bit of a blur for me as my wife is off in Canada for the 5th work week in a row of 3-6 days working so I have put in some extra hours at night here managing and lightening Eric’s load after a busy first half of May. I’m looking forward to tonight around 6pm when I get to shut my brain off for a few days with no weekend projects going on that need attention, and hopefully have a good Memorial Day weekend. It’s also my birthday on Memorial Day! We have some outside events planned that seem as though they will be cancelled due to this plague known as Minnesota weather…

In other news I am coming up on my 1 year anniversary of marriage, I can’t believe it’s less than 30 days away! It has been a great year, a lot of fun, a lot of learning and adaptation to several things. Next month we are headed on a quick weekend vacation— the catch is that we still have not secured flights, a hotel, or really a general plan of weather were going on a cruise, south beach Florida, or even San Diego… this weekend I intend to pull the trigger on that decision and be ready to start the countdown. Happy Memorial Day, and don’t forget #3 Mr. Harmon Killebrew and his family as they resolve and watch Minnesotans everywhere tribute him!

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~Your City Wide Team

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

See What We Can Do For You: Schools

A clean environment at the right price in an educational institution is essential to the health of its students, faculty, and staff. City Wide has been maintaining clean, healthy schools across the country for years. We focus on the elements that are important to keeping your building in top form by paying special attention to high touch areas such as door handles and keyboards, in addition to flexible cleaning schedules to accommodate school events and focus on reducing summer expenditures. City Wide also has green cleaning plans for helping schools maintain better air quality within their facility in order to ensure a cleaner environment for students.

City Wide uses a proprietary certification process to ensure only the most qualified, pre-screened workers are in your facility in addition to providing you two facility managers to ensure that you receive the level of service promised each and every time.
Call City Wide today to find out about our expertise in more than 20 different services. We will take care of the details, so you don't have to!

~Your City Wide Team

Friday, May 20, 2011

Week in Review: May 16th - 20th

Shalee - Administration Manager:

What a fantastic week this has been so far!  We've been hopping, hopping, hopping with all the new starts and proposals flying out the door.  To be honest, I love it when it's so busy that you can't think straight.  Time flies and I feel pretty darn useful!  :)

With almost everyone gone this week either to the Franchise Convention or away on personal matters, I've pretty much had run of the office.  It's amazing how much one can accomplish when left alone!  I know everyone else is having fun, but I sure don't mind having to work when I see the fruits of hours uninterupted.  I'm ready for everyone to come back now because I can't talk to myself, but it's been nice having a little "free" time.

This weekend we're thinking about heading up to Duluth to visit the mining museum and light house.  We'll see if the weather will cooperate or if we'll be staying in for a nice weekend of games, reading and the kids kicking our tails on the Wii.

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Kelly - Business Development:
Greg and I have been down in Kansas City for the annual City Wide convention this week. We have been having a great time!

We've met with our performance groups, enjoyed a motivational sales workshop, and got awarded for being one of the finalists for City of the Year. Greg serves as Vice President of the advisory council, so he's been participation in strategic meetings and a question and answer panel as well.

After dinner yesterday, City Wide hosted a Texas Hold 'Em tournament for charity. I've never really played poker before, but I did really well!! I made it to the two last tables before getting bullied out by the big blinds :-) Greg did well too, making it to the final table.

The 2008 World Series of Poker winner Grant Hinkle helped to host the event-- it was neat to see his winning WSOP bracelet!!

We'll be attended many more beneficial meetings, an awards banquet at the founders of City Wide, the Oddo's home tonight, and the annual golf outing as well. Greg is hoping that his team does well tomorrow-- let's hope!

We'll be headed home on Sunday, no doubt excited to bring back all of the knowledge that we've gained from the conference!

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~Your City Wide Team

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Congrats! City Wide Wins Best Small Business

On Tuesday of this week, City Wide Maintenance of Minnesota was honored at the Best in Business Awards Banquet for the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce. The banquet was held downtown in the Marriott City Center and a great time was had by all!

 City Wide was honored with the Small Business Award:

Among City Wide, other honorees were Thrivent Finacial, The Nerdery, Fastsigns of Bloomington, Partners in Pediatrics, and Faegre & Benson.

 Many of the City Wide team were able to join together for the great honor:
 Tyler, Mitch, and Jarrad...
 Shalee and Kelly...
 Greg with Kelly...
 And of course, the two that started it all here in Minnesota, Dick and Greg...

After City Wide was given the award, they played a video montage of Greg discussing our company history and business model.

After all of the businesses were honored and awarded, a question and answer panel was held. Frank Vascellaro from WCCO News was the master of ceremonies. The award winners held a great discussion about their own contributions and growth in Minnesota.

Congratulations goes out to Greg and Dick, and all employees of City Wide. Winning the Small Business Award is quite the honor and accomplishment. City Wide would not have won this award for it not be due largely in part to our extremely talented, hard-working, and considerate staff!

Congratulations, City Wide of Minnesota!

~Your City Wide Team

Friday, May 6, 2011

Week in Review: May 2nd - 6th

Greg Mansfield-- President:
The nice weather that we’ve had this week has been a great addition to this late “spring” that Minnesota has been having. I’m sure we all agree that the sun and warmer temperatures sure make days more fun and enjoyable!

With the newly acquired spring weather, spring cleaning in on everyone’s minds. Mitch and Tyler have been busy with scheduling our current client’s spring cleaning projects such as hard floor work and window washing. Diane has been busy on the phone setting appointments for projects as well—such as parking lot sweeping and striping. I have been quite busy with building maintenance appointments!

I received the great news this week that two of our larger medical group companies have both given us more business this week. It sure is great to form a family of business with many of our clients. They refer us onto the next clinic or facility and it’s so nice to be welcomed into their circle.

I’ll be headed down to the annual City Wide convention in two weeks. I always look forward to the convention which allows me to spend time with colleagues and friends… as well as learn a thing or two and come back energized and excited about the future of City Wide here in Minnesota.

We have also gotten great news lately that Jarrad Nickolite will be joining our team. Jarrad will be focusing on sales and operations. Stay tuned for his official biography post coming soon!

On a personal front, I sure was excited to see Liriano throw a no-hitter. Way to go Twins! This weekend I believe we will be “laying low” I’m excited to watch the Kentucky Derby!

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Mitch-- Quality Control Manager:

Things keep picking up and moving along whether we ask for them or not, it seems we have built quite the well oiled machine here at City Wide! We haven’t experienced slow days or light days in quite some time and it is quite entertaining to be involved in so many different projects across all of our properties. In the last 3 years I can’t think of any time as busy as this where every customer seems to have been catching on to an additional service or two, and some with 7 or 8 extras. This comes with the territory of spring though!

Last month we went headstrong in to our group of 10 clinics for carpet and floor waxing work. That went off 100% without issues or errors greatly in part to our wax crews always doing what it takes to get the job done even if it means calling in extra labor, our night manager always syncing up and handing off keys along with a prior walk through of the site, and our carpet trucks arriving on time getting everything done and set to dry properly. Overall we received great praise from the head of maintenance on how smooth our process was and the fact that we didn’t receive a single complaint or follow up item during the process!

Our Dialysis group comes due for their annual carpet and chair cleaning as part of their in contract annual work agreement as well. This is a huge benefit because their extremely busy nurses and Facility Administrators don’t have to spend time chasing down approvals to get us the funds to get the work done. One project was already complete, so we have 7 to go in the south metro. Their carpets always look like new since they have annual service and they are light use, but their chairs are the main chore in the project. Often in the dialysis centers we deal with chairs that have been stored in biohazard rooms due to blood on them which takes extra work and proper PPE to clean and restore safely.
In addition, I’m looking forward to several window washing projects for our group clients as well as individual sights. I have ongoing approval to go ahead with a simple scheduling notification for approximately 20 of our sites for window cleaning and sent off the info with the crews to get that all set and done here through the end of May. The window cleaning projects will continue well into June for some, and even August for the procrastinators :-) Then before we know it, it will be fall again and we will be working on the pre-winter cleanings!

Spring has been semi-nonexistent which has been good to me. I mentioned in a previous post that I have been restoring an old boat and am proud to say that I have successfully done so as of last night! I have one minor area of repair left to do which requires some tools and equipment that I don’t have, but it should be sea worthy by this weekend! I might have to make it to the lake this weekend, not sure though. Aside from that, house projects continue with interior doors which has dragged on for months now due to an error by the home improvement store who ordered them. I won’t mention names but it has been quite frustrating and finally is coming to a close so we can get them painted and installed. We finished painting our kitchen cabinet framework and the doors are next in line so that will be complete… then hopefully I can sit back and be done with home improvements? Something tells me that’s not the case, but I can wish :-)

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~Your City Wide Team