Jonathan Bergstein made his way into entrepreneurship the same way many others do, by finding himself unemployed and faced with a decision to make – either regret working for someone else again, or take a chance and start a business. By Cindy Charette
Jonathan Bergstein made his way into entrepreneurship the same way many others do, by finding himself unemployed and faced with a decision to make – either regret working for someone else again, or take a chance and start a business. The latter is just what Bergstein did, with a bucket and a mop, and it worked out to be one of the best decisions of his life.
In Richmond, Virginia, in 1998, starting a home-cleaning business at that time meant no internet, so marketing was done the old-fashioned way through newspapers, coupon books and mailers. As Bergstein began to slowly build his customer base, he was able to add cleaning staff so he could focus more on growing the business. Bergstein took his past corporate experience and put it toward building his brand, which focused on customer service, doing his best, looking forward and doing things differently than the competition – and it worked. According to Bergstein: “I learned a long time ago that customer service is the key to getting residual customers, so that’s how we got the business started.” Bergstein grew his Special Touch Cleaning business to as many as 400 customers each month.
With so much success to share, Bergstein decided to begin offering Special Touch Cleaning franchise opportunities in 2020. However, to be sure to stand out from the cleaning-industry competition, Bergstein, first took two years to develop and test their state-of-the-art business app that allows the company to run as efficiently as possible, saving franchisees valuable time and money. This proprietary app is included in the franchise fee and has many time- and cost-saving features.
Not only does the app cut down on paperwork, but it can also take the place of several employees or having to outsource administrative work. This means fewer mistakes, less money going out the door, and more money in a franchise owner’s pockets. With this fully automated app, everything is done for the franchisee, so their primary focus is growing the business and focusing on customer service, instead of having to spend several hours a day on administrative work.
Some key features of the app include GPS tracking of employees in real-time, as well as their time in and out on a job. Franchisees won’t have to worry about direct deposit, that’s something the app will take care of – and the app is even connected to a payroll program that downloads from the GPS. Scheduling is done with the touch of one button, based on times of service, the location of customers and the assigned crews, and automatic text reminders are sent daily. If an employee is out sick, the schedule is adjusted, and if a crew is running late, an automatic text message is sent to the customer and the employee stating the new arrival time frame. Credit cards are also automatically processed each night, directly through the app.
For new franchisees who take advantage of Special Touch Cleaning’s ground-floor opportunity, territories will be awarded by county, not by Zip code, with no limits, resulting in more room for advertising and growth. The franchisor is also offering to cover the cost of travel and hotel to attend one week of training in Richmond. Training will consist of intense, all-day coverage of the franchise systems that have been developed over 20 years, as well as a full-day focus on learning all aspects of Special Touch Cleaning’s app. Additionally, franchisees will be taken out in the field to do live estimates and inspections, along with some cleaning, so they understand exactly what’s involved and are prepared to answer any cleaning-related questions.
Since most of the marketing is now done online, training will also go into depth on how to get customers, how to price accordingly, and how to maximize profits. According to Bergstein, “That’s where the app comes into play because it will show us what the franchisees are charging, how much profit they’re making, and how much they’re paying their salaries for employees. Everything is built towards seeing what’s happening online.” Additionally, support will be offered 24/7, and mentoring is ongoing throughout the life of the contract.
For more information on Special Touch Cleaning, visit specialtouchcleaningfranchise.com.
– Cindy Charette