By Deb DiBiasie on March 2, 2021
Erik Berghoff, an impressionable, young, and captivating entrepreneur with a very likable spirit, shared how entrepreneurialism runs through his blood. Carried over from his extremely successful father who started an electronics manufacturing business from his small apartment in the downtown area of Minneapolis, many other family members have also been successful in entrepreneurship and business.
Erik, the owner of Victory Building Services, a thriving janitorial company, has been serving happy clients for over 5 years in the Minneapolis – St. Paul area, where he also resides.
‘Victory Building Services’ is considered a janitorial service provider that delivers contract services for commercial office buildings, apartments, schools, and industrial facilities. Services also include carpet cleaning, floor stripping and waxing, COVID-19 disinfection services, window cleaning, and painting.
Erik described a few cleaning processes they use with highly effective hospital-grade products. They are very efficient at getting pretty much every square inch of a facility. He finds the demand for recurring disinfecting services has increased significantly since the outbreak.
‘Victory Building Services’ also provides day porter services for certain types of large facilities such as schools, apartment buildings, or big office buildings with many tenants. Day porters maintain and disinfect common areas, vacuum, dust, clean and replenish restroom stock, dust vents, and all other surfaces.
Erik’s has a few clients in the private school industry and shared every school has been securing their classrooms differently in regards to COVID-19. However, most do some form of temperature screening for students and personnel prior to entry. It’s amazing to see so many different approaches, which made it tough this past school year with so much uncertainty and schools not knowing their game plan, up until about two weeks before school started.
“Our end goal is to provide our customers with a service that has unmatched quality in the industry. We have detailed inspection processes that are proactive and catch issues so we can fix them before our clients notice. All our staff is experienced and continuously trained. And while no company is flawless, we go above and beyond to deliver quality.”
Erik also provided some advice to the office and facility managers who are on the lookout for a new janitorial provider; If you are searching for a cleaning company, you want one that provides excellent customer service, runs rigorous inspections, sticks to their word and contract designs, a plan and a schedule that is strictly adhered to, has W2 employees, and does not outsource to sub-contractors.
“Sadly, this industry is plagued with a cleaning business that sells you the world, and as soon as you sign on the dotted line, they forget about you, and they let everything fall apart,” Erik noted. He also stated a common failure for many cleaning businesses is that it is difficult to find dependable employees who will stick with you long term in this industry. And he also shared that “finding the right help with little turnover is one of our bottlenecks as well.
Formerly a logistics analyst for a large company, Erik started searching for an investment opportunity in his spare time. This is when he came across the cleaning industry. The cleaning industry had the attractive quality of needing a business owner’s attention mainly at night which meant it would not interfere with a day-time job. This seemed like a great fit, and so Erik went for it. Eventually, Erik grew the business enough to allow him to leave his corporate job and focus 100% on the janitorial business. And just two years after leaving his corporate job, Erik has continued to grow Victory Building Services to serve a few dozen large facilities in the metro while employing over forty hard-working Minnesotans. He also points out that although the pandemic initially forced him to reduce work hours for many, most of those hours have been brought back to normal levels.
Erik also wanted to share some solid advice to office/facility managers, building owners, business owners, and anyone looking to hire a janitorial vendor. “The first tip I would tell companies hiring is to provide a list of the exact tasks you need to be done, explain in detail how you want them done, how often, etc. This way, there are no grey areas or room for misunderstanding. Unfortunately, many facilities often fail to articulate what they want or how they want things done. This leads to confusion when putting together a proposal, and then that leads to a rough start of service and potentially a misquoted price.”
“The second tip is to know your budget. While it might seem like a good idea to hire the lowest-priced vendor, you will get what you pay for. Victory Building Services tries to be transparent as possible with our pricing, and that has seemed to work out well for everyone so far.”
“The third tip is to negotiate. Many times we will give a business a proposal for services, and they think that proposal is the final draft, and there is no altering. That is never true. If you are unhappy with the pricing in the proposal, then you should ask the vendor how they got to that price and tell them it is not a price that you can work with. More often than not, there is a solution to cut pricing. Maybe certain areas of your facility don’t need to be vacuumed every single day? Maybe you don’t need all the windows washed once per week? What I am getting at is that there is always a solution to reduce the proposed pricing. And that solution is to alter the frequency and/or tasks proposed. So the next time you receive a proposal for services and you are unhappy with it but like the vendor, then speak up!”
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