ezy-CLEAN Case Study - A franchise company’s journey to moving their business over to Squeegee
ezy-CLEAN is a Kent based window and property cleaning company established in 2002, with over 20 franchises covering the whole of the South of England.
ezy-CLEAN have always been a forward thinking company looking for ways to simplify and streamline processes and keep them ahead of the game. To solve the oldest problem of making sure both customers and business owners know that their appointment has been completed quickly and efficiently, they initially had a bar code system. Customers displayed a unique code in one of their downstairs windows that operatives would scan to confirm the work had been done. This worked well where operatives had access to the window and there was nothing blocking the code from being scanned, but problems arose when there was condensation on the window or workers couldn’t get to the window due to access problems.
From 2013 ezy-CLEAN were ahead of the game in terms of UK window cleaning companies as an early adopter of a piece of all-in-one software called Service CEO from the US. This database style solution worked well for them for seven years taking care of invoicing, payments and job management but James, the owner and founder of ezy-CLEAN found that there was still an element of scheduling that was lacking.
As more and more mobile service businesses were turning to mobile apps to speed up processes on the go and have more flexibility with scheduling, James began searching for solutions that had some additional features around auto-scheduling to enable jobs to be automatically placed where they would fit jobs in similar locations with the same job frequency. On top of this, James was also looking for card payment integration to move away from cash payments.
James had a set of criteria that he wanted the software solution to have to fit with his business and expectations of streamlining the business: some non-negotiables that were already working well in his existing software solution, some important features for stepping forward and some features that would be the icing on the cake.
Once James had found a number of possible solutions that, on face value, met a good number of his core criteria, he started the process of investigating the viability with a couple of front runners including Squeegee.
A key question for James at this point was whether to go with a large global provider based in the US again where the expectation would be for ezy-CLEAN to fit with their product, or a smaller UK business with some opportunities for development for the software to adapt and fit with how the ezy-CLEAN business wants to work and grow. As Squeegee Ltd also offer professional services for project and development work, James moved onto the next stage.
2. Testing - can this do what we want it to?
Two major questions that would make or break ezy-CLEAN moving forwards at this stage for James were ‘what is the support like?’ and ‘what happens if it goes down?’
He tested sending in support requests at different times to ensure the support team were both responsive and knowledgeable and found out whether Squeegee had a status page to go to if the service was ever down. On running these tests, James found that support was timely and efficient with any escalation to other members of the team well managed. He found the APP status on the website showing the current status and availability over the last seven days showing the stability of Squeegee as well as learning how the app works offline and syncs data when next connected to a data signal.
3. ‘Making friends’
James called the next phase of the ezy-CLEAN journey, the ‘making friends’ stage. On a large project like this, ensuring that you’ll be able to work well with the team who will be onboarding your business and transferring your data is essential. James visited the Squeegee Team at our offices here in early 2022 to start a working relationship, working out costs and setting up some tests for a few months to see how everything would work whilst working out any additional reports he’d need developing to successfully transfer the business over in its entirety.
The first test was seeing how the data transfer process ran, before running ‘project Squeegee’ testing with two franchises only for 3 months alongside their existing software. As the project manager, James knew that the live testing time needed to be long enough to see repeating scheduled jobs through more than one cycle and to have complete oversight to know how all the working parts fit together.
The screening stage was taking the live test on the two franchise accounts and showing this to ‘trusted partners’ to the business for critical analysis. James talked through how Squeegee was working with this live data and fielded the ‘how’ and ‘what if’ questions from others.
Throughout this test period, James was making notes on key areas, things that the business needed the software to do that it wasn’t offering at that time as well as developing a franchise training plan and an office training plan.
After testing with the two franchises, it was time for James to ‘sell’ the software to the rest of the team. In his words, it was an easy sell. They weren’t enjoying using the old system and because there were already bitesize training videos, learning how to use Squeegee was pretty simple. Ease of use paired with the idea that moving over to Squeegee would create more available time instead of admin tasks meant that all of the franchisees were on board from day one.
James was the project manager for what he called the ‘Squeegee Project’ for a full year. For a business of this size, proper planning needs to happen before going ahead with lots of preparation.
He set up a training schedule for staff spanned over a 12 week period with emails including training materials every 2 weeks, then accelerating closer to ‘go live’ . This was all to ensure staff had enough time to get to grips with the software and get to know it as if it was always part of the business by the time they went live across all franchises.
Another key point in the diary was completely clearing it for 2 weeks from the ‘Go Live’ date so that James could be there to answer any questions or sort any issues raised by staff. Happily for everyone, there weren’t many bumps in the road because of the way the project had been managed up to this point and because his diary was clear, small bumps were able to be sorted swiftly.
Results and benefits
James is happy to report that since their ‘go live’ date in October 2022, the whole ezy-CLEAN family have been extremely pleased with using Squeegee making an extremely fluid operation. The workers enjoy using the software and they’re happy they get questions answered. The office staff and admins have been especially pleased with how everything works in real time, meaning no delays in information going between teams.
On the old system, all reports weren’t in real time. In Squeegee, the real-time aspect has taken the strain off the admin team and workforce in general as the processes are interchangeable when someone is off sick.
The way the whole work flow has been streamlined means that franchises can work on increasing their income and Squeegee will allow ezy-CLEAN to grow by adding more franchisees easily.
James went on to say there were some ‘Bad benefits’...What are the office staff going to do now?
Because the automation has reduced admin time so much, this raised the question of either reducing staff hours or finding new areas of the business for office staff to focus on. As well as this, after such a long period over five years searching for and preparing for this phase of the business, with an intensive final 12 months on ‘project Squeegee’ James has been able to refocus on the long term business strategies and his personal goals.
What do the ezy-CLEAN team think about the system?
"The Squeegee app has brought clarity to my business and enabled me to work in a more efficient manner. I’m so glad Ezy-Clean moved over to this platform, it’s made my life easier and I’m even seeing some real gains in my profitability"
An ezy-CLEAN franchisee
"Squeegee as an all in one platform is at the front line of our field service business. Now we can easily and quickly produce and raise key data on all aspects of the business. Customers are happier, workers are happier and in the office, we are happier!
A member of the ezy-CLEAN office staff