SBS Client Profile: Bruce Bishop of It’s Maid Day

Welcome to another Sound Business Services’ (SBS) client profile. I recently interviewed Bruce Bishop, founder and general manager of It’s Maid Day in Kennesaw, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta. Here is what he had to say about the driving force behind the company, the values that set it apart and what he gets out of the SBS relationship.

Jonathan Bill: Tell our readers what “It’s Maid Day” and the “Maid Training Academy” are all about.

Bruce Bishop: In just six years, It’s Maid Day has grown into one of the largest residential maid services in Atlanta. We cleaned more than 7,000 homes last year and continue to grow. Our formula for success is simple: “Provide the highest quality cleaning at competitive prices.”

The foundation of our success is our people. We are honored to represent the best cleaners in Atlanta. When we hire people, we tell them, “We are going to make you better. Are you ready for that?” Our training program is extensive, and we only hire certified professional cleaners from Maid Training Academy.

I started Maid Training Academy a year after I started It’s Maid Day. In my previous career, I wrote training manuals and was published more than 30 times in trade magazines, as well as a book published by Kennesaw State University about emerging trends in business. There was no source for online training for residential maids. So, I started one, and now, Maid Training Academy has students in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, and we plan on rolling out the program to South America next year. We also partner with other maid companies throughout the world for core training of their residential maids.

JB: Tell us the inspiration or reason behind starting the company, and how your goals and expectations changed over time.

BB: Our goal from the time we started was to become the world’s largest maid service company in 15 years. We are on track and that goal has not changed. There have been bumps and curves, and even mountains to climb, but we are still on track.

Prior to starting It’s Maid Day, I was the founder and managing partner for KYBA Benefits, one of the largest employee benefits insurance agencies in the United States. We insured more than 60,000 people and worked with 700+ companies in North America. I left that industry after 18 years and successfully selling to the 8th largest insurance agency in the world. Then, I took a year off to have some overdue fun and work on finding the next business to start.

DaVinci Home Services – our corporate name – was founded in 2010 to provide solutions for all cleaning needs regardless of what the customer wants, from the independent cleaner to the high-end maid service. We started with It’s Maid Day as the backbone to our cleaning solutions, and just this month, we launched Maids You Keep, a premium maid service for customers who want the best of the best maid service at competitive prices.

This fall, we plan to launch Home Cleaning Club, a source for independent cleaners who need help with customer service, purchasing, advertising and general support for their business.

JB: What sets you apart from the competition?

BB: It’s our people. I am honored to work with great people, including our awesome office staff. My real job is finding good people, and then helping them to get even better at their profession. And, when we find good people, they stay. I think we take care of our people better than any other maid service, so our people stay and our customers love that.

JB: When did you first engage SBS? Why did you reach out to us?

BB: It was fairly early on in the company. I was referred to SBS by my accountant. Although I have changed accountants, I have not changed my bookkeeper.

The decision to outsource my bookkeeping was a no brainer; finding the right bookkeeper was not. We interviewed about five to six bookkeepers and chose SBS. Although I got the recommendation from my accountant, I made the decision to go with SBS because I liked its professionalism better than the others. I was a big fish in my previous life and I wanted to be treated like a big fish, even when we were now a little tadpole. I felt like you and your team treated us like we were their most important customer and always with a great deal of professionalism. That hasn’t changed!

JB: What services does SBS currently provide to your company?

BB: Primarily bookkeeping and reporting. As we continued to grow, we have often changed our reporting requirements, which SBS also helps with. For example, we had our new Duluth location unbundled for a while and then recently folded it back into our general books.

JB: Please explain the difference SBS has made in your company.

BB: They have always been a big help in making my bookkeeping, and ultimately my accounting, work easier. It’s like most good service – you want someone to do what they said they were going to do, without headaches or excuses, and for the price agreed on. So far, so good! It is a pleasure doing business with SBS and I look forward to continuing.

5 Ways to Build an All-Star Team

No matter how much we know, and how great we are at our jobs, we can’t do everything ourselves and certainly can’t be everywhere at once.

That’s why you must have a team around you that not only gets the job done and carries out your company’s message and intention, but also actually wants to be there for the company.

Building a team of all stars – and retaining those people for the long run – is always a work in progress. Here are 5 strategies and suggestions I apply to my team – through years of learning and experience – that I think will help you in your own businesses:

#1: Meet Regularly and Get to Know Each Team Member

Chances are that you have some employees working remotely/virtually. That’s even more reason to meet on a regular basis.

Meeting regularly, whether in person or by video conference, allows for better collaboration, communication and respect. When you do meet, make an effort to ask about their personal lives. In our daily grind to meet deadlines and grow our businesses, we often forget to show genuine interest and care in each team member. This is how you distance yourself from your team and possibly lose them to competitors down the road.

At our team meetings, we often ask each person to share something about themselves, such as a recent trip or how their family is doing. We also have a time where we pray for each other’s needs. It’s important to be able to talk to team members and get to know them individually.

#2: Practice What You Preach

If you expect your team to put in their time every day, you should, too, as the owner. You must lead by example. If you expect your team members to always be on time, and also be approachable for your clients, for example, you should as well!

This not only encourages team togetherness and unity, but also shows your dedication and helps your team have faith in you. Yes, it’s truly a two-way street where you must also prove to them that you will also put in the work and care for them.

#3: Reward Your Staff

Speaking of caring for them, it’s important to not take your team’s hard work and progress for granted. When it comes to retaining your staff and recognizing their talents, it’s key to reward them along the way.

This can be a raise, some extra paid time off or simply a one-on-one sit down thanking them for all they do. You’ll be surprised at how much a simple gesture of kindness will mean to your team members. It’s the little things in life!

#4: Constantly Train Your Team

You can’t expect your team to perform without the proper training – an ongoing process.

For my team, it’s about consistently sharing valuable resources, such as QuickBooks or Excel tips and tricks, in our regular meetings. For your business, that will likely mean something else. But, the point is that you bring substance to each meeting to grab their attention and ultimately help them do their jobs better.

#5: Take Ownership

Take ownership of the issues your team faces and work out solutions. For my team, this can come down to software not working right or log in issues. Make sure you follow up quickly to resolve it, tell them that you care about them and have the tools in place to fix the issue. In turn, this will make a major difference in your team helping solve your clients’ issues, too.

Let Us Know What Your Team Is All About!

Of course, these are just some of the team building strategies that have helped me with my staff. We would love to know what has worked for you as well.

Contact us today to let us know, and start applying some of Sound Business Service’s team strategies to your business in order to build the all-star team you desire.

New QuickBooks Online Improvements: Improved Budgeting, Invoice Tracking and More

Intuit is constantly making improvements to QuickBooks Online (QBO), and because QBO is in the cloud, you’ll never have to upgrade or load in a new version. Here are some of the latest feature improvements:

Budgeting Done More Accurately

As you may know, I’m a big proponent of budgeting. It’s so important to always know where your business stands, and budgeting and projecting allows Sound Business Services to take your historical financial data to help you plan for the future and grow your business.

QBO is a key contributor in this area, but recently got a boost with its new budget interface. Now, budget entries are completely accurate, providing real-time actionable data to see where your business is at all times.

With the new budget interface, you can:

  • build your budget faster and more accurately;
  • get much easier accessibility, such as finding budget reports in no time;
  • plan for growth through data and insight; and
  • track business performance by assessing budget amounts versus actual income and expenses.

The Payment Process Solution: An Invoice Tracker

As you know, there aren’t many things more important when running a business than getting paid. Not only does it keep your business going, but it also validates the hard work and time you put into your work.

Inside QBO, there wasn’t an efficient way to keep track of invoice payments, which was a big pain point for many of our customers. In addition to this being a manual process, I know you did not want to bother your customers about payments; perhaps, you thought they would get upset and take their business elsewhere.

There’s now a solution in QBO that provides a simple way to see where your payment stands, from inception to completion, through the new invoice tracker.

Here are some of the specific sub-navigation benefits in QBO for invoices:

  • An updated Money bar 2.0.
  • Combined Invoice + Payments status.
  • An Invoice + Payment Tracker.
  • Fees, deposit batch, errors and other Payment details.
  • User alerts for exceptions and next steps.
  • Relevant call to actions to help you get paid faster.

Get the Most Out of the QuickBooks Self-Employed Expense Finder

The new QuickBooks Self-Employed (QBSE) makes life much easier for independent contractors and freelancers by providing tax relief through expense automation, simple invoice tracking, automatic mileage tracking and more.

In an effort to continue to maximize Schedule C deductions and give you more tax benefits, the new QBSE Expense Finder helps you organize expenses in minutes, instead of complicating the process with stacks of paper receipts.

To see exactly how it works, read this article.

Improving Payroll With Retro Tax Exemptions Workflow

As business owners, we know how important payroll is. Now, with Retro Tax Exemptions Workflow, if someone on your staff changes from non-exempt to exempt State Unemployment Insurance, or vice-versa, you are able to make this status change without contacting QBO customer care. QBO will then use this correct status change and immediately recalculate taxes for the calendar year.

We are Here to Help

This is a lot of information to process, but don’t worry; we are here to help! We know QBO, and we will get you the solutions you need to dramatically improve your business. Contact us today to learn more, and you’ll see your business take off to new heights.

Note: Portions of this article were taken from articles on Intuit’s QBO Blog.