"I hope what sets us apart in the cleaning industry is our passion to truly help people advance and improve their lives,” says Greg Batterton, owner and president of Reliable Cleaning Service. “We have a much lower turnover rate compared to the national average and I believe it’s because of the way we treat our employees.”
Reliable Cleaning first opened in 1976 in Fort Wayne as a commercial janitorial services business. Batterton purchased the company in 2012 and has strived to maintain the strong Christian principles the business was founded on decades ago.
“We work primarily with medium and large-sized businesses such as offices, manufacturing facilities, schools, warehouses and medical facilities,” says Batterton.
Batterton says Christian values also help to support him and his team in their mission to ensure employees are treated as valuable individuals.
“Our intention is to never send an employee into a building and say, ‘clean this.’ Instead, we like to ask them things like ‘What are your needs and your desires and goals?’ We help support them because in the end, that’s how you build a better culture and a better team. We like hiring employees who are looking for a business that is willing to train them and give them hands-on work experience. We realize that we will retain a percentage of those employees, and some will move on to a different career path. I know this might sound strange, but that’s actually a success for us because we hopefully have helped to make a difference for them.”
By the same token, Batterton says he is working to recruit more full-time employees and give them a career path where they can advance to management positions internally.
“Historically, this has been an entirely second shift operation with part-time employees. We’re making changes to that as we grow. Businesses have realized there is a need for not only enhanced cleaning, but even cleaning more frequently. We are now offering three shifts of service. This has helped us to offer full-time employment by giving employees the opportunity to develop and have a career with Reliable Cleaning.”
The pandemic has increased the need for more full-time employees. And while it’s been a very challenging situation for businesses all over the world, Batterton is committed to staying positive and has found some light in the darkness.
“Everyone is seeking meaning in their life,” he says. “They want to make sure whatever they’re doing has some value in this world. One of the positives of the pandemic, I think, is that it puts a renewed focus on the value of cleaning that organizations across the world have been bringing silently to businesses and people every day. There is definitely a bigger appreciation for companies like Reliable Cleaning that work to mitigate the spread of some diseases and slow down the pandemic.”
Typically, Batterton says, there are some business owners who haven’t made cleaning a high priority. They struggle with having time to keep up with managing cleaning issues, because they have so many other priorities to deal with every day.
“We try to take this off their plate, so they can focus on what’s most important to them. Each customer’s needs are different. Each one has specifications on what they want us to do and how frequently they want us to do that. We work around their schedules. Most of our work takes place after businesses close for the day. Although, we have seen an increase in customers requesting daytime porters. Day porters do enhanced cleaning during business hours. Employers are realizing cleanliness now equates to safety. Employees and visitors now have higher expectations for the cleanliness of buildings.
At the beginning of the pandemic last spring, Batterton says he and his team members were meeting daily because of all the changes taking place.
“It was a frantic pace and there was an incredible amount of information that had to be passed onto not only the cleaners themselves, but to many other people on our staff, especially as businesses closed or made changes to their protocol based on guidelines from their local health departments.”
Reliable Cleaning is considered an essential business, so employees have been able to work throughout the pandemic and even during the shutdown in April and May. Batterton credits the Building Service Contractors Association International, or BSCAI, for lobbying on their behalf to be deemed essential and for assisting them to get the supplies they needed to continue working.
“We go through a lot of gloves and, of course, a lot of disinfectant. We are very involved with the BSCAI and they helped us tremendously. The organization is very specific to commercial janitorial firms, so it has also provided a lot of information and assistance over the years to help us remain a high-performing janitorial company.”
With COVID, business owners have to be focused on providing healthy buildings in order to stay open. Batterton says Reliable is still offering and will continue to offer to customers special services because of the virus.
“This includes using disinfectants broadly with spraying, fogging, electrostatic spraying and wiping. We will do this on a recurring basis or even as an emergency response in the event of a suspected or actual case of COVID in a building.”
With 2020 now in the rearview mirror, Batterton says he is both grateful as he looks back and cautiously optimistic as he looks ahead.
“I am personally very motivated by people who serve others and not so much themselves. I am profoundly proud of everyone who faced the unknown and got their jobs done. That certainly includes our team and so many frontline heroes. We are on a growth path that includes helping people. As we grow, we will adapt. We’ve got a great team and we’re moving forward.”
Owner(s): Greg Batterton
Address: 302 E. Wallace St. Fort Wayne, Indiana 46803
Phone: (260) 483-3478
Years in Business: 45
Number of Employees: 125