In the mid 1970’s I had one of my favorite painting contractors develop a technique that has become a standard in the painting contractor industry.
I looked at the individual estimates he made for prospective clients and saw that he could use one standard checklist form. He did. The form emphasized the interconnectedness of many paint issues. Fail to repair gutters and the lifespan of the painting job goes down. Use a darker color and the lifespan of the painting job goes down. Cut back shrubs and the job costs less. There were a whole range of job components that had an impact on the total price and quality.
A few years later I got a building cleaning service client in Tokyo. The fellow was just starting out. That is uniquely difficult in Tokyo where corporate loyalty is deeply ingrained. Fortunately there was a building boom in Tokyo at the time and some new buildings were potential clients.
My client had a few buildings to clean as a start. I modified the painting contractor idea to fit this Tokyo client.
I had his workers complete a checklist for each office that was cleaned to be left in the office every month. The checklist showed all the detailed and intricate cleaning functions that my client’s workers performed. Japanese are the most fanatic cleanliness people on the planet.
These cleaning checklists became very popular and resulted in countless letters of recommendation for my client as well as frequent conversation in the buildings with employees expressing their thanks.
In less than two years, my client was a major cleaning service in Tokyo. He is now, decades later, one of the top three maintenance companies in Japan.