Managed by Q, which I will call “Q,” has helped me maintain my true and deep routed feeling that America is a great country – the best place to start and conduct business. As Clayton Christiansen (who coined the term disruptive innovation) says, “…disruptors displace an existing industry and offer something new.”
Q is a disrupter in the most exciting way. Let me count the ways…
From their website:
We work hard to provide the best people possible to power your office operations. From cleaners to handymen to software engineers, you can trust our team is covered by competitive pay, health benefits, 401k, and stock options – a happy team at Q makes a happy office for you.
Q is a little over two years old and cleans more than 2.1 million square feet of office space in New York City. In addition to cleaning, the company offers a suite of other services to its clients, including maintenance, I.T. support, security, supplies and others. It has expanded its operations to San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles, with the eventual goal of conquering every major city in the United States and, eventually, the world.
Nothing disruptive about this, right? Here’s where it gets good…
Traditionally, a high percentage of cleaning companies change their cleaning service each year when the contract renews. Q is changing the game by providing transparent hourly pricing rather than annual contracts, a high standard of service and state-of-the-art communication. The bet is that the client will be serviced in a way that makes them want to stay on forever. By promoting their high standard of service as an investment, Q is optimistic that it will help maintain traction and create sustainable recurring revenue.
Q leverages technology to provide precise, real-time communications. They install an iPad in each client’s office so the client can communicate directly with customer service in the modern way. There is no calling a phone number, only to hear an automated robot answering the phone, while in the meantime you are losing your mind and looking at the dirty floor or bathroom. The iPad provides, (again, from their website) …
It’s 2016, time to say goodbye to the post it notes by the trash and the little white board on the fridge. With Q’s powerful suite of technology, your team can work in sync with our Q Operators to fine tune your office operations, and you conduct the symphony.
Q hires “Operators” to clean the offices. Operators are employees who are trained and supervised, being held accountable to high standards of customer service not typically associated with the office cleaning industry. The results show in the customer satisfaction, which in turn leads to high employee satisfaction and pride. Q is betting this will reduce turnover and result in a long-term investment in quality and customer retention. The income statement does not have an expense line item for turnover costs; however, the costs really do exist. Another factor contributing to employee satisfaction could be their ownership in the company. Reported by medium.com, Dan Teran, co-founder of Q, announced in April the Company has committed to give non-management employees 5% of Q’s stock beginning in July 2016.
In a post for Medium Corporation, Mr. Teran shares his views that the on-demand economy to hire non-employee workers (aka independent contractors) is setting itself up for two risks: 1) the legal eagles are circling and class action lawsuits by “misclassified workers” are in the process of forming, and 2) the supply of employees willing to work as such is declining. When workers are told what to wear, when to show up and how to do their job, they consider themselves employees and want the compensation package to reflect that status. Q chooses to hire employees outright and invest in them, which makes his model more sustainable.
Percy Forrest is a Q Operations Manager. Read his own account, in medium.com, of what his first year has been like with Q, and the up-side to scrubbing toilets.
Q is getting a lot of support from the private equity investment community, having recently raised $42.43 million from investors, including David Stern, Google Ventures, RRE Ventures and Kapor Ventures, posts Jordan Crook (@jordancrook) for Techcrunch.com. Mr. Teran and his CFO have calculated the benefits of low turnover of employees and clients and determined the long term investment is worth the upfront investment.
Employers have had the luxury of shrugging, then continuing to operate in a world where the employees were happy to have a job and a paycheck in exchange for employer loyalty. It’s safe to say that the economic downturns and layoffs finished breaking the already weakening loyalty bond between employees and their employers. Combine that with the millennial generation insisting they will have fun at work, and the tide is turning, as employees vote with their job selection. High turnover rates and quality products and services with long term sustainability don’t mix over the long haul. The new model continues to evolve as employees, employers and customers figure out what they want, and Managed By Q is helping to lead the way.