Todd Hopkins, founder of Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services, wants BSCAI members to stop using the “B word.” In fact, this mission of his is so urgent that he has written a book about it and will be keynoting a 90-minute session titled “Stop Using the ‘B’ Word” at BSCAI’s Executive Management Conference in April.
So what is the “B word” and why should building service contractors (BSCs) stop using it? Hopkins was happy to answer: “The B word is ‘busy.’ I am going to share my experience of when I made a personal decision to stop using the word ‘busy’ and to replace it with the word ‘productive.’ At Office Pride, our productivity and our profitability both increased significantly once we stopped saying the word ‘busy.’ People come off as proud of being busy. You ask someone, “Hey, how are you doing?’ And they’ll say something like, ‘Oh, I’m keeping busy.’ It’s almost like busyness is the goal. I am going to submit that busyness is more of an excuse to not achieve the real goals. What we have done at Office Pride is built a culture of productivity, and I’m going to share with the group at the Executive Management Conference how we did that. I will challenge everyone to stop using the ‘B word!’”
Hopkins speaks from experience. His company came out of a college research paper he did as part of his MBA program in the early 1990s at Butler University. Even at a young age, he was interested in creating a company that would franchise in the commercial cleaning space.
“I asked the dean of the MBA program if I could do an independent research study on that and get three class credits,” he recalled, “and he approved it. So, I was finishing my MBA and starting my business basically at the same time. That was 1992. I joined BSCAI right away. It was one of the first things I did, in fact, and I’m very thankful. Through BSCAI, I learned how to grow a business in this industry the right way.”
Hopkins served as Office Pride’s CEO for 30 years, creating and shepherding its franchise system. It was only this past May that he hired a new CEO, Josh Weis, a colleague of Hopkins’ for many years who has brought a lot of energy and commitment to the company’s franchisees.
As for Hopkins, he has settled into the cool position and even cooler duties of Chief Visionary Officer. “My responsibilities now are primarily is strategic thinking and planning,” he said. “I’ve always had a lot of ideas. I have always had a very big vision. And sometimes it’s hard to execute on things, even when you have a good team. But now with a high-quality CEO to lead that really good team, I am really having fun with strategy and vision and planning. My other big job is to help franchisees with high-level strategy to achieve their goals. The absolute favorite part of what I do is seeing franchisees achieve their dreams. I just love that.”
He continued, “Another responsibility I have is to work with conversion and acquisition candidates to help them achieve their goals. A lot of people have been in this industry a long time, and Office Pride has the unique ability to offer existing independent BSCs the ability to grow their business using our program. We want to be a good fit to help them get to the next level. There are a lot of people out there who are stuck, and we have the systems, the programs, the technology, the brand, and the track record to help them get to where they want to go quicker. What really makes us stand apart is that we have a business builder model rather than an owner-operator model. We may enter a city with one or two franchises, and there may be other companies that will have 100 or 200 franchises in that same city. We don’t sell customers to franchisees. We provide them with the systems and training to get the customers.”
Hopkins has also enjoyed coaching and mentoring new CEO Weis. “Seeing him execute has been a thrill,” he states. “He knows his technology, and the franchisees have been excited to see a whole other level of scale capabilities that he is bringing.”
So, in Hopkins’ experience, what are the keys to maintaining quality and consistency when franchising? “Best in class training, genuinely caring about franchisees’ success, and systems and structures for scaling a business. A fourth key is constant communication. Franchisees always want to know what’s going on. During the pandemic, I cut three-minute videos and would send out at least two a week, letting franchisees know what we were hearing and what they would be needing to focus on. There was so much information, and no one had the time to digest it. So, we would digest it.”
Hopkins is especially proud that he has given Office Pride a faith-based foundation. According to his bio, he is a sought-after speaker with lectures on such topics as “Strategic Business and Biblical Leadership” and “Ten Qualities for Great Christian Business Leaders.” He remarks, “We often jokingly say that we’re the ‘Chick-fil-A of commercial cleaning.’ Our tagline is ‘Our values make us different.’”
He brought those values to his time as BSCAI’s President. And his year at the helm happened to be 2020 when the global pandemic hit. Talk about drawing on the strength of figures like Jonah, Job, and Daniel in the lion’s den! “There was a LOT to navigate there!” he acknowledged. “Ultimately, I think my greatest accomplishment was helping keep our members unified during COVID. We are a highly relational group at BSCAI. We stayed unified even during a time when there was great political unrest and division. We started holding ‘Town Halls.’ We didn’t record any of them, because we wanted people to ask questions and ‘shoot straight.’ It ended up being one of the most unifying experiences for our industry. Not only that, but they were also very helpful. As an association, we really navigated through COVID together.”
Looking ahead to the rest of 2023, Hopkins said he is optimistic for both Office Pride and for the commercial cleaning industry as a whole. “The key for all of us is to be part of the solution rather than contribute to the problems or do nothing,” he concluded. “Leaders in both Office Pride and BSCAI have high morals, they’re good thinkers, and they want the best for our people. In my opinion, God made us for times such as this!”