Squeaky Clean: The Culture of Corporate Cleaners
Author and entrepreneur Todd Hopkins knows what it takes to make it in the cleaning industry. The founder and CEO of the nationally known Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services and co-author of the international bestselling business development books, The Carrot Chaser and The Janitor, Todd has seen God work through his life and ministry in a vibrant way.
A Clean Slate
Possessing the entrepreneurial drive from a young boy, Todd Hopkins grew up starting successful businesses. “My first business was selling bubble gum in second grade,” he said as he recounted the small operation outside the school lunchroom. “They didn’t sell it at the concession stand! Because of the high demand, to this day selling bubble gum has actually been my most successful business. My parents always encouraged entrepreneurship.”
Bubble gum sales were not his only successful ventures during grade school. Together with his brother, he sold black eyed peas from his family patch, collected and cashed in coke bottles, and invented other early childhood ways to make money.
“All I ever wanted to do was to be successful and own a business,” said Todd.
With the drive to be a successful business owner spurning him to greater things, Todd was at the top of his undergraduate class at the University of Memphis where he earned his bachelor’s of business administration. In the MBA program at Butler University, while working on a paper on how to franchise a janitorial industry, he met a local business owner in the final stages of a failing cleaning company. It was then that the Lord led him into the commercial cleaning industry and Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Systems was born.
“I was intrigued by the possibility of operating a cleaning business and thought that it was an industry that would reward hard work,” Todd said. “As I was listening to this woman describing her cleaning business, I was inspired to take the leap into owning my own business. For $800, I bought out the small cleaning company with one customer and officially became an entrepreneur. The next day, I had found and purchased insurance and cleaning supplies. That was March 1, 1992. I incorporated Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services on April 1, 1992, and I quit my full time job on June 30, 1992. I was all in.”
A relatively new Christian at the time of his acquisition of Office Pride, Todd believed that the Lord had not only called him to own his own business, but also to help people become successful. With a passion to franchise, he set out to honor God in the marketplace, grow his business, and help other people become successful.
“The commercial cleaning industry is a great industry to be successful,” he said. “I was a new believer in 1989, being discipled by Christian Business Men’s Connection (CBMC), but I knew that God had called me to honor Him in my work. It wasn’t until 1994 at a Promise Keepers rally that I made the commitment to give complete control of my business to God. I came to the point that even if God wanted to close Office Pride down, I would follow. It was then that God opened the doors of blessing and showed me what was really possible. From then on, not only did I want to teach others how to be successful in their work, but also how to grow their faith as well as their business.”
Today, Office Pride has 121 franchises across the country. According to their website, Office PRide commercial cleaning franchise has been recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 list as one of the best franchise systems in America. Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Systems was built on a reputation for quality. Every franchise owner is welcomed into the Office Pride System through practical training in commercial cleaning and instruction in biblically based principles for running a successful business.
“We teach biblical principles as part of our corporate system,” said Todd. “Many of our franchise owners are Christians who want to foster an environment that honors and pleases God. We craft our corporate culture around principles found in the word of God and when we have our peer group and strategic planning and training meetings, we open with devotionals. This is where God has brought us and it is good.”
A Clear Mind
Identifying an audacious goal, Todd Hopkins continues to press toward excellence within his rapidly growing commercial cleaning industry. Not content to sit still and wait for opportunities to come to him, he continuously looks for ways to grow the corporate culture of Office Pride through outreach projects, such as authoring books on business development and marketplace faith, including co-authoring with Ray HIlbert the international bestsellers, The Carrot Chaser and The Janitor. Currently, Todd is writing a new business resource book on how to reduce stress as a business owner.
“Right now, my goal is for our corporate staff and our franchisees to be the happiest people on the face of the earth,” said Todd. “My next book, The Stress-Less Business Owner, is a tool to help businessmen and women eliminate stress and live happy, successful lives. My wife thinks it’s funny that I’m doing this because she has seen the struggle that I have endured on my quest to live a stress-free life. God didn’t design us to deal with stress or to carry the burdens that stress puts upon our lives. He created us to lay them at His feet; if we carry them around, we are unhappy, unfulfilled, and ultimately, unsuccessful.”
Going beyond commercial cleaning, Todd seeks to change the face of office culture. By claiming to be a Christian in the marketplace, he believes that he stands as an ambassador for vibrant culture change. As a corporation, Office Pride sets realistic annual sales, franchise growth, and revenue goals, but they go beyond the numbers and strive to create a culture of stress-less living.
“In my new book, I have discovered ten principles to eliminating stress and bringing joy back into our lives,” said Todd. “Hopefully it will hit the shelves by the end of 2016. I am very excited about this book; excited to see how God is going to use it across the country in the lives of men and women in leadership in corporate America. Developing this book has been a source of challenge for me; I’m trying not to be a hypocrite. I’m putting these principles into practice in my own life and they are making a huge difference.”
Striving to set the example at Office Pride, Todd and his franchise owners are revolutionizing corporate culture.
“If we exhibit stress-free living, happiness, and grace, other people will be attracted to it and that brings the glory to God in the marketplace,” Todd said.
A Clear Purpose
More than just a commercial cleaning company, Office Pride exists to honor God. Operating upon a system of core beliefs and values, the employees, franchise owners, and leadership staff are encouraged to live their professional and personal lives through the filter of their Eight Core Beliefs and Values:
Always Do What Is Right
Increase Brand Value
Demonstrate Honesty, Integrity, and a Hard Work Ethic
Total Customer Satisfaction
Go the Extra Mile
Persevere With a Servant’s Attitude
Accountability to Commitments
“I had the first seven for a long time,” said Todd as he recited the Core Beliefs and Values of Office Pride. “About four or five years ago, I started to bring accountability into the mix. We had a breakdown in communication on the corporate level; I wasn’t being accountable or holding people accountable to the pursuit of excellence. The next thing I knew, our customers were not being served well and we were hearing more and more complaints. It was then that I realized that accountability, both to God and to our fellow workers, is a huge part of leadership.”
Using the core beliefs and values as “decision makers,” Office Pride and Todd Hopkins have created a system of accountability to God and man. By implementing corporate accountability and focusing on the decision filters found in the core values, Office Pride has created a culture of honesty, integrity, and dependability within the commercial cleaning workplace.
“I call them decision makers because when we are faced with a decision, if we can look at it through the lens of the core values, and if it passes the test, then it is probably a good thing,” said Todd.
Going beyond changing the corporate culture for the benefit of the employees, Office Pride seeks to serve customers through satisfaction and perseverance.
“We aren’t just a “clean and leave” kind of commercial cleaning service,” said Todd. “We view customer service as one of our most important jobs. We teach franchise owners how to live biblically in front of their employees, but we also expect them to be committed to honesty, integrity, and a hard work ethic.”
Office Pride does not strive for zero complaints; rather they aim for 100% customer satisfaction.
“In the service industry, complaints are common,” said Todd. “If companies are shooting for a zero complaint policy, it is a misplaced goal. At Office Pride, if a customer is not happy, we want them to let us know so that we can fix it! If they are unhappy and don’t complain, they may cancel. People always complain to someone; we encourage them to complain to us. Office Pride is not perfect, but we want to demonstrate sincerity. When a customer complains and we do a good job of responding, it actually builds the relationship. We strive for 100% satisfaction, not zero complaints.”
A Clear Focus
Todd Hopkins, Founder and CEO of Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services, husband to Michelle, father to James, Sam, and Matthew, is a man with a purpose. He strives everyday to maintain his integrity in front of his franchise owners and employees, while living a stress-less life in honor and glorification of his Savior, Jesus Christ.
But how did he get there?
When asked about the most important thing in life, Todd responded that maintaining an eternal perspective is tantamount to a living a successful life, both in the eyes of God and man. By keeping his eyes fixed on Christ, despite daily human failings and the trappings of this world, Todd fights to keep his focus on what matters eternally.
“As business owners and CEO’s, we have to maintain an eternal perspective in everything we do,” he said. “Keep the main thing the main thing. This world is full of distractions to take us off focus; there is always something new on the horizon to pull our focus off of what God has planned for our lives and businesses. The best part about being a Christian in the workplace is that God has a bigger plan for us that we can imagine. He wants to use us where we are, to build the relationships He has placed in our lives for a reason. He wants us to see that employee, that vendor, that customer as a chance to serve and honor Him. When we view everything in life through the lens of an eternal focus, we don’t get caught up with measuring success.”
As a child, all Todd ever wanted was to be a success. He wanted to be the biggest and best entrepreneur the world has ever seen. He started that process in 2nd grade with the best bubblegum business a boy could ever ask for, but after becoming a believer through the influence of CBMC, he learned to measure success through the lens of Scripture. “God is able to use me and, through me, Office Pride to make a difference. That’s what is important. He wants to use us where we are. When we see that God has a purpose for our lives and our businesses, we begin to seek His will and understand His plan.”
Miriam-Webster defines “understanding” as: the knowledge and ability to judge a particular situation or subject; the power of comprehending. To Todd, understanding is defined as the ability to see how, or at least to trust that God is working in a situation.
“When I pray for understanding, I pray for eyes to see God at work,” he said. “There is a bigger picture than just my little world of commercial cleaning. The cool thing is that once we get a hold of understanding and wisdom, sound judgement and discretion, we sleep good at night. I pray Proverbs 3:21-24 for my business, my franchise owners, my staff, and my family. I pray that they will get a hold of wisdom and understanding, that they will live without fear, and that their sleep will be sweet. I’ve been a believer since 1989; it took me until this year to figure that out.”
My son, do not lose sight of these--keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
By: Jessica Burchfield
Jessica Burchfield is the contract Communications Coordinator for Clearwater Christian College, a freelance writer, and a professional photographer based out of Tampa, Florida.Read More Articles by Jessica Burchfield