My husband and I have had our janitorial business for several years now. Recently we decided we wanted to expand our business to include commercial kitchen hood cleaning. We really did not have much experience in hood cleaning, so we decided to reach out to our friends at Tampa Hood Cleaning Pros in Tampa, Florida.
Our friends were delighted to hear from us and invited us to travel to Tampa to see their business first hand. We found a delightful place to stay in Clearwater through a Bed and Breakfast site. We packed our bags and made the journey to Tampa.
The first day we met with our friends they toured us through their shop and discussed what types of businesses need to have their hoods cleaned on a regular basis. It is required by law that kitchen exhaust systems be cleaned on a regular basis. While in our minds we thought we would only be cleaning commercial kitchens in restaurants it was surprising to hear there are several other places commercial kitchens exist. There are Hotels, Schools, Airports, Nursing Homes, Malls, Hospitals, Summer Camps and Food Trucks to name a few.
They recommended we get ourselves certified as a professional hood cleaning and commercial kitchen business. They stressed we needed a clear knowledge of the NFPA 96 regulation. The NFPA 96 is the standard for fire protection and ventilation control of commercial kitchens. Being certified can be a powerful selling tool when talking to owners and managers of commercial kitchens.
That night we dined at one our friends’ favorite places, Rooster and the Till. Rooster and the Till was rated #1 Restaurant in Tampa Bay by the Tampa Bay Times – 2018. Located in Seminole Heights, this thirty-seven-seat restaurant was opened in 2013. It now seats seventy-two people.
This restaurant has two partners, Chef Ferrell Alvarez and Ty Rodriguez. They love to greet new customers and welcome return customers. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming, and their food was amazing.
While dining with our friends, they gave us some pointers on best practices for a hood cleaning business:
- Be good at marketing our kitchen exhaust business – once you have landed a client, be sure to get them on a regular cleaning schedule
- Build relationships with the local inspectors and fire departments
- Maintain accurate records of each hood cleaning we do
- Learn how to manage wastewater when cleaning a commercial kitchen. We must stay in compliance with the Clean Water Act and the EPA
- Be sure to get the best insurance coverage possible
- Most importantly – maintain our kitchen hood cleaning equipment. This will maximize efficiency and help you keep your clients
I must say my head was spinning when it hit the pillow that evening. So much to think about and take on! Both my husband and I were getting more excited and wanted to learn more.
Day two we returned to our friends’ hood cleaning business to go over what type of equipment we should invest in. Over breakfast at the Maplewood Street Biscuit Company on N. Dale Mabry Hwy, they gave us a great marketing tip; since most hood cleaning is done during the evening to early morning hours, send your crew to breakfast before they go home. This can be a great way to find a new client!
They encouraged us to find a good supplier of commercial kitchen cleaning equipment. Here is some of the items they recommended:
- Professional grade pressure washer
- High Pressure hoses
- Hose Reels
- Duct Access doors
- Cleaning Agents – preferably Eco Friendly
- Grease and Oil Spill Absorbent
- Spray Guns
- Floor Dryers
- Commercial Fan Hinge Kits
- Personal Protective Gear
- Scrappers and Blades
- Plastic Sheeting
- Poly Wash Pads
Day three we decided to take off and see some sites. We went to Tarpon Springs then had an amazing lunch at Gill Dawg in Port Richey. There was so much to talk about and plan to put this business together that we needed one day of downtime to put our action plan in place.
Day four we returned to our friends’ hood cleaning business to experience a hood cleaning job in person. This hood cleaning was in a commercial restaurant that had not been cleaned in a while. They put up the plastic sheeting and went about their task (which was held by the magnets). Once the job was done, we saw the amazing transformation to their equipment. It almost looked like new. Then the hood cleaning crew talked the owner into putting them on a regular schedule. This is important as some people just don’t realize how the grease can build up and cause a fire hazard.
We went home with a renewed excitement to expand our janitorial business to include commercial restaurant hood cleaning.