Cincinnati-based Chamberlain Power Sweeping Mixes Quality Work With Customer Communication
This woman-owned business provides top results and customer satisfaction.
by Ranger Kidwell-Ross
Christy Schmidt, president of Chamberlain Power Sweeping, Inc., is a fixture at the annual National Pavement Exposition. She stands out in her willingness to be involved, as well as in her communication skills. She's there ready to learn or to offer advice to others, whichever might be needed.
She and her husband were in the paving business in 1994, when a customer asked them to take over sweeping on their two properties. The management firm had purchased a sweeper to do the work, but recognized they would receive better value with the top quality work ethic they saw displayed by their choice of pavers. After purchasing the sweeper, Schmidt says they found themselves in the sweeping business.
Today, Chamberlain Power Sweeping is on what I consider to be the forefront of providing a cost-effective service mix to its customers. Their fleet of six sweepers is evenly split between chassis-mounted air sweepers and tow-behind units. The air sweepers allow them to keep their mall properties cleaned of the fines that eventually build up when just tow-behind sweepers are used. They also allow them to do light construction cleanup.
Although mixing in the tow-behind sweepers for parking lot work requires a bit more blowing of curblines, their relatively low operating, maintenance and purchase costs allow Chamberlain to provide a cost-effective mix of sweeping for its clients. In today's recessionary economy that has become especially important.
However, Schmidt makes it clear there's a relatively steep learning curve to correct usage of these machines in order to have no loss of quality. At the same time, she stresses the importance of communication with clients in order to maximize the value her company can offer to its customers. They make constant use of email to keep customers apprised of anything out of the ordinary on the properties they service. Christy says she's also learned about the value of email in terms of providing a record of communications for all parties. That way there is little chance of having surprised clients when virtually any situation arises.
Although Chamberlain Power Sweeping, Inc. is woman-owned, Schmidt says they have had their success without actually establishing themselves with that title. They are now working on the paperwork needed to do so, however, since there may be advantages to some potential customers. The company is also a long-time member of the North American Power Sweeping Association. Schmidt feels that professional involvement is important for both customers and keeping up with the latest in the sweeping industry.
In the audio interview, linked below, Schmidt offers some additional tips and ideas about ways to make a sweeping company more effective. She calls herself a "hands-on" owner, since she gets out in the field a few times a month to stay in touch with the properties they service. Christy feels this also allows her to recognize any challenges her employees might face on given properties. She also has a full-time superintendent, who she praises as being one of the backbones of the firm, and discusses how his empowerment and work habits improve the company's overall professionalism and service quality.
Note: The following audio interview with Christy Schmidt is approximately 26-minutes in length, and will play without downloading any files onto your computer. If you hear the interview at 'chipmunk speed,' you will need to download the latest version of Adobe's free Flash player.
If you have questions or comments about this interview, please, let us know and we can add it in as an addendum to this article.
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