John and Melanie Michalik

By Business, Franchise News, Our Stories

Melanie and John Michalik

John and Melanie Michalik are one of our many great stories at Aire-Master. They’ve enjoyed a growing Aire-Master franchise for over 15 years. In fact, they’ve just reached a new level in Aire-Master’s Million Dollar Club for reaching $4,000,000 in sales!

It all began in the Spring of 1999, when John and Melanie relocated to Delaware. John was excited about a new job opportunity awaiting him, while Melanie was uncertain of what there was for her. She began looking for new employment but was quickly discouraged when nothing seemed to click.

It was then that a former coworker of John’s encouraged them to contact Terry Cole, an Aire-Master franchisee in New Jersey. Terry would be able to talk with them about Aire-Master and show them the franchise system and how it worked. John and Melanie would then be able to decide if operating their own Aire-Master franchise would be a good fit for them.

After making contact, Terry invited Melanie on a “ride-along” to allow her to experience what a typical service day with Aire-Master was like. Melanie really enjoyed the route, the service, and meeting the Aire-Master customers. She immediately knew this was something she could do and enjoy doing. So John and Melanie contacted Aire-Master and the recruitment process began. After meeting with the people at the corporate office, Melanie said, “I was very impressed!” And Aire-Master was impressed with John and Melanie, too! They were eventually approved and gladly welcomed into the Aire-Master system.

During the years of building their franchise, many highlights stand out for them. One that Melanie enjoys sharing was the time they were servicing the restrooms in a popular fast food restaurant. While there, they found a distraught elderly woman standing outside the restrooms. John and Melanie asked her what was wrong. The woman told them her husband, who suffered with Alzheimer’s, hadn’t come out of the men’s room. Reluctant to go into the men’s room herself, she was very concerned that he might have become confused and not know where he was.

John and Melanie told the woman not to worry — they would go in and check on him. Sure enough, they found the elderly man just as the woman said. He was indeed confused, lost, and in need of being cleaned up. They quietly reassured him, got him presentable, and carefully escorted him back to his very appreciative wife. After seeing the elderly couple on their way, John and Melanie didn’t give it another thought. That is, not until a few few weeks later when the manager of the restaurant requested a meeting with them.

John and Melanie didn’t know what to expect — thinking that maybe they had done something wrong and were about to lose a good customer. At the top of the meeting, the manger handed them a letter. They were surprised to see that it was written by the elderly woman they helped at the restaurant weeks earlier. In the letter, the woman explained to the manager how nice the Aire-Master people were to her and her husband and of how thankful she was for their help that day.

John and Melanie looked up from the letter. The manager smiled at both of them and said, “You two made us look good that day. You are now part of our family. From now on, you will always have our business.” Melanie says that they have been their best customers for 15 years!

Reflecting on all the accomplishments John and Melanie have enjoyed as Aire-Master franchisees, Melanie quickly tells those that ask, “After all these years, I still say that becoming an Aire-Master franchise is one of the best things John and I have ever done!”

A Note of Thanks Goes a Long Way

By Business, Cleaning And Disinfecting, Fragrance, Work Smarter

note of thanks

One of the most effective ways to work smarter is to simply express gratitude with a note of thanks. Make an effort to notice someone doing something good and recognize them for it. As Larry Dennis wrote: “There’s little more we can do to give ourselves a lift than to express an ‘attitude of gratitude.’ It results in changed feelings on the part of the giver and ultimately influences the attitudes and feelings of the recipient. If you’d like to take charge of your world and work, begin today to be more appreciative and show it.”

How To Write A Thank You Note

“Over the last few weeks of the academic year, I began writing a note of thanks to someone in my school… The result was immediate. Almost every teacher told me that the expression of thanks was something that they needed to hear that day. That made me feel good as well.”

Do Mops Spread Disease?

“Building managers should become aware of some of the studies available on how the tools we use to clean surfaces — specifically, cleaning cloths and mops — can sometimes spread disease and cause cross-contamination.”

How Do You Become An Entrepreneur?

“The best way to become an entrepreneur is to simply start a business or join a fledgling business. Any business… Building a business is about solving problems… If you build value for people, you will make money.”

Three Email Habits That Kill Your Whole Team’s Productivity

“After hashing things out together, it became clear that the overload Eric and his company were experiencing wasn’t just a staffing issue. It was more likely a productivity one, starting with how Eric communicated with his staff. Three of his bad email habits were trickling down to everybody else, undermining the entire team’s working methods.”

Being Helpful at Work Can Make You Worse at Your Job

“One of the simplest strategies for making new work friends, if that’s your thing: Be helpful… But in a recent column in Harvard Business Review, University of Florida business professor Klodiana Lanaj outlined a major downside to this approach: Helping out your colleagues is exhausting.”

The Nose Knows: Humans Can Smell More Than 1 Trillion Scents

“People often say that humans can distinguish among only 10,000 different odors. But in fact, the nose can tell apart at least 1 trillion different odors, and possibly many more, the new findings suggest.”

Quote of the Day

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather to become a man of value.” — Albert Einstein

40 Years of Franchising

By Business, Franchise News

40 Years of Franchising

This summer, Aire-Master celebrated 40 years of franchising. June 15–17, almost 200 franchisees, employees, vendors, and friends gathered at the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park, Arizona, for the 2016 Aire-Master National Conference.

Aire-Master marked its 40th anniversary of franchising by returning to one of its first national conference locations. In 1981, the Aire-Master franchise system included 12 franchises that met at the Wigwam Resort. Warren and Joan Ott, Aire-Master of Northeast Texas received the 2nd license ever awarded by Aire-Master. They attended that 1981 National Conference and were also in attendance at the 2016 National Conference.

Today, the Aire-Master system has 107 individual franchises, 4 corporate locations. This year’s event shared Aire-Master’s 40 years of franchising history, the annual report showing how each franchise region is helping businesses with their odor control and commercial hygiene needs, new products, workshops, and hands-on learning. The conference culminated with an Awards Banquet. Awards were presented to four Growth Divisions, Overall Growth, Franchisee of the Year, Franchise Employee of the Year, and Million Dollar Club Lifetime Achievement.

Warren and Joan Ott 1981

Warren and Joan Ott, Aire-Master of Northeast Texas, at the 1981 conference.

Joan and Warren Ott 2016

Then and now: Joan and Warren Ott at the 2016 conference.

Attendee Reactions

Franchisees comments showed they were inspired by this year’s event:

  • “Excellent conference!”
  • “It was a fantastic conference. Aire-Master leadership was on point. Thank you for inspiring us to grow and learn.”
  • “Great preparation, great content, and a fantastic group.”
  • “Well organized, great content, great venue and most importantly, great leadership and vision for our continued success. It was great to reconnect with old friends and make many new ones.”

Repeat Business – Book Review

By Book Reviews, Business

Repeat Business, by Larry W. DennisRepeat Business: 6 Steps to Superior Customer Service, by Larry W. Dennis, was originally published in 1992. At Aire-Master, we consider it a classic. We have been using this book in presentations and training programs for years.

Our founder, Jerry McCauley, originally came across Repeat Business in a small bookstore on the Oregon coast. The title immediately caught Jerry’s eye, as Aire-Master service is all about repeat business — forming long lasting relationships with our customers.

Jerry thought the book was terrific. In 1994, we invited Larry Dennis to speak and conduct a workshop at our National Franchise Conference. Twenty-two years later, we still recommend the book.


Dennis uses the word REPEAT as an acronym to spell out six customer service principles:

  • Reliability
  • Extra Mile
  • Pleasant Personality
  • Enthusiasm
  • Action
  • Thank You

Each chapter in the book is devoted to one of these principles. Dennis uses common sense language and story after story to get his points across clearly. The book itself is a quick read at just over 130 pages.

What Do Customers Want?

Throughout, Dennis places the emphasis on the customer. He explains why customers stop buying, which is usually because they feel a salesperson treated them poorly. Dennis gives plenty of examples of applying the REPEAT principles to keep customers coming back.

It all comes down to treating people right. Make your customers feel important — because they are. They sign your paycheck, after all. If you read and apply this book, you can turn customers into loyal, REPEAT customers. In fact, Larry Dennis has made Aire-Master a repeat customer. We keep several copies of his books in our library at all times!

Buy the book on Amazon.

Students Need Clean Schools

By Business, Cleaning And Disinfecting, Work Smarter

Back to School

Students are heading back to school, and they need to work smarter, just like the rest of us. They also need safe, hygienic work environments —students need clean schools. A survey conducted last year gave insights into students’ opinions of their schools’ cleanliness.

Survey Asks Students To Evaluate Restroom Cleanliness

“Ninety percent of those polled agree hygiene was important to them as a student, and 93 percent say they washed and dried their hands every time they used the restroom. And while students generally gave their schools high marks for cleanliness (73 percent said the lavatories were at least somewhat clean), the majority — 57 percent — felt their schools didn’t do enough overall to support on-campus restroom hygiene.”

20 Brutal Truths All 20-Somethings Need to Hear

“Nobody cares if you didn’t have enough time. If your toilet flooded. If you weren’t feeling well. If you are “going through a tough time.” Some people do — they care a little bit, and want to make sure you’re OK. But in general, nobody cares. Everyone has “stuff” going on in their lives, and it’s on you to figure it out and stay on top of your responsibilities.”

Working 80 Hours a Week is Not Actually What Leads to Success

“Some founders are fanatical when bragging that they work 60 to 80 hour weeks. Their sense of building ‘sweat equity’ blinds them to the sacrifices they make — to their health, to their marriages, to their families and communities. What they mistake as a successful lifestyle is actually a massive failure.”

9 Pieces of Obsolete Tech That Just Won’t Die

“Have you had to write a rent check lately? Or maybe fax some important documents? Despite things like Venmo and email that normal people use every day, these ancient bits of tech and culture just keep hanging on. There’s clearly better technology, it’s just that not everyone is using it. Here are nine outmoded technologies that just won’t disappear.”

7 Interview Questions For Measuring Emotional Intelligence

“Emotional intelligence involves self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. In other words, it’s a complicated amalgam that hiring managers have a hard time testing for. As a result, many fall back on gut instincts and subjective impressions. It isn’t always a smart move to leave something so important to such faulty measures.”

BookBub — free & discounted ebooks matching your interests

“BookBub is a free daily email that notifies you about deep discounts on acclaimed ebooks. You choose the types you’d like to get notified about — with categories ranging from mysteries to cookbooks — and we send great deals in those genres to your inbox.”

Quote of the Day

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” — John Wooden

Take a Summer Vacation from Your Small Business

By Business


If you are a business owner, or even a manager, it can be tough to take time off. You tell yourself you have too much to do, and only you can get it done. You mentally run down the list of things that could go wrong if you aren’t there. “Nope, too risky. There’s no way I take a vacation now. Maybe next year.” With careful planning, you can risk being away from your business for a few days. And you will gain much-needed benefits that taking a break provides.

Everyone Needs a Break

At some point, you really need to take a break from the daily stress of running a business. Give your body and your mind a rest. A vacation will also give you time to think and gain perspective. You’ll come back to work with “fresh eyes” and new ideas. Most importantly, your family needs you to spend time with them. Take them away somewhere, have fun, and build memories!

Advance Planning

Spontaneity can be exciting, but vacations are best when planned in advance. You know when your busy and slow times of the year will be, so schedule time away accordingly. Be kind to yourself by not giving yourself a heavy workload to finish the week before your departure date. Manage your time by working a little extra each of the few weeks leading up to it—not killing yourself at the last minute. Likewise, don’t leave a pile of things that need to be done immediately when you return; you’ll dread coming back.

Put a Trusted Employee in Charge

Choose someone to call the shots in your absence and make sure your other employees know who is in charge. Be clear about what you expect from your people while you are gone. Be prepared for Murphy’s Law. In other words, if an emergency is going to happen, it will happen when you aren’t there to handle it. Give your employees a list of contacts to call in case of a crisis, such as computer / internet problems, building maintenance, supplier issues, etc.

Unplug – or Don’t

We won’t make this call for you, but decide whether you are going to completely disconnect from work, or check in occasionally. Today’s technology and collaboration tools make it easy to get quick updates. Consider which approach will help put your mind at ease. Set your boundaries and stick to them.

Enjoy Your Vacation

Finally, remember why you are going on vacation — to relax and have a great time with your family. It might take a day or two for you to get your mind off work, but you will be glad you did and better for it.