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The Mr Sparkle Chronicles considerable considerations

Local brand– Local business

Everybody loves a Mr Sparkle T-Shirt. Over the last 8 years we have sold and given away thousands of them. It is always great getting back pictures from folk who wear them in interesting places. Our “contact us” page features a dynamite picture of a friend in Time Square sporting one of our shirts. Once, a staff member at Arizmendi Bakery was featured on The News Hours, full frontal shot in one of our shirts.

Lucky Mule T shirts in Oakland prints our shirts. A great local screen print shop owned by Courtney Callahan. Courtney does all size jobs, working with smaller businesses like us, to events such as the Blue Grass Festival. For us, working with local vendors is an important part of our mission. It means the money we spend stays in our community. Plus, Courtney is a treat. Once the drummer for the Demonics, he now plays with a band called Los Shimmy Shakers. A group of veteran musicians who are accompanied by Burlesque. I’ve had a chance to see them a few times and have always had a blast.

Being an Oakland native, it feels good to support Oakland based business and to be creating a strong recognizable brand in my home town. T Shirts have been a huge part of the way we have gone about doing that.

Thanks Lucky Mule!

Criticism is a Courtesy

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As with all businesses customer feedback is the primary and most significant  source of information as to how we are performing. Whether window cleaning, gutter cleaning or scratch removal  we have high standards for all of our services, and are always training to provide the best service and highest quality product possible.

No one can be one hundred percent all the time. And we are always grateful when our clients value their relationship with us enough to help us improve by letting us know when we fall short of their expectations. Negative feedback can be frustrating, but is of course normal. I once had a mentor tell me, “if you hear the same thing more than once, you need to address it in training immediately.” I try to follow that advice, and always view criticism as a courtesy.

On the other end one of the greatest feelings for us as service providers is to receive a compliment from a client. They take the form of verbal or written compliments, tips, referrals and on some occasions gifts. Yesterday we received two such gifts from separate clients. A couple jars of home made jam from one, and two bottles of Di’Aire wine from the makers themselves!

We are so grateful for our customers’ support and feedback. Good or bad it helps us to keep on track. 

 

California Wildflowers

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Right before the first day of spring I was driving along Skyline near Redwood in Oakland. It was a warm morning and all the flowers had come out overnight, it was strikingly beautiful. I pulled over and took a picture just for a blog, but before I posted it the weather turned dark and wet, and it seemed random to write about flowers. But Spring is here and the wild flowers are out. I never tire of the California Poppy.

The Road to Success

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While in Top Dog on Durant recently I saw a poster I remember from the early 80“s when I first wandered into Berkeley. It means a lot more to me today than it did then. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Click the image to see a version large enough to view in detail; and Happy Traveling!

Glass Scratch Removal

Mr Sparkle now offers glass scratch removal and acid etch damage removal of any size and depth from all types of glass. Glass scratch graffiti has become popular and results in expensive replacement of glass panels to return the window to clarity. Now, we are able to repair the glass panels you previously had to replace – in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost. Read more »

Insurance against poor insurance

It is always nice to find a recommended service provider at a price we can afford. But make sure to do your homework. To keep their prices competitive many business owners play a game with the status of their employees and pass the risk of employment on to their clients.

Many home service providers hold the required liability and work comp insurance, but then employ a majority of their staff as contractors, effectively making that insurance worthless. How’s that?   Read more »

Building a winning team

One of the greatest determiners of success is preparation. That’s why we spend a considerable amount of time training our cleaners and leads on our system. When I first started Mr Sparkle I knew that documenting the process of cleaning as well as customer interaction, equipment maintenance, safety, product knowledge etc. was going to be key in replicating the quality and consistency of our offering. It has been both a great challenge and joy to do that work, and to train our staff. Read more »

Gutter Cleaning; gutter screens, a false sense of security

Even our regular clients are sometimes surprised to discover that we clean gutters as well as windows. But gutter cleaning is a natural add on. We work with the same tools,  safety considerations and client base. In the Oakland and Berkeley hills trees are abundant and steep lots with poor access make it difficult to keep roofs and gutters clear of debris. Ignoring the gutters can result in very costly damage, so, homeowners will often opt to put screens over the gutter to prevent leaves and pine needles from filling the gutter troughs and downspouts. However, gutter screens can be a false sense of security. Read more »

Supporting Local Business with Creative Marketing

By frequenting local business, we keep our local economy strong. It can cost a little more sometimes, but the money we spend continues to circulate in our community instead of disappearing into a big box. And often, when we stay local, it doesn’t end up costing any more after all. Read more »

Mr Sparkle goes to New Orleans

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It has been a great start to the new year. I have spent the last two weeks traveling and attending training by myself and with staff. Last week Wednesday thru Saturday, Fou and I attended the IWCA window cleaner’s convention in New Orleans; attending seminars, networking, checking out new industry product, and eating. Read more »