A clean & sanitary work environment is a necessity! Melissa Dixon joins our “Wifi Studio” to talk about how CDI is committed to providing “the cleanest buildings in Birmingham.” You don’t want to miss this!
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Read the Full Interview Below
Sarah: Good morning everybody out there. It’s 8:00 AM on a Tuesday. It is time for BizTalk.
Glyna: Good morning everybody. I love that intro gets me jazzed up every time, Sarah. I am Glyna Humm, the owner of Fusion One Marketing, I want to welcome everybody to today’s BizTalk. We are here to highlight small businesses and see how they’re all coping in the middle of this corona, we like to call it “Corona Crap”. Sorry. Today we’re so excited to have one of the kindest, most professional people that I know, Melissa Dixon, who’s the Vice President of CDI Janitorial and I’m going to go ahead and we’ll come back to her in just a moment. Let’s let Sarah introduce herself, and Kelsi. We’ll get back around.
Sarah: Good morning everyone. I’m Sarah. I’m the Director of Digital Marketing.
Kelsi: And I’m Kelsi. I’m the Social Media Manager with Fusion One Marketing.
Glyna: And there’s the beautiful Melissa Dixon. How are you doing this morning?
Melissa Dixon: Good morning! Thank you for the opportunity this morning to talk about our business.
Glyna: It is an absolute pleasure. The more that I get to know you, the more I love you just like everybody else does and I truly mean it. You are one of the most giving people, the kindest people that I’ve run across the long time. So it’s such a pleasure to be able to highlight your business today.
Melissa Dixon: Thank you so much.
Glyna: You are very welcome. So we’re going to get right at it. Tell us a little bit about your background, your family, and just a little bit about you in general.
Melissa Dixon: Well, I am the Vice President of CDI Janitorial. It stands for Charles Dixon Industries, Inc. My husband and I, Charles, have been married for over 31 years. We have two boys, Alec, my daughter-in-law, Katie. And then my youngest son Evan and his fiancee, Farrah. Most people know that I’m a retired educator. I have a master’s degree in education and I am now a business woman.
Sarah: What a transition. So you had a long teaching career and Glyna had told me yesterday that you get recognized almost everywhere that you go. Somebody somewhere knows you. So what made you make the switch from the teaching world to joining and moving into CDI?
Melissa Dixon: I taught for 25 years and I absolutely adored sharing my classroom with over 3,800 students in 25 years. Yes, it’s unreal. But having taught for so long, and I retired teaching AP literature and so I was grading nonstop and my husband recognized that and just made a suggestion, why don’t you go out while you love teaching? Retire loving it and then come on board – because I always did a little bit of stuff with the business – and he said, come on full time or maybe part time. You can set your own hours, we can go to lunch together, and do something a little different rather than the wear and tear of grading so much and so that’s what I did. I was hesitant because I love teaching, but it’s been a really good transition for me.
Kelsi: That’s awesome. Well you mentioned that your husband started CDI. Do you want to give us a little bit of background on the how CDI came to be and how long you’ve been in business?
Melissa Dixon: Sure. So almost 34 years ago, my husband graduated from college prior to that and then went to Jeff State and enrolled in some business classes but very quickly realized that he didn’t think that he could ever work for anybody but himself. He had that entrepreneurial spirit, he was the kid with the huge money in his pocket because he will go around the neighborhood with a lawnmower and mow people’s yards. He taught swimming lessons. Ironically, I ended up teaching some of those kids he taught to swim, which was really strange. But he always just had pocketfuls of cash because he was trying to hustle his way into making money. He bar-tended during the eighties and when he graduated in ’82 from high school, he took business classes and realized that he couldn’t be anything but his own business person. And he had a friend who, in Dallas, started Star Bright Cleaning Service and so he went, learned the business, came back and started Starlight Cleaning Service and that transitioned into Charles Dixon Industries, Incorporated. And that was about 34 years ago.
Glyna: Wow. Well I’ll tell you what, you have a following already this morning, Melissa. I’m taking a look over to the side here. We have a lot of lovely ladies on with us. We have LaVon Chaney, Gayle Mason, we have Gay Chambers who we put through the ringer. Not really.
Glyna: Cindy Edmunds is on this morning. And so’s Roxie. Roxie Kelley. Top of the morning to you Roxie!
Melissa Dixon: Good morning.
Glyna: So the husband and wife dynamic, I love it because I’ve experienced myself for the last 10 years, Rob and I working together. But it’s interesting in every situation and we’ve come across a lot of husband and wife teams just in the last few interviews, so kind of explain to us how does that dynamic work for you and Chaz and what do each one of you do in the company?
Melissa Dixon: Yeah, well I also wanted to give a shout out to Gay. I know Gay’s on here and I’ve watched her on BizTalk and I was so impressed that her husband joined her, because my husband, not so much.
Glyna: Do we share what he said when you asked him? Maybe not.
Melissa Dixon: I will tell you it’s really interesting because unlike Gay and her husband John, where they spend so much time together, Chaz and I really don’t spend a lot of time together at the office. We have very different roles in the company. He is more the mastermind of everything. He’s the one who goes out and does the quoting. I on the other hand, I do a lot of the marketing. I do some sales, but I do a lot of the marketing. So when I retired in 2018 from teaching, I immediately joined a BNI group thanks to the invitation of Cindy Edmunds and Roxie and Glyna and then I joined the chamber at Pelham in Shelby County. I joined a women’s business group, so I tried to get as out there as much as possible and that’s been very helpful. I do some sales and I do have my own little set of clients, but for the most part, my husband and I are a little bit separate. He has his group of clients and his employees, I have my group of clients and my employees. We do it together when we go out to look at new businesses. I do a lot of the paperwork and the payroll, but I think it’s been really good for our marriage that we’re a little separated. Then we come home and enjoy each other at home.
Sarah: Yeah, I would imagine that would help when everybody has their roles, and it’s like you stay in your lane.
Glyna: I can attest, Sarah. You can attest to! You’ve got your whole crew at home!
Sarah: Oh yeah. I’ve worked with my husband for, gosh, maybe nine years. And yeah. You learn how to work together and whose strengths are what. So you know. If you go on your website it’s amazing. One of the standouts in my opinion is just the extensive line of services that you provide. So can you tell us a little bit more about what all CDI has? It’s really impressive.
Melissa Dixon: I can. So we are primarily commercial cleaning and so we go into various offices and companies and we do the basic commercial cleaning. Sweeping and mopping, floor work, toilets, bathrooms, kitchens. But then we also offer more in depth services where we will go in and we can do carpet extraction or stripping and waxing of floors, window cleaning. We can also do pressure washing. There’s a lot of various services we do and it’s all geared toward what the client requests were. Every client has a different set of expectations and specifications. So we go in and we put together a plan that works best for them.
Glyna: That’s fantastic. That’s a lot. And like you said, I know that you do all of that and probably more. As you mentioned, all of the small business companies that we talked to, it’s like whatever your customer needs, that’s what you’re going to provide for them. And that’s what I’ve heard about you guys. You go above and beyond. I think that’s another thing that makes you so successful. The other thing that I’m sure really contributes to your success are your employees. And I know from talking with you and look at that big smile, she’s already smiling. I know from talking to you, your employees are like family. They mean so much to you. Give us a feel of why do you think that you have such a great relationship with your employees and what it’s like to work at CDI?
Melissa Dixon: Oh gosh. We have employees we’ve had for almost 30 years. I mean we have employees who’ve been with us, they’ve been with us longer than we’ve had children and my oldest is almost 28. We just depend on them so much to represent our company. And so we treat them so much differently than I think a lot of cleaning companies do. For example, and I’ve told my BNI group before, that we don’t pay our employees an hourly wage. We pay them based on the expectations for the building.
And so where most cleaning companies will pay eight, nine, 10 dollars an hour. We have employees who are making upwards of 15 to 18 dollars an hour as they take ownership of that building. They love being part of our company. And so we go above and beyond when it’s their birthday or it’s an anniversary. We just really try to make them special because I couldn’t do that without them. We can’t go in and clean all the buildings we have without our employees. And so we want to make sure that they’re loved on just so that they feel they’re valuable. I think that’s the word.
Kelsi: There’s so much value in that alone. I feel like a lot of businesses in your industry have such a high turnover rate, always having to replace employees so you’re doing something really right there and I think that that’s going to translate down the line. Your customers are going to see that as well. Oh, we got a lot of people talking to us, don’t we?
Sarah: We’re getting some good morning. I just want to make sure I recognize everyone. Thank you so much for coming on.
Glyna: Yeah, I think Cindy may have a question too Kelsi.
Kelsi: Cindy wants to know with the COVID-19 issues, do you have new or different chemicals that you’re using?
Melissa Dixon: We do and actually some of them are not new. They’re new to other companies. They’re not new to us because some of our biggest clientele are operating rooms, particularly plastic surgeon operating rooms. And so where most chemicals when you spray it on, it takes upwards to 10 minutes to clean any kind of viruses or germs. We have chemicals that take 10 seconds or fewer. So we have products like Fight-Bac, pH7Q, Virex, and we’ve been using these for a while now, but we also go into our buildings, the ones who are still up and running, and we have spray bottles and in the spray bottles are specified disinfectants. And so every other week we’ll go back to those clients, fill their spray bottles up, and they can go around when they feel insecure and just spray the touch points. The light switches, the door handles. Anything that’s going to be touched on quite a bit. So we give them that assurance that they can use our products when they feel it’s necessary.
Kelsi: That’s awesome.
Melissa Dixon: We also have a fogging machine that we can go in to smaller companies and we can fog while they’re there. We can go in and fog their main areas to immediately clean anything that they suspect might be there.
Kelsi: Oh wow. Did not know that.
Glyna: All right. Now I know that you clean businesses that are open all different times of the day.
Melissa Dixon: Right.
Glyna: And night. How do you work with those types of schedules? Can you schedule people to clean at all different hours or how does that work like for restaurants and things?
Melissa Dixon: Well it depends on the client and what the client needs. We have a lot of manufacturing companies where they prefer us to have both a day company, which we call day porters, and they clean up during the day. And then we’ll go back in at night and clean up at night. We have had some restaurants where they want us to come in between the lunch shift and the evening shift and we’ll go in and spruce up the bathrooms and then when the restaurant’s closed, around 10, 11, 12 o’clock in the morning, we’ll get back in and clean overnight. We have companies that are open we clean one day a week, we have companies where we clean seven days a week and so we do clean on the weekends as well. It depends on the nature of the company and what their requests are.
Glyna: Perfect. Oh, that’s great to know for sure.
Sarah: Yeah, it really is. So I know quality assurance is going to be really important for any business and especially that the a clean and safe environment is just more important than ever, especially when everybody’s coming back to their facilities and the workers are there. So I was curious, how do you ensure the high standards, that your cleaning regimen’s being met?
Melissa Dixon: Well, for one, we train our employees really, really well. We have them work with our operations manager before we set them loose and to clean a building alone. We have some of the top equipment that you can purchase and some of the top products, we have a great relationship, over a 30 year relationship with our distributor, which is fantastic. And then I think one of the big things that we do that a lot of companies don’t do is we make sure we go in and we do what we call walk-through’s, and depending on the client, it might be one day a week, it might be three days a week, it might be five days a week.
Melissa Dixon: What we have figured out, and it’s interesting, I was walking through a building prior to this virus and it’s, a fairly new client and they told me I was walking in about three days a week and they said that they had had a prior company that was actually a franchise. The owner was in another state and within a year and a half they had this company not one time, did anybody do a walk-through of that building. Whereas with us, it’s constant. For our day cares, for my two day cares in particular, when I walk through, which is about three days a week, I go to every single classroom and I know the teachers by name. They know me by name. Sometimes it’s just they’ll give me a thumbs up if they’re teaching. But most of the time I’ll walk in the classroom. How are things today? What can I address? To build a relationship with not only your employees, but your clients, speaks volumes about CDI, and that’s how we know the building is clean because I’m in that building to double check that it’s clean. It’s interesting, I was doing some reading yesterday preparing for this and I discovered that small businesses, and we’re a small business, we have about 45 employees but we’re a small business. 80% of small businesses fail after the first year. 56 survive. 56% survive after year four. We’re going on 34 years.
Glyna: That’s unheard of.
Sarah: Yeah, that is really telling.
Kelsi: Well for people that don’t know you personally, like me and Glyna do, you’re a perfectionist at heart just like I am. So I know that those walk-through’s, I mean you are crossing every T and dotting every I. You’re not missing anything. Detail is key. So just putting that out there for everybody who doesn’t know. I want to know, so for your customers, can they expect the same person to come and clean their facility every time or do you have scheduled shifts that people work where it may be a different person?
Melissa Dixon: No, it is the same employee because like I said earlier, the relationship is really important and we want to make sure that our client has a relationship with our employee. Because most of the time our employee is going to come in as the businesses closing and so they have to know who they’re working with because times are really scary right now and employees are very concerned about who’s in their building, particularly at night. So we want them to know, that they’re assured that our employee’s in there, they’re going to do the right job, get it cleaned, lock it up, and move out. So it’s the same employee. Now if for some reason we have employee goes out of town and we need to do a substitute, we’ll go in to that business and we will bring that substitute and we’ll introduce that substitute to our client just so they’re assured that is this is what’s taking place, but it’s always going to be the same employee.
Glyna: Talk about going above and beyond.
Sarah: That’s another standout. That builds a lot of trust and when you see the same face, especially someone coming into your facility, you want to make sure that it’s not an unfamiliar face.
Glyna: Well I know that you’ve clean a lot of businesses, we’ve covered that and we’ll get back to the specific title that we can look for for you, but right now is prime time for people to get that curb appeal going. I’ll tell you, I have experienced it myself. The pressure washing services that you guys offer are amazing. It was so funny. You’ve done it for us a couple of times. You drive up and it’s just five times whiter than everybody else’s in the neighborhood. It’s almost funny actually. Tell us a little bit about your pressure washing services and what you have to offer there.
Melissa Dixon: We’ve always done it commercially but now we also do it residentially. We have a 330 gallon truck mounted system and my youngest son who works for CDI loves to be outdoors. He’s a fisherman, he’s a hunter, so it’s the perfect job for him where he just attaches it to his truck, he goes out, he pressure washes. And so, yes, you know firsthand. If you look at before and after pictures it’s amazing because we always laugh if you need more curb appeal, leave the pressure to us.
Glyna: And that thing is a hoss. You don’t want to just use it on anything.
Melissa Dixon: No, but it’s all environmentally friendly. It uses only hot water, no chemicals. And it’s just amazing. And we’ve done two week pressure washings on church parking decks all the way to small jobs as far as like a concrete patio. So nothing is too small or too big for us.
Glyna: Well, it’s a fantastic thing. And it makes you feel so good when you pull up, but also the realtors out there. I mean I think that would be one of the main things that they can do to help their customers sell a house. I mean you’ve got to have that first impression. So.
Melissa Dixon: Absolutely. And somebody who’s on our program this morning, Cindy Edmunds, is a realtor and we’ve done some work for her to help her sell a home. And so yeah, realtors are a great referral for us.
Kelsi: Awesome. Laura Gardner’s with us this morning.
Glyna: Hey Laura!
Sarah: There she is. Thank you for popping on. So you mentioned churches and I know there’s just a lot of different facilities on the commercial end that you provide services for. So what are, if you could expand on that, what are all the types of facilities that you do business with?
Melissa Dixon: I can. So like I mentioned before, we have a lot of manufacturing companies. We have a lot of churches, day cares, sports facilities, car dealerships, restaurants. But we have dentist offices, plastic surgeons offices, pediatric offices, government buildings. We have a lot of government buildings and those are our saving grace right now because government buildings and manufacturing buildings are open. And so thankfully we continue to do business with them. We’ve had some businesses that are furloughed and shut down, but I’m hoping this morning our governor has some good news for us and we can get back and running.
Glyna: Please, please, please.
Melissa Dixon: We’re thankful that of all of our employees, most of our employees, they clean several offices for us or several different clients for us. And so of the 44, 45 we’ve had, we’ve only had to furlough one.
Glyna: Oh wow.
Melissa Dixon: Which has been nice. Now some of them have taken a cut in pay, but we’re thankful that some of our buildings are still open and so we’re able to keep our employees employed.
Kelsi: Absolutely. Well, I’ve heard through several of your customers, mostly through other BNI members that have used your services, that you have this ability to make their office smell amazing for sometimes even days after your crew leaves. So I know you have a special secret and trick of how you make that happen. Are you willing to share that with everybody?
Melissa Dixon: I am! Well first and foremost we clean your buildings. [laughter]
Glyna: That’s the magic.
Melissa Dixon: But we do have a little secret that I have no problem sharing and it’s great that you can do it at home.
Melissa Dixon: We have a fabulous, and I used that word strongly, we have a fabulous product called Fabuloso and you can purchase it at the grocery store, Home Depot, wherever. And so when my employees, and it’s not a nightly thing, we do it every so often, but when we change out your trash can liner, we have a spray bottle, Fabuloso. And we squirt squirt a little bit in it and it coats the lining. You come in the next morning and your building smells incredibly fresh. It is fresh, but it smells even fresher. That’s our secret.
Kelsi: Such a simple secret.
Melissa Dixon: It is.
Kelsi: But it does work. Fabuloso smells amazing.
Sarah: It’s really does.
Glyna: I’m new to Fabuloso. I guess I’m going to have to just go get me some.
Sarah: Yes, you got to get to know it.
Glyna: I’m going to be looking for that or I guess my shopper because I’m trying to stay out of the stores, but. All right, so your motto on your logo is The Cleanest Buildings in Birmingham. Do you also clean, this may be a silly question, but do you also clean in other cities other than Birmingham or is that your basic territory?
Melissa Dixon: We do Shelby County, Jefferson County, excuse me. We have Trussville, Brookwood, Tuscaloosa, Westover, Columbiana, Pelham, Alabaster, where all over the gamut. I think we go from, the furthest is we go from Trussville all the way down to Tuscaloosa. So from one end to the other.
Kelsi: Wow. That’s a wide range.
Glyna: That’s definitely a wide range.
Sarah: Yeah. I’m telling you, we have so many people coming in and commenting. It is so great. And we’ve got a lot of people agreeing that this love me some Fabuloso.
Kelsi: Cindy’s preference is the purple one.
Glyna: There’s different Fabuloso’s?
Kelsi: There are. They all smell great though.
Sarah: Yes. Oh goodness. So I wanted to ask you, who would be the best referral partners for you and your business?
Melissa Dixon: I think right now when buildings are starting to open back up again, that is a great referral partner for me because people are very anxious. We’re very ready to get back to work but people are anxious about going back into those buildings regardless if they were infected or not. And so a great referral partner for me right now would be if you hear someone say our office is reopening again. Well CDI Janitorial is a great company. I can refer you to them, they’ll go in and they’ll disinfect and sanitize your entire building.
And it’s basically what we’ve been doing over the last couple of weeks for our clients. Other referral partners would be we love our car dealerships, our restaurants, our day cares, those are great referral partners for us because we have so much experience doing that.
Kelsi: Good to know. Fantastic. So I’m going to put your contact information up here for everybody to see. If you want to contact Melissa, you got her phone number there and her email address. So we’ll let that scroll for a little bit. Is there anything else that you wanted to share that we did not cover today?
Melissa Dixon: One of the things I wanted to touch on, and I mentioned this a little bit earlier, is we’re a husband and wife team and Glyna I know you know that you do the same thing, we’re not a franchise. And so there’s a big difference. So when you call our office and you want us to come out and give you a quote, an owner is going to come give you a quote. We have an invested interest in our business because we’ve built it up. We didn’t buy it from someone from out of town. And so that makes a big difference because if our employees don’t represent us well then we are not represented well and we’re going to do everything we can to keep our name. The name is Charles Dixon Industries Inc. That’s my husband’s name. It’s a better difference than if we went out and bought a franchise because your name is not attached to that franchise. So that is what I would like for everyone to take away from this morning.
Glyna: Oh my gosh. Let me tell you, we made a half hour ago very fast. It’s been such a pleasure, but it also brings us to our favorite time. We love spending time with you, but we also like to have fun. We’re going to get started.
Sarah: Before we jump into that, I do want to thank everyone for coming on and I also want to mention that we are everywhere and we’ve also started a new podcast that we’re very excited about, so guys, here’s where you can check us out.
Sarah: Glyna, is there anything that you wanted to add on that while we go through this?
Glyna: No, just that we’re really excited about our podcast Marketing and a Mic. That’s the name. If you’re wanting to search, obviously you can search Fusion One Marketing as well, but all of these programs, this one and also our Marketing Mix, you can find us on podcasts so you can listen to it again. The other cool thing is we are live when we do these lives, Melissa, we’re on YouTube and Facebook, but everybody can catch the replays on all of our social media channels and also go visit CDI Janitorial. You can find them on Facebook. It will also be there and there’s a lot of tips and tricks there as well and information for you guys.
Melissa Dixon: I want to draw your attention to one of the last comments that were made. You guys see that?
Glyna: Oh, which one? From Alec?
Melissa Dixon: Yup.
Sarah: Here we go. Oh!.
Glyna: Shout out! Look at there.
Glyna: Do you have a favorite son? [laughter]
Melissa Dixon: Some days more than others, absolutely.
Sarah: Some days more than others. Perfect answer.
Melissa Dixon: He is top notch right now.
Glyna: Since he came on the show, he may be winning right now, right? You might be ahead now. So Sarah, now can I play?
Sarah: You can play, but we’ve got so many comments. I want to recognize everybody, but yes, this has been a really great show, and if you didn’t understand how amazing this company is before, I think we really covered it today.
Melissa Dixon: Thank you.
Glyna: Okay. Melissa, are you ready?
Melissa Dixon: I’m ready. I’ve been practicing.
Sarah: You’ve been practicing, okay.
Sarah: All right, everybody knows what time it is. Time for The Hot Seat.
Glyna: Okay, who has my timer? Can somebody give a 60?
Sarah: Okay. Who’s got it first?
Glyna: Everybody’s scrambling. I can, I can.
Sarah: We’re all fumbling with our phones. Kelsi , you got it?
Kelsi: I don’t remember how it works. I got it.
Sarah: You got it?
Kelsi: I’m ready.
Glyna: All right, here we go. Melissa, pumping iron or pumping gas?
Melissa Dixon: Pumping iron.
Glyna: Alabama, Auburn or could care less?
Melissa Dixon: Alabama. Roll tide.
Kelsi: Roll tide.
Glyna: Game of Thrones or Tiger King?
Melissa Dixon: I’ve never seen either one of them.
Glyna: Are you always on time or always late?
Melissa Dixon: I’m always early.
Glyna: Okay. If you could eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Melissa Dixon: Mashed potatoes.
Glyna: All right. Breakfast or no breakfast?
Melissa Dixon: Breakfast.
Glyna: Mullet or mutton chops?
Melissa Dixon: Oh. Got to get the mutton shops.
Glyna: Leather or lace?
Melissa Dixon: Both.
Glyna: Oh, I love that. Would you rather listen to rock music or hip hop?
Melissa Dixon: Rock.
Glyna: What’s the last thing you watched on TV?
Melissa Dixon: The news.
Glyna: Sweet or salty?
Melissa Dixon: Sweet.
Glyna: Your least favorite food?
Melissa Dixon: Ketchup.
Glyna: Pasta or pizza?
Melissa Dixon: Pasta.
Glyna: All right, that was excellent.
Sarah: Great job.
Glyna: That was fantastic. Well, again, on behalf of all of us, we really want to thank you for coming on. Melissa, do you have any last words that you want to cover?
Melissa Dixon: I’m so thankful for you ladies, I’m thankful for the opportunity to be here and what an amazing platform that you’ve given small business owners, so thank you so much to Fusion One and for BizTalk.
Glyna: Aw, thanks Melissa. We wanted to thank everyone for joining us today. Make sure that you tune in again on Friday for our second BizTalk of the week, we will have Cindy Edmunds of ARC Realty with us. Also, we have a new show on Thursdays at noon called The Marketing Mix where we’re going to be covering the corona marketing do’s and don’ts. So please join us and have a great day everybody.
Sarah: Bye everyone.