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Management And Training

An Outquote On Outsourcing

September 19, 2010
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A prominent fixture in the CM e-News Daily® lineup as of late, stories of custodial outsourcing are appearing everywhere.

So, what does one do to avoid falling victim to the privatization of custodial services — or, how does one take advantage of the opportunities this trend presents?

By learning everything you possibly can about product application, workloading techniques and management best practices, you show your desire to be the solution to the cleaning and maintenance needs of the facilities you service.

More often than not, price is the deciding factor in instances of outsourcing.

However, proving your worth to the company or organization for which you clean by showing the value of your services can go far in ensuring your continued employment.

I am not a facility decision-maker, but if I was given the choice to either hire a cleaner with little industry knowledge that entered this field because "it seemed simple enough" or a custodial professional with an extensive training background and documentation validating his or her expertise, I would undoubtedly choose the latter.

A well-educated employee will demand higher wages.

But, you would be hard pressed to find a facility manager or a building owner who fails to realize the value of the educated employee.

There are numerous arguments against custodial outsourcing, including notions that:

  • The quality of work performed will be less than what the facility previously received

  • Hardworkers'' jobs will be given to undocumented aliens

  • A facility will be less safe if occupied by unknown cleaning personnel.

While some of these arguments are founded in fact, they are — for the most part — exaggerated and illegitimate fears.

Custodial outsourcing should be viewed as a positive for our industry.

Not only does the practice help decrease operating costs, it also increases competition.

With multiple companies bidding for the same contract — in addition to the in-house staff competing to keep their positions — competition brings those companies with the most reliable and best educated employees to the limelight.

I do not mean to sound like a scapegrace by saying that outsourcing is the best thing since sliced bread; I''m simply saying it isn''t the worst thing.

After all, if every facility''s operations were "peaches and cream" and each task was performed flawlessly, outsourcing would not be a topic of conversation.

Instead, money savings and productivity increases can be accrued through custodial outsourcing.

And, if it makes each cleaner, janitor, maintenance technician and custodial professional strive to become more educated and work harder, then I do not see outsourcing as detrimental.

So, thumb through your various industry publications, attend those industry trade shows and register for training and education events.

Doing so will not only add to your ability to properly perform your job, it will also make you less susceptible to outsourcing.


Send comments or thoughts on this topic or any other article that appears in CM/Cleaning & Maintenance Management® magazine, to abaunee@ntpmedia.com.

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