Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Proper Techniques For Profitability

September 19, 2010

Many cleaning companies offer hard surface care to their customers.

But, are you sure that you are maximizing efficiencies to keep profitability at as great a margin as possible?

Looking at service plans will keep your operation as efficient as possible in your customers'' buildings.

Service timelines can be broken down into four categories: Initial, routine, periodic or interim, and restoration or corrective.

Let''s explore the options.

Initial Stages

In an initial focus, this procedure is completed immediately upon installation of the flooring.

In each hard surface category, maintenance professionals must have an initial plan of action.

In a tile and grout installation, it may be the removal of the inevitable grout haze left from the installation crew.

Removal should be accomplished for proper appearance of the tile.

In this situation, the grout should be sealed to keep spills from staining the grout area.

Managing For Optimal Results

Routine procedures are paramount for keeping up appearances.

The better you accomplish these tasks, the less restorative procedures will be necessary.

These procedures are very efficient and usually lower cost tasks.

All custodians should understand the basic concepts for dry particulate soil removal for all types of hard surface flooring.

VCT and other flat floors can be dusted easily; however, grouted surfaces need proper vacuuming to remove the dry soils in the grout channel.

Dusting with microfiber or traditional dust mops, or other flat surface cleaning tools, does not completely remove soils deposited in the grout channel.

Not taking action on the deposited soils can cause high levels of buildup in grout lines.

If there are other soils present, such as proteins from cooking or food services, the soils could easily be bound on the grout surface, even if properly sealed with penetrating sealers.

The procedural concept of periodic or interim maintenance is the primary area to save costly restoration work.

These types of procedures are necessary only when routine tasks do not leave flooring with the appearance customers desire.

The moment you begin to see a traffic pattern in the flooring, you must act to remove either the embedded soils in your top coat finishes or the soil buildup in the grout channels.

The longer you wait to act, the more costly floor services will be.

On VCT flooring or other top-coated floors, we can use the time- and cost-saving techniques of light scrub and burnish — or spray buff depending on finish type — or light scrub and re-coat.

Done properly, your floors will have a "like-new" appearance with minimum cost.

Periodic procedures on grouted surfaces could include grout scrubbing with a hand brush with V-shaped bristles to allow access of the brush to the low lying area of the floor.

In larger areas, your procedures could call for rotary brushing machines or cylindrical brushing machines designed to access the low areas.

In either case, you must ensure proper agitation of the soils trapped in the lower area to facilitate removal.

If your brush does not contact the soil buildup, you will not have proper removal.

In all cases, periodic procedures need to be part of an overall maintenance plan and should be scheduled well in advance of soil accumulation.

Your goal is to minimize restoration procedures.

Restorative or corrective procedures cost your companies the most money in labor and time.

To allow a floor to degrade to this level also allows your customer to see the flooring at its worst possible state.

This can cause friction or loss of customer support if the flooring degrades beyond repair.

Even if you are not responsible for the routine services, you can easily include proper routine methods, a service schedule for customers and a service checklist to ensure proper attention is given to the most important aspect of floor care.

You can easily play the role of consultant to help your customers and allow your company to shine as brightly as the flooring you service.

If you are looking for different ideas to foster these types of relationships with clients, contact Dane Gregory, a business consultant and trainer specializing in working with companies in the professional cleaning industry. He currently trains technicians in the use of cleaning protocols for stone, tile and masonry surfaces for IICRC Certification. He also presents a business opportunity for newcomers in the cleaning industry in the care of ceramic tile, stone and grout, with a full equipment and training package. He can be contacted at, where you will find a safety program template that can be purchased or contacted at