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Tools of the Trade

Considerations to help you spend more wisely

Back in the day, a startup cleaning business could bid on a facility armed with nothing more than a vacuum cleaner, a mop, and a broom. Today, the changing needs of facilities, combined with the evolution of technology, require a much bigger—and wiser—investment by both new and established businesses.

Today’s cleaning options are endless. The items available for daily cleaning alone can make your head spin. And making the wrong decision will cost you in terms of your initial outlay and additional labor.

Take the situation of Dave, a facilities manager for a university. Dave thought the university should consider purchasing an autoscrubber for its activity center, but he knew it would be hard to justify such a big outlay.

However, Dave was able to show, when spread throughout the course of the next five years, the cost of the auto scrubber was much less than the labor costs to damp mop the area during the same period. He was able to accomplish this by analyzing the numbers provided by the equipment manufacturer, and validating them with a return-on-investment calculator.

Technology Enhancements

Dave’s situation is just one example of how updated equipment and specialized technology can help to save time and money. Think of the changes in floor cleaning alone.

  • Something as simple as microfiber mops have made it much easier for cleaners to maintain a floor. In a hospital, the microfiber mop—if used properly—may lower the chances for cross-contamination during the mopping process, which is a serious problem in health care settings.
  • A number of newer stone polishing methods have revolutionized the maintenance of stone floors in facilities. While the initial preparation is somewhat labor intensive, the cleaning service no longer has to strip the floor finish every year and apply new finish. Ultimately, these methods save significant dollars in stripper, finish, and labor, not to mention, they provide customer satisfaction with a floor that maintains a consistent appearance day in and day out.
  • Then there are systems that charge plain water and convert it into a cleaner. While they can’t replace every item on your shelf, a local Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS)-certified organization recently found that it could replace 75 percent of its stocked chemicals with one of these systems.

Spending Wisely

Of course, a new approach does not always result in improvements, and not all improvements are worth the outlay. So how do you decide what will bring the best return on your investment?

Several resources are available to help determine which equipment and technology are the best fit for your cleaning business.

  • Consultants can be a good place to start. Suffice it to say, I’m a bit biased here, because I am one. While it’s your business to keep customers satisfied by providing the best service possible, the consultant’s business is to stay abreast of changes in the industry—something you may not have time to research.
  • Industry associations and publications can also be good sources for everything the industry has to offer.
  • Distributors and sales representatives can help to boil down your exact needs and navigate through the different chemical and equipment lines.

Selecting the proper tools of the trade can save you money, and help to provide the best possible service to your clients. In this competitive world of cleaning, using the proper tools can make the difference between profitability/customer retention and the alternative.

 

Posted On September 1, 2015

Lance Witschen

President of 1ClassConsulting

Lance Witschen, president of 1ClassConsulting and Scout Management Solutions, uses his years of experience to provide solutions for clients. Witschen is a co-author of Behind the Broom. For more information, visit www.behindthebroom.com or email lance@1classconsulting.com.

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