Misconceptions About Janitorial Companies Revealed

by Compass Cleaning Solutions • November 07, 2016
Janitorial services revealed

Is there really that much difference between commercial cleaning companies?

I could ask the same of you and your company and I bet I would get a resounding, “Of course there is a difference!” The challenge is that many of those distinctions get lost in another perhaps more overriding question, “How much does it cost?” While cost of service is an important consideration it is just one consideration, just like it is in your company. There are other issues to consider.

Why does the cleaning company always start off good, but then things fall apart after a few months?

This is one of those questions that has as many answers as there are companies and cleaners. Generally a drop in service of any kind is centered within the person providing the service. Boredom, monotony and the lure of other activities are certainly major factors. I would offer that the original motivation for doing the job wore thin and was not the proper factor in the first place. Authors and researchers have recently demonstrated that financial motivators, while strong for a time, do not last and actually give way to more esoteric drives like creativity and autonomy, to name two.

So how can a cleaning company mitigate this problem? One solution is to rotate accounts between crews every few months. While the work is the same, the schedule and venue is new and requires a fresh look. Providing constant feedback and opportunities to try new things, within reason, can create the stimulation needed to perform a fairly repetitive and mundane set of tasks. The bottom line is regular change to either the schedule or tasks assigned can help keep the crew alert.

Another and probably more effective solution is accountability. We’ve all experienced this. When we know people are watching and there are consequences for sub par performance we work harder. We all do it whether consciously or not. Periodic, unannounced inspections and immediate feedback can help a lot.

Why don’t they talk to me/communicate with me?

Communication is one of those things that is so simple and yet is so hard to convince people to do. It always amazes me how much recrimination and misunderstanding can be eliminated with something as simple as a phone call. Common courtesy and respect are exemplified in the simple communication process. We’ve all experienced the service guy who never shows when he says he will. Our schedule has been disrupted and our time wasted. We are beyond angry. But we have also experienced the service person calling 20-30 minutes ahead and letting us know that they will be late by 15 minutes. We are given time to adjust our expectations and our negative assumptions are kept in check.

The philosophy within our organization is to over communicate. But Mike, don’t you annoy your clients. First, our assumptions about what is too much communication is way too low to begin with. Second, if you have a regular communication plan and a follow up policy that everyone in your organization adheres to, you will hit the exact right amount of communication. Its funny but many of our clients have come to anticipate our calls because we are on a schedule.

They all clean with the same products so what’s the difference?

Commercial cleaning is a commodity service but just because a lot of people do the same thing doesn’t mean they all use current technologies and systems or with an eye to our environment. Not all companies strive for technological awareness and implementation. Because technologies are not easily integrated into the normal day to day process of office cleaning, many companies simply don’t try. For the companies who are technologically aware and do put in the effort to integrate them, their clients receive greater safety and better performance (cleaner office space), while simultaneously reducing the impact on our environment. In this regard there are significant differences.

Adoption of new technologies also requires adoption of new techniques and processes; a new way of thinking about an old task. This may be the most difficult challenge. Technicians who have done something one way for an extended time are resistant to change unless they can be shown that this technology will make their jobs easier and safer. It is simply a learning curve that quality, forward thinking cleaning companies are willing to embrace. The effort sets them apart.

The next time you are looking for a new janitorial service, remember, there are significant differences.