Do Cheap Cleaning Prices Translate to Poor Quality?
The answer is both yes and no. Cleaning prices have stayed fairly level despite increasing labor and materials costs because the economic climate demands it. There continues to be tremendous pressure for businesses to control and push down their operating costs. One area where this pressure is felt acutely is in facilities’ maintenance. So in spite of the ever-increasing costs of labor and materials over the last fifteen years, commercial cleaning prices have remained about the same.
How Can Cleaning Prices Remain Level While Hard Costs Like Labor & Materials Rise Without Impacting The Quality Of Service?
Remember the old adage “you get what you pay for?” Well, it’s true, but sometimes what you are paying for is the experience and now how of a company that understands how to best customize their work specification to both what you need and how much you need to pay for it. Likewise, there have been many improvements in cleaning techniques, cleaning supplies, and cleaning equipment. Cleaning equipment such as backpack vacuums have tripled the productivity of cleaners while improving indoor air quality. Companies are now also using smart cleaning approaches that target most of their effort and time on cleaning the areas of the building that are being used most. However, this kind of focused cleaning requires both special training of the cleaning crew, as well as a great deal of daily planning to make sure that nothing gets missed.
Two Companies, Two Different Ways of Seeing the Cleaning Service Industry
Let’s use two hypothetical janitorial companies to demonstrate the difference. Let’s say Company A is led by Al and Al understands that the razor thin facility maintenance budgets are not likely to change any time soon. It’s a tough situation but Al and Company A have always sought to be responsive to the needs of their customers. Al and his team know that necessity is in fact the mother of invention and innovation and so they do just that. Al searches out new products, equipment, training and systems that make things better and quicker allowing Company A to deliver a price that meets their customers budget restrictions. Sure, all of these things cost Al and Company A more money upfront with little immediate or direct return because of static pricing, but Al understands that this is the reality of the business environment right now and he also understands that making these responsive advances will keep customers long term.
Bob runs Company B in stark contrast to Company A. Bob’s favorite pastime is complaining about how it’s not fair that facility managers are demanding lower prices. Bob doesn’t think about the fact that these guys are under the very same pressures he is to keep their costs down. Instead he thinks every potential customer is just trying to bleed him dry. When probed about advances in cleaning techniques or new equipment, Bob tells his team that with prices flat, there’s no money for anything, in fact, they might have to cut back on some things. Maybe Bob gets rid of a few managers forcing existing supervisors to oversee many more teams. Maybe broken or poorly operating equipment isn’t replaced very quickly, or until a customer actually complains. Perhaps a lack of supplies and equipment mean employees are working harder for less money causing even more turnover.
You ask Company A and Company B for cleaning bids and they come in around the same, which company do you think is going to do a better job? Companies that are flexible, responsive and innovative are the type of companies that big business wants on their side when faced with a problem. These forward looking leaders don’t complain about the way it should be, they work with the way it is. They embrace the changes, or lack of changes in this industry, and figure out a way to meet their internal objectives and those of their customers. They engage in long term relationship building that leads to customer relationships that have some flexibility in both directions making it possible and even pleasant to work together.
Change adverse companies put too much of their time into complaining about change instead of embracing it. The resistant, reactive companies fail to direct their frustration over industry challenges into problem solving. These companies, and there are many that fit this description, get stuck and thus over time, their level of service slips as does there commitment and enthusiasm for the cleaning industry in general and the customers they serve.
Those cleaning companies with documented training programs that demonstrate the capabilities to change with the ever-changing market demands will give you their best year in and year out. Companies that will weather the current challenges with innovative solution focused practices have always ended up on top. The companies who do it the same way today as they did ten years ago refusing to embrace change will get and lose business in a quick cycle that end with either the customer walking away frustrated and angry or the business owner walking away from the industry entirely.
How Do You Find A Company That Can Deliver Both Cheap & Good At The Same Time?
It isn’t impossible to find a commercial cleaning company or janitorial service that delivers a high level of service at a price you can live with. Finding them might feel like looking for a diamond in a pile of cut glass, but there are some shortcuts to make choosing the right cleaning service provider more clear.
One of the easiest routes to finding those cleaning companies that both innovate and fine tune their operations to meet the cleaning and budget needs of their customers is to look for a janitorial company that are ISSA CIMS certified. ISSA CIMS Certified companies receive their certification from the International Cleaning Industry association. This certification requires that the company meet stringent best practices that demonstrate aptitude and commitment to the highest levels of service.
Cleaning companies that have achieved ISSA CIMS certification have documented processes that help demonstrate an ability to adapt to changing facility needs. To adapt properly, a cleaning service must documented procedures in place so they can have a starting point. From that starting point a good commercial cleaning service can make sustainable changes to a facility’s cleaning program. However, without training and documentation, any changes made in the cleaning program will be temporary at best because of staff turnover or lack of motivation to change. You can ask for referrals, ask lots of questions and check references but working with ISSA CIMS certified cleaning companies is a great initial way to separate the As from the Bs and give you and your facility the best chance at finding a proactive and innovative janitorial service provider that you can work in tandem with to keep you facilities running smoothly.