Whether you are an experienced Facilities Manager or a business owner, finding and hiring a dependable, expert commercial cleaning services can be a tall order. It can be all too easy to choose the wrong cleaning company because anyone can say anything about their services, true or not. Perhaps you are thinking about outsourcing the commercial cleaning services in your facility. How do you figure out who is actually capable of delivering on their promises of great service to you and who is not? No matter what you might hear in a sales pitch, there’s one vital component to any commercial cleaning services company, and that is people.
RULE #1 Commercial Cleaning companies aren’t in the vacuum business, they are in the people business.
All too often, cleaning companies focus on the wrong things not understanding the critical role of their employees in the equation. Or, they have a hard time finding and keeping good people and the emphasis on products and equipment is smoke and mirrors to cover their revolving door of mediocre employees. Take for example the scenario a great deal of Facilities Managers have experienced. Al is a Facility Manager looking to hire a commercial cleaning service. So he asks a couple of his contacts for some names, calls a few people and set up some appointments. Pete comes in from ABC Commercial Cleaning Services to tell Al about their services and gives him a price quote. Pete’s not a bad guy, in fact, he’s pretty friendly and he shows up on time. He tells Al about a new green cleaning product line they use that is, according to Pete, better than anything else out there. He talks a lot about their new floor machine, the vacuums and how ABC Commercial Cleaning Services is better than any of the competition. But Pete never really tells Al exactly what makes his cleaning company better beyond the vacuums, floor machines and cleaning products and Al knows all of that stuff doesn’t operate on its own. Pete never once mentions the people who will be behind the vacuum, floor machine and spray cleaner. He says absolutely zero about the people who will be in Al’s building at night.
Pete has forgotten rule number one, commercial cleaning services aren’t in the vacuum business, they are in the people business. That Pete would fail to mention the single most important factor in how successful a relationship Al and his commercial cleaning service will have concerns him, and it should. Does Pete have good employees? Who knows? If he, or any other commercial cleaning service company doesn’t understand that the single most critical component in any successful commercial cleaning service is people, then it is not going to matter how hi-tech the floor machine is or how superior the window cleaner is, the service will no doubt suffer.
Good people are the cornerstone of every service company. The one element that must be present when you are searching for the right company to care for your facilities is that they understand how to find and retain really good people. There are some truly exceptional commercial cleaning services right here in Michigan. Conversely, there are also some pretty terrible cleaning services too. The range between both experience and qualifications within the cleaning industry is tremendous. Commercial cleaning services are thought of by many as a low cost of entry start up business. Buy some equipment, hire some people and you are good to go right? Wrong. Each year the commercial cleaning business is besieged with new guys, most of who disappear almost as quickly as they appeared.
Finding the right people, training them, managing them, motivating them day in and day out is much more difficult than it might at first appear. Yes, equipment, products and procedures are significant, however, a person operates the vacuum, a person is charged with making certain the windows are spotless and a person reviews their list at the end of their day. People who work within a commercial cleaning company where they are compensated equitably simply do better work. Employees that are well trained, consistently treated respectfully, offered opportunities to learn and grow, and acknowledged when they go above and beyond, these are the kind of people who will bring the right attitude and work ethic when they enter your facilities.
RULE #2 Employees who are well-trained, consistently treated respectfully, offered opportunities to learn and grow, and acknowledged when they go above and beyond will bring the right attitude and work ethic when they enter your facilities.
So how do you find a company that understands the vital role people play in their success so that you can get good or even great commercial cleaning services in your facility?
Ask the Right Questions, Find the Right Commercial Cleaning Services
When you are considering hiring commercial cleaning services, you should look first to referrals from colleagues or other facilities managers that you know and trust. If such referrals are in short supply, which they may be because so many Facility Managers are unhappy with their cleaning services, be prepared to ask the right questions. For example:
▪ How do you verify employees’ work eligibility, are all your employees legal hires?
▪ Do you subcontract any part of your business?
▪ What methods do you use to screen prospective employees?
▪ Who supervises the employees who will be in my facility?
▪ Who do I call when there’s an issue?
▪ How many other facilities and/or team does that person handle?
▪ What do you do to find and keep the best-qualified employees?
▪ Do you have a system to handle complaints?
Is There An “Easy” Button When It Comes to Finding a Solid Commercial Cleaning Service?
While there is no substitute for getting the information first hand, existing industry associations can save you time and help you create your “short list” of prospective commercial cleaning services. CIMS Certification is available to commercial cleaning services and other cleaning and janitorial services from the ISSA, an industry association for building service professionals. CIMS stands for Cleaning Industry Management Standards. CIMS sets standards that companies must meet in order to prove they are operating by the industries established “best practices.” The six areas of best practices that the commercial cleaning services industry has determined are critical to success are as follows:
▪ Quality systems
▪ Service delivery
▪ Human resources
▪ Health, safety, and environmental stewardship
▪ Management commitment
▪ Green building
Any business that has taken the time to establish known best practices within their industry is demonstrating a solid commitment to servicing their customers. In meeting these stringent certification requirements, these commercial cleaning services are much more likely to have addressed service issues and potential problems that other newer or uncertified companies that operate under a “good enough” mentality. CIMS certification translates into a more proactive commercial cleaning service for your facility. So find those companies that work hard to be the best of the best in the industry, ask your questions, verify they understand the role great people play in their success and your satisfaction and you will likely find a commercial cleaning services company that you can trust and rely on.