Detroit Janitorial & Cleaning Services Blog

The Pros And Cons Of Hiring A National Janitorial Company

Posted by Mitch Hesson on Mon, Aug 07, 2017 @ 01:39 PM

national janitorial company, national janitorial services, national cleaning companies

Choosing the Right Janitorial Services Isn’t a No Brainer

If choosing the right janitorial services company was a no brainer, everyone would be content and satisfied with their commercial cleaning services. Talk to a handful of Facility Managers and you know that is not the case. In fact, finding the right janitorial company is one of the responsibilities Facility Managers tell us they find the most challenging. Why is that? In part because there are simply SO many building services contractors in all shapes, sizes and abilities. From the small mom and pop shops to the giant, towering national janitorial services, there are so many choices. Choice is good but too many choices can make it hard to compare commercial cleaning companies to find the right choice for your facility. Many a Facility Manager is tempted to pick from national janitorial companies hoping their size might in some way indicate a readiness to do the work needed. But is a national janitorial service any better than a Detroit janitorial company? And how DO you choose a winner from the crowded janitorial marketplace regardless of what size company you decide to partner with?

With So Many Sizes & Types of Commercial Cleaning Companies, What’s Right For My Facility?

There can seem to be no end to the size and type of cleaning companies in the janitorial marketplace. From the ‘one man and a van’ operations to the small local companies,large local companies and national cleaning companies, finding the right one for you and your facility can tough. Add to the difficulty in finding the right company, then you have to determine what you should be paying for the care and maintenance of your facility. While every size and type of company has assets and liabilities, we can shorten our list to those companies capable of handling larger accounts like the smaller local janitorial companies, the large to mid sized local Detroit janitorial companies and the larger national cleaning companies. Often, in search of a building services company that is big enough to meet their needs, many Facility Manager assume they must contract with a national cleaning company in order to get adequate coverage. Sure, size matters, but only to a point. What really matters are other factors irrespective of size.


Best practices on everything from employee screening to janitorial inspections translates from a good plan by your janitorial company to good service on your end.

Technology like time saving cleaning equipment not only gets you the most effective cleaning, it saves labor hours, which make up the single largest percentage of janitorial costs. Janitorial companies that invest in state of the art technology can actually SAVE you money.

Individualized service can be the difference between good and great. The best janitorial companies understand how to tailor their services to YOUR business making themselves an indispensable partner in your building services.

Even in the best janitorial companies, issues will arise. The difference between a mediocre commercial cleaning company and a great one is what do they do when there is an issue? Responsiveness and a clear plan will make or break your janitorial services.

People are paramount in every service business and commercial cleaning is no exception. Is your national janitorial company or Detroit commercial cleaning company doing what they need to and more to assure they attract, screen, hire, train and manage the very best people for the work?

Safety and security go hand in hand with people processes. This is why the best cleaning companies not only conduct drug testing and criminal background checks, they go above and beyond in checking references, verifying employment and other measures to assure that you can count on and trust the people in and out of your facility.

Processes are critical because if your janitorial company doesn’t plan for success, they plan to fail. Especially in larger companies, systems and processes create businesses that can scale successfully as they grow. Processes assure reliability through accountability.

Value is far more significant than price when you are contemplating outsourcing your janitorial services. Price is what you pay, while value is what you get. A low low janitorial quote is meaningless if you are not provided with the services your organization needs to run smoothly and look its best.

Green cleaning programs have never been more important than they are now as businesses look to reduce their environmental impact and create healthy, safe workplaces. Green cleaning programs must be more than buzzwords and empty promises. Your janitorial services provider should offer affordable, effective green cleaning options that help move you toward your organization’s green cleaning goals.

CIMS-GB and similar industry certifications essentially measure the factors already detailed above. CIMS GB or the Certified Industry Management Standard and Green Building, offer a clear and documented indication that a commercial cleaning company values professionalism and best practices. CIMS offers a great way (that is also free to you) to qualify cleaning companies, reducing the scope of your search to only the most competent and capable cleaning companies out there.


What Are the Real Pros & Cons of a National Janitorial Company?

So now that we have an understand of what a great commercial janitorial company looks like, let’s examine how national janitorial services and local operations measure up.


Giant National Janitorial Service

Mid to Large Local Janitorial Service

Small Local Janitorial Company

Best Practices & Processes

A national janitorial company is likely to have formal process as very large companies need them. But if they rely on subcontractors, there are no assurances that best practices are followed.

These companies are likely to have processes to help manage staff and operations. Whether or not they follow best practices can vary among businesses. For this reason, either using CIMS certified companies or independently verifying best practices is vital.

Smaller companies are not as likely to have systems and processes or follow best practices. This is because these involve management and administration that is often in short supply in smaller companies that cannot afford this kid of infrastructure.

Buying Power

National cleaning companies can have considerable buying power on items like paper goods that they may or may not pass on to you the customer.

A larger local commercial cleaning company will also benefit from considerable buying power and are likely to pass this savings along to you in order to price themselves competitively.

Not likely to have any buying power due to small purchases of recurring supplies.

Individualized Service & Responsiveness

This is the biggest liability with national janitorial companies. Like most other giant corporations, getting to the person who can remedy your problem is often next to impossible. Who is ultimately responsible for your account? Who knows? And getting operational responsiveness can be a challenge if you can’t get through to a person who can get you what you need. We all know that nothing about giant national companies is usually fast.

A mid to large local janitorial service offers the best mix of personal responsiveness with operational responsiveness. In these operations it is usually very apparent who your point of contact is and you can reach the ‘top dog’ if necessary. Likewise, as a bigger operation, they are poised to offer you operational responsiveness like flexible staffing, quick response to issues or changing circumstances.

With a small local janitorial company, it is likely that you know exactly who’s in charge and they would be happy to talk to you. The problem is, if you have a large facility or even multiple facilities, your needs are likely to be beyond the scope of a small scale operation.

Technology & Efficiency

National janitorial companies may employ solid technology but there are two factors, which can impact this. First, replacing old equipment in a large operation can be extremely costly and harder to approve. Additionally, if they use subcontractors, they may not have any input, oversight or assurances on the equipment, materials or products they use.

Mid to large local operations may or may not use the latest in technology. It is advisable as technological advances like Boost floor care and backpack vacuums can create efficiencies that help them keep costs down for customers. This is an area where you as a Facility Manager must inquire directly about the tools and products a prospective cleaning company uses.

Smaller cleaning operations are known for being slow to adapt to industry changes. This is because with smaller operations, they must make equipment acquisitions last as long as possible in order to cut costs. And then there is scale, purchasing new equipment for only a few accounts just isn’t as feasible as it is with larger operations.

Safety & Security

Safety and security are critical. Larger cleaning companies are more likely to have systems and procedures in place but you still must be certain. Likewise, if they subcontract or use franchisees, you have no assurance that they are doing everything needed to screen employees.

These mid to large size local companies are likely to know their people better than a larger, more spread out operation. Still, you must determine if they are adequately screening new team members including drug testing and criminal background checks.

Smaller companies with frequent staff changes are notorious for cutting corners on the critical steps in the hiring process. There are costs in both time and money to screening every single new employee. Whomever you choose, you must make sure they do not skip this important step.

Staffing Flexibility

A national cleaning company will have some flexibility to change staffing as needed but this will depend on how large a presence they have in your area. Do they have enough people locally to shift respond to your needs?

Mid to large local commercial cleaning companies often shine in this area. With large, qualified staff on-site, they are usually best at offering flexibility when you need more or less people servicing your facility.

Smaller cleaning companies just cannot respond to changing staffing needs. If you need less, they have employees they now have no work for making for a precarious situation. When you need more people, they don’t have enough employees to temporarily shift hands to meet your needs.

Geographical service area

National janitorial companies are likely to have the largest service area. If you are seeking a single janitorial provider in different locations throughout the country, a national janitorial service may be a good choice.

Regional Service area

Small local service area





Labor & Employee Morale

A national janitorial service will likely have a decent set up when it comes to hiring and screening employees but like so many huge national companies, building loyalty with employees and creating a responsive work environment is challenging.

A mid to large size cleaning company quite often will have developed systems to find, screen and manage a great team. Like the big guys, they will offer benefits but they also have greater access to a network of local labor.

Often the smaller janitorial companies have a hard time finding and keeping good people. Maybe it’s the lack of consistent work, benefits or the regular administration of a pool of great people.

Organizational flexibility & Menu of Services

Large national janitorial services are quite possibly set up to offer you a multitude of services. Likewise, they may have organizational flexibility but it might be difficult to figure out how to get what you need in a timely manner.

Midsized janitorial services quite often handle a wide array of basic and specialized services. Likewise, they can be creative and innovative with problem-solving because they are not limited by the rules and red tape of a national janitorial service franchise. They can easily adjust their services to fit your growing and changing.

Small cleaning companies do not usually offer anything beyond the basic cleaning services leaving you to contract with multiple vendors for any related services like specialty floor care, painting and more.

Impact on the Local Economy

They employ cleaners in the local market but beyond that, their jobs and dollars go elsewhere.

Made in Michigan companies employ Michiganites and keep their dollars local, whether its taxes or spending their paychecks right here in Michigan.

Local Michigan cleaning companies, even small ones, benefit the local economy.

Where You Rank As a Customer

With a giant national janitorial service, you are just one piece in their very large puzzle. National companies can replace accounts as fast as they lose them. They operate in so many markets that there is simply always new business for them somewhere else.

A large or midsize local Michigan janitorial company operates in a single market and that’s Michigan. That being the case, a solid company will work hard to keep your business and protect their reputation. If they don’t, they may quickly burn through potential customers.

A smaller janitorial company will certainly value you as a customer but whether or not they can deliver what you need is another story. When small companies handle large accounts they are often dangerously reliant on one client to keep their business afloat.


While national janitorial companies might offer competitive pricing, it is always important to look at exactly what you are getting for the price. After all, price is what you pay, value is what you get.

These commercial cleaning companies may or may not offer a real value for their customers. That is why it is critical that any janitorial company offer transparent pricing allowing you to compare cleaning quotes in a meaningful way.

Because of their size and scale, it is simply tougher for small operations to compete and offer the greatest value. Without buying power, efficient and effective equipment and best practices, competitive pricing is challenging.


Are Their Benefits to Keeping Janitorial Services Local?

When it comes down to it, no matter what commercial cleaning company you choose, you need to ask the questions and get the information to make the best decision for your facility. Some companies are great and some are not and it isn’t always dependent on size. Still, everything else being equal, local IS better. While a one-time business transaction, like buying office furniture, might make it inconsequential where you buy from, with your commercial cleaning company, you will have an ongoing business relationship with their people in your building, day after day and you talking to them when there is an issue. Wouldn’t you rather have a local company where you know exactly who to call to get what you need? Similarly, a local Detroit janitorial company has their finger on the pulse of the local community and is better equipped to find, hire and manage great people from right here in our own backyard. Finding a local cleaning company large enough to meet your needs who follows best practices, has great people who are screened, trained and managed, offers the buying power only larger companies can, uses technology to create efficiencies and effective service, offers true value and makes you a priority as a customer will get you better, more effective service every time.

janitorial pricing 

Tags: Commercial Cleaning, Janitorial Services, Industry Best Practices, Janitorial Pricing

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