The Janitorial Service industry was largely considered an afterthought prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, these commercial janitorial services serve a vital role in keeping facilities safe for employees, students, patients, customers, and other types of visitors. As such, you should expect the relationship between your organization and your custodial services team to change. In this article, we will discuss expectations surrounding cleaning and disinfecting your facility, and expectations from and for your cleaning team.
1. Cleanliness Now Equates to Safety
Employees, patients, students, and other visitors to your facility will have high expectations surrounding the cleanliness of your facility. A clean facility will now be deemed a safe facility. Unfortunately, the converse will also apply. As such, it will be important to talk with your janitorial service vendor or cleaning team to discuss these higher expectations, AND to have a plan in place to regularly inspect your facility. Reputable commercial cleaning vendors should already have an inspection protocol in place.
2. It Will Take Longer to Clean AND Disinfect Your Facility
Prior to the pandemic, a janitorial service was primarily responsible for cleaning, rather than cleaning AND disinfecting. Cleaning = REMOVING germs, Disinfecting = KILLING germs. Sure, there was some disinfecting that occurred in restrooms and break areas, but little elsewhere. The main reason for the lack of disinfecting has been budget and cost – we will discuss that in a moment.
To properly disinfect, a surface must be cleaned first, and then a disinfectant must “dwell” on the surface for up to 10 minutes to properly kill the germs. This process just takes longer. Our company utilizes electrostatic sprayers to increase the speed of our disinfecting services, but the fact remains, there are now two steps (cleaning and disinfecting) that are required to keep your building safe.
3. You Will Need to Increase Your Cleaning and Disinfecting Budget
Unfortunately, there is really no way around this. As mentioned previously, it is going to require more work hours from your commercial janitorial service to properly complete their work. For too long, companies have based their custodial services decisions largely on price alone. Unfortunately, there are commercial cleaning services who will take the business at the low price and do just enough work to keep from getting fired. That is simply a recipe for disaster now.
We expect wages for janitorial services workers to increase as their work has more of a perceived risk. In our market area, custodial wages may move as much as $1.00 – $2.00 more per hour. Lastly, as it relates to budgetary considerations, your cleaning team will also see a significant increase in cleaning chemical cost as more, high cost chemicals will be required.
4. Good Time to Evaluate Your Janitorial Service
Because the stakes are higher regarding the cleanliness of your facility, it is a good time to consider the strength and depth of your custodial team. If you have an in-house team, make sure that they remain abreast of changes and trends in the industry. If you use an outsourced custodial team, or are considering outsourcing, it is best to find a reputable vendor who is well versed at cleaning and disinfecting, and who has the resources to adequately serve your facility. Below are a few tips for finding a good commercial cleaning vendor.
TIP #1 – Find a company with a strong local presence in your area – We found that the need to deploy resources (people and equipment) was heightened during the initial days of the outbreak. Thankfully, most of our resources were concentrated in specific geographic areas. If your company outsources the work at your facility to a large national company, it might make sense to check on their local capabilities.
TIP #2 – Find a commercial janitorial service company with cleaning and disinfecting experience – We anticipate new companies entering our industry to take advantage of the need for disinfecting services. Because there is no significant barrier to entering this industry, you may become inundated by companies seeking to “disinfect your building”. Ask how long the vendor has been in business. Ask about their cleaning and disinfecting process. It will be important to find a vendor with experience in the disinfecting AND cleaning industry.
TIP # 3 – Find a trustworthy commercial cleaning vendor – This may seem like an obvious tip, but the need to have a trustworthy, commercial janitorial services PARTNER is more important now than ever before. Things to look for – experience, depth of local resources, excellent references from other organizations of similar size and scope, transparency in pricing, and sound operations and people processes. Finding the right janitorial services partner for your organization will certainly provide you and your company with peace of mind.
In closing, we wish the very best for you and your organization. Keeping your building clean and safe will be an important consideration for the foreseeable future. Use caution as you are engaged by emerging disinfecting companies. Using the information from this article will help to recognize reputable commercial janitorial services partners.