10 Startling Reasons Why Your Janitorial Company Is Missing The Mark

Posted by Ananth Rao on Apr 15, 2016 10:42:21 PM

Have you been feeling like your janitorial company has been slacking off lately?

You noticed that they started off strong, did all the right things, but then, somehow, inexplicably, your cleaning service started going south. A random, missed trash can somewhere initially, then perhaps a few streaks on the lobby floor, and then problems just began to multiply. Is it possible you’re experiencing the “yo-yo cleaning” phenomenon – service levels up one day, down the other?

Are your tenants starting to complain increasingly about missed trash cans, areas not being vacuumed, or (the unforgivable!) running out of toilet paper in restrooms? The chances are that these are visible, surface-level symptoms of deeper problems with the janitorial cleaning operations in your building. So what could be going on?



Here are ten reasons why your janitorial company is missing the mark:


1. Inadequate staffing

Understaffing is the number one reason most janitorial operations fail. This problem is particularly the case in buildings where cleaning occurs after work hours. In most cases, there is no real oversight of whether the building is indeed getting the originally proposed nightly cleaning hours. For example, if it takes 40 hours to clean your building every night, and you are getting only 30 hours, you have a problem.


2. Poor supervision

Your building’s cleaning supervisor can make or break the janitorial operations in your building. A strong supervisor knows how to manage resources, address hot-button issues, is on top of tenant requests, and knows how to handle the cleaning crew to get the job done. A poorly trained, inexperienced supervisor (or worse, no Supervisor!), on the other hand, might be the reason you’re having problems in the building.


3. High staff turnover

Does it feel like you see a new person on the cleaning crew every other week? It’s a sign you have high staff turnover in your building. Staff retention is a challenge for most janitorial companies. Every time a new member joins the cleaning crew, it takes a considerable amount of time to train and orient the crew member to building-specific issues (Think alarm codes, tenant specific hours, keys, etc.) Losing a trained member of the cleaning staff means more resources spent on training new member that translates to lost cleaning productivity and the “yo-yo” phenomenon of inconsistent cleaning service.


4. Passive (or no!) management support

Do you remember the last time a management representative from the cleaning company checked in with you? If you haven’t seen a management representative (usually the Area Manager, Operations Manager or General Manager) in a while, it is likely your building is not getting the attention it deserves. It probably means there is very little oversight of the cleaning operations at your building. The management representative assigned to your building performs several critical functions including hiring, training, tenant relations, project work scheduling, inventory management, reporting and overall personnel management. Is the cleaning operation at your building a victim of poor janitorial management?


5. Lack of on-going training

Ask any janitorial contractor if they do training, and the answer will always be a “yes”. The key is whether the cleaning crew receives regular training on an on-going, across-the-board basis. The next time you see a member of the cleaning crew, ask her what the last topic of her training was. If you get a blank stare, you know there’s no real training program. Without a well thought out training program, service delivery in your building will suffer. Combine poor/no training with high staff turnover; you have the perfect recipe for a janitorial disaster.


6. Inefficient inventory control

If you walk into a janitorial closet and notice that it’s looking empty or “light”, that’s a problem. If it looks like there are mountains of paper product boxes piled high, that’s a problem too! Depending on the storage space available (which is a premium in buildings!), over-ordering, or under-ordering supplies can have a direct impact on the cleaning service in our building.


7. Inconsistent quality control

When was the last time you walked the building with the janitorial company’s quality assurance representative? If your last janitorial inspection was six months ago, chances are the quality of janitorial service will drop at your building. Excellent service delivery comes from doing basic things well on a consistent basis. A good quality control program ensures that consistency.


8. Broken/inadequate equipment

Most janitorial equipment such as vacuums and floor machines last about three years with proper care and preventative maintenance. If you are noticing repeated problems with certain specific areas of cleaning (such as vacuuming), the problem could simply be broken equipment. If the cleaning crew is not trained properly in preventative maintenance, they will continue using broken or malfunctioning equipment and your building will continue receiving poor janitorial service!


9. Insufficient supplies

Have you encountered situations where (gasp!) the restrooms were out of toilet paper? That is a clear sign your janitorial company ran out of supplies.


10. Deficient communication

Have you been in situations where you asked your janitorial contractor to take care of an issue (let’s say, spot clean a coffee spill in a tenant suite), only to hear from the irate tenant the next day that the custodians didn’t get it done? You thought you clearly communicated the issue; the janitorial company acknowledged they were going to get it resolved, but then nothing happened!

Poor communication is probably the culprit and can occur at several levels between:

  1. Day cleaning and night cleaning crew
  2. The Janitorial company and Property Management
  3. Between tenants and janitorial company

Ideally, the janitorial company should (at a minimum!) maintain nightly logs and email these to Property Management, so everyone is on the same page.


So, what can you do to fix these issues? Click here to find out.

Topics: janitorial services

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