How do you know if the cleaning costs of your office, retail or industrial space are too high?
The ideal objective is to find an excellent cleaner or contractor and manage a long term, low maintenance relationship.
This article on reducing cleaning costs is written by Roger Green, who founded Spotless Commercial Cleaning in 1988 and now employs more than 1200 cleaning staff across the UK.
Here are 8 valuable tips on how to reduce your commercial cleaning costs:
1. In-house cleaner or contractor?
General rule of thumb is to use a commercial cleaning contractor if you have more than 10 staff.
If you have a good in-house arrangement, then stick with it as long as you can. If your in-house cleaner is very reliable, provides their own holiday cover, and buys their own chemicals, they are gold-dust!
If, however, they are unreliable and high maintenance, they are probably causing you extra work. Remember too your Health & Safety responsibilities towards COSHH, Risk Assessments and Method Statements.
It’s worth asking your neighbouring businesses to see if you can piggy back on their cleaning arrangements.
If you have 10+ staff, use a contractor, but also note the points below.
2. How many cleaning days per week?
Ensure you have the right number of days of cleaning per week.
Spotless advice is as follows:
- 1-5 staff – 2 days per week
- 6-9 staff – 3 days per week
- 10+ staff – 5 days per week
3. How many hours per day?
Ensure you have the right number of hours. At Spotless, we call this the Productivity Rate.
In large open plan offices, a cleaner should clean 3,000 sq ft per hour – depending on the cleaning specification.
In large cellular offices, a cleaner should clean 2,500 – 3,000 sq ft per hour.
In smaller offices of up to 4,000 sq ft, expect 2,000 sq ft per hr.
Cleaners generally don’t like working for less than 1.5 hrs as it outweighs their transport cost – unless, of course, they do 2-3 jobs in a row.
4. Should you reduce the cleaning specification?
If you want to cut cleaning costs, here are some great ways to reduce the specification:
- Vacuum Reception/Entrance, Meeting Rooms and high profile areas daily. All other areas vacuum weekly. A lot of companies are now doing this.
- Use central bins, not bins at every desk.
- Toilets and kitchens need to be cleaned daily if possible, but vacuuming, dusting and other tasks can be rotational.
- If you have more than 15 staff, install a dishwasher. It will save labour time. If you have less than 15 staff, ask you own staff to wash their own crockery.
Tell the cleaning company how many hours you want, and ask them to put together a specification accordingly. Otherwise, they will generally err on the high side
5. Daytime or out of hours?
If you can bear the interruption factor, daytime is best. Why?
- You have the satisfaction of knowing the cleaner is doing their full hours.
- You don’t need to give out keys and security details.
- You save on electricity.
- You can manage the relationship with the cleaner more directly, and they feel more valued.
What you need to guard against is cleaners who like a 10 minute chat every day.
If your cleaner is working out of hours, make sure they have a time attendance recording system such as Ezitracker, and ask for occasional printouts of hours worked.
6. Look for transparent pricing
Always ask for a breakdown of weekly cost, and be clear on the hourly rate of pay for the cleaners and how many hours you are paying for.
Check that the mark-up (overheads, management and margin) on fixed costs is no more than 30% for small contracts and 10% for large contracts.
7. Reduce window cleaning frequency to reduce cleaning costs
This is a quick and easy way to reduce cleaning costs. Go for 8 or 12 weekly. 4-weekly is generally overkill, unless you have a high-profile frontage or showroom.
The difference to the human eye is negligible.
Internal windows and insides of external windows should be cleaned every other visit only.
8. Value of a good, long term relationship
If you find a great company, stick with them, unless they are too expensive. Use the tendering process for bench-marking only.
Every time you change contractors there is always a bedding-in period, and a new relationship to be made with the management. Having a good relationship with the same manager is very valuable.
Remember, if you change cleaning company, the cleaner has the right to TUPE across, which means that their employment is automatically protected. Changing cleaning companies does not mean you automatically change the cleaning staff.
But if you do want a new start with a new cleaning operative, a good commercial cleaning contractor will find ways to explore the various options of re-deploying your cleaner elsewhere, by mutual consent.
At Spotless Commercial Cleaning we value long term relationships with our clients and staff; we’ve created a positive working culture for our employees where we promote respect and support as our core values.
Our commitment to a positive work place culture sets us apart from most other cleaning companies. The result is low staff turnover which ensures that our clients enjoy consistent, high cleaning standards for the long term. As we like to say: ‘Happy Cleaners mean Happy Clients’.
If you’d like a no-obligation Cleaning Review, we’d love to hear from you.