Defining the term “cleaning” between facility managers and building service contractors can have its challenges. The word “Clean” may hold different meanings to different facility or office managers who have a different level of expectation on how they want to present their building to their superiors and visitors. Commercial cleaning companies like Rainbow want to deliver a superior service, but may define “cleaning” slightly differently depending on what tasks and cleaning practices they use as guidelines. Coordinating the cleaning and maintenance needs along with your budget can allow both parties to set expectations early on. Whether the service comes from an in-house team or an outside contract cleaning company, both will agree that delivering quality service is their main responsibility. Explaining those needs can be broken down into several performance levels.
First-time Initial Cleaning
A starting point to determine the base cleanliness each business expects can be a good place to start. Keep in mind that an initial first time clean done by your cleaning contractor may be more thorough in order to bring the space up to par if it has not been properly serviced and maintained. It may also take more time to clean the space considering the contractor and their team has yet to become familiar with the layout of the space. Another factor to consider is the industry production rates. That can run anywhere from 2,000-8,000 square feet per hour, depending on the level of tasks. So an initial first time clean may be much less in productivity levels per hour considering the factors described above.
Commercial cleaning contractors may choose to incorporate a one-time surcharge to the invoice and explain in the contract that the cost of preliminary labor and materials was needed in order to meet expectations and work efficiently. In-house facility managers that are considering hiring a cleaning contractor should keep this in mind as they budget for services. It is vital that all parties reach a mutual agreement about the terms and conditions and keep transparency while establishing a service contract relationship.
Understanding that extra steps may be taken in the beginning but will not be the norm throughout the contract will help alleviate confusion and misperceived expectations.
Standard or Basic Cleaning
Defining basic cleaning will fluctuate from facility to facility but since it is regularly done (typically 5-days per week), it is essentially a day-to-day light cleaning and pick-up after a business’s employees or customers leave for the evening. It typically includes:
- Light dusting
- Spot mopping
- Vacuuming high-traffic areas
- Spot cleaning switches
- Dusting all horizontal surfaces
- Emptying trash cans
Sometimes a facility manager will have employees or tenants take care of some simple tasks in order to cut down on the hours the contracted service team is on the clock. Other situations can also arise if a building tenant and its staff leave behind surprises that interfere with the flow of production levels. For commercial cleaning contractors, performing occasional tasks will show integrity and help retain a client. However, not communicating if those tasks start becoming the norm can cause clients to assume that it is ok for the scope of work to change on a whim. For facility and office managers, be aware that extra tasks may not be included in the scope of work, and may add additional line costs.
Deep or mid-level cleaning services usually include everything in the standard category as well as more detailed cleaning that is necessary for various reasons. This could be due to facility type, business type, or simply the overall need to spend the extra time to make sure items that are not generally cover by day-to-day cleaning are completed. Deep cleaning is generally mandatory for organizations that are looking for once-a-week or twice-weekly cleaning where dirt and debris have more time to accumulate. Typical additional include:
- Spot cleaning carpets
- Full mopping of all hard floors
- Cleaning Restrooms
- Wiping the exterior of trash cans
- Vacuuming around cable chords and behind the computers
- Cleaning under desks to remove food and other debris
- Vacuuming vents of dust
- Cleaning the Lunchroom
- Disinfecting countertops
A complete cleaning adds more detail and personal aspects and is similar to the first-time cleaning since it is almost always done on a weekly basis. Extra effort and attention to detail is expected since much more dust and debris has accumulated between cleaning (typically one week). Some of the extra services include:
- Refrigerator cleanouts
- Grout treatment in restrooms
- Carpet extractions
- Dusting high areas
- Dusting and cleaning of blinds
- Cleaning window sills
- Wiping down vending machines
The biggest difference between a “complete cleaning” and a standard or deep cleaning is the allotted time necessary, and therefore the total cost on the invoice. Considering that building cleaning service crews require more time for a complete clean due to the extra detailed services, it’s recommended to properly communicate this to your service company prior to hiring the service. Your cleaning service will require extra time or added crew members since more is being asked. If you are a facility or office manager, budgeting some cushion room for additional services could save time and stress.
Services that are not included in regular cleaning and are typically invoiced separately include:
- Floor Polishing
- Floor Refinishing
- Deep Carpet Cleaning
- Carpet Repair
- Floor Stripping and Waxing
Understand Expectations and Validate Results
After determining the level of cleaning a facility requires, measures can be made to show whether the commercial cleaning teams achieved results. There are various software applications that will show when cleaning crews checked in and out of the facility. They can also gauge how long certain cleaning tasks take to complete. Checklists are also a common form used to measure results. Either way, it’s important to pick the right cleaning type to match your expectations. For facility or office managers, understanding the various levels of cleaning and their associated costs will help set a realistic budget. Setting expectations is all about communication and defining exactly what you are looking for and how much you are willing to pay for it. This will also allow you to better compare apples-to-apples cleaning quotes.