By Jim Flieler, VP of Sales Canada
As we continue to combat the greatest global public health challenge of our lifetimes and look forward to life after COVID-19, it’s important that we remember cleaning for what it is: Cleaning is an investment in human health. Cleaning is a positive contribution to future generations. It plays a critical role in disease and accident prevention. Cleaning protects facility capital investments, business profitability, the longevity of any company and relates to positive public perceptions of our businesses, buildings and brands. This is a notion we’ve talked about for many years and COVID-19 has made the lesson indelible.
Right now, there is a worldwide focus on the cleaning industry and a demand from the public for clean, safe and healthy spaces. This means we must all change from price-based cleaning to quality-based cleaning. How do we do that as businesses continue to cut our budgets, despite all that we’ve proved in terms of the value of our work? How does a BSC emphasize quality of cleaning while clients still look for the lowest bid? Money and budgets only go so far. Facility cleaning objectives have always been higher than overall spend allowed. Here are some tips to help communicate the importance of quality based cleaning over priced based cleaning.
“When the price is lowered, cleaning standards are lowered.”
If you are bidding a new job, it will be important to have written cleaning standards to show to your potential client to explain how when prices are lowered, the standards are lowered too. Communicate this message to a potential client in terms they understand. The public will not stand for lower cleaning standards anymore. Just point to the power of social media and online review-based services to show how an unclean bathroom or a sloppy job will have ramifications far beyond the immediate costs. When cleaning standards are raised for all businesses, it is good for the industry and for public health.
“We can no longer afford to take the risk of improper cleaning programs.”
I often communicate the importance of proper floor care in relation to reduced slip-and-fall injuries and the high costs associated with unsafe and improperly cared for floors. Let’s translate that messaging to the current public health crisis, and future crises. No business or building—whether that is a school district, a restaurant or an office—can afford to take the risk of improper cleaning programs. That risk could translate to an outbreak, which might mean closings, or serious illness and possible death. Nothing illustrates that risk more clearly than the severity of our public health crisis right now.
“Together we must raise the bar and prioritize the essential cleaning services budget.”
Make sure you present yourself as a partner in public health to any potential client or manager. This is a team approach that establishes you, the cleaning expert, as a vital member of the decision-making team. Those of us who have been in the cleaning industry for decades have a lot of expertise in infection prevention and public health that is invaluable in today’s climate. You are not just a custodial manager or a BSC, you are an expert and a partner in public health. By simply casting yourself in that role, the value in what you do is elevated to those who need your help.
“These are our specific cleaning and disinfecting protocol.”
If you do not have written standard operating procedures (SOPs), then this is the time to create them. SOP are established routines and procedures that must be followed to ensure a consistent outcome. In the cleaning business, your SOP will include everything from the products to be used, when and how often to perform a certain task, and when to do it again.
SOP is important for your staff and management, but sharing these SOP with those in charge of your budget gives you quantifiable objectives and standards that help prove the value in the cost of your work.
“Our team is highly trained and valued.”
Labour comprises 90% of your facility spend. It is important to focus on labor efficiencies, which we often speak about in terms of the latest innovations or time-saving technologies. However, when we train our workforce and adapt a culture that values the work we do, our labor spend reduces. That is because our staff does a better, more efficient job and they stick around longer thus leading to reduced turnover. Don’t underestimate the value of your staff in quality-based cleaning.
As an industry, we are all vested in a future that focuses on quality-based cleaning versus price-based cleaning. Your team of manufacturer experts, distributors and peers in the field are valuable resources. We can help you in any effort you undertake to communicate the value of your work. From SOP templates to expertise in infection control, the resources available from your network of cleaning industry leaders is vast. Don’t hesitate to ask for support. One opportunity to engage is during my monthly webinars where you have time to ask questions of myself and other industry experts and leaders.