How Property Managers Should Deal With Problem Janitors

Cleaning: CP

This tip concludes my discussion surrounding this question I received from a property manager: “I am a Property Manager responsible for everything from keeping tenants happy to the HVAC system operating to the cleaning service outcomes. Although the janitor may be paid by their company, they work for me. Do you agree with my outlook?”

In prior articles, we have touched on some points that could expose you and your company to possible litigation if you exceed your authority in trying to direct the custodial staff. Please understand that you should consult with your legal counsel and human resources to determine what your limits may be. Of course, a well written contract should delineate your and the contractor’s responsibilities so there should be little to discuss.

Following are a few points to consider in satisfying your need to manage the cleaning staff:

1. Review the current contract to see if there is the possibility of one or more day porters being assigned to you. They would report to you each day and could have a list of tasks to perform (dusting, doors, etc.) when you do not need them. One negative to this approach is that it can be very inefficient and increase costs unless you know where they are and what they are doing all the time. Why pay a contractor if you are going to manage their staff or them?

2. Another option is to revise the contract where the contractor is either phased out or their duties are reduced (example: day porter duties) and you hire your own staff who answer directly to you and are on your payroll. The negative to this is the time and resources involved in screening, hiring, training, equipping and managing these people. I know of companies that have tried this approach and accomplished their goals while others gave up when the encountered all the additional paperwork and hassle.

Although there are other options other than the two mentioned above, you need to find that balance that fits your temperament, personality and needs. Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or