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The Great Recession brought a whole new meaning to the phrase “doing more with less.” Cleaning frequencies were cut between 10 and 20 percent. Facility executives became more price-conscious and weren't averse to choosing a cleaning provider based on price alone.

Contracting Profits surveyed its readers — the building service contractor — to get a current reading of the contract cleaning market. Now, as BSCs put the recession further behind them, has the industry turned a corner?

We asked building service contractors if cleaning frequencies are increasing and when the industry will get back to pre-recession levels, if ever. We also asked how important a low price was to customers and whether they were aware of cleaning's impact on healthy facilities and building occupants.

According to the survey, 75 percent of respondents felt that business conditions would improve in the next 12 months. So what does that mean for BSCs' business? Will contractors look to hire more workers? Would they look to grow market share through acquisitions?

Another way for building service contractors to increase profits is to diversify into non-commercial facilities. As industries such as education and healthcare look to trim budgets, outsourcing janitorial operations becomes a likely scenario. The survey shows what markets outside of commercial offices offer contractors the potential for additional business. 

The majority of building service contractors do not offer health insurance to their employees, but the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also referred to as Obamacare, has the potential to change that. The survey asked BSCs how much this ever-changing — and often controversial and confusing — legislation will influence and impact their businesses.

An overwhelming majority of BSCs purchase their products from a jan/san distributor. But as e-commerce and m-commerce options become easier and more plentiful, online ordering appears to be an attractive option. The survey polled BSCs on the percentage of cleaning products they ordered via the web, and from what sites.