Day versus night cleaning is a topic being hotly debated within the cleaning industry.  The primary driver seems to be documented savings of 20 percent to 35 percent of energy use due to lights, HVAC, etc. compared to not operating at night when cleaning crews perform the bulk of their work. The reasoning is that if most of these tasks can be performed while the utilities are already on for the tenants there can be a substantial savings to the property manager’s bottom line. I suggest we also look at the total savings when reduced productivity of the day cleaners is taken into account. 

Following are some points that may help:

1) It depends on the type building, use, tenants, traffic, etc.  Labor costs that are impacted include lost hours for "come backs" where the worker has to keep coming back until they can get access to an area.  There can be considerable hours lost in workers not having a one time through flow of their work.  

2) Remember that most labor hours are computed on one task per visit per day and repeated tasks are not factored in unless arrangements are made for additional compensation.  Then there is failure to clean/vacuum because of noise, cords, safety, etc.  There can be lost time due to socializing on the part of tenants and workers.  The number I have heard is that it can cost 25 to 35 percent more for in-house day service due to tenant and visitor traffic.  

3) It depends on the expectations of the property manager and tenants.  Are they willing to pay for day service AND night service to capture tasks that were not or could not be done during the day?  There can be a duplication of effort unless job cards and schedules are followed closely.  

4) For a building that shuts down at after 5:00 PM, night service is more productive even though lights and utilities may be slightly higher.  How important is budgetary concerns versus appearance?  The property manager and tenants may be paying for task duplication that could be done once at night. 

5) If budget cuts are a serious issue, have tenants carry their trash and recycle to central collection points where they would collect a fresh trash bag.  The benefit is they can do this daily or weekly based on how full their trash bins fill during the day.  The tenant is also responsible for keeping desk, phone, etc. clean.  Cleaning services can even price in cloths, cleaner and polish if requested.

Day cleaning can have a substantial savings in energy but oftentimes at the sacrifice of quality and productivity unless great care is taken to schedule and workload correctly.  Your comments and questions are always welcome. 

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