A reader writes: "I struggle with which equipment to select for different type jobs. Is there a way of determining what is the best for a given job?"

This is an ongoing challenge since each contract has similarities as well as differences that can impact which is the best equipment to use. Your company seems to do a lot of route work which means that you need to take into account portability as well as durability when deciding what to use. First of all, you need to develop an inventory of floor surfaces by area or account and then research the best equipment for at least 90% of the tasks realizing that there will always be a few unique situations that your regular tools will not be effective.

A good example is that when your workers are on their routes, they need to be able to check out the equipment they will need for that particular run each day rather than trying to warehouse every item in the vehicle. Only carry the equipment you need for that period of time so that key items are available for whomever needs them. I noted that you have good ramps on some of your vehicles which makes it easier to off load and load heavier items. You need to go another step and synchronize your equipment to match each route. You should also consider having one or more vehicles dedicated to less frequent tasks such as scrubbing/stripping/recoating and carpet care.

A good example is that you have several buildings that are primarily carpet with small kitchens/breakrooms with VCT (vinyl composite tile) requiring scrubbing/stripping/recoating and buffing/burnishing. Why not schedule your floor tech crew to manage those floors as per schedule while the daily visiting crew simply sweeps and mops. They can report the need for floor work on their Daily Exceptions Report.

Remember that the main cost of custodial operations is labor so purchase equipment that helps to minimize that factor. Then determine how to best utilize the necessary equipment.

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 CTCG50@comcast.net.