We have been looking at different aspects of workloading, scheduling, job cards, quadrant cleaning and using the right equipment. When we think of equipment, we often shop by cost rather than ROI (Return on Investment) and this can be a serious mistake. Many different estimators and time standards can document the true cost of a piece of equipment is its ROI, not its initial cost. 

One example that comes to mind is the upright vacuum cleaner, which has not really changed that much in the last 50 years. Most have beater brushers/bars, belts that can wear and break, bags that usually fill from the top down, handles and wheels for mobility. A 12-inch unit is about right for most closed in office cleaning whereas a thirty two inch or wider unit can be used for long, open hallways. The key factor in determining which piece to use is productivity and of course, practicality. A thirty two inch unit will not work in tight spaces even though its productivity rating is higher. 

An inexpensive (to purchase) upright vacuum cleaner can be very expensive in the wrong environment since it is not rated as very productive and has other issues related to maintenance including belt and brush replacement. The key focus is on labor expended for results. One productivity standard rates the typical upright at 26.8 minutes/1000 SF which equals 2,239 SF/Hour. Compare this to a twelve inch back pack vacuum cleaner which is rated at 8.25 Min/ 1000 SF or 7,273 SF/Hour which is more than double the productivity. Also note that there are no belts/brushes to service and well maintained back packs can actually improve IAQ (indoor air quality) so long as the bags and filters are maintained. 

The cost of a piece of equipment should always include its maintenance and service life costs as well as it initial price. 

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 CTCG50@comcast.net.