A reader comments: "We have a campus type contract that is spread over a very large geographic area. When we average the large (two 150,000 SF sites with the smaller sites, the numbers do not make sense. Any suggestions how to have real productivity numbers?"

Just to make sure our readers understand where we are coming from, SF/hour productivity is dividing the total square footage by the total direct labor hours to arrive at an "average" number. These averages can be deceiving and off if consistent practices are not followed.

For instance, only the DLH (direct labor hours) dedicated to pure custodial cleaning should be used. This means that additional tasks such as grounds, parking garages, window washing, etc. should not be included. Seldom are all sites exactly the same so all these add-ons should be removed first. Another factor to take into account is that the square footage of the building should be accurately measured and separated from outside areas, garages, etc. the same as the DLH concept.

If I take your 150,000 SF building and divide it by 35 DLH per visit, I arrive at 4,286 SF/Hour. If I divide the same site including grounds, parking garage and other areas by 47 DLH I arrive at a totally different number. The challenge is that the next building does not have nearly the same grounds area and no parking garage, so the DLH is radically off.

To complicate things even further, if I take one of the smaller sites (1,250 SF) and divide it by the total DLH of 1.5 hours (including travel time to/from), I arrive at 833 SF/Hour. Although the productivity rate may seem off, it simply cannot be compared to the larger account.

We will pursue this topic in a future article. 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.