As stated before, the onsite supervisor is the most important stakeholder in a custodial contract. They are responsible for the outcomes on a day to day basis even when there are equipment malfunctions, absenteeism, unplanned events and morale issues that may be beyond their control. 


I knew of a supervisor who suffered at his contract due to management decisions that he could not control. Upper management decided to cut the contract to the bone by reducing staff, cheapening the supplies and promising a demanding customer that there would be no change in service in spite of a major reduction in the contract. 


The onsite supervisor was surprised to learn that he was supposed to perform all of the same tasks while losing 25 percent of his staff. He was informed that he would be responsible for most of the project work (burnishing, stripping, carpet care) while covering at least a portion of a run covered by a worker transferred to another account. He was still responsible for conducting training, quality control inspections and customer liaison without any change in hours. 


In a very short time, he was having to cover for absentees by coercing key workers into adding additional areas to their runs. Of course, some workers balked and he had to write them up for poor attitude and failing to follow directions. He then learned that some key equipment that would have helped him maintain the building were in the shop but could not be repaired. He went from using automated equipment back to slower machines and lower productivity tools at the very time that he could least afford to do so.


You can probably guess that he found another job where he was appreciated and supported by his new employer. 


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