It is always wise to evaluate the productivity of a piece of equipment to determine its ROI (Return on Investment) when compared to what is currently being utilized.  Identifying the right equipment is crucial to keeping costs under control and managing productivity.  

One mistake that many make is a “one size fits all mentality” which can lead to poor fits for some tasks.  Although it is always recommended to standardize whenever possible since it simplifies parts, training and repairs, one needs to be always looking for better technology that could increase productivity. Standardizing can only go so far in that a more productive tool may be available but not used for the wrong reasons.      

Fitting the right equipment to each task is important.  An example is comparing an upright vacuum cleaner (2,500 SF/Hour) to a backpack vacuum (8,000 SF/Hour) to a rider vacuum system (22,000 SF/Hour).  An upright vacuum cleaner may be necessary in some cases even though it may not be as productive as a backpack vacuum.  If it is a small area to be then there may not be measurable differences.  

Simply pulling the unit from the closet and touching up a small area saves time over having to strap on a backpack unit which is best utilized for larger areas with tight spaces such as office and cubicles.  If the area is large enough, the upright system may actually be too expensive to use due to lost productivity over a period of one to five years.  

In contrast, a backpack unit may not be adequate for large open hallways or other areas that could be more easily handled by a rider system.  Finally, to finish the circle, a rider unit would probably be overkill for a mixed office with tight spaces.

Remember that the true cost of equipment is not only its purchase price but also it cost in direct labor hours over its usable life.  Look at the big picture when purchasing and assigning 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