It is important for jan/san distributors to remember that the largest line item on any custodial budget/contract is labor and benefits. Equipment, tools, chemicals and supplies make up a much smaller part of overall costs, but they also play a crucial role in controlling labor costs. And you, as the distributor rep, can provide invaluable guidance on how best to maximize the labor for the contracts they clean.

I recently had a rather heated discussion with a Building Service Contractor who stated that he always tried to exceed the expectations of his customers. He indicated that his distributor rep had recommended he apply 10 to 14 medium coats of finish throughout a building so that there would be a “deep shine” on the floor.

I disagree with that approach for a couple of reasons. First of all, unless this is a very high traffic, heavy wear (foot traffic and burnishing) area, the floor will be a nightmare when it needs to be stripped. Secondly, I do not believe that multiple coats of finish gives an appreciably better deep shine than fewer coats that are maintained properly.

Although I certainly hope the vendor’s intentions were to help the BSC succeed, he/she also guaranteed the selling of a lot of product including stripper and floor finish. I would give serious consideration to anyone giving me such advice and clarify their reasoning.

Finally, I failed to note that the BSC applied the finish wall to wall in all coats and baseboards. This means that the floor crew will certainly burn through a lot of labor removing all the coats as well as attempting to clean the baseboards which were never designed for layers and layers of finish.

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