Placing note in feedback box

A reader writes: “I am under budget pressure to reduce the cleaning budget. Any suggestions would be appreciated.”

I understand your dilemma. When I have a customer state: “You are too high in your price” my response is “How did you arrive at that conclusion?” In other words, did you use a survey or an estimator to determine the “going rate” of cleaning in your area?

It appears that you are in what I would call a Class A BOMA building, which means that appearance and customer satisfaction are very important to your tenants. Following are a few basic suggestions:

  • What are your priorities? Front entrance, main hallways, elevators, restrooms, breakrooms, high profile tenants, etc.
  • What are not your priorities? Empty storage areas, basement space, back hallways, unused space, etc.

Knowing both of these can help you determine where you want your custodial crew to focus most of the time realizing that task and frequency times the burdened labor rate equals your overall costs.

  • What restrictions/limitations are you placing on the custodial crew that may be hampering their productivity and driving up costs?

In this example, I noted in the specifications that you require upright vacuum cleaners with a beater bar on closed nap carpet that could more easily be cleaned (think suction) with a quality backpack unit. Remember that one backpack can replace two to four upright units resulting in lower labor costs which seems to be your goal.

In addition, there are a number of cases of “As Needed” in the specifications when it would be far better to have set number of annual events with a cost for ordering it beyond the set limit. Wouldn’t it be better to pay only for the work you need done when you need it done? Of course, you should require the contractor to document the times the tasks are performed.

Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. 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