Most of us have encountered situations where cleaning task frequencies have been reduced to reflect budget cuts. This can be a difficult time for the Building Service Contractor since the customer needs to understand the relationship between tasks, frequencies, expectations and time standards. 

Change in frequency can impact time standards. The usual rule of thumb is that the less often a task is performed the longer it takes per visit. This principle applies primarily to tasks considered “daily” (5 x week) such as trash removal, dusting, vacuuming, sweeping/mopping and restroom cleaning. 

For example: if it takes 30 minutes per 1,000 square feet to perform a task daily (250 x year) it can take longer to perform the same task to the same standards (such as 1 x week or 52 x year). When services are reduced to 1 x week (52 x year), more detail work must be performed at the same visit thereby usually taking longer. 

Vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, etc. will take longer to capture the additional soil buildup. Restrooms are another example since detail cleaning can be faster per visit if the area is serviced daily (250 x year) whereas weekly servicing (52 x year) will require removing more soil (and servicing dispensers) during the visit to accomplish the desired outcome. This rule of thumb may not apply as much to automated systems such as autoscrub units but they may even have to go slower due to total build up.

The more often a task is performed the easier (and often faster) an area can be maintained to a predetermined standard. This concept is fairly well accepted but the debate is in how much to adjust the time standard to reflect the change in cleaning frequency. There is no set percentage that I know of and the final number will depend on many factors. It is suggested that time studies be utilized to support any adjustment. 

Your comments and questions are always welcome. 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