The following conversation is an edited composite to accommodate the space available for this article:

Reader: “I am frustrated with your counsel since you will not side with me against the customer.”

Me: “I can only agree with you or the customer based on custodial best practices as it applies to this particular situation and the information I have available at this time.”

Reader: “The customer failed the floor work we have performed at great expense in response to their demand for a ‘shiny floor.’ What more can we do?”

Me: “Unfortunately the processes you are using include a dirty mop, dirty solution, contaminated wax, dirty pads, failure to clean baseboards and the wrong type of machine for this project.”

Reader: “We have chosen not to standardize our chemicals since we have found savings by shopping several product lines and choosing the best price.”

Me: “This may save you a few dollars in your budget but negates the ability of any one provider to support you onsite, provide training to your staff, conduct lab tests and document progress. ‘Pay me now or pay me later’ comes to mind since you are expending far more in labor $$ than you are saving by going cheap.”

Reader: “Wax mop heads are expensive and we instruct our workers to soak them in stripper to clean them out before re-use”

Me: “Unfortunately you do not seem to understand that stripper contaminates the wax mop and is causing very poor outcomes once the mop is used to put down fresh finish. Custodial best practices dictate that a clean (preferably new or at least laundered) wax/finish mop be used each time.”

Reader: “Now the customer is rejecting our hard work claiming the baseboards and corners are not acceptable. We have been focused on producing their required shine in the middle of the floor. What will they expect next?”

Me: “Hard work is not necessarily smart work on this occasion. You can’t really separate the floor from the baseboards and corners which should all be clean. The customer is right on this point since your failing to clean up after buffing/burnishing has created the grit that could easily have been removed immediately after floor work but is now part of the baseboards and corners.”

Whether you agree or disagree with my advice to the contractor, please let me know how you would approach this situation.

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