A reader writes: "I manage properties and struggle with the poor, inconsistent services that I receive from commercial contractors in janitorial, carpet cleaning and floor maintenance. They always promise a lot more than they produce after a few weeks. I am considering going in house to save money as well as simplify outcomes. Any thoughts?"

Let's first consider taking all or part of your custodial services in house. In looking deeper at your actual situation, we determined that some of your buildings will only require 3-4 hours per visit for basic custodial services. That means you may need to develop a route for your crew to clean either during the day or early evening. You will also have to decide how to handle carpet work (spotting, interim and annual cleaning), hard floor care (scrubbing, stripping, recoating, regular buffing/burnishing, etc.) and special events. It appears that you have sufficient square footage and locations to create a floor specialist crew that would rotate floor work on a route so that all the areas are covered. This will require work loading and scheduling each site so that nothing is missed and that the crew operates as efficiently as possible to keep costs under control.

What are you going to pay your custodial staff? Will you pay by the hour or by the job? What about benefits such as vacation days, sick days, retirement? Will you work them full or part time? How will you cover absenteeism? Will there be a union involved? What about your supervisor and quality control person? Same question as to benefits.

Now let's consider what type and how much equipment you will need including one or more vehicles to transport some units to smaller sites that do not need or cannot sustain them alone due to cost.

We will continue these questions in the next article.

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 CTCG50@comcast.net.