Reducing complaints starts before BSCs even have the contract to clean the building. Snafus can be avoided if BSCs submit accurate cleaning frequencies in their bids.

BJ Mandelstam of Only Cleaning Matters, Denver, warns BSCs not to use generic specs, for instance, saying that a cleaner or porter will service each restroom a specific number of times a day.

Doing time studies will help create a budget and a workflow that will make the most sense for the building. Mickey Crowe, of CLEEnTech Consulting Group LLC in Woodstock, Georgia, uses ISSA statistics that show clearly that restrooms are the most labor intensive part of a building. Janitors can vacuum 8,000 to 10,000 square feet an hour, whereas they can only really clean restrooms at a rate of 600 square feet in the same amount of time.

BSCs need to know what they’re pricing by taking into account all the fixtures and the cleanable space. According to Crowe, BSCs should do a “time study of the bathrooms. Then they should train the workers, ‘after this many bathrooms you need to change your water, after this many you should change the water and the mop head.’”

It’s important that the time to do these tasks is calculated into their workflow and billed as part of the contract. Not including these lines of thinking is where BSCs get into trouble. Occupants and property managers say that the restrooms just don’t “feel” clean. Crowe says that’s because sometimes they’re not.

“They mopped the floor, but they mopped it with a dirty mop,” he says. “They say they cleaned, but they didn’t take the time to do it right.”

From the very beginning, building service contractors and facility executives need to agree on their shared standards of clean. What is the acceptable state of the building? Crowe is a big believer in using visual aids to illustrate the expectations for everyone involved. These can be done low-tech by laminating the photos and putting them in a binder or it can be done digitally by creating an electronic version to be used on a phone or tablet.

“I want to know what their standards are for ‘clean’ and see if they stand up to what my standards are,” says Mark Reece, facility coordinator for Fiserv in McMinnville, Oregon. “It’s not a matter of the amount of time spent in there. … They could be in there wiping the same spot on the counter.”

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