Small- to mid-sized janitorial companies often operate on a lean budget, with upper management wearing many hats. With the responsibility of managing day-to-day operations, personnel, customer relations and finances, it’s hard enough to fight fires, much less collect and analyze inspection and work order data on a regular basis. 

That’s where cleaning inspection software comes in, says Daniel Hyman, the CFO and COO of Held’s Janitorial, in Buffalo, N.Y. It is a tool that facilitates measurement and improvement.

“You’ve got real data that you can look at and say, ‘Here’s these five buildings, here’s the data from the inspections that we’ve done, and now I’m using real information to make good decisions,’” Hyman says.

Some customers may not like the change but the beauty of software is that it allows them to participate at whatever level they’re comfortable with. Its ease of use makes even the most tech-wary customer comfortable. 

“Ease of use was the most important thing for us,” Hyman says. “The software offered a lot but it was very easy to use. It’s as simple as dragging the URL to the desktop. So it is very easy to explain to customers. It also offered everything we were looking for as far as communication, being able to streamline customer surveys, quality control, things like that.”

Some customers still like to pick up the phone rather than send an e-mail — and that’s fine, Hyman says, because cleaning inspection software isn’t meant to replace the way things used to be done. The software is there to enhance the company’s foundation of quality service and great relationships. And for the tech-savvy younger generation of customer contacts that the BSC deals with increasingly on a regular basis, it’s a natural fit.

“The newer generation of people who are moving up, that are taking those higher management or facility management roles — they love it,” Hyman says. “They double click, look at job specs, send requests, and everything is there for them to monitor. They’re constantly in the loop, even if they choose not to review the information available to them.”

It has also become easier to change building specs and add on special services as needed. If there are complaints or issues, Held’s can turn a negative conversation into a positive one by coming up with a solution.

More than anything, cleaning inspection software programs have brought added value to existing customer partnerships as well as potential ones — without costing the company much. 

“It’s allowed us to add value but we haven’t increased our cost, so we’re bringing more to the customer at the same price,” Hyman says. “It’s cost-effective and you’re saving way more money than you’re spending, and you’re growing on top of it. If anything, it allows us to do business cheaper.”

Lisa Ridgely is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee. She is the former Deputy Editor of Contracting Profits.