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Battery-Powered Vacuums Improve Safety, Productivity, Maneuverability
This is the third part of a three-part article about battery-powered backpack vacuums.
Backpack vacuums can be used on all types of floor surfaces, from wood to carpet to vinyl. Backpacks allow janitors to reach tighter spaces, such as elevators, although this is true for corded or battery-powered vacuums.
But without cords, janitors can move around more freely, making stair cleaning, for example, much simpler. Schneider recommends using battery backpacks in larger buildings, where BSCs will really see a time savings.
“I wouldn’t suggest it for a 10,000-square-foot building, but for a larger building, it makes sense,” says Schneider.
There are other benefits to cutting the cord besides improved productivity.
Cords are trip hazards, so battery-powered equipment also improves safety for both janitors and tenants, especially during day cleaning. In addition, without a cord, there is no risk of damaging walls when dragging a cord around corners.
Though technology has improved, making batteries lighter than previous models, they are still considered heavy by many employees. Schneider estimates they weigh about 20 pounds. Janitors may find it difficult to carry battery-powered backpack vacuums on their backs longer than a couple hours.
“They’re still heavy, and not every employee will use them or can use them,” he says, particularly men and women with smaller frames.
But those who do use the battery vacuums are happy with them; they appreciate not having to bend over to plug in cords while always searching for outlets.
In Schneider’s view, the building service contracting industry hasn’t quite adopted battery-powered backpack vacuums as the next big thing — yet. But it’s on the horizon.
“I would say that few people are using them, because they’re expensive,” says Schneider. “We’re a low margin business, and some companies don’t want to put in the capital on the front end,”
Southeastern Janitorial has a different philosophy, though. Battery backpack vacuums give the company a competitive edge, says Schneider. In fact, customers find battery backpacks impressive. Using quality equipment reflects well on the business and gives the impression that the company is dedicating to doing a better job, he adds.
For BSCs contemplating making the switch and investing in a few battery backpacks, the decision comes down to the upfront cost, whether employees will want to use the equipment and if the building is the right size, says Schneider.
Hilary Daninhirsch is a freelance writer based in Pittsburgh.
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