Any time there’s talk of a recession there seems to be a mixed view of how it will affect building service contractors. Many people adopt the idea that this industry always has been recession resistant. But when the responsibility of getting your staff and customers through a downturn rests on your shoulders, recession resistance seems less of a sure thing.

And since the U.S. economy continues to set new precedents, Contracting Profits decided to talk with facility managers around the country, during the last few months, to find out how much today’s recession really is affecting cleaning contracts to determine if BSCs have cause to worry. What we found is many companies view the recession as short-lived and few have required changes in cleaning to meet budget cuts.

But BSCs also shouldn’t expect a windfall of newly outsourced accounts coming their way, either, as many in-house operations are making do with small cuts to meet any tight budgets.

Instead of a reaction to the recession, it seems many customers are more focused on better managing their current vendors to make sure they’re getting exactly what they are paying for. Contractors most in danger right now are those who have become complacent or take the recession-resistant label too much for granted.

For instance, a large multi-national company called us recently, looking for BSCs able to handle a cleaning contract worth more than $30 million. The reason for the search? The company was not pleased with the level of service it received from its current cache of cleaning contractors and felt it needed to upgrade to a fewer number of more sophisticated service providers that could better handle its needs.

While some customers still could face isolated budget crunches in 2002, we suggest BSCs need to focus on the bigger picture of consistent quality and client retention. To find out more, turn to p.18 for this months’ cover story.