Part one of this three-part article highlights the importance of a preventative maintenance schedule for equipment.

Time is money, especially when it comes to floor and carpet care equipment. When machines are operating as they should, it’s easy for a building service contractor to forget about the lost time and money that might occur down the line because of improper maintenance today. But similar to a car, maintaining equipment today will result in less costly problems later.

“We cheat here, we cheat there, and most of the time nothing bad happens,” says Chinedu Okoro, vice president of Chi-Ada Corp., a janitorial services and distribution company based in Oakland, Florida. “But there is always that random time, when you don’t do what you should, that something bad happens.”

A broken cord on a vacuum might run upward of $200, a fix that might have been prevented had cleaners properly wound the cord after use. A motor repair for that same vacuum might have been avoided if cleaners regularly changed the filters. Batteries have a longer life when they’re charged correctly. When they are not, an autoscrubber battery can cost up to $400 to replace.

“A lot of people look at how much a machine is going to cost, but they should be thinking about how much that machine is going to cost to repair,” says Jeff Tishko, vice president of sales for Colker Company, a jan/san distributor based in Pittsburgh.

Proper maintenance begins before equipment is ever used. BSCs should study the warranty to see what’s covered. They should buy equipment from manufacturers that offer the best warranties, says Tishko.

Many manufactures also offer maintenance agreements, which are typically available on larger pieces of equipment. With these agreements, a technician from the distributor or manufacturer will come out twice a year to perform preventative maintenance.

“Not to fix anything, mind you, but to give you overall maintenance,” says Tishko. “A maintenance agreement can be a good idea. A BSC might have a new employee, and [the manufacturer or distributor] can answer his or her questions about the piece of equipment. They also can check the batteries and other things that are more expensive if something goes wrong.”

Daily maintenance is the next step in floor machine care. It can prolong the life of the equipment and reduce costly repairs. If workers perform daily maintenance checks, they can spot small problems and take care of them before they become big ones. Many manufacturers even provide a daily checklist to go through before and after use. If not, BSCs can develop their own checklists.

BSCs should also set a preventative maintenance schedule and train employees to follow it. Such a schedule can minimize costly breakdowns, add to the life of the machine and ensure employees always have a functioning piece of equipment to use, says Tishko.

next page of this article:
Autoscrubber, Buffer and Battery Maintenance Tips