At the Building Service Contractors Association International Convention last month, I asked a number of contractors how business was faring during this tough economic storm. Almost all answered that customers are cutting cleaning services by about 10 percent.

For many BSCs, this amount is manageable and goes to show that cleaning is “recession-resistant,” not necessarily “recession-proof.” Ten percent, however, still is a significant number and business owners will need to somehow make up for that lost revenue.

Since labor makes up the brunt of BSCs’ budgets, any staff reductions will obviously help. If you haven’t done so recently, now is the time to reassess your cleaning times and equipment productivity. Are you able to clean floors with automatic scrubbers instead of mops and buckets? Will janitors be able to clean faster if you switch from uprights to backpack vacuums? After answering these questions, readdress workloading at your accounts to see if changing equipment can help you reduce your staffing levels.

While evaluating products, also examine where you can reduce your purchasing. If you pay for consumables, can you upgrade fixtures to touch-free to use less supply? Or use launderable microfiber cloths instead of disposable rags?

BSCs can also analyze their own internal operations to save money. Maybe during this recession, suspend 401K matching or ask employees to contribute more to health insurance coverage. Also consider implementing workplace wellness programs to help reduce insurance costs. These programs reward employees who make an effort to improve their health — as an added benefit to employers, workers who lead healthier lifestyles have better morale and are more productive.

This month you’ll no doubt notice some changes to Contracting Profits. Don’t worry, we’ve kept our mix of cleaning how-tos, managerial-focused articles and in-depth industry coverage. But we’ve updated our look and logo, as well as added more products and given readers a chance to share their opinion on our new backpage feature: Your Two Cents. Let us know what you think.