With productivity on the mind of every cleaning industry manufacturer, distributor, building service contractor and in-house cleaning professional, it’s possible cleaning efficiencies have all but maxed out, says Paul Greenland, president of Aetna Building Maintenance in Columbus, Ohio. BSCs may need to look beyond cleaning for innovative ways to partner with customers.

“Frankly, people can’t clean a whole lot faster than they’re cleaning today — people can only empty trash and vacuum carpets so fast. So by looking at ways to reduce costs in other areas as well, we can really partner with our customers to deliver savings,” he says.

It’s easy to get discouraged by the bottom-line-driven commoditization of cleaning, but building service contractors who take note of their customers’ focus on saving money can use that to their advantage — and facility and property managers are listening.

“The biggest expense a commercial property has is electricity,” says Jeff Mabrey, senior property manager at Hines in Dallas. “It’s one expense that the tenant directly deals with, month after month. Since it’s a big expense, we’re always looking at ways to keep that expense low. It keeps our properties more competitive and it helps our existing tenants keep expenses down, so it’s really important.”

BSCs should consider making energy savings part of their standard operating procedure, so they can build a portfolio with existing customers and have something additional to bring to the table when bidding. Documentation demonstrating a track record with energy-saving processes and equipment is going to be a huge differentiator.

“If BSCs can find ways to capture that data and show that to the property managers out there, their value is going to increase, and it’s going to help them retain business and be a true partner with those commercial properties,” Mabrey says.

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