This is the sixth part of a six-part article on how BSCs can break into the education market.

Once a BSC has landed its first school account, the challenge then becomes keeping it.

That starts with training and hiring for schools, which differs from how BSCs hire and train for other accounts.

Most BSCs say the expectations in a school are different from other markets. If a janitor is cleaning an office building at night and must stop for a second to take a break, no one notices, says Woodley. But they notice in a school.

“Literally, in a school environment, someone’s always watching,” he says. 

Woodley tells his staff to be polite around school staff and students, but not to linger or make excessive conversation. And if a janitor must take a brief break, it should be done in a designated break room.

At the same time, janitors must be personable, he says. Even though most janitorial work is done after school hours, janitors may still encounter people in the building — teachers staying late to grade papers, kids in detention, parents in the gym for a basketball game — so janitors should put on a friendly face.

“We try to let the faculty and the teachers know who we are,” says Lazorik. “I always tell my staff, ‘It’s not easy to fire a friend.’ So if they know you, that’s half the battle right there.”

For all those reasons, O’Mahony says it’s beneficial for janitors to speak English. Bilingual janitors are an even greater asset.

“We literally hire differently for schools,” he says. “We often move our best people from, we’ll say, a commercial office environment, and we put them into schools as in-charge people. We also pay a little bit higher for school cleaning.”

One of the more challenging aspects of school cleaning is that BSCs often must answer to a facility manager as well as a few dozen teachers. Lazorik says the school management company with which Bryco Services works will go so far as to provide every teacher with a binder full of complaint forms about the janitorial work.

Additionally, BSCs should make sure they are prepared for special cleaning requests with strict deadlines during school breaks.

“For example, during the summer time you have to refinish all the tile floors,” says Lazorik. “So you have to make sure you have the appropriate people and time to do that within that window of opportunity. Typically they need a scrub and recoat during winter break. Well, now you have two weeks.”

Half the battle in the education market is landing the account, but BSCs should know the hard work doesn’t stop there.

“They’re much, much more involved,” says O’Mahony. “It’s very important to have experienced staff and experienced supervisors, experienced area managers, and an open line of communication. If you have all of those things, it’s all very doable.”

previous page of this article:
Start Cleaning Charter And Private Schools