Given the vast number of factors involved in towel usage in restrooms, each facility is a bit different in terms of the return on investment it realizes when upgrading hand towels, says Leonard.

An upgrade to high-end hand towels may decrease the overall number of towels the facility uses, because the end users need less product to dry their hands than when using a “flimsy” paper towel that is not absorbent, says Neff.

“If you change the towel and increase the absorbency of it, you are going to use less by nature,” says Neff. “It’s thicker and more absorbent, so they won’t need to use as much.”

Although high-quality towels decrease usage, facility managers of Class A office buildings should not expect to realize a reduction immediately. This is because many of the regular users habitually take the same number of towels, regardless of the quality, until they notice a difference, says Neff.

BSCs should talk to their distributors to understand the differences among products. Towels vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and distributors can point out the differences of the strength, texture and absorbency qualities of the high-end towel products that are on the market.

“Some of these textile guys are importing stuff from other countries,” says Neff. “What they think is thick and soft and what you think is thick and soft is not always the same thing.”

During the decision-making process, BSCs can show facility executives samples of various high-end towel products accompanied by pricing. Testing products in the facilities for a short period of time shows whether the high-end towels live up to their billing both in terms of effectiveness and appearance.

“For building managers of office buildings, the tenants are their customers. For that Class A, very upscale type of office building, whether it be attorneys or bankers, they are going to come to expect a certain level of high quality and a more luxurious experience,” says Laura Craven, the director of corporate communications and marketing at Dade Paper Company, a distributor in Miami.

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