Feedback from Barton’s employees using the stand-on equipment has been very positive. In fact, he says employee satisfaction with the machines is one of their biggest — yet least talked about — benefits.

“[Janitors] enjoy using them,” Barton says. “It keeps them engaged and focused on what they’re doing. And strange as it might seem, I’ve found my employees prefer using this equipment over sit-down scrubbers or similar models that perform the same function but from a seated position.”

Barton says employee satisfaction is an essential component of any successful building service contracting business. And since a commercial cleaning business can be a challenging business for which to hire staff, Barton stresses to his managers and supervisors the importance of employee retention.

Stand-on machines fit into that puzzle.

“We should consider anything we can do to retain employees, even something as small as purchasing a piece of equipment,” says Barton. “Would I purchase this equipment specifically for that reason? Probably not. However, if it’s something that they find to be an advantage, I’m definitely on board with that.”

Although Barton has never encountered an employee that didn’t enjoy using stand-on equipment, he acknowledges that some people in the industry point to operator fatigue as a potential problem with stand-on units. Some BSCs contend that standing on a piece of equipment for eight hours is more tiring than sitting.

Barton has a response prepared for that argument as well.

“That could be an issue if I asked them to work on that piece of equipment for eight hours,” he says. “But the beauty of stand-on equipment is that even as large as this facility is, it doesn’t take eight hours to service the areas that need to be serviced.”

Yes, servicing MCO is a 24/7 operation, but since Flagship doesn’t operate powered equipment during first or second shift, employees aren’t constantly using the stand-on machines. The company uses the stand-on equipment from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., but rotates them to different areas to be used by different employees.

Barton has been in the business for 20 years and says that he’s used stand-on equipment since it first came on the market.

“Stand-up equipment is the gold standard — and it’s standard at all our airports,” he says.

In fact, 85 percent of Barton’s large, powered equipment purchases for MCO are stand-on units. Flagship uses sit-down machines on the exterior of MCO, because they’re safer in an outdoor environment, he says.

Going forward, Barton plans to buy additional stand-on equipment to service future accounts.

“A stand-on unit is cost-competitive with the seated-position unit,” he says, “It delivers the results, it delivers the efficiencies, and the equipment is easily maintained at the same cost point as like and similar units.”

Kassandra Kania is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a frequent contributor to Contracting Profits.

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Speed, Agility Of Stand-on Vacs Makes For Efficient Cleaning