people shifting gears

The last three years resulted in unprecedented change for both building service contractors (BSCs) and their facility partners. Although additional change is on the horizon, most facilities are predicting a shift in reverse as expectations transition back to a relative sense of normalcy. 

While the days of shutdowns, mask mandates, and the peak of general apprehension appear to be in the rearview, the COVID-19 pandemic caused some permanent shifts in cleaning expectations — especially those tasked with managing a facility. Building service contractors (BSCs) who have had the most success work cohesively with facility executive partners to determine what services are appealing, and what it takes to provide them from both a staffing and resources standpoint.  

In partnership with the Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI), Contracting Profits surveyed facility executives to pinpoint exactly what those preferences are. Conducted biannually, the “2023 Facility Executive’s Contractor Expectations Survey” explores several key criteria points — including preferred times of the day for cleaning, which services justify higher fees, what executives wish they could improve most about their BSC, and more.  

Considering that this survey was most recently conducted in 2021 — a year where the goalposts constantly shifted on masking, new variants, and the necessities for cleaning crews to keep up — it comes as little surprise to see some stark changes in what facility executives prioritize.  

Among the biggest preference shifts centered on the preferred time of the day for cleaning. Back in 2021, just 10 percent of facility executives preferred janitors cleaning during the day, while 63 percent preferred night cleaning but with a day porter on site. Fast forward to 2023, and up to 18 percent surveyed preferred daytime cleaning, with just 51 percent preferring services mostly at night with a day porter. As many sectors, like offices, are attempting to ramp up to full in-person operations again for employees (or at least a hybrid approach), this increased interest in day cleaning could serve to showcase that they prioritize a clean environment for staff.  

Another notable increase was the receptiveness to automation in cleaning tasks. After just 10 percent of facility executives previously said they were more likely to choose a BSC that uses robotics or autonomous equipment, that figure doubled in 2023. As the innovative features of floor equipment, such as pre-determined routes, sensors to avoid accidents, and data collection continue to improve, it’s feasible to imagine executives are seeing automation as more of an asset — especially if BSCs can portray how the technology frees up custodial staff to take on critical tasks such as restroom care or touchpoint disinfection.  

As for some notable trends that have seen their favor decline since 2023, facility executives are less likely to validate paying a higher price for increased infection control procedures (40 percent, down from 54 percent) and cost increases due to minimum wage fluctuations (50 percent, down 16 percentage points. The decrease for infection control services could simply be a direct correlation to certain practices losing demand such as electrostatic spraying or the need to provide personal protective equipment (PPE). The decreased sense of sympathy from facility executives when it comes to minimum wage puts even more pressure on BSCs to maximize the efficiency of their staff, especially when hiring can be both difficult and costly.  

These are just some of the highlights of this "2023 Facility Executive’s Contractor Expectations Study”. Ahead, find some possible launching pads to help BSCs step their game up and become the most desirable bidder.  

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Results: 2023 Facility Executive Contractor Expectations Survey