Properly estimating and bidding on potential contracts is often the most difficult part of the building service contractor’s job. As previously noted, to estimate time and cleaning requirements accurately, a BSC and its customers need to understand cleaning terminology, thereby giving the BSC and its client a reasonable rate. 

When drafting a contract with a customer, it is essential to specify the job and the cleaning procedure. Experts recommend making the contract language a simple as possible. 

“When contracts are written, people don’t always take the time to properly educate their staff about the correct use of these cleaning terms and mistakes are made,” says Walker. “Even within contracts, I often see the terms used incorrectly. It’s important to understand the words so you can determine the appropriate cleaning procedure for each task.”

To ascertain the appropriate cleaning procedure, look at the differences among cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting. When deciding what surfaces to clean, sanitize or disinfect, any surface or object touched by hands or skin should be considered. Floors are not generally considered among those surfaces to be included in the transfer of germs, although that could be changing in the future as research is being done regarding the cleanliness of microfiber mop heads. 

Hicks adds two more terms that could be valuable when writing contracts, even in offices: “hotel clean” and “hospital clean.” Hotel clean is the measure of cleanliness based on visual appearance that includes dust and dirt removal, waste disposal and cleaning of windows and surfaces. It is the basic level of cleaning that takes place in all areas of a facility. Hospital clean is ‘hotel clean’ with the addition of disinfection, increased frequency of cleaning, auditing and other infection control measures.

“As a BSC, it is important that all procedures are written, are site specific and state how often and what HTOs your staff will be addressing,” says Seal. “For example, you might say, ‘Clean and sanitize with an EPA-registered one-step disinfectant,’ as opposed to ‘Clean and disinfect with an EPA-registered disinfectant.’ If the latter procedure is stated, then the dwell time must be allowed for as prescribed in the product’s label instructions.” 

Another tip: Be sure to account for labor costs when using disinfectants. Even though the cost of labor may prohibit the dwell times required to disinfect surfaces in non-critical areas, experts still prefer to use the appropriate EPA-registered disinfectant.

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