Although customizing mats is most common, it isn’t the only opportunity for facility managers to brand their floor care program. Many departments are requesting customization to equipment.

When looking at floor care products and equipment, “A lot more is possible today than was say 5 years ago,” says Cadell.

If facility managers want floor machines and burnishers in a specific color, or to feature their name and logo, it is now possible. In addition to a name and logo, end-users can sometimes even customize the colors of the handle, bumper, top and cord.

Typically, it is very easy to customize equipment in the end-user’s color choice and label. This is possible with many floor machines, burnishers, air movers, backpack vacuums, hip vacuums, upright vacuums, spot extractors and carpet extractors. According to Cadell, a minimum number of machines have to be ordered to make that happen, but the quantity is not outlandish.

In addition to equipment, hand tools can also be customized. Mops are available in different color yarns and also can have a private label sewn in the tag. Mop buckets, too, are available in customizable options.

“We have the ability to offer color variations or put information on the buckets, either through an imprint or silk screen, depending on the product,” Cadell says, noting that minimum orders may apply for these products as well.

Broom and mop handles, depending on the type, can have fiber colors that are chosen by the end-users, or a private label tag could be applied to the handle of a broom or stick. But distributors say this isn’t in high demand like other customizable products.

“There are all types of machinery and other floor care equipment that can have specialty features, depending on what a customer is in need of,” says Cadell.

According to distributors, the need for departments to customize equipment varies, but it is very popular for departments that outsource select custodial tasks. In these situations, it is common for both the in-house departments and building services contractors to customize equipment so it is easy to distinguish who owns what.

“I think branding is something more people are looking into and a lot of that comes from theft,” says Cadell. “When a product is an off-the-wall color or branded a certain way, it is less likely to be stolen because it will stick out like a sore thumb in another location.”

However, branding on college campuses might not deter theft, it might encourage it. Students and visitors may be tempted to view the branded products and equipment as mementos they want to take.

As with entryway mats, branding an item likely will increase product cost, but that isn’t always the case.

“It depends on the item,” says Cadell. “With some, the cost is the same or close to a non-branded item. There may be a minimum purchase to meet before an order can be placed, but it depends on the manufacturer.”

Although most customization requests can be achieved, sometimes suppliers have to say no to a request. For example, one customer asked Facility Supply Systems if he could have a hot rod flame on the side of his autoscrubber, but Ott says he doesn’t offer that capability.

Even with relatively unlimited options, traditionally, Josephs has not seen a trend toward branding of floor care equipment and products.

“That’s not something that the end-user wants,” he says, adding they may not want their name on a machine for liability reasons. He also points out there’s no brand recognition for a scrubber, polisher or another piece of equipment that cleans at night because the average person would not see that piece of equipment and the message would be lost.

“You want to promote your brand to the maximum,” says Josephs, which means trying to reach the greatest number of people.

Many people enter a building through the main entrance, Josephs adds, “When you walk through the front door and you see a logo on a mat, that’s impressive,” but that building occupant may not see equipment from the flooring program.

Then again, if the cost and capabilities are available, what’s the harm in branding equipment, too?

REBECCA KANABLE is a freelance writer based in Milton, Wis.

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Customizing Matting To Create Positive Impressions