At times, budget pads are the best choice for the task. But buying budget pads to save a few bucks could cost a facility more in the long run.

“Sometimes you can save a dollar or two on a budget pad, but then you spend more on labor,” notes Schneringer. “The budget pad can lose its effectiveness, so instead of taking 30 minutes to do an area, now it takes 45 minutes. When you’re looking at overall return on investment, cost of labor is the biggest consideration.”

In addition to extending the time it takes to complete the task, a budget pad may require the operator to rework an area in order to achieve the same result as one pass using a premium pad. This is especially true when stripping a floor; therefore, distributors always recommend a premium pad for floor stripping.

“Stripping is one of the most labor-intensive things you can do,” says McGarvey. “And you don’t know until you’re further into the process if the pad worked. If you have to rework areas, that’s going to cost more labor dollars and exhaust any dollar savings you had by going with a cheaper pad.”

Bill Allen, territory manager for Fagan Sanitary Supply in West Elizabeth, Pennsylvania, concurs.

“When it comes to removing floor finish, the pad is everything,” he notes. “Using a premium pad is optimal to be able to remove a greater amount of old finish or soiled solution in a shorter time span.”

Premium pads also last longer, requiring less frequent changes, which further reduces labor costs as well as the number of pads needed to complete the job. In addition to the added expense of using more pads, custodians may find that they need more chemicals to complete the process when using budget pads.

“Saving a few dollars on the pad may impact other areas where the facility’s going to use more than it thought it would,” says McGarvey. “For example, the custodians may have to mix up another batch of stripper because they have to restrip the floor, or even neutral cleaner for scrubbing the floor when they realize the pad isn’t cleaning properly. Using the wrong pad can have a domino effect on the other expenditures behind that job.”

Distributors typically recommend premium pads for floor stripping, but when it comes to other floor care services, pad recommendations vary depending on the customer’s facility, the nature of the work and the condition of the floor.

“There is a place for budget pads,” says Allen. “For instance, budget pads are good for a smaller facility, like a church where there isn’t daily work and constant use of floor machines. It all depends on the size of the flooring and the frequency of the task you’re doing.”

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