What can contract cleaners expect in 2016?  Well for the most part, and the most reassuring scenario, it looks like the business climate in the U.S. will continue to improve.

However, new policies, regulations, and changes are anticipated that will likely impact everyone in the professional cleaning industry, according to Tobi Colbert, business development manager for NSA, a group purchasing organization for cleaning contractors.

Here are seven key trends and predictions she anticipates for 2016:

1. More businesses for sale.  Many of today's medium to large contract cleaning companies were started by baby boomers...and many of these people are now retiring.  If the business is not kept within the family, more contract cleaners will be looking to sell.

2. Overtime rules.  The U.S. Department of Labor is proposing new changes to overtime working regulations.  These are likely to be finalized and implemented in 2016.  "Business owners should be aware of this and budget for potentially increased overtime costs in 2016."

3. Healthcare.  Key provisions of the Affordable Healthcare Act are to be rolled out in 2016.  Contractors should contact their accountants now to know how this will impact their businesses.

4. New payment technologies.  2016 may be about the last year a client can say, "The check is in the mail."  New payment options are coming online that will essentially make check writing too costly, time consuming, and obsolete.

5. Sustainability.  More contract cleaners will be asked to provide sustainability reports for their larger clients. "Remember, sustainability now has three pillars: people, planet, and profits.  Contractors will have to show how they are taking steps to address each pillar responsibly."

6. Collaboration.  Collaboration and teamwork is the way businesses operate today.  Contract cleaners will look into more ways to form teams or "cleaning groups" to help reduce cleaning times, share responsibility, and improve cleaning effectiveness.
7. Cyber security.  Hacking and viruses will spread to more small businesses.  Cleaning contractors may fall victim to hacking in 2016 and should start looking into precautions now.

"And 2016 is a very good year for all contractors to become increasingly focused on reining in supply costs," says Colbert.  "This can be a savings treasure-trove for astute contract cleaners."