Loading up 2024

Aspire Software released its first commercial cleaning report, providing insight into the challenges and opportunities facing contractors across the commercial cleaning industry. These results highlight survey responses from more than 1,000 commercial cleaning contractors nationwide.

"As an industry in expansion, many janitorial and commercial cleaning services are experiencing rapid growth, along with the challenges that come with building a business in a fluctuating financial landscape," says Mark Tipton, CEO of Aspire Software. "In today's environment, businesses must keep their fingers on the pulse of market conditions to stay ahead of the competition. We are continuously committed to ushering this industry forward, helping to guide our customers with new technologies, services, and resources to build thriving businesses."

Customer Satisfaction and Employee Retention Remain Core Focus Areas

Staffing is identified by 61 percent of contractors as a significant risk to achieving growth goals in 2024. With an ongoing skilled labor shortage affecting many subsets of the trades industry, recruitment and retention are top of mind for commercial cleaning contractors this year. 54 percent of survey respondents indicate hiring and employee retention as a primary goal, and 24 percent see it as a key investment area. Offering competitive salaries can help companies win the talent war against their competitors, which may be why 86 percent of businesses surveyed plan to raise wages this year.

Increasing revenue and enhancing customer satisfaction are also top priorities for commercial cleaning companies in 2024, and the majority (56 percent) see customer retention as a potential challenge in reaching their goals this year. For those surveyed, repeat business generates the most significant source of revenue (37 percent), while recurring/maintenance services comprise the most work (55 percent). Customer acquisition remains an essential objective for almost half of the businesses surveyed (49 percent).

Software Eases Supply Chain Burdens

Supply chain issues across the industry have caused delays and price increases affecting business operations. However, survey results indicate lead times may be plateauing or experiencing improvements. Nearly half of the contractors surveyed report stagnant lead times (49 percent) or improved lead times by one or more weeks (46 percent). Still, commercial cleaning businesses of all sizes struggle to obtain vehicles (63 percent) and equipment (54 percent). More than half of respondents report price increases on materials and equipment by over 5 percent, and about a third report over a 10 percent increase.

Many commercial cleaning contractors use business management software to ease the burden of supply chain delays and rising costs by carefully tracking business health and workflow efficiency. Most respondents (62 percent) have enjoyed efficiencies and enhanced capabilities while using business management software. Those surveyed report leveraging software for various business functions, including invoicing (59 percent), scheduling (55 percent), accounting (54 percent), payment processing (53 percent), and business management (40 percent).

"As a full-service commercial facilities maintenance provider, we need an all-in-one technology solution that allows us to track every aspect of our business clearly," says Dana Shaw, operational strategy at Property Works. "Aspire's robust software suite gives our team the visibility we need to track sales, operations, and logistics, all in one place and in real time. Aspire provides the crucial insight we need daily from payroll, purchasing, invoicing, cash flow, and more."

Tech Adoption and Digital Transformation Strengthen Margins

Staying at the edge of innovation and digital transformation is important to 70 percent of commercial cleaning contractors, and about half (46 percent) expect emerging technologies like robotics to revolutionize the industry in the coming years. Other emerging technologies contractors are betting on include business information modeling (27 percent), wearables (16 percent), data analytics (9 percent), and artificial intelligence (7 percent).

Technology can enable contractors to better integrate workflows and manage the entire business more effectively, giving them more time to focus on long-term strategies to reach 2024 goals. Most contractors surveyed (92 percent) currently use business applications, and 28 percent plan to invest in new software or technology in 2024.

"Unlike past experiences with various software tools that often left us grappling with synchronization issues, Aspire has effectively streamlined our operations, says John Salido, janitorial & day porter service line expert at CAM Property Services. Now, we can precisely monitor our business progress and uncover valuable opportunities for growth and improvement. It's not just about raising our bottom line; it's about having the clarity and control we need to elevate our services and thrive."

The entire report can be viewed here