In February 2010, a major research organization, which analyzes data from a variety of sources, reported that there was little or no "short term" economic impact to building service contractors (BSCs) due to the recent recession. In fact, the research group predicted "contract commercial (BSCs) and residential cleaning services are forecast to advance 4.5 percent annually through 2013."
 
However, an overwhelming majority of respondents to a survey recently sponsored by Powr-Flite Direct did not share the organization's conclusions.  When asked about the findings, fully 91 percent did not agree.
 
"The number was so high it might indicate that the respondents not only believe there were short term repercussions [from the recession] but possibly long term ones as well," says Gary Pelphrey, general manager for Powr-Flite Direct.
 
Other findings
The survey also included questions related to e-commerce.  When asked "Do you visit a manufacturer's Web site to learn more about a product," 52 percent answered "yes," while 42 percent responded "sometimes," and the rest answered "never."

When asked how often do they purchase janitorial equipment and supplies from either a distributor or manufacturer Web site, 47 percent noted "sometimes," 31 percent responded "all the time," and the remainder indicated they do not purchase products online.

Finally, as to what products they most often purchase online, the respondents answered:
• Vacuum cleaners, 36 percent
• Floor machines, 18 percent
• Carpet extractors, 7 percent
• All of the above, 39 percent.*
 
"The survey seems to indicate that not only do BSCs use the Internet as a resource when selecting janitorial equipment, they are now comfortable buying online as well," adds Pelphrey.
 

Methodology:  More than 1,000 BSCs were emailed invitations to take the survey.  One hundred and eight people viewed the survey; sixty-three answered all questions and 45 answered some of the questions (As of May 7, 2010).  All answers were included in the final tabulation.
 
*Percentages were all rounded up.