Man stands on a ride-on scrubber

In a recent Facility Cleaning Decisions survey, 84 percent of in-house cleaning managers rated performance, quality, and durability as the most important considerations when purchasing products and equipment. 

When it comes to floor care, this is no surprise. According to advisory board members from "Sanitary Maintenance" sister publications Facility Cleaning Decisions and Contracting Profits, maintaining floors is time-consuming and labor-intensive, requiring a substantial investment in machinery to boost productivity.

“Cost is not the first thing we look at when buying floor equipment,” says Dom Dumond, facilities manager for Pro Clean Building Maintenance Inc., a building service contractor in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “The No. 1 thing for us is how productive and efficient we can be with that piece of equipment by reducing labor and chemicals.”

Both in-house facility managers and building service contractors favor machines that are easy to operate, and simplify or consolidate cleaning processes. Standardization is also a priority when purchasing equipment — as is distributor support — to facilitate training, maintenance and repairs. 


According to facility managers and BSCs, training staff in the proper use of floor equipment is one of their biggest challenges: Not only are custodians pressed for time, but turnover rates are high.

“Our folks need a lot of training, and it’s difficult to get them the training they need,” says Neil Bernstein, director of strategic accounts for Servicon Systems, a BSC in Culver City, California. “So ease of use is a key factor, especially with new technology. If the machine has more than two buttons they won’t remember how to use it. It’s not that they’re incapable; they’re too busy.”

In addition to buying machines that are easy to operate and maintain, BSCs and facility cleaning managers prefer to standardize floor equipment across the board. Doreen Bessert, building services supervisor for Manitowoc County Public Works in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, oversees custodial services for 10 government buildings. She says that it has taken her years to standardize her floor equipment. 

“Occasionally I have to pull staff from one building to another if someone is out sick or on vacation, so I want to make sure they know how to use that equipment,” she says.

Similarly, Gene Woodard, director of building operations at the University of Washington in Seattle, relies on one manufacturer to standardize his equipment fleet, which includes ride-ons, walk-behinds, burnishers and restroom cleaning machines.

“Standardization is really important for training purposes and familiarity with the different machines,” he says. 


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