Heavy-duty machinery for cleaning hard floors is a major investment for in-house custodial departments. Facilities need equipment that is not only efficient and durable, but also easy to operate — and comes at a price point that won’t entirely blow the budget.

When asked what influences their purchasing decisions, facility managers cited the following four factors as having top priority when buying floor care machines: multi-tasking, ease of use, price and durability.

According to a recent survey of in-house cleaning professionals in Facility Cleaning Decisions magazine (a sister publication to Sanitary Maintenance), floor equipment that can perform more than one function was important for 79 percent of respondents.

For Jack Van Reeth, manager of environmental services at Geisinger Health System, Danville, Pa., one of the potential bonuses of buying multi-task floor machines is the reduction in storage space needed for large floor machines.

“There is no environmental services department in the world that has truly adequate storage space,” he says. “If we can find a piece of multi-tasking equipment that can reduce the need for storage, we’re very interested.”

But more importantly, facility managers want multi-task floor machines to save money and increase efficiencies.

“Whether it’s for cleaning or grounds maintenance, when it comes to the university, multi-use equipment is very important,” says Ray Dumouchel, associate director buildings and grounds for the University of Alberta in Alberta, Canada. “Dollars are harder to get these days, so it’s an easier sell when we’re looking for funding for these large pieces of equipment. I can go to the vice president and say I need ‘X’ amount of dollars for this equipment, and it’s going to make us more efficient because it can perform more than one job.”

For example, Dumouchel recently purchased a ride-on sweeper-scrubber.

“We used to sweep the floors first,” he says. “Now we have a machine that sweeps and cleans, so we can redirect staff to do other things.”

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