In the aforementioned Facility Cleaning Decisions survey, 60 percent of respondents cited safety as imperative when purchasing new equipment — a concern shared by building service contractors.

“Our employees’ and customers’ safety is our priority,” says Nathalie Doobin, president and CEO of Harvard Services Group, a BSC in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “Once the equipment has made it past this first step, we can then focus on reliability and total cost of ownership.” 

Hand in hand with safety is ergonomics: Facility managers and BSCs require floor equipment that is easily adjustable to accommodate staff of varying sizes and physical abilities. 

“I have some staff that are six feet tall and some that are four feet nothing,” says Bessert. “So any machine that I look at has to have an adjustable handle. I also try to find machines that aren’t extremely heavy.”

Likewise, Woodard looks for ergonomic features, such as adjustable handles, knobs and controls that are easy to grip and turn, and self-propelled machines that do not require much effort to transport from building to building.

For some facilities and contract cleaners, supporting a sustainable workforce is on par with promoting a sustainable environment — and these objectives are reflected in their equipment choices. Floor machines that use less water and fewer chemicals — or eliminate the use of chemicals — are becoming ubiquitous.  

“When we purchase a piece of equipment, we consider how that equipment will fit into our overall sustainability policy for the company,” says Bernstein. To this end, Servicon Systems’ purchases include an autoscrubber with an onboard engineered water system that converts tap water into cleaning solution. The company is also moving toward orbital scrubbers, which has reduced janitors’ use of water and chemicals with improved outcomes. 

“At one of our facilities the terrazzo floors were caked with finish, and we convinced our client to remove it,” says Bernstein. “Now we scrub the floor daily with an orbital scrubber and a diamond-impregnated floor pad. In two years we haven’t had to polish the floor, and the client is thrilled with the results.”

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