Contract cleaners often use a combination of cordless upright and cordless backpack vacuums, depending on their client and the facility’s needs. However, cordless backpacks are more expensive than cordless upright vacuums, which can restrict their use.

FBG Service Corp. invested in cordless backpack units to service larger accounts. For smaller, budget-conscious clients, the contractor reverts to corded backpacks or uprights.

Similarly, Lightning Cleaning uses corded backpacks for smaller accounts. In the hospital, Sierra’s employees use cordless backpack vacuums mainly in the stairwells and smaller hallways, and the units remain on site.

Olon Hyde, head of operations for the Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services franchise locations in Pensacola and Tampa, Florida, admits that the upfront cost of cordless backpacks is high; however, he has seen tremendous productivity gains as a result of using them to clean stairwells in a client’s call center.

“When we used corded backpacks, the cords created trip hazards,” says Hyde. “Plus, the custodians could only go up a flight or two before they had to go back down the stairs to unplug the unit and find a new outlet.”

Hyde estimates that employees save one hour per stairwell with the cordless backpacks. The call center comprises seven buildings, with a total of two to three stairwells per building, resulting in time savings ranging from 14 to 21 hours.

In addition to cleaning the call center stairwells, janitors use the cordless backpacks for quick clean-ups throughout the day.

The portability of backpack vacuums is a big draw for contract cleaners, especially when electrical outlets are few and far between.

“Sometimes, you get into a situation where power is questionable,” says Hyde. “We have a new building with long hallways, and there are no receptacles. Without the cordless backpack we would have to use really long extension cords, which can overheat and damage your vacuum cleaner.”

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