ideas for labor reliable workers

If you’ve increased pay rates, but still struggle to hire reliable workers, you’ll want to read this

We had an interesting meeting with a client that contacted us to give them a quote for recurring commercial cleaning at their facility. They started the conversation with something we had never heard before:

“We have awesome janitors. Our place looks great.”

Hmm.. Usually we hear stories about the commercial cleaning staff doing a poor job or not showing up for work. Other businesses feel like they pay a steep price for contract janitorial, but often find themselves dumping trash cans in the morning.

So, the Janitors Are Great. Interesting. Why Did You Call Us?

They explained that they knew they had really good workers. However, their factory was in a bind a few weeks ago. They called a meeting with the cleaning staff and told them they would be paid an extra $5 an hour if they would be willing to work on the plant floor.

The company was 2 months behind on orders and losing customers. Like many companies these days, they haven’t been able to find adequate labor even after increasing pay rates 3 times in the past year. The demand for the job caused production labor wages to go well beyond the labor rate they paid janitors. Even when they found workers, the quality was fairly poor. They decided they could live with a few dusty door frames if they could catch up on production.

Their plan worked. Many of their long-time, loyal cleaners turned out to be productive on the plant floor despite limited training. Upper management told the facility manager he wouldn’t have his janitorial staff back anytime soon. It only took about 3-4 days of limited cleaning before complaints rolled in and the facility manager realized he needed to find another solution. That’s where we come in.

An Unexpected Outcome

We did a walk through and audit of the facility. Despite being hard workers, they were not efficient. After we reviewed their facility, we determined that their janitorial program could be completed in less total hours while still improving overall quality and inspection scores.

We talk to a lot of companies that clean in-house. They often hired their own janitors and then gave them full time hours. When things weren’t cleaned, they just hired another one. No one trains them, audits them or watches their process. So they solve cleaning issues by just stacking on more employees, which increases expenses.

You wouldn’t think cleaning is that complex, but having a well defined process can make a big difference in productivity. We run a service business that specializes in commercial cleaning, so reliability and efficiency is a key for us to deliver value.

Benefits of Janitorial Service Contractors

We measured their facility and made recommendations for a scope of work that would meet their requirements. A proposal was created based on the scope. After seeing the price, the client was pleasantly surprised. They actually asked us to increase the bid just in case we needed more resources to maintain the cleanliness of their building.

Here is some insight that you may not know about working with contract janitorial services:

  • Contract hourly rates are higher than typical W-2 wages paid to in-house janitorial staff, but janitorial services can service a facility with less total hours spent than most in-house cleaning operations.
  • Employees are often subject to corporate policies that require full time hours and a complete benefits package. Employers also have additional costs of paying payroll tax, workers comp and insurance. These costs add up.
  • Janitorial services have detailed audits and inspections that ensure service meets the standards determined by the scope of work.
  • We use top of the line, well maintained equipment that requires a higher initial investment but leads to lower long term costs. A good example: backpack vacuums.
  • Most in-house operations don’t have a cleaning expert to manage the staff and don’t have the processes or training necessary to drive efficiency.
  • Even larger operations that have a janitorial manager on staff are often not big enough to justify the cost. Streamlined remote management allows us to oversee multiple facilities without the need to have full time supervisors on location that can be overkill.
  • Utilizing multiple layers of management, supervisors and “floaters” enable us to always have contingencies in place when employees call off. Many companies just live with the facility being dirty when the janitor doesn’t show up for work.
  • Buying equipment and supplies in bulk reduces our cost per client facility.
  • Letting a contractor manage your janitorial services program will allow you to spend your time working on your core business goals.

An Even Happier Ending

Needless to say, we got the contract and our client is thrilled with the results. They boosted production of their flagship product, while cutting costs. Their janitors are also happy to be working at a much higher pay rate. That’s a win-win-win-win.

We call this a partnership.