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Is cleaning a cost or solution?

The cleaning industry has cleaned up its act over the past decade, but there are still some dirty practices taking place that have the potential to cheapen the industry once again and take it back to the dark ages, warns HB’s Consulting Group Anthony LeBransky.

Over the past few decades maintenance cleaning has shifted from a semi-professional service to a vibrant and competitive service industry that is tech savvy, obligation compliant and in most cases, profitable.

Gone are the days when cleaning companies could scrub and buff vinyl floors daily, cut them back monthly and strip and reseal them quarterly. This industry – as with any service – has real costs associated to it. Nothing is getting cheaper in life today, labour (if the relevant award is being paid to employees), equipment, management, chemicals, consumables…the list goes on. So what is left for profit? What is an acceptable outcome for the contractor and client?

Having been a tender consultant since 2000 specialising in maintenance cleaning across a broad range of industries, I have seen many trends come and go and I believe we are on the cusp of another trend – but this one is raising a RED flag.

  • Service saving vs client solution
  • Compliance and obligation vs bottom line
  • Quoting to buy a contract vs quoting to do the job.

In all service industries you get what you pay for – it’s the old ‘peanuts and monkeys’ comparison:

  • Contractors focus too hard on the bottom line
  • Clients offer savings, not solutions
  • Consultants preach bottom line, not outcomes.

These key variables that make up a macro delivery of service will drive the industry down once again allowing ‘cowboys’ to bastardise service levels, putting us two steps back and leading us back to the perception carried 10 years ago that cleaning is a semi-professional industry.

*This article first appeared in the March/April 2018 edition of INCLEAN magazine. Click here to continue reading.

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