June 24th is International ‘Take Your Dog to Work Day’, this day not only celebrates the companions dogs but this day offers employees the chance to introduce their dog to their co-workers promoting the benefits of pet ownership and encouraging animal adoption.
Many scientific studies have concluded pets in the workplace positively impact your employees’ morale, their work productivity by reducing their stress level. The presence of pets can substantially increase job satisfaction and morale. Companies that welcome pets in their offices have reported a decrease in employee absenteeism from work.
It’s important however to ensure that you have put into place a pet-friendly office policy that takes into account the health and welfare both of your employees and their pets. We have put together some general notes on basic safety tips in order to make the experience run smoothly.
- Create safe areas for pets such as at the employees’ cubicles or inside an offices so they will can feel relaxed. You can try using child-proof safety gates so pets can be accommodated within one area.
- Ask your employees to bring in their pet’s favorite blanket, dog bed, toys, food and water bowls so animals feel comfortable and safe in the new environment.
- Research if the plants around from your office are poisonous to pets. Do not assume that if they are not poisonous to humans they will not make your pet sick if.
- Check the ventilation openings and make sure they have covers; as small pets could get on into the ventilation system, while large pets could get stuck while trying to succeed. Also ensure there are no openings or spaces in the wall behind various appliances as pets could also find their way getting in this hidden places
- If you want to make pets feel like they are part of your office family you could try placing a bag of treats around the office. Lint rollers, clean up bags for waste as well as a good carpet cleaner should be kept handy in case things go messy.
Let your cleaning company know about bringing the man’s best friend into the workplace policy. Ask them to thoroughly wash and sanitize floors and all other surfaces where pets had been located. In case there are any employees with allergies you should also consider not only vacuuming the carpets but also shampooing the carpets once every quarter in order to get rid of dander and animal hair.
By following these pet-friendly guidelines you could create a fun, safe and positive work environment for your employees as well as for their beloved pets.
It’s time to give your dog a job!
Key Performance Indicates (KPIs)
Whether you are running a large division, regional area with multiple units or one single account, it’s likely that your company is spending a significant amount of capital and human resources in your janitorial needs. Therefore, KPIs would help to determine if you are getting a positive return on your investment.
Below are 6 major categories of KPIs that your janitorial service provider could report to you. Most companies would have these numbers calculated for internal purposes but many companies could easily share these numbers with their clients. If you want access to the report or want a report created just for you make sure to let your cleaning provider. If the reports are time-consuming and not something that the company normally tracks, they may request a modest rate increase to cover the payroll related to putting together any reports for you.
These KPIs will help to establish which areas are performing according to plan and which areas need further improvement.
- Quality of Service
- Internal inspections are tracked often and put into a spreadsheet to get the average results. Anything from which areas cleaners are performing well, which areas are ok and which need much more immediate improvement…if a cleaner is not performing up to company’s standards, most likely the cleaner is provided with more training. It’s for this specific reason that regular inspections are key to ensure a company is delivering on their promise to you –the client.
- Some companies want to get all the regular inspections while others only want the quality audits.
- Quality audit reports should be sent to you on a quarterly basis or semi-annually.
- Client Satisfaction and Responsiveness
This KPI can include several items such as: results of client surveys or the number of special requests you —the client has submitted compared to number of special requests your employees have completed.
Note: If you have dozens of locations, this can be highly effective for regional operations managers. This helps to track employee satisfaction by branch over a period of time.
- Janitorial Team
- Employee retention rate / turnover rates per branch
- Number of training hours provided for cleaning procedures, safety and policies – especially if you have several branches and have done some renovations with different floor types and surfaces that need special attention.
- Number of times a specific employee is sent back to training –and for which training areas? The more you know the better your chances of further evaluating your current provider when it’s the time to put up your contract again for bidding.
Number of lost work days due to work related incidents
Note: This can be useful again if you have multiple locations —knowing the safety numbers during different seasons to evaluate if something is wrong with your floors or need a different type of cleaning chemicals or frequency. For example, if there have been 2 accidents in the winter, and you have tile floors in the entrance to avoid your own clients from injuries placing an entry mat in each entrance could save you lots of headaches.
Comparison of actual expenses to budget, to include labor, equipment cost, chemical cost and consumables cost.
Note: if you request for the cleaning company to quote you on paper / consumables for bathrooms and kitchens – it would be good to track down month vs month statements and year vs year so you know if there is a significant increase in products. With these numbers you can also easily determine the next year budget.
Keep it simple – most companies won’t want to share much because for many companies is hard for them to track their ‘numbers’ so have honest /open conversations, discuss the goals of your organization and allow the cleaning company to help you with the process of figuring out which KPIs may make sense for you.
Who we are NOT a good fit for? 6 Qualities of Potential Clients Who We Will NOT be a Good Fit For…see the infographic here.
- You are seeking to hire a union cleaning service provider —BBCC is non-union.
- You need cleaning but are looking to evaluate just on price –cleaning experience, quality, value, customer service experience, etc. are not a important to you (your manager or your company).
- You are seeking quotes simply because your current provider did a modest increase in your cleaning rate.
- You are seeking quotes just to check on the market. You are happy with your current company, but just want to make sure you got the best price possible in the market.
- You see little value in a clean facility –your company doesn’t understand and doesn’t care to learn that a clean facility helps a company improve productivity and increase the bottom line.
- You need commercial kitchen services —sorry we do not service commercial kitchens (we can scrub and strip / wax the floors) but removing grease from grills, ovens, hoods, etc. is not part of our services).
In the summer of 2015 we took on a renovation project that was quite stressful. I had to coordinate with several general contractors as finishing the project in a short time frame was extremely important. In 2014 to 2015 I also worked with over 7 contractors for different projects for 1 of our clients with several buildings in Boston. So because I had a tiny little experience I thought I was ready for a bigger project so I took the role of project manager to do a full rehab in 3 months. I worked with an electrician and his employees, a 2 plumbers, a couple of contractors and even some odd person I found in home depot to fix a fence (which ended up costing me more because we had to undo his work and fix it properly!) and so much more – the list is too long!
I was going to pull my hair! I knew I was too stressed when during a doctors apt I asked the physician for a stress pill. The conversation lasted for a few minutes before my pcp proceeded to prescribe me 10 pills to help with the stress. After I read the side affects and the fact that the pill was for individuals with epilepsy I decided to find another way to deal with my stress. But going back to the contractors…I was so stressed because I was coordinating all the projects, working with an engineer, dealing with the city to approve permits, etc….just thinking about it gives me a headache. The whole point is that I learned some key lessons!
Remodeling or making any repairs to your office building is an important financial investment. And if you don’t have experience it could be a health issue too (wink wink)! If you plan to hire a general contractor to complete your project you should know what to expect before the project gets started in order to help you better prepare for the process. A general contractor takes full responsibility to get the job done for the bid price; he purchases the materials, manage budgets, and schedule a cast of subcontractors to get the work done. But at the end of the day you still need to manage that work-relationship with your contractor. So here are a few tips to help you establishing clear expectations.
Tip 1: Establish a schedule
Having a schedule that outlines not just the start and end date but also the tasks and timing; this way you will have a big-picture view of sequencing and deadlines for everything. An accurate schedule will give you a benchmark so that you know if things are slipping by a week or two.
Idea: Perhaps a team meeting to go over the schedule with all contractors involved would help to get everyone on the same page. Getting the contractors together also was a major problem – most of the time for me..they didn’t show up when they were supposed to! I just didn’t understand – but I noticed the same issue for all the contractors not just 1 or 2! So having a clear expectations in writing and checking reference to ask about how good they are but also how were they in regards to communication is important.
Tip 2: Accurate bid estimating
Make sure to use an RFP with very detail info so you choose the right contractor. Effective project estimation is one of the most challenging and important activities when working with a general contractor. Accurate project planning and control is not possible without a reliable and detailed estimate. A dependable estimate explains every detail about the job on a line-by-line basis. Make sure you have a basis for comparison when requesting bids by providing to each contractor with the same project details. For example, if you know which materials you want for which area let the contractors know so they all bid on the same requirements.
Tip 3: Check the Contractor’s Reputation
Ask for references and contact them to check on the services provided, including quality assurance and problem solving mechanisms. A well-established company should be able to provide more than three references.
A better idea would be to stop by in person to check the work done by the contractors bidding on your project.
Tip 4: Insurance
Although this may be super obvious -trust me, we’ve heard and experience first hand so many horror stories: Make sure the company is licensed and insured. You can request to see copies of insurance certificates, or in case of an accident you could be held liable for any injuries and damages that might occur during the project. You should also find out how the general contractor controls access to your building.
Note: Ensure to post the workers compensation insurance certificate for all your visitors and employees to see in case of any injuries.
Tip 5: Get a Written Contract & Get Visual – Ask for drawings plans if possible
The proper drafting and negotiation of contracts are imperative. Make sure the contract you sign is clear and concise and includes every aspect that has been discussed. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure it also includes who is responsible for purchasing the materials that are going to be used.
Keep it in mind that contractors will mark up labor and materials so ensuring that you got the quote for the appropriate materials is also key. I had several major increases because the contractor bided on cheaper materials than what we ‘assumed’ he was bidding on –obviously this caused several conversations and unpleasant moments. Don’t Assume Anything! Make sure you get everything in writing and if at all possible request samples and all details on material types / colors / sizes, etc. Even if its your best friend doing the job, getting everything in writing will make the job easier and pleasant.
Spending time upfront to find a reliable and knowledgeable general contractor that perfectly meets the requirements of your project can save hours of time and lots of headaches.
Side note: I noticed that several of the employees of the contractors loved to curse! Yes, cursing was their thing and it drove me crazy because all these people were supposed to be professionals. So I had a team meeting with all of them and required in writing too that there would be no further cursing in our facility. Immediately they stopped!
Carpets are an essential part of offices and residential buildings as they are the first things people notice when they visit your premises. A clean carpet projects a well maintained image. In order to protect the original beauty of the carpet and promote a consistent overall appearance they should be cleaned on regular basis.
A regular cleaning process should be performed for various reasons:
To Improve the Appearance of Your Carpet
It is incredible how fast carpets can lose their beauty especially in commercial or public buildings where there is a lot of foot traffic. The fabric of dirty carpets gets damaged quickly due to the large amount of dirt gathered on its surface. It gets further destroyed when you walk on it. Also the dust and dirt accumulated in the carpet will eventually attract small insects that will start eating the fibers of your carpet, damaging its structural integrity.
To Keep the Environment Healthy
Dirty carpets contain a wide range of substances that may influence a person’s health and are not suitable for general hygiene as they could contaminate the air quality inside the building. These substances include mold, fungi, bacteria, dust and dirt. People using an environment with dirty carpets may be sick more often, develop allergies or get a serious illness. This is particularly important in residential buildings, where the owner has a duty of care for their tenants and condo owners.
Carpet cleaning is especially beneficial if there are dogs in the building. Our four legged friends shed hair and flakes of skin also known as dander that end up in the carpet and may cause severe allergies to some people.
To Remove Odors from Your Carpet
Dirty carpets that are infested with mold, fungi, and bacteria will sooner or later begin to smell. A bad odor represents a serious problem in a commercial environment or a public building.
To protect your investment
You have probably spent thousands of dollars carpeting the building. To extend the life and appearance of your business’ carpets, they must be cleaned regularly. We recommend that high traffic carpets to be professionally cleaned every 6 months or even sooner depending on the traffic and the number of dogs living in the building. A carpet deep cleaning will help it last longer, saving you money in the long term.
A professionally cleaned carpet contributes to the overall building cleanliness and is important in maintaining a healthier environment for all the employees or residents.
3 Tips on Working on a Tight Budget
Keeping a professional and clean looking office environment is an essential aspect of any business.
- Learn what it takes for a company to provide you with cleaning services: Before you can decide on the cleaning company you would like to work with you must first know what you need to be cleaned and how often. Thus before you can create a cleaning schedule that works for your business and schedule, you need to assess your own cleaning needs. Read more about budget for housekeeping by reading this eguide here.
- Develop an RFP: Prior to getting the service of any cleaning company calculate a yearly budget you could afford to spend on commercial cleaning services and utilize this budget as a guideline for scheduling with the commercial cleaning company. We all know how frustrating creating a budget can be and that staying on a budget can be an even harder task. That’s why it’s important to stick to it once you have created the budget.
- Fully understand how a clean facility can be an investment in your company’s growth – read the eguide here. If you understand what a dirty facility is costing you with the number of sick calls, low employee morale, client’s perception of your brand, etc – I guarantee your budget may change 😉
One of the biggest mistake you can make when outsourcing cleaning services is to carelessly choose the first janitorial service provider you find or simply hire the one with the cheapest price. You should request proposals and interview from a few janitorial companies before making up your mind.
If you are on a limited budget and still want to receive a high quality cleaning service, you discuss your needs and be open in your conversations with the prospective cleaning companies. Everyone these days is on a tight budget and by openly discussing your situation you allow the cleaning companies to use their creativity to figure out if they can help you.
There will be some essential services you require; if a company is not able to provide these services, you should just eliminate them from your list.
When you are working on a tight budget it would be best to collaborate with a cleaning services company that is able to fully understand what your current and future janitorial needs are in order to provide a tailored service program.
Commercial cleaning companies come in all shapes and sizes so do your homework and choose the one that you believe will make the best and most lasting partner for you and your facility.
One area of business management that is seldom neglected, resulting in unforeseen expenses throughout the year, is building maintenance management.
All facilities need routine cleaning as well as a maintenance program in order to prosper. Instating a specific program for the long-term care of your facility allows for better organization and communication within a business.
Budgeting and Planning
It is important to know the exact amount you are willing to spend on a building maintenance program ahead of time. Even if you have limited funds, deep-cleaning services should be one of your top priorities as they can extend the life of your building.
A wisely set up budget should include those services that are essential to every facility, such as carpet cleaning, floor finishing, high dusting of vents and quarterly cleaning services and upholstery maintenance.
A great way to accurately budget is to have maintenance expenses allocated for the entire year. This way the facility manager will be able to evaluate which services are most important when developing a schedule.
Before requesting estimates, draw up a list of the tasks you need to have done and another list of things you would like to have done, then put together an estimate budget for janitorial services. Have the lists handy when interviewing potential cleaning companies and try to get a company that can deliver in all or most of those items to avoid further searching and interviewing several companies throughout the year.
Most commercial janitorial companies will offer a discounted rate on a yearly cleaning contract; saving your business additional long-term expenditure.
Breaking Down the Schedule
Every facility manager should add carpet cleaning on his or hers maintenance program checklist. A predictive maintenance budget can detect potential problems before they grow by reducing the frequency, severity, or even cost of replacement. Keeping these risks in mind, carpet cleanings should take place at least twice per year using an extraction cleaning method can significantly protect indoor air quality for your clients and employees.
Different types of floors require different finishes; if you have a vinyl composition, laminated, or linoleum floor, it is important to have a regular professional strip and wax service program. Obviously the better you maintain the floors the more value you get out of your floors before having to replace them. Therefore by maintain the floors and surfaces in your building, you are extending the life-time of these and therefore reducing renovations / replacement costs.
By hiring a cleaning services company you can expect more interested clients and partners, healthier employees, additional time as well as annual savings.
What we at Boston’s Best Commercial Cleaning have discovered is that by not taking the time to write a thorough RFP, professionals like you find themselves having to revisit the whole contracting and hiring process, and often within less than eight months.
So we’re here to help.
an e-guide for managers responsible for hiring cleaning services
We put this eguide with you, professional managers, in mind…here is a quick view on the intro of this eguide and you can download the full eguide here
This e-guide will help you and your company save time, save money, achieve your objectives, and eliminate the mistakes that too many companies make when hiring a cleaning service. Over the past three years of representing Boston’s Best Commercial Cleaning in sales meetings and contract discussions with over two hundred companies, we have noticed some very common mistakes that put companies at a disadvantage and that set them up for inevitable failure and frustration:
– Assuming that cleaning a building is just taking out the trash, scrubbing floors, and vacuuming, so they hire cleaning companies by their price and how competent the sales rep seemed to be
– Failing to analyze their cleaning needs as if they were going to manage the work themselves, so they fail to fully assess the complexity of the job and fail to approach the hire with that awareness
– By failing to use an RFP, companies not only invite vague bids, they also set themselves up to accept vague bids, and they simply set themselves up to repeat that process every time they get frustrated with their current cleaning service and start looking for a new one.
And most of them simply aren’t aware of this. If they were, they’d be a lot happier, they’d be saving a lot more money, and they’d likely be keeping their cleaning companies for many more years than they do now.
Here’s an example of how these mistakes create problems: A prospective client in the Financial District recently met with us and mentioned that their cleaning provider had just sent over the new rates for the coming year showing a 20% increase! Why such a drastic change? What went wrong that they charged ‘so little’ in the first year and then hiked the price by 20% in the next? A normal year-by-year increase is 1%-5% – but 20%? It’s likely that the cleaning service raised its rates by 20% because, when they signed the original contract, they promised the client an unrealistically low price (in order to beat out competing bids), or they simply weren’t able to accurately assess the cleaning needs in their bid and initial contract because they weren’t given an RFP or full list of cleaning needs or they failed to do their due diligence – so, in order to avoid going out of business, they raised the rates back up to a realistic level. We hear about this frequently from potential clients.
If the company that hired the cleaners didn’t provide an RFP, then they didn’t have a clear understanding of what they needed, what it would cost them, or how to compare bids from different cleaning providers.
Whether you hire us or not, this guide will help you become a better shopper for and supervisor of cleaning services. That only helps BBCC in the long run, because our services are focused on quality, integrity, and long-term growth of our company – core values that are served best by better-informed and more capable customers. We seek to have a positive influence on everyone in the cleaning sector: customers and providers.
And remember: A cleaning service is a team that ensures your office staff and clients are working in a clean and healthy environment, and that affects employee morale and productivity. The research1 on this is well-established and has demonstrated over and over that cleaning has a direct impact on a business’s bottom line.
So if you consider it from this point of view, why wouldn’t you make hiring a cleaning company an important task?
… with that in mind, let’s get started!