How to Effectively Transition From In-House to Commercial Cleaning

Nate PruittCommercial Cleaning

With more than 1 million janitorial service businesses across the United States, there are plenty of commercial cleaners to choose from. For many businesses, the need to use commercial services to handle business cleaning tasks becomes obvious. Maybe you have struggled to get the clean you want. Maybe you simply cannot keep janitors in the position. Whatever the case, you’re ready to make the move.

The transition between in-house and commercial cleaning services can be unexpectedly difficult for many businesses. You may worry that the new commercial cleaners will not know all the same strategies that your in-house cleaners used, or you may be concerned that things will fall through the cracks. However, there are several strategies you can use that can make it easier for you to transition to your new commercial cleaning team

1. Clearly Define Your Goals and Expectations

Your in-house cleaning team may have had time to get to know your office and all its ins and outs. They know that the break room is messiest on Thursdays and that you want to focus on client-facing areas, but plan to do a deep clean of private offices and behind-the-scenes spaces a couple of times a month. Your new cleaning company, on the other hand, won’t have that same knowledge just yet.

Before you get started with your commercial cleaning team, take the time to clearly lay out your expectations. Consider factors like:

  • How often will you want the team coming in? You may have different expectations for a team that comes in every day than you do for a team that only comes in a couple of times a week.
  • What services will you want the cleaning company to take care of? Make sure you clearly discuss this with your cleaning team and lay out a clear plan, including who will take care of basic things like daily trash cleanup or tidying the break room at the end of the day. 
  • What services will you need that might cost extra? For example, you may expect to pay more for a strip and wax of the floor, power washing of the exterior windows and driveways, or other services that are not part of your usual package. 

Take the time to clearly lay out your expectations for the cleaning service ahead of time so that you can both define those responsibilities clearly and they are ready to accomplish all your desired tasks on their first day.

Related: Is the Labor Shortage Driving Up the Cost of Janitorial Services?

2. Discuss the Services Provided by Your Commercial Cleaner 

Take a look at what tasks your commercial cleaner is prepared to handle as part of the contract and what services you can expect to cost more. For example:

  • Does your cleaning service handle landscaping tasks?
  • Can your cleaning service handle COVID-19 disinfecting protocols?
  • Is pressure washing included as part of your exterior cleaning service, or can you expect to pay more for those services?
  • How often will the cleaner be coming to the office? How long do they expect to spend there? Will you have to pay more if they have to stay longer to clean up after a larger event or mess?

Make sure you have a solid understanding of what is actually included in your cleaning contract before your cleaners start. You may want to discuss any add-on services that you are considering to make sure they are included on the list. 

3. Walk Through the Building with Your Cleaners 

When you consult with your cleaning company, and/or when they arrive for their first shift, take them on a walk through the building so that you can go over any specific needs. Make sure you point out the things that cleaners need to know most.

  • What do you expect them to handle in each room? What are the daily/weekly tasks versus as-needed or monthly tasks? Make sure you clearly lay out expectations so the cleaners know what they may need to handle. 
  • Where are the trash cans located in each room? This can be particularly important when trash cans are tucked away in hidden or out-of-the-way areas that are not readily visible from the door. Do your coworkers keep their cans under their desks? How many cans are there per room? Make sure your cleaners know where to find them and what to expect. 
  • Are there any specific details of any of your offices that cleaners might need to handle? 
  • Are there any things that you do not expect the cleaners to handle? Any areas where cleaners should not go? 
  • Cover your policy on moving or handling paperwork or other items. Should cleaners move paperwork to handle a mess if needed, or leave that to the person doing the work?

When you take the time to walk through the building with your new commercial cleaners, you may find it much easier to guide them through exactly what is expected of them.

Related: Why Outsource Cleaning Services?

4. Make Sure Your Cleaning Company Has the Appropriate Access

What tools will your cleaners need in order to access and work in your building? Many commercial cleaners will provide many of their own cleaning supplies, from cleaning fluids to rags. However, that doesn’t mean that they don’t need a few things from you. And, of course, appropriate building access is something you won’t want to forget. Consider, for example:

  • Keys 
  • Key cards
  • ID tags, if necessary to access your building
  • Alarm codes and protocols (including how to respond in the event of a false alarm)

You may also want to discuss any particular uniform or dress code expectations, particularly in secure buildings. Make sure your cleaners have the access they need. In addition, make sure they know how to get that access if they do not have it themselves: for example, how to access the building if they’ve lost keys or who to call about a key card malfunction. 

In addition, discuss your protocols for lost keys or changing staff members, especially if that information is critical to building security. With around 3.24 million people around the world employed in the cleaning services industry, you may see some turnover or different cleaners coming into your workplace. You need to make sure that they have appropriate access to get the job done during the hours you’ve determined are best.

5. Consider a Full Trial Clean to Help You Evaluate the Plan

As your new cleaning company gets started, consider having them come in for a full trial clean. You may want to have them go over the paperwork provided, then take care of a full clean on their own. After they’re finished, conduct your own walkthrough, and discuss any issues with members of staff. Discuss whether the rooms were thoroughly cleaned and anything that might have been missing during the cleaning process. 

Your cleaners can then get a better idea of what is expected of them and any gaps they may need to fill in. A trial clean can also provide you with more information about what you overlooked as you created the list of expectations for your cleaners. 

6. Schedule Regular Check-Ins with Your Commercial Cleaning Service

Once you have started working with a commercial cleaning service, don’t assume that your job is done! Just like you need to check in regularly with the other members of your team, you may need to check in with the members of your cleaning service to ensure that communication is open and the service continues to deliver on your expectations. Consider:

  • Is the cleaning service taking care of everything agreed upon in the contract?
  • Is there anything missing? 
  • Are there areas that are regularly missed during the cleaning process? 
  • Is everyone satisfied with the cleaning company, or is there something that needs to be adjusted?
  • In what areas is the cleaning company doing particularly well?

With those regular check-ins, you can keep your cleaning company informed about any needed changes and ensure that you do not miss any critical details. 

Transition to a Commercial Cleaning Service Today 

The transition to a commercial cleaning service can help save your business time and money. A smooth transition can make you much happier, overall, with everything your commercial cleaners have to offer. Check out DTK Facility Services to learn more about how we can help you achieve your cleaning goals.