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5 Terms You Should Know When Shopping for Janitorial Services

Most commercial offices need janitorial services of some sort, but not everyone is keen to the terminology used in the cleaning industry. Here is a short list of terms that are often confused and can help you be better informed when making a purchasing decision for your janitorial needs.

  • 1. Density

In the janitorial field , this is the amount of people in a work space. Some offices are very large and have few employees and some offices are small with many employees. The density can greatly vary the cost of janitorial services. It takes more time to clean after 100 people in a 5,000 square foot facility than it would to clean a facility that is 10,000 square foot with only 20 employees. Density also includes the layout of the space as well. For example, one large room is more efficiently cleaned than ten individual offices, with doors to vacuum/dust behind, possible windows to spot clean, etc.

  • 2. VCT

Vinyl Composition Tile is typically made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) chips formed into a solid sheet. This is the typical flooring you would see in grocery stores and it often has a very shiny layer on top of it called wax or finish. The pros for VCT are it is very cost effective to install and if maintained properly can look amazing for decades. The cons are it has to be maintained by a professional and the amount of maintenance depends on foot traffic and function, but it is typically done quarterly, bi-annually or yearly. Maintenance consists of scrubbing, burnishing, stripping and recoating. Once the wax dulls it has to be removed and new finish is applied. Scrubbing and burnishing are intermittent maintenance between refinishing. You may decide to request that VCT maintenance is included in your contract to ensure its brilliance is maintained for the life of the floor. Including it upfront may save you money as opposed to a per event cost. Builders love to use VCT because of it cost effectiveness on installation. I have joked with people in the industry that with years of maintenance costs a VCT floor typically ends up costing you more than ceramic, marble and terrazzo.

  • 3. Neutral Cleaner

Neutral cleaning (mostly used for floors) have a PH balance of 7. PH7 is when a cleaner is neither acidic nor basic. PH7 cleaners are safer for humans because they are less reactive to skin and inhalation and they are also safer for the environment and your hard flooring surfaces. Non-PH balanced cleaners can deteriorate, discolor and even destroy wood, flooring and countertops. It is important to know that most neutral cleaners have no scent or minimal scent because most of the chemical compound used to make the scent are acetates which are acidic. Neutral cleaners cannot be used everywhere, however. Chemicals designed for operating room cleaning are both acidic and basic in nature for their disinfecting properties.

  • 4. Independent Contractor

This term is widely used, but are you aware what that mean for you from a liability standpoint? Companies can have workers compensation insurance but if their "employees" are being 1099'd then the company's workers' compensation would not pay out on a workplace accident. It would be the actual cleaners' responsibility to carry WC insurance on themselves. If they do not carry their own insurance too your insurance can fall victim to a Workers' Compensation claim. The laws are very clear that people who perform these cleaning tasks should be considered employees. Oftentimes a janitorial proposal price that seems "too good to be true" is because that firm is not paying appropriate WC on their employees.

  • 5. Modification

Modification is a term used to describe any changes within the scope of work for a janitorial agreement. In most cases any modification is mutually agreed upon by both parties. Usually, a modification occurs because there is a service the client now wants that wasn't included in the initial scope of work. Cleaning the inside of the microwaves once a week is a common example. These modifications are usually simple for the janitorial service to accommodate and almost always affect the cost.

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Bryco Facility Services believes everyone should have a fair and honest contractor to service their locations. If you have any questions or concerns about your current or proposed contract from a janitorial service provider, reach out to us and one of our industry professionals will be glad to help alleviate any concerns you may have.

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