Workloading can help you make profitable bids and more productive schedules, but it’s not without some challenges.
The first time you do a walkthrough for a bid, you understand immediately the importance of workloading. It gives you a solid foundation for estimating the time it will take to perform any given task, such as vacuuming or dusting a 5,000 square foot office or cleaning a bathroom.
Workloading is an essential tool in understanding your labor and product costs and ensuring you make profitable bids. However, there are always X factors that make reality different from your bid. For example, employees work more slowly than expected, or the facility conditions aren’t quite what they seemed like when you saw the space. Challenges like these and others make it necessary to look ahead and figure out how to solve some of the most common problems before you’re in a pinch.
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5 Common workloading challenges and solutions
1. Using incorrect numbers. Some workloading is based on things like the area of the floor or carpet, the number of fixtures, and so on. If you’re guessing at the length and width of a space, you could be significantly underestimating the time and cost of cleaning a facility. The solution here, of course, is to take accurate measurements. Bring a tape measure or look at building floor plans.
2. Using incorrect times. Another aspect of workloading is based on time. For example, there are average times to perform most tasks. Again, though, if you have employees who need to work a little more slowly or they’re picking up shifts while you’re shorthanded, those times are going to change. Be sure to account for that in your bid. There’s another challenge, however, that can impact the times of even the fastest janitorial team: changing floorpans.
3. Changing floorplans. No matter how efficient your team is or how accurate your initial estimate is, changes in a location’s floor plan will impact your work. Several factors could exist here. You may have planned your workloading around a tile floor that gets carpeted. The facility may have added or removed cubicles and desks. Or the business may have leased more floor space, even if it’s “just a few more conference rooms.” Perhaps the best way to deal with this is to include a clause in your contract that allows you to reevaluate your rates should there be any changes to the facility.
4. Too much work. We’ve all been in that position where we have too much work for our team, but not quite enough to hire someone new. However, there’s only so much any janitorial team can do before things start going downhill fast. A tired, over-burdened team may cut corners, forget important tasks, or take risks with safety. You end up with people doing work they aren’t trained for.
Additionally, an overworked team is more prone to injuries and accidents. It may be more complicated than it sounds, but don’t over-extend your team. Instead, hire people part-time or contract with another janitorial company to keep work manageable.
5. The work is unbalanced. This is another common workloading challenge. One person gets the easier tasks or sections of a facility while someone else ends up with tasks like cleaning the bathrooms and dusting high shelving. This is bound to happen, but the key is to keep it from happening all the time. That leads to low morale and poor employee retention. Be sure to mix things up for your team.
While these workloading challenges seem apparent here, the truth is many of them creep up, little by little. They’re almost invisible. They slide little by little into your work.
One day your team gets asked to spend a little more time sweeping the lobby. The next day there are a few extra trash cans in the facility. While sometimes it’s a case of people trying to take advantage of your services, it’s most often just a matter of people not knowing what goes into a janitorial contract or your team’s schedule. They don’t think it’s a big deal that there are three extra trash cans to empty. And that by itself isn’t, really. That’s why these issues are so hard to catch until they’ve become a major issue for everyone.
You may not want to renegotiate a contract for a few can liners or an extra ten minutes dusting a conference room. But be aware of these things. You may find that your workloading challenges aren’t as mysterious as they initially seem.
Harness the advantages of Janitorial Manager to enhance your overall service and customer support. Learn more today with a free discovery call and find out how to make your work more efficient and more profitable!