Cleaning and maintenance management does not come without challenges. Here is how you can get through those challenges and make your business better.
In your cleaning and maintenance management role, you face challenges daily and handle them with ease. Last-minute changes in cleaning instructions, unexpected pipe ruptures, and errant fire alarms are just some of the issues that cross your path regularly.
You’ve handled weeks where you are short-staffed, days when your much-needed delivery of supplies doesn’t show up on time, and you’ve completely overhauled your operations to deal with changes in facility management, major renovations, and global pandemics. Yes, those can be frustrating experiences, but you adapt and get through them. What really makes your job difficult, however, are those semi-regular issues that don’t seem to go away: hiring and retaining good employees, rising overhead, winning new bids, customer retention, and verifying the work your team performs.
You aren’t alone. Cleaning & Maintenance Management (CMM) reports that these are among the most common building service contractors’ issues. But there is hope.
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Cleaning up the most significant cleaning and maintenance management challenges
While it might seem overwhelming to face all these challenges, there is another way to view these issues. They are all related. These common frustrations form a continuum that gains its strength (or weakness) from each part.
That said, the single biggest challenge for most BSCs, according to the CMM survey, is recruiting and retaining employees. This is good news, though, because once you solve this issue, everything else is a cakewalk. Why?
Let’s start with overhead, including labor costs. Labor has a direct impact on your bottom line in more than one way. There is, of course, the obvious relation between time and money, but that ignores some very vital aspects of the equation.
For instance, knowledgable employees, even when you pay them more, can save you money in the long term. These are the employees who can maintain and repair equipment. These are the employees who build strong relationships with clients. These are the employees who work efficiently and thoroughly. They are reliable, honest, and you never have to worry about them.
When that person leaves your team, it’s not just a matter of hiring someone to fill their position. Sure, you could pay a new person less, and potentially save some money, but are you really saving?
One job listing on Monster will cost you $249, although you can post job listings on Indeed or Craigslist for free. In either case, how much time will you spend looking at applications and interviewing candidates? How long will you spend running background checks and calling references? How much is that time worth? Whether it’s two hours or ten or twenty, that’s time that you could use to write and win new bids.
Training and onboarding take time and money, too.
You or someone on your team is going to step away from their duties to get your new employee set up and working. But still, the issue goes deeper. All that knowledge, the relationships, the team chemistry, and the reliability is gone.
That has a direct impact on client retention if your team’s job performance suffers during the time it takes to hire and train someone new.
In other words, your labor costs just went way up. Meanwhile, you missed out on time that you could have been working on new bids, and your customers aren’t satisfied with your work. And that’s only with one employee leaving. We all know turnover is high in this industry.
What about other overhead, though, like supply and equipment costs. Unless you have a rigorous training program, your new employee may use too much cleaner or use equipment improperly. These things add up quickly.
So back to the issue of hiring and retaining good employees, what can you do? Here are a few ways to get started.
1. Hire based on the desire to work and the ability to learn.
There’s a lot to be said for experience, but experience does not necessarily equate to quality work.
2. Invest in your onboarding process.
You only get one chance to bring someone into your company, so be sure to take the time to do it right. This is your chance to share your expectations, familiarize your new employee with company policies and standards, and set them up for success.
3. Examine your management style.
The biggest reason employees leave their jobs is… well, that depends on who you ask. Every poll seems to have a different answer. One thing that is consistently near the top, however, is management style. People want to feel valued and appreciated at work. If you have a high turnover rate, it might be time to look inward. Do you micromanage? Are you quick to criticize someone? These are not ways to retain employees.
4. Offer benefits.
People stay with employers because they want and need benefits. Vacation time, sick days, and health benefits will make you stand out as an employer (which happens to double as good PR for winning new contracts, by the way).
5. Raise your hourly wage.
If your employees are enjoying good pay and benefits, they aren’t going anywhere. And like benefits, this can also be a selling point for bids. There are a lot of business owners and landlords out there who want to hire BSCs and janitorial companies that treat their team well, and many of them are willing and able to pay a little extra for it.
There is one last cleaning and maintenance management problem to solve
The one thing we haven’t yet covered is verifying the work your team does. This one’s incredibly easy. To begin with, if you’ve hired good people and you’re working hard to keep them, they are going to work hard for you. They’ll do a top-notch job. Still, you will sometimes need to verify the work and run inspections.
The JM Inspections app makes this incredibly easy. With a built-in, customizable inspections template and image sharing capabilities, as well as location-based data, anyone on your team can snap a picture of completed work and send it to you.
Cleaning and maintenance management will always come with challenges. It’s how you meet and handle those challenges that will make your job easier.
Keep up with your supplies, schedules, and all your custodial cleaning checklist with Janitorial Manager. Get in touch today for a free, no-obligation demo and learn how it works.