How many square feet should your team be able to clean per hour? These ISSA cleaning industry benchmarks can tell you. 

Your business is unique. Your team has certifications and experience that no one else around you has. You value your attentive but laid-back customer service. Your customers love you. And still, there’s a question you can’t seem to ignore: How does your company compare to the rest of the field? That’s where ISSA cleaning industry benchmarks can help. 

No matter how many five-star reviews your commercial cleaning company has, you always want to improve. And even if you offer services and accommodations that no one else does, you’re still in the commercial cleaning and building services industry. That means there are industry standards and averages that your prospects and customers will compare you to. 

It’s not just your customers, either. These standards and benchmarks can help you understand where your team is doing well, and where there’s room for improvement. They can give you goals to work towards, as well as objective information about your work and your business. So, which of these ISSA cleaning industry standards, certifications, and benchmarks are the most valuable? 

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Issa Cleaning Industry

Why does ISSA matter?

Before we jump into the ISSA cleaning industry standards, let’s quickly review what makes these standards so definitive in the industry. The International Sanitary Supply Association, more commonly known as ISSA, is an international trade association covering the “entire cleaning industry.” 

Among the many divisions of ISSA are the Cleaning Management Institute (CMI), which offers professional education and certification; and the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), which focuses on facility health and wellness. 

In cooperation with cleaning industry leaders, scientists, pathologists, insurance industry professionals, educators, and more, ISSA works to establish standards that lead to cleaner environments, including overall indoor air quality

The 4 ISSA cleaning industry standards and benchmarks you need to know

With that background, you can assume, correctly, that there are numerous ISSA cleaning industry benchmarks and standards. The secret is to determine which are most valuable to you and your commercial cleaning company. 

For example, ISSA offers two residential cleaning certifications that, as a commercial cleaner, may not be as relevant to your work as the institutional and commercial standards. There are some, however, that are universally helpful. 

1. Time and Task Standards. Of all the ISSA cleaning industry benchmarks, this might be one of the most helpful for nearly any commercial cleaning operation. These standards give you an average time per square foot for a wide array of tasks. You can even look at variables such as the size of the tools you use. Similarly, these benchmarks can give you times per square feet based on bundled tasks, like sweeping, mopping, and emptying trash bins. And if you need even more, you can add fixtures and geographic areas. This benchmark is especially helpful if you’re new to the commercial cleaning industry or if you want to compare your averages to industry standards. 

2. ISSA Cleaning Standard: Institutional & Commercial. This industry benchmark is based on field testing and uses ATP meters to test the effectiveness of your work. According to ISSA, this standard recommends “monitoring and inspection procedures,” and offers guidance on “how to use the measurement and inspection results to assess and improve cleaning processes and products, ultimately resulting in a clean, healthy, and safe indoor environment.” This particular standard goes beyond whether a surface looks clean and can tell you and your customers how clean a space actually is. If your customers include retail shops, office buildings, or similar facilities, make sure this standard is part of your business benchmarking. 

3. Cleaning Industry Management Standard. The CIMS is “the first consensus-based management standard that outlines the primary characteristics of a successful, quality cleaning organization.” The guidelines of this ISSA cleaning industry standard move organizations toward more customer-centric practices and sound business management. The goal is to give commercial cleaning businesses and building service contractors the means to effectively run an operation that delivers high-quality services in an efficient and “environmentally preferable” way that scales no matter how large or small your business is. 

4. CIMS Green Building Certification. This certification is definitely worth exploring, especially as more buildings are designed or updated for LEED certification. The benchmarks in the Green Building Certification will help you move toward more green cleaning practices while also providing your customers with the points they need to achieve or maintain LEED certification. 

These aren’t the only standards and benchmarks. If you want to specialize, you can also explore topics like becoming a Certified Professional Trainer or a Certified Environmental Services Specialist. For most commercial cleaning and building services operations, however, the four here can do wonders for your business.

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