20 Feb It’s ‘time-out’ for overpriced cleaners of school and childcare centres
It’s the start of another school year. The kids are filling the corridors and childcare centres are brimming with tiny tots.
We love this time of year at iClean. It’s our opportunity to make a difference to the health and wellbeing of kids far and wide. But we don’t take the responsibility lightly. Families deserve to know they’re leaving their children in a hygienic environment. And our clients need to know they can rely on us to deliver it.
The bad news is that keeping children’s play and learning spaces spic n’ span is a challenge. Schools and childcare centres need the five–star service – without the hefty price tag.
The good news? There is a way to do it. And today, we’re sharing some of our insider secrets to providing a better cleaning service. For less.
1. Think outside the scope
Just because something was always done that way, doesn’t mean it’s the way it should stay.
Most schools we see have a scope of work with a ‘to-do’ list longer than a Led Zeppelin song.
Don’t get us wrong, we love a scope. It provides the basis of our ‘checklist’ – even though we always go above and beyond (you’re welcome 😉).
That said, it’s always good to revisit the tasks and see if everything ‘adds value’.
For example, does the classroom carpet really need to be detail-vacuumed every day? Probably not. A detail-vacuum once a week, complemented with a spot-vacuum on the other four days, could be sufficient.
With vacuuming such a large part of the cleaning budget, imagine the dramatic savings in revising the scope of works alone!
2. Take a peek inside the cleaner’s closet
There’s a saying: a craftsman is only as good as their tools.
One could argue that hard work and skill are equally (if not more) important to professional cleaning. But we’re not here to debate the merits of an old-school saying. Our point is, settling for lower quality tools means you’re not willing to put your best work into a job.
Using the right tools for the job can take a job to infinity and beyond and save you, as the client, a lot of time and money.
Take the head of the vacuum cleaner for example. At iClean we use the Mega Gulper Head, where most cleaning companies opt for the standard head. It cleans up to 25% faster than a regular one due to its extra-wide head.
Just by using a bigger head, a cleaner can save one hour of vacuuming a day on a standard school. This equates to a saving of around $10K a year!
Just think of all the ways your school could spend that money!
3. How many bins do you really need?
You may be surprised to hear this – but extra bins are not a cleaner’s best friend.
In fact, one of the best ways to save time and costs is to reduce the number of bins in the classrooms and around the school. Because it results in fewer bins for us to empty and clean out.
iClean has decreased cleaning costs in some environments by up to 18%, simply by removing small bins from desks and replacing them with a large bin in workstation areas.
Fewer bins means that students also have to think about discarding waste, becoming instruments of change in the drive to rethink rubbish. And, it makes them more mobile – they get up and walk to the nearest bin – which is great for their health.
Save cleaning costs. Contribute to your students’ wellbeing. Now that’s a win-win!
4. Go easy on the chemicals
Naturally, when it comes to schools and childcare centres, safety and wellbeing – of the children, staff and bigger picture, the planet – must be at the top of the priority list.
And we’ve found that using concentrated chemicals is a smart way to reduce chemical use and costs.
What’s more, contrary to what you may think when you see the words ‘concentrated chemicals’, it’s also better for the environment. There’s less transportation, fewer packing materials – and ultimately, less waste.
With so many varieties of environmentally-friendly concentrates available, there’s no reason for your cleaner to be heavy-handed with those harsh, ready-to-use cleaning solutions.
Just in case you needed yet another reason, it’s also a quick and easy way to reduce storage space.
5. Keeping ‘em accountable
We’ve kept the best for last. This secret is the holy grail of all relationships with third-party providers.
Time = money. It’s as simple as that. And as the client, you need to make sure you get what you pay for.
So, ask your contractor for a weekly report of the hours each cleaner is putting in onsite. If you’re paying for 10 hours, and the cleaner is only putting in nine hours, then you stand to lose over $10K a year!
A good commercial cleaner will have processes in place to remotely manage their staff and keep them accountable.
We’ll leave you with one last thought. Cleaning ain’t a job for the faint hearted. It’s a real workout that involves rolling up your sleeves a whole lotta elbow grease. A cleaner covering a lot of ground will get tired and unproductive after three hours.
As an alternative, four cleaners doing 2.5 hours each will be more a lot more effective and thorough than two cleaners doing five hours each.