The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to reconsider their cleaning needs. For house cleaning, people want to know that the major areas are being properly disinfected. For office cleaning, customers are concerned when established cleaning days are skipped and new faces arrive on a monthly basis to clean a building. Cleaning company employees quit and open new cleaning services. With the sudden shift in cleaning needs, what metrics do you use on how to choose a cleaning service? Here are some tips that can help you decide.
Almost all people applying for cleaning jobs claim some type of cleaning experience. Some state that they’ve cleaned their own home for years. Some claim that they’ve cleaned hotel rooms or Airbnbs. Some claim housecleaning experience. Some claim to have owned a cleaning company previously. Some claim that they have janitorial service experience. Some ask how hard cleaning can be. In my 28 years of experience, a fantastic indicator of how to choose a solid cleaning technician is the cleaning certifications they have completed. Science-based cleaning education is a solid way to pick a great cleaning service. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is a fantastic of a third party organization that develops and teaches scientific methods for cleaning just about anything. Think about it. If a cleaner knows how to choose a cleaning product that will clean marble better than it will clean granite, chances are they will be much more successful in their cleaning efforts. Cleaning chemical brands are less important than knowing how to pick a chemical. If a cleaner has completed any third party cleaning certification and understands how using the proper pH balanced acidic cleaners on alkaline surfaces, then they have a strategic advantage over a cleaner that is self taught or simply reads labels.
Franchises and larger cleaning companies are notorious for high employee turnover. Although they put together training packages for each new person they hire, many times the person cannot handle the environment, didn’t pay attention during training, can’t commit to the cleaning schedule, have personal issues that prevent the work from being done complete, or leave for higher paying jobs. Find a cleaning company that has a majority of the cleaning staff with extensive cleaning experience. An employee handbook will tell you to replace low or out of stock toilet paper, but until someone forgets to replace it, they wont understand why the customer is so upset with them. It’s a simple task. Maybe not cleaning related, but still a part of a cleaner’s job. Leaving a door unlocked, not reorder supplies, not reporting issues with cleaning equipment, not addressing customer complaints and not showing up for a job – these are all issues that cleaning companies face. However, the cleaners that have been in the cleaning industry for many years have likely committed one, or possibly all, of this list and UNDERSTAND THE EFFECTS of these actions. Experienced cleaners may not be the best detailed cleaners, but tend to ensure that they don’t make major mistakes.
Online reviews can be tricky. Most online reviews are not available in one spot, so you will need to do some research on multiple online platforms to make the best decision. Google is the industry leader in online reviews so it is a good place to start. However, also check Facebook, Yelp (even the Not Recommended Reviews section at the very bottom of the page), Better Business Bureau, Angi, Thumbtack, Housecall Pro and TrustPilot are all good sources for additional research. A 1 star Recommended Yelp review should be factored with a company’s other online reviews on different platforms. Also, take a look at the negative reviews. Many times, the person leaving a negative review predominately only leaves negative reviews for other companies (click on their profile to see how they tend to review other companies). See if the company responds to the reviews. Their response, or lack of, is a great indication of how they may interact with you if you have an issue.
There are very few national cleaning awards available for cleaning services. However, in most major cities, there are local publications that have annual awards for a variety of industries – sort of a Best of the Best local contest. Usually, if a company has won any of these awards, they will put the awards on their social media profiles or on their cleaning websites. However, if you can’t find any there, simply Google the name of your city and add “Best of Awards” and the year. You may find a few selections that match your criteria. However, be prepared to spend some time looking through the nomination categories, as many contests will have hundreds of categories. You should be able to see a list of the finalists as well. Local name recognition can go a long way when selecting a cleaning company and companies that want to compete for that title each year will have to consistently perform well on every cleaning job. Also, check with other entities, like the Better Business Bureau or the local Chamber of Commerce. They generally have annual awards for members, although they may not be cleaning industry related.
Mike Young is the CEO of Palmetto Commercial Services in Columbia, SC. He has earned all 3 IICRC Master Certifications (19 total), CBRT Certification from American Bio Recovery Association (ABRA), HAZWOPER training, environmental disinfection certification from the National Institute of Decontamination Services (NIDS) and has been in the cleaning industry for 28 years. Palmetto Commercial Services has won Best of the State Cleaning Service in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, Post and Courier/Free Times Best Cleaning Company 2019, 2020 and 2021, Columbia Metropolitan Magazine Best commercial cleaning Service 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022, Top Rated Local Best Janitorial Service in South Carolina 2019, 2020 and 2021, Lexington Life Magazine Best Restoration Company 2021 and 2022, Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Business Ethics 2017, and SC Best in Business 2021 Best Janitorial Service, Best Floor Cleaning Service and runner up for Company of the Year. Mike is an avid cleaning blogger and helps other cleaning companies rank on the first page of Google by cleaning service SEO through blog article research and development.