Updated: Sep 11
Is There a Measurable Benefit to a National Janitorial Service?
Many Facility Managers that work in larger or more complex buildings may think that they need a national cleaning company in order to have their needs met effectively.
Whether you manage a big building, multiple facilities or have very specific requirements, it can be easy to assume that a national janitorial company might better meet your needs. There simply are not many scenarios where this is likely to be the case. If you have many facilities spread out across the country, a national, centrally located provider might be a solid option to coordinate services across multiple states. But aside from that, there are no reasons a national cleaning company is going to offer you more effective cleaning or a better value than a solid, effective, large and experienced local Iowa commercial cleaning company. Said another way, everything else being equal, a national janitorial service simply isn’t any better.
When we think local, we tend to think smaller, “mom & pop” but there are often large local cleaning service providers that offer the perfect balance between a national company’s purchasing power and infrastructure, and the local benefit of you being a priority, receiving a cleaning plan tailored to your building and exceptional, responsive service. Not only can you get everything you need from the right large, local janitorial company, you can feel good about the positive effects of doing business with a local Iowa janitorial service company and the way this relationship supports the larger community.
What To Look for in Any Prospective Cleaning Company
In order to decide which janitorial companies will provide a better service, we first need to look at what good service is. The majority of Facility Managers from every type of industry tend to agree that these key areas are what constitute a quality provider:
The janitorial company in question is interested in a long lasting, mutually beneficial partnership, not a short-term contract or burn and churn.
They have responsive, real-time communication to quickly address problems before they spiral out of control and so that you can make adjustments to your cleaning in real time.
They provide a transparent, accurate and easy to understand cleaning bid so that you can compare their services and prices to other companies in a way that allows you to make the most informed decisions for your facility.
Their employees are well screened, trained and managed so that they can provide you with the best possible service experience.
You don’t want a commercial cleaning company that isn’t interested in you long term because building specific cleaning practices take time to discover, learn and master. In the same way, you want a company whose employees have the training and motivation to attune to your facility’s specific needs in order to provide you with a consistent, high-quality cleaning.
Do National Cleaning Companies Have More Purchasing Power?
Of course, larger, national companies are going to have significant buying power. They service large numbers of accounts and can therefore buy more goods at quantity pricing. The real question is who is benefitting from this bulk buying power. More often than not, these savings aren’t being passed along to you the customer and instead get put towards the higher operating costs and a higher profit margin for the national janitorial company in question. This tends to be the opposite with larger local companies. Because of their size, they also have significant buying power with supplies, equipment and consumables, but unlike their national counterpart, they often pass these savings along to their customers in order to stay competitive with costs and offer their local clients the best value.
Do National Janitorial Companies Stack Up with Customer Service?
The primary benefit of smaller cleaning services is the personal level of service. Odds are, you are going to know who is in charge and they will be more responsive in speaking with you about your needs and what they can do to help. Problematically, a great many of these local operations are simply too small to effectively service larger buildings or multiple facilities. On the other hand, the chances that a CEO, or any number of levels of management, of a national cleaning conglomerate are going to speak to you personally is very slim unless you happen to be their largest account holder.
The larger the service provider the more bureaucracy and paperwork gets in the way of a personal relationship and quality customer service. And yet, bigger businesses are better poised to offer affordable, quality services given their systems and procedures that assure a level of standards and professionalism. The most responsive service that doesn’t sacrifice effectiveness and value tend to be the larger local building service contractors. You get all of the infrastructure, purchasing power and systems along with a personal relationship and the sensibility of a local Iowa janitorial service company that understands your needs and has ties to the larger community.
National Cleaning Contractors & Their People
Typical of the service industry, the quality and responsiveness of your cleaning company is a function of their frontline staff. Well trained and screened cleaning employees are the key to providing solid, consistent service. This is something that national companies can do well. They often have an effective, efficient framework in place to screen and train their employees. What they lack, however, is company loyalty that is built from a feeling of connection and being valued for the work that they do. They might manage their people, but they are less likely to create the team atmosphere and culture in which employees also manage themselves. Similarly, if the national company is set up as a franchise, it may really be operating as a small business with a big business model, not likely to offer you the best of either. On the other hand, very small companies often struggle to keep proficient and skilled cleaners because they can’t offer competitive pay or benefits, or business is spotty or cyclical as they struggle to find solid footing. Once again, the happy medium lies somewhere in the middle.
Larger local Iowa cleaning companies have the size to provide competitive wages and benefits, ample training and supervision but are sized in such a way that cleaning staff still feel like the work they do is impactful and meaningful helping to reduce attrition and lower staff turnover. These companies are also proficient at screening and training and as an added bonus usually have time to do detailed, in-person interviews with their prospective staff. This is complemented by having a more personal relationship with the surrounding community because they directly service small business owners and well-known community centers alike.
Are You a National Cleaning Company’s Priority?
What all too often happens to smaller or medium sized accounts with national janitorial service providers is they get lost in the sea of accounts rarely getting the attentive treatment they received during the sales process. The unfortunate truth with national janitorial companies is that they can replace these accounts as quickly as they lose them. Their size and reputation allow them to provide a generic service to these small account holders and replace them as they move on to different service providers without losing revenue, they anticipate and tweak their model for this kind of churn. They simply have many ponds from which to fish when it comes to customer accounts.
Local janitorial service providers, in contrast, have a smaller pond to fish from and value their accounts more because they can’t easily replace them. Local companies are also more tied to their community, so word poor service travels quickly and can cost them more accounts or future business. As such, local commercial cleaning companies tend to provide a much better and more responsive service that has been carefully crafted around the specific needs of your facility.
Large & Local is the Right Size for Most Buildings & Industries
What it boils down to is that you need an effective, affordable service. This means being treated like a VIP and receiving the commensurate level of responsiveness and service. You want a company that will work to help provide effective service at a price that meets your budget requirements. This also means you need a cleaning company that has the buying power to provide competitively priced services while being able to afford the latest innovations in techniques, equipment and chemical cleaning solutions. You want a company that has solid people systems to get the best the industry has to offer without having to worry about higher than necessary turnover and its impact on the level of service you receive.
These are all qualities of the larger local commercial cleaning company. They can service any industry and building effectively, efficiently, and affordably, even big buildings. A large, locally owned and operated cleaning and janitorial company, like Stathakis, offers the best combination of benefits of both national cleaning companies and the little guys giving you the right balance of professionalism and tuned in service you can only get from a local janitorial service provider.