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Green Cleaning for Property Managers

by | Feb 3, 2017 | Facilities Cleaning & Maintenance Tips

Green cleaning services provide multiple solutions to issues that commonly plague property managers.

Property managers face numerous challenges on a daily basis.

Their time is often divided between addressing tenant complaints and work requests while balancing investor/owner financial concerns, as well as dealing with vendor issues.

Unit cleanliness – inside and out – is the most common category of complaints from incoming and current residents.

Cost control and tenant churn due to service degradation are the most commonly voiced concerns from owners and investors.

From the property management’s perspective, poor lines of communication lead to a failure to complete assigned tasks and are the most cited reasons for insufficient cleanliness, customer complaints, and turnover, as well as expense variation.

Additionally, on-site cleaning companies often fail to go that ‘extra mile’ to notify management of external factors, outside of the purview of average janitorial services, including pest infestation (ants, bedbugs, cockroaches, and mice and rats), as well as potential HVAC issues and external facade problems that require specialized equipment, like spider web removal from high overhangs.

A simple solution to address all of these problems is to employ a professional and experienced green cleaning company with an established model of clear communication and flexible response times.

Property Management Challenges

Tenant and owner/investor concerns are easy to deal with when partnered with a professional and experienced provider.

Addressing the needs and common concerns of the property management staff is something else altogether.

Tenant Challenges

Tenant challenges typically fall into one of four categories:

  1. The unit was not ready on time due to maintenance requirements.
  2. Support requests are not fulfilled in a tenant-friendly timeframe.
  3. Chemicals or techniques used were insufficient to satisfy the tenant’s request or caused an adverse reaction.
  4. Scheduled maintenance times are inconvenient due to noise, the inability to access communal areas of the property, or time conflicts.

Those challenges raise additional issues for the management staff to deal with, including;

  • Time to deal with the tenant’s complaint, and;
  • The time required to communicate the complaint to, then reschedule, the cleaning company to come out and resolve the problem they were already paid to deal with.

Often, the need to address these issues on a recurring basis leads the property manager to a high level of frustration, forcing them to seek competitive services elsewhere, further distracting them from usual duties, most likely leading to additional frustration as the new company gets up to speed and tenant requests go unfulfilled.

That decision, in turn, causes frustration on the part of the owners, who are not shy about vocalizing those frustrations with the manager.

Unit Readiness

An empty unit does not generate profit.

Lots of coordination and communication are required to vacate the previous occupants, clean up and refurbish the unit, then move the new tenant in as quickly as possible.

Obviously, it is of significant financial concern when a cleaning company drops the ball and fails to have the space presentation-ready for potential renters.

That failure can take multiple forms:

  • The task was poorly executed.
  • The job just didn’t get completed.
  • New carpet and paint were put in place, gassing a dangerous volume of VOCs, but not properly cleaned or allowed to ventilate.
  • Toxic commercial cleaning chemicals were used to clean up after the installation of new carpet or paint, but not allowed enough time to dry or vent.

This raises two fiscally relevant concerns;

  • Either the unit wasn’t ready, and the property manager had to reschedule the showing, or show another ‘similar’ space to the prospective tenant (not ideal), or;
  • The area was assumed to be available for presenting, only to have the potential renter experience an adverse reaction to the chemicals used in the cleaning and refurbishing process (potentially disastrous).

Regardless, all of these issues add up to further frustration, as well as wasted time and profits.

Support Requests

Addressing support demands in any service industry requires three things:

  1. A profound understanding of industry and customer needs and expectations, including regulatory compliance requirements.
  2. A simple, direct line of communication between the actual provider and the management company that relays pertinent information with minimal ‘back-and-forth.’
  3. An oversight mechanism that ensures high-quality service.
Maintenance and Scheduling

Unit tenants, especially those occupying higher-end establishments, are highly demanding.

They expect access to their, as well as public, spaces as the need arises with minimal distraction or interference.

Tenants have also become increasingly more educated regarding the use of chemical detergents and cleaners and their dangerous side-effects. 

This present a series of unique challenges, especially in large apartment/condo complexes and multi-tenant office buildings where 24/7 access is expected 

Take the entryway of any given multi-tenant building as an example.

The floor needs to be cleaned, but it can’t be done during normal working hours to avoid disrupting the tenant’s regular flow of traffic, nor can it be done at night during the work week to avoid disturbing residents, leaving one option; perform the task late at night on the weekend when most residents are away.

The ‘trick’ is to get the job done right, on time, the first time without disrupting occupants as they return to their regular routine the next morning.

That means;

  • No toxic chemical smell or residue, and;
  • No blocked pathways because something hasn’t dried yet.

Owner/Investor Challenges

Owner and Investor problems are a little more direct and simpler to understand. 

They want a cleaning company, or any vendor for that matter, to come in and do the job they agreed to do at a competitive cost without causing more issues than they solve.

They certainly don’t want to hear complaints, especially persistent complaints from tenants.

This dynamic creates and adversarial relationship with the cleaning company, which renders said company into a liability–soon to be replaced.

The challenge here isn’t so much for the investors, but for the property manager who now has to deal with not only upset occupants and owners, but also finding a new cleaning company, train them, and then deal with all of the little, missed details that drive tenants crazy along the way.

Green Cleaning Solutions

To sum it all up;

  • Occupants want their office or condos thoroughly cleaned and healthy without any disruption to their day or schedule.
  • Owners/Investors want the best service for their money.
  • Property managers need a professional team with flexible scheduling that does not require micromanagement to perform a quality job on a consistent basis.

Green cleaning plans address all of those needs.

  • Green cleaning soaps and detergents are eco-friendly and non-toxic–meaning less time required to vent a space before re-entry, and minimal chance of an adverse reaction in a resident.
  • Microfiber tools are color coded, precisely to avoid cross-contamination, and use less water and gas (hot water) than their cloth/cotton counterparts–meaning a measurable reduction in operational costs.

The Vanguard Cleaning Systems Difference

Vanguard franchisee’s deal with property management specific challenges in a quaint and innovative fashion; a log book–hand-written and easily accessible.

Notes are left for the cleaning crew via the manager or their representative, and vice-versa.

Occupant needs and complaints are addressed immediately, or there is written documentation to support the manager’s case that the issue was not resolved.

Problems the cleaning crew notice throughout their rounds are similarly recorded at the end of the day, as well as any caveats that may have led to incomplete tasks, such as inaccessible or occupied spaces.

Regardless, any green cleaning company can use quality chemicals and tools to provide a quality service; it’s that last 10% that makes our franchisees better.

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Does your janitorial staff have trouble keeping up with your evening and weekend events? Maybe it’s time to hire an experienced school cleaning company to partner with the staff.

Vanguard Cleaning Systems of Minnesota can help you consider all your needs and options before you make a move. Download our free guide, “8 Steps to Hiring a Commercial Cleaning Company”