Hiring the Best Cleaning Service Experts for Your Retail Store
A “retail” business today is defined much more broadly than in the traditional sense with the emergence of online retailers.
Those with a physical or “brick-and-mortar” store location today face tremendous competition in this dynamic and challenging retail landscape.
Retail stores in this context are places of business that sell merchandise and/or provide services for the end-user or consumer.
Despite the economic challenges that COVID-19 has had across the economy, the National Retail Federation expects retailers to rebound in upcoming post-Pandemic years.
They estimate that more than one million retail stores exist across the U.S. Further, they cited how the majority of leading online retailers do also maintain physical stores.
The importance of properly maintaining a clean and sanitary store environment is critical to meeting customer expectations.
What Every Retail Store Should Know Before Hiring A Cleaning Service
The majority of store owners and managers recognize the importance of regularly cleaning the interior and exterior of the location.
The next question involves determining what options, and costs, make the most sense for keeping the place clean.
Those establishments that maintain a regular team of employees might reconsider designating the cleaning work to them.
Using your existing employees or staff is one potential option instead of having professional retail store cleaning services.
Assuming they have a different function at the store, an employee may express displeasure toward also performing the cleaning.
If you use an employee to perform the cleaning tasks, will it detract from their primary work assignments?
One key potential challenge associated with using an in-house employee to perform cleaning is the quality of the work.
These employees might put forth a mediocre effort, such as by taking shortcuts or not consistently performing tasks, or not have the proper training, equipment, or supplies.
Needs of Your Retail Store Premises
Retail settings all have different layouts, furnishings, and fixtures and need to have their cleaning tailored to the environment and customers.
Establishing a basic retail store cleaning checklist containing the items that will need to be cleaned is important.
Restrooms are a common high-traffic area requiring constant upkeep and daily deep cleaning.
During the Pandemic, retailers may have high-touch shelves, partitions, and countertops needing disinfecting.
Retailers that are franchisees may have janitorial service requirements dictated by the corporate parent company or national guidance.
Independent retailers do not have the benefit of an established set of cleaning best practices already created for them.
Identifying Your Priorities
Retail store owners or managers must ask themselves if the cleanliness of the premises is important or not.
If the answer is yes, then professional retail cleaning services might be among the best solution.
Shoppers that visit your store may develop a perception of your business based on the appearance of the premises.
The ramifications of failing to maintain the appearance and cleanliness of your establishment may vary based on the industry.
For example, restaurant customers will likely have higher expectations. If the bathroom lacks soap and sinks are filthy, they may wonder if the kitchen area is also neglected.
Customers visiting a grocery store might be discouraged from returning when they notice visual shortcomings in mopping, sweeping, or vacuuming.
They may encounter dirty shopping carts, litter, or clutter in the register or checkout areas. Many retailers underestimate the importance of thoroughly cleaning to retain customers and do not prioritize it.
Keys For Retail Store Cleaning Services
There are a host of general tasks and services such as floor care, trash removal, and bathroom cleaning expected.
Additionally, there are several significant – often not-readily-thought-of – areas that are critical to effective cleaning of retail spaces.
Both initial and ongoing communication is critical between store management and the cleaning service provider.
You might notice some changes that need to be made to the cleaning task list or schedule.
Cleaning should mirror the requirements of the retailer, not the other way around.
For example, additional services might be required during a significant marketing or sales event.
Untrained or careless cleaning staff can create risks by placing or leaving ladders in a customer walkway while performing cleaning of high shelves or fixtures.
Cleaning staff may also stretch an electrical cord across the floor that creates a risk of someone being tripped.
Safety in floor care is among the most important, as using liquids where people are walking or not polishing floors properly creates potential liability.
The National Floor Safety Institute reports that roughly 85% of claims made to worker’s compensation are the result of slip-and-falls.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health explains that retail and wholesale settings are among the most hazardous.
When we speak of service quality in the commercial cleaning industry, a key consideration is consistent day-in-and-day-out performance.
Problems involving inconsistency in a retail environment could involve failing to adhere to the scheduled cleaning intervals for specific areas.
Retail store employees and customers expect clean conditions at all times.
Provide a Scope of Work
As you assess different options for a commercial cleaning company it must be a true “apples-to-apples” comparison.
Compiling a detailed and specific list of all the tasks that need to be completed is critically important.
This process will also ensure you’ll be provided the exact level of services that you expect and require.
For example, the entrance and exit area need dusting, door handles cleaned, and glass door frames cleaned nightly.
Restrooms require that counters and mirrors are cleaned, toilet bowls and rims disinfected, toilet paper refilled, etc.
In the breakroom or employee area, the cleaning may involve refrigerators, sinks, coffee stations, and more.
Some of the more general items to add include countertops, doorknobs, and light switches.
How frequently must each of these tasks be performed? Is it necessary to empty trash cans and baskets twice each day?
Routine cleaning of hard floors or carpeting needs to be addressed, in addition to periodic stripping/waxing or extraction.
Finding Retail Store Cleaning Companies
The following information address how to diligently identify potential cleaning companies for your retail establishment in your market.
Retailers who are considering whether to contract with a professional cleaning company should conduct some research.
What will be the estimated cost to have a contract company handle the cleaning?
How are your competitors or those in similar types of businesses responding to this challenge?
A retailer should require having an experienced commercial cleaning company assess your location in person.
They will identify features and finishes that impact the cleaning process including stairs, glass doors, hard floors, carpet, entryways, and exits.
Ask for Recommendations
Reach out to friends and professional colleagues for any recommendations of organizations that they may have previously worked with.
Consider networking through your business contacts or among those in professional associations that you are involved in.
Often these contacts may not have direct experience with a professional commercial cleaning company, but know others that have.
On-Line Information: Reputation, Experience
In today’s interconnected digital online environment, it is easier than ever to research a company and find customer feedback.
You might consider looking at the organization’s website to gain a better understanding of the operation.
The company may have relevant information including testimonials from prior customers in your area or client case studies.
Has the company been the recipient of any industry accreditations, awards, or endorsements from related associations?
How many years of relevant industry experience does the company currently have?
When reviewing consumer business listing sites, remember that some negative posts might be fabricated from anonymous competitors or disgruntled employees.
Ask potential commercial cleaning companies for references from previous or current retail customers that they have provided services for.
This is slightly different from simply obtaining general business references from colleagues, trade partners, or vendors.
Here, you are seeking feedback and information specifically from another retailer that has hired this organization for commercial cleaning.
Selection Of A Cleaning Company
What are some of the key characteristics to consider when selecting a commercial cleaning company?
- A commitment to safety: The commercial cleaning companies of today should be fanatical about safety. This starts by being regularly equipped with personal protective equipment including gloves, masks (if appropriate), eye protection, and hand sanitizer. Safety should also extend to how work is performed in the workplace.
- Proper training practices: Is the staff properly trained for cleaning properly? For example, waxing different flooring materials, products to polish metallic furnishings, and cleaning agents that must never be used together.
- How they will interact with your customers: Will your customers be nearby and encounter the cleaning staff while they work? It is critical that all cleaning staff maintains a professional appearance and acts friendly and courteously toward customers. Keep in mind that your customers are likely to assume that the cleaners are your employees!
- Flexibility and responsiveness: Will the cleaning provider accommodate special projects or infrequently needed tasks? For example, odor control for floor drains, special event cleaning, power washing, air vent cleaning, etc.
Get to Know the Company
Retail stores should get to know ownership and/or senior management of a potential cleaning firm.
This will allow retailers to gauge how such firms interact with their clients, the comfort level or compatibility between parties, and their operational structure.
Check if the Company is Licensed, Bonded, and Insured
Depending on the individual state or local laws, organizations providing commercial cleaning services may need to be properly registered.
This is less common among those who exclusively perform basic cleaning functions; however, may be needed for more involved operations.
Examples could include servicing of HVAC equipment, usage of pesticides, or conducting any maintenance associated with electrical systems, etc.
Ensure that the prospective organization satisfies all insurance requirements, which may include the following:
- General Liability Coverage: General liability applies to risks including causing injuries or property damage. It is typically required in lease agreements or other contracts that may result in significant legal responsibility.
- Worker’s Compensation: Most states will require all employers to maintain worker’s compensation. It covers medical treatment, rehabilitation, and lost wages stemming from a work-related accidents or illness
- Janitorial Bonds: Service providers that have employees working in a potentially unsupervised environment may secure janitorial bonds for theft problems. It is not an insurance product, but a surety bond that may provide reimbursement.
- Commercial Auto: This coverage may apply if the organization will be operating a vehicle on the premises or transporting supplies and equipment.
Follow the Follow Up
After hiring an organization to professionally begin cleaning the store it is critical to make assessments and follow up.
Review the scope of work to gauge how thoroughly the staff is adhering to each detail.
Does the initially planned frequency of cleaning each of these areas seem sufficient and appropriate thus far?
Most likely, you will identify areas of the retail environment that may need more frequent cleaning intervals.
Meanwhile, you will recognize areas where it appears clear that the anticipated number of daily or weekly cleanings is excessive.
Over several weeks, continue monitoring your plan and the cleaning firm’s performance to make modifications, as required, to boost efficiency based on your observations.
Encourage input and feedback from the cleaning professionals to revise the plan or schedule to ensure the store looks great and is in line with your cleaning budget.
Store owners or managers should inspect the premises at various times throughout the day from a customer or visitor’s perspective.
The Best-In-Class Provider of Retail Store Cleaning Services
For more than 15 years the team of experts at Servi-Tek Facility Solutions has delivered high-quality, transparent solutions for our client partners.
We perform full-service commercial cleaning and facility maintenance services for businesses in many industries including retail.
Our retail programs are customized specifically for the industry type, which includes specialized services such as electrostatic disinfection, emergency response, floor care, and pressure washing of the exterior building and walkways.
We are among the industry leaders and have been accredited by the Global BioRisk Advisory Council (GBAC).
This results from demonstrating that we comply with the highest safety standards and for excellence in cleaning, sanitizing, and sterilizing.
We encourage you to contact us today to speak with a specialist regarding the needs of your facility.