By Stanley Quentin Hulin
Properly specifying chemicals, equipment, tools and materials can be cost-effective strategies, but the key to a successful floor-maintenance program is the people performing the maintenance.
In cases where managers opt to outsource floor care, the real solution in reducing costs comes from selecting certified, qualified technicians who know the craft.
Unfortunately, managers too often select contractors based on the amount they charge, as opposed to the company's skill level. Managers should not have to spend time with crews explaining the tasks. Instead, they should be able to rely on the contractor to understand the job.
When managers rely on unskilled building service providers — even when providers have some rudimentary skills — managers will have to spend time telling them what to do, as well as when to do it. Ultimately, this situation leads to a floor-maintenance program that has specific requirements at designated intervals, and an inflexible schedule is rarely conducive to efficient floor care.
A rigid program can result in services performed in areas that do not need it and negligence in areas that need more attention. A knowledgeable service provider will have the ability to make the necessary adjustments to meet the manager's objectives.
Certified providers are trained to identify different floor coverings and understand the requirements for maintaining each type, including the most effective chemicals, the proper equipment for the greatest efficiency, the best tools and materials to accomplish the task, and the frequency with which to do the job.
Using certified technicians ensures the floor-maintenance program delivers tangible benefits. By maintaining the floor when it needs to be maintained and consistently keeping it in the best condition, providers can help managers and their organizations save a great deal of money by extending the periodic and restorative cycles.
Managing the cost of floor maintenance does not necessarily mean simply cutting costs in all areas. Managers can achieve substantial savings over time by implementing proven strategies in specifying chemicals and equipment.
Managers must fight against the common desire to produce short-term savings by cutting services. One proven strategy in this area is to point out the cost of restoring floors once the economic crisis passes. Of all the strategies, restorative maintenance requires the most chemicals, equipment and labor costs.
By contrast, a sound floor-maintenance program that uses superior chemicals, efficient equipment and trained labor will keep the floors looking their best while holding down costs.
Stanley Quentin Hulin is president and CEO of Future Floor Technology Inc. He has been providing services, management and sales/marketing expertise for the hard-floor maintenance profession since 1975.