Flooring, Maintenance and Operations

Cleaning for Health Can Be Cost-Effective Using an Outcome-Based Approach

One of the highest costs of facilities management is cleaning and maintenance. And in today’s world, there is an increased emphasis on cleaning for health. As a result, it has become a non-negotiable budget item for facilities managers.

What Is Cleaning for Health?

Pre-pandemic, if a facility appeared clean, it was deemed clean. Now, spaces must look, feel, and smell clean, and they must be proven to be clean and healthy to reassure occupants and achieve total building health.

Research supports cleaning for health. “Cleaning and disinfecting are the only intervention,” says Dr. Charles Gerba, Ph.D., University of Arizona. Proper cleaning can reduce the spread of contagious viruses by 80% to 90%, Gerba’s studies find.

Cleaning for Health Affects Your Bottom Line

Although cleaning has traditionally been viewed as a cost, cleaning for health is connected to an organization’s bottom line. According to the ISSA, even relatively modest investments in cleaning produce substantial financial returns. Investments in quality cleaning programs and practices reduce operation costs through increasing occupant wellness, productivity, asset preservation, and sustainability. Plus, it enhances your company image when occupants are satisfied that their spaces are clean and healthy. 

Your business must have protocols in place to clean for health, including deeper, more frequent cleaning and additional disinfecting to mitigate infection risk. Property owners are demanding results, making cleaning for health a worthwhile investment.

But it presents a challenge. How can you cost-effectively clean for health?

Now Trending: Outcome-Based Cleaning

Shifting to an outcome-based cleaning approach can cost-effectively meet a facility’s operational needs. In this approach, facilities managers and service providers work together to base results on performance. Outcome-based service contracts define expected outcomes but not the detailed actions to attain them. They create a good experience for the facilities manager that results in an efficient and effective outcome relative to the cost.

Standard prescriptive contracts describe precisely what must be done, including fine points like headcount, hours worked, cleaning products, and tools. As a result, there’s no room for flexibility or innovation. On the other hand, an outcome-based approach customizes a cleaning and surface care program for the facility’s needs. This approach lowers costs by eliminating unnecessary cleaning and wasted time. It also encourages service providers to use innovative technology or enhanced processes to improve service delivery, productivity, and results. At the end of the day, quality service providers should be the subject matter experts, and should have a variety of solutions based on chemistry, methodology, and frequency.

Outcome-based cleaning is a consultative strategy. The service provider works with you to outline expectations for cleanliness, not details. In the long run, your facility is cleaned and maintained for health, and you’ve built a trusted client-provider relationship that demonstrates both performance and value.

How Outcome-Based Cleaning Works

An outcome-based approach defines processes that deliver expected results. Here is how it works:

  • Discovery Phase: During a consultative session, the service provider will ask specific questions to understand your needs, your standards of cleanliness, and the facility’s requirements.
  • Site Assessment: The provider will personally audit the current condition of all surfaces in your facility, defining areas for improvement, areas that need none, and cleaning frequency.
  • Collaborative Solution Build: With floorplans that identify every surface in your facility, the provider will recommend maintenance strategies using information from the discovery session, site observations, manufacturers’ recommendations, and years of experience.
  • Customized Care Plan: The provider will deliver a results-based customized care plan that provides frequencies and care methods for each surface type.
  • Plan Implementation: The service provider proactively schedules your custom services, performed by trained and certified surface care professionals. Services include regular follow-ups, post-service inspections, documentation, third-party testing and certifications, and quality assurance surveys to ensure your expectations and outcomes are met.

Tips for Finding a Service Provider

Here are some tips for finding the right service provider for an outcome-based, cleaning-for-health program. First, it is essential to partner with a service provider that engages professional, GBAC- and IICRC-certified technicians. These surface care professionals are informed of the latest cleaning and disinfecting protocols to complement your existing daily cleaning services. Then, to prove the facility is cleaned for health, the service provider must test the air and surfaces to prove the spaces are clean and healthy. Finally, the provider should certify the work as safe, healthy, and clean by third-party enterprises where available.

Shifting from a traditional surface care contract to an outcome-based approach works. Facilities managers will see better performance since service providers care for actual cleaning necessities rather than anticipated cleaning needs. Focusing on outcomes allows efficient and effective service, thereby lowering costs. It is a solution where everyone benefits.

Michael S. Crippen is the Founder and CEO of SOLID Surface Care. A graduate of The Citadel with a degree in Business Administration, Mike began his career as a commercial flooring sales representative and founded Commercial Flooring Solutions in 1996. He transformed this venture into the client-centric organization that SOLID is today.