Using employees for in-house cleaning services is expensive, inefficient, and potentially hazardous, if not deadly.
A Comparison of Outsourced Cleaning Services to In-House Employees
Growing businesses often have to make sacrifices.
From a financial perspective, leveraging in-house employees for custodial tasks may appear enticing.
However, the hidden costs of inexperience and inefficiency are reflected in poor worker performance due to toxic indoor environments, as well as a lack of formal training that can lead to decisions which result in physical harm to employees and customers, leading to potential litigation.
Fortunately, with the right partnership, a clean, healthy, and productive workplace does not have to be an expensive alternative.
Your Cleaning Products are Probably Killing You
Many of the cleaning products small businesses use are purchased from grocery or hardware stores and are considered ‘consumer-grade,’ which frees the manufacturer from certain regulations, such as fully disclosing all of the chemicals used in the product, many of which have been tied to numerous disabilities and diseases such as:
- Central nervous system dysfunction.
- Upper respiratory tract issues.
- Attention deficits, and;
Even products labeled for consumers as ‘green’ have been found to contain environmentally toxic chemicals that are dangerous to humans and animals.
Damage from these chemicals can occur almost immediately through inhalation or skin contact, or accumulate over an extended period of time, often resulting in extremely high-cost medical care.
Typically, untrained employees tasked with purchasing cleaning products will buy the same supplies they use at home which, as noted above, can be extremely dangerous and potentially litigious.
Commercial green cleaning vendors have established relationships with certified product manufacturers to ensure that ethically produced products that are safe for people, animals, and the environment, are all that are employed.
By itself, the number of hours it would take an in-house employee to research comparable commercial products that are already available through an outsourced custodial service would render the entire in-house project unprofitable.
Monthly service agreements include the cost of the cleaning product actually used for your facility, sparing your organization from absorbing the retail price of the product, plus shipping and storage expenses.
Repetitive Motion Injuries
Repetitive motion injuries are extremely common in the custodial industry, costing U.S. businesses $1.8 Billion dollars in Workers’ Compensation claims in 2012 alone.
The most commonly cited injuries are from vacuuming, wiping down surfaces, scrubbing floors, and dusting.
Commercial custodial vendors have a wide range of scientifically backed products at their disposal, including:
- Backpack vacuums, which significantly reduce workloads, encourage ergonomic posture, cut down on cleaning time, and are more efficient than consumer-grade upright cleaners.
- Microfiber towels, vastly superior to their counterparts available in the local market store, significantly reduce the amount of time required to properly sanitize and dry off any surface.
- High-efficiency automatic floor scrubbers, which significantly reduce the time previously needed to scrub and mop a large floor surface with less water.
- Ergonomic hand tools and extensions allow for faster, more efficient cleaning times while reducing physical stress on the worker.
The operational efficiency and power of commercial cleaning equipment significantly outperform conventional equipment readily available to consumers.
Obviously, the cost of comparable equipment for use by in-house staff is going to run your business well into the thousands of dollars, not including maintenance and training costs.
When combined with the increased potential of Workers’ Compensation claims from repetitive motion injuries or exposure to toxic chemicals, the cost of maintaining an in-house service quickly surpasses the typical investment in outsourced custodial services.
Indoor Environment Quality and Worker Performance
Regarding indoor environment quality (IEQ), there are two important factors at play.
- The role cleaning products and environmental controls have on the level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air, and;
- The effect high levels of VOCs have on the indoor air supply, and what that does to building occupants.
According to the U.S. EPA, VOC’s are defined as;
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids.
VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects.
Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors.
VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands.
Examples include: paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions.
VOCs have a wide range of negative short and long-term health implications.
According to Greenguard Certification;
Many VOCs are irritants and can cause headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation and dizziness.
Long-term exposure to certain VOCs may lead to chronic diseases or cancer.
At high concentrations, some VOCs are toxic.
VOCs can also have an adverse impact on academic performance, physical exertion, and capacity, as well as worker cognitive functions, as well as leading to ongoing issues with employee absenteeism, which cost U.S. business billions of dollars per year.
According to an article published by the CDC Foundation;
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that productivity losses linked to absenteeism cost employers $225.8 billion annually in the United States, or $1,685 per employee
Further productivity and financial losses have been recorded through a phenomenon referred to as presenteeism, whereby employees show up to work sick.
According to the Harvard Business Review, more employees are working when they are sick, costing employers about $150 billion to $250 billion or 60 percent of the total cost of worker illness.
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Outsourced cleaning services vendors partner with industry leaders, such as the USGBC and the ISSA to assist customer businesses and organizations develop safe and healthy workplace practices and building designs.
Maintaining the certification requirements can be extremely expensive, and likely well outside of the practical budget of most businesses.
Regardless, attempting to implement any type of LEED certification standards and practices within your organization, with no prior experience, is an almost guaranteed path to project failure, whereas consulting with a certified expert on green and sustainable business practices costs relatively little in comparison.
Outsourcing Makes Financial Sense
To remain competitive, sometimes small business owners and managers must make difficult decisions regarding available services in the workplace, and it can be tempting to assign on-the-clock employees to custodial duties, as well as product acquisition and management to ‘save money.’
In reality, that decision is costing your business a fortune in wasted time and efficiency, resources, and employee health–all of which can be cost-effectively addressed through outsourcing.
According to an article by the New York Times;
Outsourcing converts fixed costs into variable costs, releases capital for investment elsewhere in your business, and allows you to avoid large expenditures in the early stages of your business.
Outsourcing can also make your firm more attractive to investors, since you’re able to pump more capital directly into revenue-producing activities.
There are several issues with using untrained and inexperienced in-house staff to clean your office and facilities that will lead to excessive costs and reduced production.
- A lack of in-depth knowledge regarding cleaning product safety, handling, dilution, and disposal can lead to a number of problems, including insufficiently sanitized surfaces, over exposure to toxic chemicals, and environmental contamination.
- A lack of equipment training can lead to severe physical injury or death, and;
- A lack of training and experience regarding the use of certain commercial cleaning products, even those labeled as ‘green’, can lead to an indoor air and environment quality more than five times more polluted than outside, which has a direct impact on health, as well as worker productivity and cognitive function.
An experienced outsourced custodial vendor certified in green technologies and sustainable practices is a superior, cost-effective alternative.
If you would like to learn more about the advantages of green cleaning services for your business, contact us today for a free quote!
In Bakersfield CA, call (661) 395-3009
In Fresno CA, call (559) 473-1790
In Valencia CA, or Santa Clarita CA, call (661) 395-3009