Many cleaning contractors outsource cleaning work to other cleaning companies. This means that while a building manager may have hired cleaning contractor “A” to handle the cleaning and maintenance of their facility, in reality, the work is being performed by subcontractor “B.”
In some cases, outsourcing works very well. Because contractor A, using the above scenario, may not be required to pay certain types of employment taxes, the customer may enjoy a cost saving. Further, if the work performed meets all expectations, then everyone, the contractor and the customer, are happy.
But when it comes to working with janitorial subcontractors, all too often things can go wrong. This is why building managers should be leery of hiring cleaning contractors that outsource their work to non-employee individuals or other companies.
Among the concerns are the following:
Who’s in charge? The building manager hired contractor A, but B is doing all the work. When issues arise, who does the customer contact – contractor A or subcontractor B? Further, who is ultimately responsible for rectifying and addressing a situation?
Loss of control. This is an issue that pops up frequently when contractors subcontract cleaning work. The customer, for instance, may want cleaning work performed between 8 pm and 10 pm. If the contractor has their own staff maintaining the building, this should not be a problem. However, legally, the contractor cannot tell the subcontractor when their team can clean the customer’s building. All the contractor can do is make the request and hope for the best, which invariably is an unhappy scenario.
Role redundancy. In some cases, both the contractor and subcontractor have their own supervisory personnel. This overlapping of roles can result in inefficiencies and cause confusion among the cleaning workers. Too many cooks in the kitchen regularly leads to problems.
Response time. A building manager may contact contractor A about an issue, but A may not be able to reach contractor B for a day or two or longer. Further, even when contacted, B may not be able to address the issue for another day or two. Delays in response time can often be frustrating for building managers, result in tenant complaints, and in cases of safety issues, increase concerns that someone might get hurt.
Employee training. Most cleaning contractors that hire their own employees to perform cleaning work make sure they are well trained in the latest cleaning methodologies. Staying up to date with new cleaning techniques helps improve worker productivity, which helps reduce their costs, enhances customer satisfaction, and helps ensure greater safety. Subcontractors invariably do not have the funds or resources to provide adequate training for their staff, which can negatively impact customer satisfaction.
Staff turnover. A problem related to employee training is employee turnover. Yes, employee turnover is a problem throughout the professional cleaning industry; however, it often is an even more significant challenge among subcontractors. When a cleaning contractor invests in their employees with training programs, workers tend to hold their jobs longer, feel more loyalty to their employers, and as part of the team, want the contractor’s customers to be happy with their work. Because subcontractor B may not be able to invest in training, may need to hire temporary workers, and often provides fewer benefits and less pay to their workers, their staff is quick to come and go.
There are other issues we could address, but another dark side of outsourcing for building managers is not knowing it is happening.
While some requests for proposals will specify that no subcontractors may be hired to perform cleaning tasks, or at the very least, inform the customer if subcontractors are hired, often the topic is not discussed. Frequently, the customer only finds out work is being subcontracted once problems materialize.
This lack of transparency negatively impacts trust. All building managers must be able to trust the cleaning contractor they hire.
When it comes to cleaning and maintenance, Secure Clean Building Services provides peace of mind. Give us a call at 888-609-1410 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org