Ways that cleaning contractors and building managers can help reduce their cleaning supply costs

Charlotte, NC – Reducing cleaning costs is a common goal for building managers and cleaning contractors.

Traditionally, the focus is on minimizing labor expenditures when building managers and contractors seek to lower expenses.  But reducing supply costs can also prove to be a major savings.

Because of this, the National Service Alliance (NSA), a group purchasing organization that helps larger cleaning contractors reduce their costs for cleaning equipment and supplies, suggests the following ways cleaning contractors, large and small, as well as building managers can help reduce their cleaning supply costs: 

Avoid “on the fly” purchasing.  What is often termed “on the spot” or “on the fly” purchasing refers to purchasing a product, often just to test it out. If you want to test drive a product such as a cleaning solution, many distributors and manufacturers are happy to provide a sample.

Look for multi-surface cleaning tools.  This can apply both to cleaning chemicals as well as equipment.  One cleaning solution or one machine that can clean multiple surfaces (i.e., hard surface floors and carpet) is one of the best ways to reduce supply costs.

Buy quality. Purchasing higher quality products invariably pays dividends, which reduces the cost of cleaning.  They may be easier to use; perform more effectively; be more durable; last longer, etc. 

Join the “5 Gallon Club.”  Invariably chemical manufacturers will offer a reduced price when cleaning chemicals are purchased in five-gallon containers.

Buy concentrated.  The more concentrated the cleaning solution, the longer it will last, helping to reduce costs significantly.

Focus on performance.  Select products that are more effective and/or help improve worker productivity.  Even if they cost more than comparable products, the labor-related savings will likely more than pay for the investment.

Postpone purchasing.  This applies most specifically to equipment.  Many machines used in cleaning are replaced before the end of their useful life.  Establish a product replacement program. Decide to keep a vacuum cleaner, for instance, five to seven years before replacing it.

Use but don’t abuse. Unfortunately, one of the reasons cleaning tools and equipment must be replaced before the end of their expected lifespan is due to abuse.  Train staff on the proper, safe, and most efficient ways to use and care for cleaning equipment.

Joint procurement. Savings are possible when larger amounts of a product can be purchased at the same time.  Some organizations partner in order to have greater buying power and enjoy these savings.

Price ceiling.  Sometimes large purchasers can negotiate what is called a price ceiling.  A price ceiling ensures that even if there are cost increases, they will not be passed on to these purchasers.

The NSA News Advisory is intended to provide general information on issues impacting the professional contract cleaning industry.

About the National Service Alliance (NSA)
The NSA is a group purchasing organization serving the professional contract cleaning industry.  Starting with19 members, the NSA now has nearly 70 contract cleaner members-most of which are the leading names in the professional cleaning industry-as well as members in other service industries such as security and plumbing.  Total membership is now nearly 300 members.  Terry Sambrowski, is the NSA executive director.