Facility management, Commercial Real Estate, Commercial Cleaning Tue, Oct 29, '19
How Technology Helps Building Services Companies Find Value In Performance-Based Cleaning Contracts

Successful building services companies (BSC) are built on the hard work and expertise of people. But in an increasingly dynamic world, the ability to complete day-to-day operational activities -- like cleaning -- on time and budget is tested by frequent call outs, ongoing workforce shortages, and expanding client demands.

In the face of these challenges, some BSCs have turned to performance-based cleaning contracts as a way to do more with less, and uncover more efficient paths to a clean property.

The Benefits of Performance-Based Cleaning Contracts 

In contrast to frequency-based cleaning contracts, performance-based cleaning contracts allow BSCs to get creative about how work is done. Focused on results vs activities, performance-based cleaning contracts provide BSCs autonomy in assessing what activities deliver the best outcomes, and even experiment with emerging technology and techniques in pursuit of best practices.

How Building Cleaning Services Can Show Proof of Performance

When cleaning companies have the freedom and flexibility to do things in the most effective way, they save time, drive better results, and uncover savings that can be passed back to clients or reinvested into the business.

Performance-based cleaning contracts empower BSCs to use their expertise to make better in-the-moment decisions about cleaning, which can be a game-changer -- especially in environments where labor availability and dirt levels fluctuate on a nightly basis.

Performance Based Cleaning Contracts

Image source: “Performance Based Service Contracting,” Facility Engineering Associates, 2012

For BSCs and property management groups, the initial results of performance-based cleaning contracts have been positive. For example, the U.S. Air Force saved 50 percent on their cleaning contract by specifying that floors must be clean, free of scuff marks and dirt, and have a uniformly glossy finish, rather than requiring the contractor to strip and re-wax the floors weekly.

Because performance-based contracts give BSCs the ability to deliver better results for the money, it’s no surprise that they also result in happier clients and longer contract cycles. Consider this: while the average cleaning contract lasts for only one year, the average performance-based contract can last as long as five.

Measuring Performance-Based Cleaning Contracts Can Be a Challenge

While performance-based cleaning contracts have a lot of benefits, they also present challenges to both building service companies and their clients.

Property management procurement teams are used to dealing with frequency based cleaning contracts -- which come with a straightforward price per square foot and a list of required activities. Performance-based contracts present a new negotiation paradigm. In order to avoid subjective metrics and scope, property management teams have to rethink how they evaluate cleaning performance, which may extend or delay the sales and contract cycle.

Another challenge of performance-based contracts is measurability. With frequency-based contracts, cleaning companies are only responsible for performing the necessary activities as defined by the contract. Because performance-based engagements focus on results -- not activities -- measurement gets a little less clear.

Without a “list” approach to cleaning, questions about quality can be challenging to answer. If the cleaning crew says they’ve cleaned, but the client sees it a different way, who has the final word? Because of this challenge, ninety-one percent of BSCs still rely on task lists and cleaning schedules as the means for quality assurance.

Performance-based Contracts Require Cleaning Teams To Innovate

Performance-based contracts empower cleaning teams to do more with less, but only if the cleaning teams can outperform the norm. Cleaning is a labor-dependant job, and ultimately, there is a limit to what people can do -- especially when there are thousands of square feet to cover monthly.

Frequency-based cleaning proposals were developed with human capacity in mind, so cleaning teams must get smart if they want to “beat” the system. This is where technology can be transformative.  (Calculate how much your business can save with automated cleaning equipment.) 

Overcoming the Challenges of Performance-based Cleaning Contracts Requires Technology 

Technology makes cleaning more efficient and cost-effective, so cleaning companies capture the full value of their differentiated approach. Additionally, technology makes cleaning easier to measure; especially when smart devices are part of the cleaning package.

Smart equipment and sensors enable cleaning teams to capture insights about the building, and give clients visibility into the work being done at a property. When more cleaning data becomes available, cleaning teams can identify what activities contribute to the most optimal results, and improve outcomes for both sides. For example, sensors enable use-based monitoring of bathrooms, which can help day porters focus their energy on the stalls and locations that are most likely to need attention.

Incorporating automation into the cleaning process can also help janitors offload repetitive and time-consuming activities, and make those activities measurable. For example, in a world where vacuuming consumes as much as thirty percent of cleaning costs, Whiz -- the commercial robot vacuum from SoftBank Robotics-- gives teams additional time to focus on detail work, windows, dusting, and more. Whiz provides data about cleaning time, location, and more, so janitors can actually confirm that cleaning was done.

Explore How Technology Can Transform Your Services 

Technology gives building service providers an opportunity to do more with less, and “wow” their clients with superior performance. If you are interested in learning more about how automation can drive the effectiveness of your performance-based contracts, contact us to get in touch.