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How To Handle Complaints in the Strata Cleaning Business – Our Plan.

I am sure we could all trade stories of our customers and how they expressed their concerns to us. Unfortunately its the few negative interactions that overshadow the vast majority of positive ones. The most common issue we face this time of year is when a window gets missed during a building cleaning, which then gets blown out of proportion. One of the more humorous (and frustrating) examples is receiving a call on the first day of a two-week project that their window was missed.

So to avoid these issues, we’ve put together a point-by-point checklist of lessons learned over the past 25 years.


Try and stop the complaints before they happen:

• The first step is clearly setting expectations before we start. Building notices are often our main way to communicate to residents: we try to be absolutely clear what we will do and not do, as well as what we need the residents to do.
• Have a dispute resolution process, including where and how to communicate issues. This leads us to….

Cutting out the middle man in the complaints:

• Having residents come to us directly speeds up the process and ensures that they get the answer straight from the service provider. Not only is it more efficient, it saves your inbox getting filled with complaints.

Notify all parties as to the current job status:

• Job Confirmation – Dates, scope of work, site notices.
• Reminder Email – Does a notice need posting? Window screens removed?
• En route – Site contacts know to be prepared for arrival.
• Job Completion – we’re done, check for any issues.

Defusing complaints by calling them cases and categorizing them into buckets based on their features:

• Customer Service – not really an issue but we return.
• Technical – Its a technical issue and we could have done better or simply missed something.
• Damage – We unfortunately damaged something and need to repair.

Preparing our customers knowledge by providing informative content like our blog site:

• Articles on the technical aspect of cleaning.
• Content outlining what clean looks like.

Do You Maintain Your Floors? Lets Keep Them Looking Great

Having clean, well maintained floors in your common areas helps establish a positive and healthy environment. There is nothing worse than when you walk into a location and see large stains / spots on the floor, which immediately take away from the location. Many buildings will throw up their hands and say “but we clean them once a year!” But what happens during the other 11 months? The amount of traffic in an high-rise condo’s common areas is equivalent to a commercial office building, and thus having a year round plan is essential.

Okay so what are the options? To start, develop a plan with a credible contactor who can comply with manufacturers warranties and specifications. Learn the difference between interim cleaning aka maintenance cleaning vs restorative/extraction cleaning. No two buildings are the same: they have different traffic patterns and environmental factors that can have dramatically different outcomes even when the same carpet is installed. Thus a location’s cleaning approach must be tailored to its situation. In our experience, it should be a mixture of interim and restorative cleaning set out a selected intervals. Approximately three quarters of the floor care work our crews complete are interim cleanings, which is meant to remove dirt and soil that a standard vacuum are unable pick up.

Not only will having a proper cleaning plan help the appearance of your building, it also protects its value and helps the budget. The floor care program is often the cheapest line item in a building’s budget; replacing carpet or hard surface floors is one the largest. If improperly maintained, most carpets discolours and “uglies out”, before it physically wears out at the end of its expected lifespan. A floor care plan will avoid this outcome, prolonging your carpet’s life and keeping your warranty intact. If a carpet prematurely ages and needs to be replaced ten, or even five years earlier than planned due to a lack of proper maintenence, its a case of penny wise pound foolish. And the best part is it isn’t really that expensive. Thus a carefully implemented carpet cleaning program should be considered an essential part of any building maintenence program.


Its a pretty common occurrence in our office where a property manager approaches us for quotes on a half dozen or more buildings in one instance. We’re totally not complaining about the situation (as it allows us to show what we’re capable of) but it can be inefficient approach to management.

Often the rationale is that a Strata Corporation assumes that the work was too costly or not well done, and they can save money by soliciting bids from a number of providers. Often any potential cost savings are lost due to the time taken to manage a competition, as well as the risk for disruption for on-boarding a new service vendor.

We offer an alternative: a consistent, long-term partner that can meet your service requirements at a cost that is at or below your expected budget. How exactly can we offer that?

  1. Consistency in delivery of service – one company that can adapt for the location’s needs.
  2. Familiarity of the building – Technicians know get to know the site and do things more efficiently
  3. Less Friction with service delivery
  4. No short-term solutions- Service provisions that provides the best value for the location long and short term
  5. Lower sales and on-boarding costs – only one competition at the start of the contract
  6. Less property manager involvement in a contract.

They key for success for both parties in a long term relationship is establishment of a common frame of reference. Actual service itself is secondary, whether it be a multiple, regular maintenance services or a simple agreement to clean the gutters every year. However as long as both parties have a common frame of reference, both sides usually come out getting what they want.

As as a “One Source Vendor” we have the ability to provide complete building maintenance programs or agreements that simply provide the same service annually. We brand our agreements as ASG (Annual Service Agreements) and APG (Annual Project Agreements). for an example of what an ASG looks like please CLICK HERE and for information please visit our web site or do not hesitate to contact us.

Large Projects In The Cleaning World are Different – Critical to put the contractor through a selection framework

It can be a tough process for a Strata to undertake a large cleaning project. Their requirements often involve significant complexity, much of which may not be apparent to the residents when they first set out.

When the strata receives quotes back, they are confused when contractor submit prices and scopes that are wildly different. Moreover selecting the lowest cost often leads to an unsatisfactory outcome, as key facets of the job are unaddressed. This can lead to essential work being uncompleted or a second vendor being called in to complete the job.

How to avoid this situation? First is to grapple with number of essential questions.

  1. Why? Is the project required? what needs to be done?
  2. Clearly defining Specifications – Scope Of Work are not clearly defined
  3. What approach to cleaning? What are the industry standards for
  4. Vetting Contractors – are they reputable? Do they have the capacity and technical ability?
  5. What is the proposed workflow? How disruptive will it be for the location’s residents.
  6. What is the deficiency plan?
  7. Is there a clear point of contact and management structure for both the location and vendor.
  8. Is there a clear communication pathway and approach for providing project update.

When sourcing a contractor for a large cleaning project best results are achieved when you consider above and not simply engage the lowest bidder.

December e-Tips – Strata Cleaning News

Did You Know?
Dryer Vent CleaningiStock_000027011761XLarge

So in the past twelve months we have cleaned nearly 30,000 dryer
vents across the lower mainland: High Rise, Low Rise, Townhouse complexes…. by ladder, rope and by in-suite access. We thought it might be useful to provide some thoughts we gleaned from the field.
The main cause of damage is from pooling water within the vent that accumulates over time. This is usually the result of low air flow through the run that leads to airflow becoming restricted. Basically lint and other solid debris build up, until the entire vent is blocked resulting in moisture condensing and pooling. The first sign of trouble is usually when the moisture drains out of the vent through a hole (or corrosion) and stains a ceiling.

In our experience, slab ducts in high rises are the most susceptible to this problem, particularly when they have long runs, multiple corners and lack an effective boosterfan. This almost certainly results in some vents accumulating high levels of lint and debris.One thing we noticed is a huge help is reminding residents to clean their lint traps after each load. The difference between units that do or do not do this one simple task is immediately noticeable to our staff.

A number of people have asked when is an exterior only cleaning is appropriate and when a interior/exterior cleaning is required. Typically an exterior only cleaning is sufficient if the vent runs are fairly straight and short. and Interior/exterior cleaning is recommended for slab ducts with longer runs with corners. A best practice is to alternate between the two: one year from the interior and exterior next year the exterior, unless there are some known challenges on the location.

Snow Removal & De-Icing – Lessons LearnedScreen Shot 2017-12-05 at 6.52.19 PM

The past two years were pretty bad for ice and snow. Over that time we’ve developed a number of responses to meet your needs. First off, this year we have started to offer the supply and delivery of ice melt to customers. A number of our longtime clients already have staff on hand who can undertake snow cleaning and ice removal, but not the ice melt to do so, this is our attempt to help them. To learn more about our ice melt delivery service Please Click Here.

Not every building has the luxury of staff on hand who can provide all the physical labour to mange snowfall and freezing temperatures. That’s the next level of service we offer. We can offer being on our callout list, where we provide on-demand assistance for pressing needs. This is most appropriate for buildings that need a bit of assistance to their day to day operations, but not immediately. For buildings on our callout list, we do not guarantee that our staff will arrive on site before a certain time. Finally there is our full snow removal program, which is ideal for buildings that do not have a dedicated staff who can clean affected areas. This is an full service program, where we guarantee our staff will be on site before 9am to remediate the snowfall and distribute ice melt to affected walkways as required.

If any of these options piques your interest, let us know. There are a few parts that we will need to sort out with you before we start.
1. Site Maps – a detailed discussion on what areas need to be cleaned, and how. Nobody wants to have a disagreement on the day of a snowfall about an area that was or was not cleaned.
2. Triggers – when is a service required? Only for snow removal or any time the temperature falls below zero?
3. What Kind Of Ice Melt ?– Certain kinds can damage concrete or be unfriendly to our four legged friends. Thus we need to determine which salts we can use where, before we start.
4. Frequency – One Per Day? Multiple call outs? It all depends on the size of your building and needs.

Freezing and snow is a major issue, and we can tailor our service to your needs. Call us today and see what ServiceMaster Clean Vancouver can do for you.





At ServiceMaster Clean, we are so confident as industry leaders in commercial carpet cleaning that we want you, the customer, to put our skills to the test.  Our methods and products have been time-tested over our 60 years in the cleaning industry.  Now you get to take us for a complimentary trial run by sending us your Stain Challenge!


  1. The Stain Challenge is open to any business not currently being served by a ServiceMaster Clean franchise.
  2. The “Stain” may contain multiple drips (as in coffee drips) but total area is limited to a maximum size of 3” x 3”.

Click here to send us your Stain Challenge!


Due to the number of unknown variables such as age of stain, cause of stain, type of carpet and/or backing, cleaning methods and solutions that may have been previously used, ServiceMaster Clean does not warranty nor guarantee the successful removal of all or any portion of the stain.


 “They do good work and are always available for special requests. I know when I call, if there is a way to get it done, it will happen!” R.L., Sunlife

  “One call and it’s done nice and easy.” J.M., Toshiba of Canada

CARPET SPILLS – Spot Cleaning


cup of spilling coffee creating splash


“Ooops, sorry, I spilled my coffee!”

How many times have you heard that statement then looked down at the carpet with the realization, “That’s going to leave a mark!”  Well, the good news is – it’s doesn’t necessarily have to leave a permanent mark – if it is treated properly and quickly.

If you’re interested in doing some preemptive treatment of that carpet spill, the following are the treatment steps the carpet professionals at ServiceMaster Clean recommend.

  1. Scoop up any solids (like toner) gently with a spoon.
  2. Always blot wet carpet spills as quickly as possible with white paper or cloth towels! Never scrub as this may damage your carpet fibers and create fuzz.  When blotting, work from the outside in to prevent spreading.  TIP: In our experience, this may take 10 to 12 blots to absorb all the liquid.
  3. Treatment of the carpet spill involves a bit of science to know what solutions will help breakdown the spilled substance. Download our easy Carpet Stain Guide for the most common office carpet stains.
  4. Rinse and blot the stained carpet area again! It is important to remove as much detergent residue (if used) from your carpet.  If detergent residue is left in your carpet, it may actually increase re-soiling!  So, rinse with water and blot again!

We know that very likely, you’ve got much better things to do than go through these steps!  So, why not let the commercial cleaning specialists at ServiceMaster Clean tackle these problems for you!

Ready for a complimentary assessment of your carpet?  We may even treat a spot or two while we assess!


I like that I can call in a spot clean and know it will be done and the room ready for the next morning.” H.M., CBRE


“One call and it’s done nice and easy.” J.M., Toshiba of Canada

  ServiceMaster Clean – We are your commercial cleaning specialists.

We are a team of professional commercial cleaners dedicated to all of your office cleaning needs from floor cleaning to duct cleaning and everything in between!

For more information on any of our commercial cleaning services, contact us today!



Shot of a worn office chair on a dark, cord carpet in a dark room - with plenty of copy space.



Wait!  What does that have to do with commercial carpet cleaning?

Wicks are what you burn on a candle.

And shedding?  I don’t bring my dog to the office!

As for sprouting, I might put that in my sandwich.

All three of these terms are also used by professional carpet cleaning technicians to describe certain carpet conditions that effect the overall look of your commercial carpet.  Terms that, if you are unfamiliar with them, might cause you to say or think – “What in the world are you talking about?”

To help clarify our communications with you, ServiceMaster Clean has compiled a glossary of commonly used commercial carpet cleaning terms to avoid creating the misunderstanding that we’re talking about your dog eating alfalfa sprouts while you were burning the candle at both ends!

Click here to download the ServiceMaster Clean Carpet Terminology Guide.

 “I don’t have to worry about anything — it will all get done timely and with great results.” E.W., Grant Thornton LLP


 “They go over and beyond to get the job completed.” I.P., Dundee Realty Management


ServiceMaster Clean – We are your commercial cleaning specialists.

We are a team of professional commercial cleaners dedicated to all of your office cleaning needs from floor cleaning to duct cleaning and everything in between!

For more information on any of our commercial cleaning services, contact us today!