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Accumulation: A different way of thinking about janitorial cleaning

One of the ways to understand cleaning in residential buildings is accumulation. It is a catchall way to describe various types of filth that collects in any particular location. This could be dust, dirt, trash and oils. It can be seen in the edges of hallways, the handles of doors, on the surface of glass… in a word, everywhere. Accumulation always happens, but its rate is variable. A large building with over 2000 residents will see accumulation in the space of a few hours, as more people transit through any specific location. Accumulation in a small building with only 50 residents might take a few days, if not a week before it becomes evident. Obviously, different locations within a building will have different rates. That 2000+ person building may have over 2,000 people walking in and out of the lobby at peak periods; but the top floor’s hallway may have less than ten people walking in and out during the entire day.


These factors should all go into devising a janitorial agreement. This really boils down into one question; how much accumulation are the residents and other stakeholders willing to accept? Less accumulation requires more frequent cleanings, which means more time for a janitor. Often larger buildings also have more space to clean as well; another draw on the cleaners’ time. Smaller buildings may be willing to see a bit more accumulation, particularly when they may have less resources to spend on a janitorial. Thus dealing with accumulation is always a balance between resources and expectations. Put another way, it requires identifying what the building residents desire and how their needs can be met by their resources. This is by no means a one time discussion either. The agreement may require adjustment to fully meet the client’s needs. Its just a different way to think about when considering your janitorial needs and how to meet them.

Professional Carpet Cleaner, or, Just the Janitor?

Why would a building allow an uncertified Janitor to clean the common hallway carpets?

The only reason we can think of is they see them every day (ease of access) , “Bob” the janitor is probably a nice guy, and the strata hopes to save some money.

Do you really want “Bob” to maintain the common area carpets and be responsible for protecting this investment?

Let’s say its costs 10 per sq. ft. to remove and replace common area carpet. So a typical building is 6,000 sq. ft. so roughly it would be between 60K and 80k to replace the carpet (not pocket change).


Ask Yourself – Why wouldn’t you have a firm who:

  1. Has certified techs (Clean Trust/ IICRC)
  2. Career professional (This is all they do, clean common area carpet. Well, they do have hobbies
  3. Meet warranty specifications
  4. Tech’s who know their chemistry
  5. Has a plan, isn’t reacting to seeing dirty carpet which is often too late and wear damage has occurred
  6. Has liability insurance 5 Million (People do slip and fall and sue)
  7. Has WCB coverage for carpet cleaning no janitorial. (Tech’s can hurt their backs)
  8. Has great equipment, each van costs upward of 50K to set up
  9. Has great customer service team, 25 + years of business
  10. We are proven to increase the life span of the carpet

So if are considering having “Bob” clean the carpets to save some money please consider the above.

The best thing a building can do is have Bob vacuum the carpets with a great vacuum on a consistent schedule removing 90 % of the dry soil and let the experts remove the 10 % left the sticky soil (carpet talk).

A typical quarterly maintenance program for this building would cost 2k annually, which is a very small item in a strata’s budget. And replacing the carpet in 6 years instead of 12 (which happens or they just live with dirty worn out carpet) from a financial point of view and liability point of view clearly doesn’t make sense.

David Benoit

General Manager

ServiceMaster Residential For Vancouver


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