Frequently Asked Questions
This is probably the most searched question when you are considering hiring a cleaning company, and with good reason. You need to know if the price you are paying not only fits within your budget, but also if the service you are receiving is worth the cost. So here is the answer......it all depends. Cleaning services are not a "cookie cutter" service where an email or phone quote will give you an honest idea of what you will pay. There are many variables that need to be taken into account when a cleaning company provides you a quote. The main factor starts with the size of your office and each office is different in it's own right. How big is the office? What type of flooring is in the office? Is it a one person job or will it take a team to complete the work? How many bathrooms need to be cleaned and sanitized? Only with an on-site visit can any of these things be known. And once on site, then can it be determined not only the size and layout of the office but how long it may take to clean the office space. Labor is the largest part of the cost to provide cleaning services. Finally, there are other factors that go into your cleaning quote that include the number of days a week, are you wanting general cleaning or more of a "deep clean", and of course the cost of equipment and supplies, taxes, insurance and overhead are all factored into the cost of service.
There are three distinct definitions for cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting surfaces; typically defined by the level of microbial contamination left on the surface after that surface has been treated. Each cleaning product has it's own standards for cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting. One of the most important jobs as a professional cleaner is to kill the germs, bacteria and viruses or stop their growth before they can make people sick. Germs, bacteria, and viruses are all microorganisms that cannot be seen without a microscope. Our world is filled with beneficial microorganisms and those that make people sick or can kill; those microorganisms are called "pathogens". CLEANING is the process of removing visible dirt, dust and debris from a surface. Cleaning may or may not kill bacteria and germs, but will reduce their numbers and also aid in lowering the risk of spreading disease. SANITIZING is the lowest level of germ control. It may kill the fewest number of microorganisms, but is till considered safe according to public health standards. Sanitization is removing the surface of germs that could be harmful to your health by reducing not killing the number and growth of bacteria, viruses and fungi. Sanitizers will kill anywhere from 50% to 99% of germs it comes into contact with. Typically chemical sanitizers have a "dwell time" for them to be effective. Dwell time refers to the time the product must remain on the surface before wiping it off. DISINFECTING kills many more germs than sanitization and must be registered with the EPA to be considered a true "disinfectant". Disinfecting kills mirco-scopic organisms from surfaces by using an EPA approved chemical to kill the organisms and prevent them from spreading. A chemical cannot be classified as a disinfectant if it cannot kill 99.999999% of pathogens from a hard, non-porous surface. The dwell time for disinfecting is much longer than sanitizing and it is important to follow label instructions correctly to kill all microorganisms. Disinfection is typically a two-step process; first the area must be cleaned to remove dirt and soil, then the disinfectant can be applied for the necessary dwell time. Many disinfectants will become ineffective if you do not clean the surface first. It should be said that this is a process; regular cleaning must take place before you can sanitize or disinfect a surface.
Whether you are sanitizing or disinfecting, it's very important to be able to trust the product you are using to actually do the job you want it to do. That's why having an EPA registered product will protect you and your office when used properly to kill germs, bacteria and viruses. Products that claim to kill or be effective against viruses must be accepted by and registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and be used according to the labels instructions to provide the protection when sanitizing or disinfecting a surface. The EPA maintains a list of products that meet the criteria, they call it the "N-List". To find a product on the EPA N-list, you should check the EPA registration number on the product to ensure is it on the list. The EPA cautions people that just because the product label states it will kill "99.5% of viruses," this does not necessarily mean it will kill the corona virus. Killing viruses depends on following all label directions including the recommended contact time or "dwell time", which is the amount of time the product needs to remain wet on the surface to sanitize or disinfect. Disinfection requires a longer period of time then sanitizing. Products that do not have an EPA registration number claiming to kill or be effective against viruses, such as the corona virus, may not be effective against the fight and spread of corona virus.
Most companies will provide some standard cleaning services to all clients. Typically they are for cleaning and sanitizing for regular cleanings while disinfection or "deep cleaning" would be at an additional charge due to the time to perform the service will increase. Most cleaning service would include but not limited to the following:
- Dust and wipe down surfaces
- Cleaning and sanitizing bathrooms (Sinks, mirrors, toilets, urinals)
- Cleaning and sanitizing kitchen area and break room
- Restocking all consumable products such as toilet paper, paper towels, soap, etc.
- Dusting of desks, computer monitors, shelves, pictures, lighting
- Dusting of window sills and blinds
- Trash removal and replacement of bags
- Cleaning of all floor types: sweeping, dust-mopping, vacuum and/or wet mopping Any additional services such as carpet cleaning, interior and exterior window cleaning or a deep cleaning would need to be charged outside of the normal Cleaning Services Agreement.
A day-porter is basically a cleaner who words during the day, typically for an office complex or office building taking care of the public spaces; some offices also ask for day-porter services as well. They provide a higher level of service and care, not only for your building as the owner or property manager, but also for your tenants and their customers. They will perform many of the same duties as your night time cleaning crew, but they are there during the busiest parts of your building's day to make sure the appearance and upkeep of your building is maintained. General duties such as making sure the bathrooms are clean, trash is being emptied and the ladies room does not run out of toilet paper are several of the important tasks of a day-porter does. Day-porters can be on-site all day, for several hours or if needed to stop by each midday to keep the facilities clean and presentable.
A cleaning company should be bonded and insured. It not only protects you as the client but also gives protection for the cleaning company as well. Both are important, but provide different types of assurance for the client when giving unfettered, unsupervised access to their offices at night. A bond is a type of insurance that protects you if an employee of a cleaning company is dishonest such as stealing from you. The bond ($10,000) is paid out when such an employee is convicted of a crime related to their actions on the job. That is why it's critical to ask your cleaning company about background checks for their employees and/or sub-contractors. Insurance, as we would typically think of it, provides you with protection for your property. General liability insurance protects your business against the risk of unintentional accidents, which include bodily injury and property damage by a third party. Ask for a Certificate of Insurance to make sure your cleaning company is covered and carries enough coverage to protect your business.
Well it should come as no surprise that the dirtiest places in your office are the places we as humans come into contact with; the places we touch on a regular basis. One study found that the average person, in a 24hr span, touches, on average, 7200 surfaces and their faces over 500 times. No wonder proper hand hygiene is so important. Washing your hands for the proper amount of time, and proper drying can reduce the microbial load on your skin by 75% or more. So here is a list of the dirtiest places in your office.
- Coffee Maker
- Water Cooler
- Taps and Sinks
- Elevator Buttons
- Door Handles
- Office Equipment
- Desktops (The average desktop has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat)
- Telephones and Cellphones As you can see, proper hand washing, using hand sanitizers, and staying home when sick can greatly improve the health of you and your office mates. Having a dedicated and trained cleaners are essential to a clean and healthy work environment.