How to Get the Best Building Maintenance Company

very clean and well-maintained buildingBuilding maintenance is an essential part of facility operations that comes with multiple considerations. A building needs regular maintenance to extend system life and preserve property value while still staying in-budget and considering the long-term needs of the company.

While this seems contradictory, it is possible to find solutions that satisfy all those components. One of those solutions is outsourcing building maintenance to professionals. This effort can be cost-effective because it is often cheaper to contract with a company versus the total compensation of an employee. A comparative analysis can be done in three steps.

Evaluate building needs.

The evaluation starts with compiling a full list of building needs. The list should include what services are needed and the frequency that those services need to be performed. The list of building needs should be comprehensive and include daily and weekly tasks, such as vacuuming and floor cleaning, and seasonal spring and fall maintenance, such as HVAC maintenance.

When compiling this list, consider the amount of time required for the maintenance. Not every building requires full-time help or the cost of hiring a part-time employee. If the building is in another location or is a rental, it may be more convenient hiring a service rather than monitoring an employee.

In addition to building needs, companies should also consider the party responsible for monitoring the employee or communicating with a third-party service. This party is typically the facility manager or maintenance manager.

Interview prospective companies.

If a full analysis concludes that outsourcing is the right solution, the company should identify third-party vendors that can complete tasks on the building maintenance list. This list can include an HVAC company, cleaning company, and parking lot maintenance vendor. In addition to the cost quoted by the third-party vendors, companies should also consider service quality and the cost of working with multiple companies.

The latter should be a consideration for companies that want multiple services done without corresponding with multiple companies. Some companies offer more than one services, such as cleaning and building maintenance services, that add convenience to facility management.

Review contracts.

The last step is to review contract fine print. This should be part of the initial process and a continuing effort to control costs and refine services. Some consideration should also be given to future building maintenance that can reduce long-terms costs, such as light bulb maintenance. While there may be more up-front cost, the long-term savings can be worth the initial investment.

From Front to Back Door: Your Whole House Deep Cleaning Checklist

home bathroom ready for spring cleaningThere’s something deeply satisfying about being in a house after an intensive deep clean. Everything feels new, fresh, and well…incredibly clean.

The good news is that you can get that feeling after a few days (or weeks, depending on the time available) of elbow grease or after a really good cleaning by a home cleaner. (If you choose the latter, make sure you use these steps for hiring a home cleaner and provide a full list of cleaning tasks that you would like done. Some home cleaning services also have cleaning packages that you can choose from.)

No matter what option you choose, here is a list of house deep cleaning tasks and tips that can take your home from grimy to fresh and shiny clean.

Deep Cleaning House Tips

  • Always start at the top of every room, such as light fixtures and tops of cabinets.
  • Use cleaners that won’t damage furniture and appliances.
  • Be extra careful about cleaning computers and other technology.
  • Don’t use a lot of water on wood items (in some cases, none) and never leave standing water on floors or tables.
  • If anyone in the home has allergies, consider adding a full home duct cleaning to your house deep cleaning list.

Front Entry

___ Clean interior of door and door frame

___ Dust artwork and photos

___ Wipe down/clean trim

___ Dust crown molding, ledges, and shelves

___ Wipe down duct covers

___ Remove dust and cobwebs in corners (from ceiling to floor)

___ Deep clean floor

___ Dust furniture

___ Wash windows

___ Clean out front closet

___ Clean blinds and window treatments

___ Wash walls

Living Room

___ Dust ceiling fans

___ Wipe down duct covers

___ Dust artwork and photos

___ Clean window treatments

___ Remove dust and cobwebs in corners (from ceiling to floor)

___ Wash windows

___ Clean light fixtures

___ Wash walls

___ Clean doors

___ Dust crown molding, ledges, and shelves

___ Clean appliances (i.e. television, computers, DVD players)

___ Dust furniture

___Wipe down/clean trim

___ Sweep/vacuum floor

___ Deep clean floor

Bathroom

___ Clean bathroom fan and light fixtures

___ Dust artwork and photos

___ Wipe down duct covers

___ Remove dust and cobwebs in corners

___ Wash windows

___ Clean window treatments

___ Dust crown molding, ledges, and shelves

___ Clean top of cabinets

___ Wipe down shower door and shower door frame

___ Clean around top of shower

___ Scrub tile grout/wipe down wainscotting

___ Deep clean tub

___ Clean mirror

___ Mop & scrub bathroom floor grout (for tile)

___ Deep clean other types of flooring

___ Clean doors

___Wipe down/clean trim

___ Disinfect waste basket

Kitchen

___ Clean lighting fixture and ceiling fans

___ Dust artwork and photos

___ Wipe down duct covers

___ Wash windows

___ Dust crown molding, ledges, and shelves

___ Remove cob webs and dust in corners (from ceiling to floor)

___ Clean top of cabinets

___ Clean doors

___ Wipe down range hood

___ Deep clean appliance exteriors

___ Clean behind refrigerator, microwave, and stove

___ Deep clean floor

___ Clean cabinets (front and above cabinets)

___ Dust baseboard and window trim

___ Disinfect waste baskets

Dining Room

___ Dust cove ceiling and other woodwork

___ Remove cob webs and dust in corners (from ceiling to floor)

___ Clean light fixture

___ Wash windows

___ Dust artwork and photos

___ Clean interior and exterior of cabinets

___ Dust furniture

___ Wipe down duct covers

___ Dust crown molding, ledges, and shelves

___ Wash walls

___Wipe down/clean trim

___ Clean table

___ Deep clean area rug

Bedrooms

___ Clean light fixtures and ceiling fans

___ Remove cob webs and dust in corners (from ceiling to floor)

___ Dust artwork and photos

___ Launder bedding

___ Wash windows

___ Dust furniture

___ Clean window treatments

___ Dust door and wall trim

___ Dust trim molding, ledges, and shelves

___ Deep clean floors

Hallways

___ Clean light fixtures

___ Dust artwork and photos

___ Wipe down duct covers

___ Wash windows

___ Dust door and wall trim

___ Clean doors

___ Dust crown molding, ledges, and shelves

___ Deep clean floors

Laundry/Utility Room

___ Clean light fixtures

___ Dust artwork and photos

___ Wipe down duct covers

___Clean doors

___ Dust crown molding, ledges, and shelves

___ Clean shelves

___ Wash walls (especially behind appliances)

___ Wipe down appliances

___ Wash windows

___ Scrub tile grout

___ Wipe wainscoting

___ Deep clean floor

How to Hire a House Cleaning Service (With Step-by-Step Checklist)

washing dishes as part of a winter deep cleanIf you’re ready to throw in the towel on your house cleaning, these tips for hiring the best house cleaner are for you. The good news is you can hire a home cleaner to help with as much or as little cleaning as need done.

There are two options for home cleaners: an individual home cleaner or a home cleaning service. There are advantages or disadvantages to both. Some homeowners like the comfort of having one cleaner come every time (which can be done with an individual cleaner or home cleaning service). Others choose to hire a home cleaning service because of the availability, training, and assurances (i.e. for complaints, insurance, etc.)

The main difference between the two is availability. Home cleaning services always have employees available to clean, both for random cleanings (“I really need my home cleaned up before my party!”) or for regular weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly cleanings. Individual home cleaners typically require a more flexible schedule with an occasional break. Some cleaners require a set number of hours from homeowners.

Unfortunately, hiring either type of home cleaner comes with a process (a short process!) that ensures that both parties are satisfied.

Hiring a House Cleaning Service Checklist

____ Make a list of home cleaning services.

  • Ask friends and family for recommendations.
  • Do an internet search for local house cleaning services (i.e. “cleaning services near me,” “house cleaning near me.”
  • Research reviews on local cleaning services (i.e. Yelp, Facebook, etc.)

____ Decide what cleaning tasks you need done.

  • Make a list of all the cleaning tasks you need done.
  • Contact cleaning services for a free quote.

____ Interview each service.

  • “How long have you been in business? Can you provide references from past clients?”
  • “Is your service insured? What process should I follow if anything in my home is damaged?”
  • “Do you perform background checks on all your home cleaners?”
  • “Does your service supply the cleaning supplies and equipment?”
  • “Who should I contact to schedule a home cleaning?”
  • “Do I need to be here when the home cleaner comes?”
  • “Should I secure my pet when the cleaner comes over?”
  • “Who should I contact if I have any complaints?”
  • “Do I need to sign a contract?”

____ Hire the house cleaning service.

  • Review all contracts and proof of insurance.
  • Reiterate your list of cleaning tasks and expectations.
  • Sign all necessary paperwork before the first cleaning.

____ Schedule a home cleaning and enjoy the perks of a shorter to-do list.

Office Cleaning Services: 10 Useful Office Cleaning Tips from the Pros

A dirty office is the source of everything bad: disorganization, bad first impression for customers, allergy attacks, workplace injuries, and the spread of many illnesses. That’s why we’ve put together a complete list of office cleaning tips that get you a safer, cleaner office. (For an after-hours office cleaning, bring in professional office cleaners.)

Your Complete Commercial Office Cleaning Checklist

6 Tips that Keep Your Office Allergy-Free

20+ Office Cleaning Tasks that Don’t Get Done

Spring Office Cleaning: 6 Easy Ways to Boost Productivity and Morale

Your Office Kitchen Deep-Clean Checklist

(Expensive) Commercial Cleaning Mistakes to Avoid at Your Business

Employees sick? Stop the Spread of Germs in the Workplace

4 Tips for Keeping Your Company Floors Safe

4 Cleaning Tasks to Schedule at Your Company During Summer Vacations

5 Tips for Keeping Your Company Restrooms Clean

Home Water Damage Restoration Tips

room restored and repaired after water damage with new drywallFlooding in your home is never a welcome sight, but the mere presence of water should prompt immediate action. Quick water removal and restoration is the key to getting your home back to its original condition—and you back to enjoying a water-free home. Here’s why, and other water damage restoration tips for a smooth and easy recovery process.

Why do I need to remove water and clean up water damage right away?

It doesn’t matter if the water damage is from a leaky roof or heavy rainfalls. Water damage needs to be cleaned up immediately (or addressed by a water restoration company). The Environmental Protection Agency recommends throwing away items that haven’t been dried out and restored within 48 hours.

Delaying the water removal and restoration work can lead to health hazards, both in the long- and short-term. In optimal conditions, mold can grow as soon as 24 hours after a home is flooded. Over time, mold can spread, cause more damage, and even become a major health hazard. This process can also lead to more expense and repairs.

What should I do when I find water in my home?

  • Never enter a flooded room if the electricity and gas is still on. Always turn off the power and gas (without wading through the water) to prevent electrocutions and accidents.
  • Be very cautious about wading into sewage back-ups and water that could contain chemicals. These conditions can cause injuries and may need more extensive disinfection and clean-up.
  • Always take pictures of the flooding and water damage for future use. These photos can be invaluable when communicating with the insurance company.
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to initiate the water damage restoration process.
  • Hire a water damage restoration company that has experience working with insurance companies; these businesses are familiar with the process and can make the recovery process easier with less hassles.
  • If the water damage is caused by a repairable issue, such as a leaky roof, take preventative measures (i.e. putting a tarp over a hole, turning off the water) to keep more water from coming into your home (if possible).

What is water damage restoration?

Water damage restoration and repair is more than just water clean-up. Reputable water damage restoration companies come into flooded homes, remove the water (if needed), and start the drying out process with fans and de-humidifiers.

Professionals start cleaning hard surfaces (and disinfecting, if needed) and removing porous materials that absorb water. Removal of these materials is necessary because these materials are more susceptible to microorganism growth. Specifically, removing drywall and sub-flooring boards is a way to find any hidden water damage (and mold) and dry out wet surfaces.

The last step is restoration and repair, which returns the space (and many of its contents) back to the original condition. In a flooded room, insulation and drywall are rehung. The drywall is mudded and textured. When completed, the space should look as “good as new”—or at least, as good as it was before the water damage.

Commercial Water Damage Restoration Tips

water splash from frozen burst home pipeAll those heavy rainfalls may seem innocent, but the result (flooding) can wreak havoc on business facilities. Flooded rooms can interrupt operations and service delivery and lead to extensive commercial water damage restoration services. If not addressed soon enough, water damage can also turn into a major health hazard and cost more for remediation.

Water damage can occur because of a:

  • once-in-a-hundred-year flooding or major weather system,
  • pipe break or leak,
  • sewage system malfunction,
  • sprinkler system leak or malfunction,
  • machine malfunction,
  • leaking appliance,
  • pump issues.

When flooding does hit, it makes financial cents to know these tips for water damage restoration and removal.

Be careful about entering a flooded room.

Even the clearest flooded water can be hazardous, especially if there is electrical equipment and gas lines present. Before venturing into the flooded area, the gas and electric in the room or building should be turned off—UNLESS it cannot be turned off without going into the water.

Evaluate the type of water.

The amount of clean-up that can be done safely depends on the level and types of contaminants in the water. A small amount of water without any or a low level of contaminants (i.e. chemicals, sewage, etc.) can be cleaned up with minimal risk. If there are a significant amount of contamination, contact the professionals to remove the water and clean up any damage.

Contact the insurance company ASAP.

Once the immediate threat has passed, the damage should be carefully documented for future use. In addition to initial photos, an additional evaluation should be done for hidden damage, such as foundation cracks. Be cautious about initiating the clean-up process without insurance company approval; an experienced commercial water restoration service can often assist with navigating through the process.

Make sure the clean-up is thorough.

When the flood waters have saturated any materials, such as batting insulation, the clean-up may involve some replacement and repair. If these materials are not completely replaced, mold can germinate in as little as 24 hours (in ideal conditions) and become a health hazard. Flooding can also permanently damage electrical systems and computers.

 

20+ Office Cleaning Tasks that Don’t Get Done

workplace with employees that needs deep office cleaningOur workplaces are full of furniture and spaces that we pass and use every day, but often don’t make the list for regular office cleanings. While these areas may seem like no big deal, the truth of the matter is that these spaces are often hot beds for germs and allergens.

Since employee sick days are a major interruption to productivity, it makes cents (pun intended) to invest in a regular deep cleaning. The exact definition of ‘regular’ depends on the amount of foot traffic and activity. These deep cleanings can be scheduled with a commercial cleaning service for after-hours or days when the office is empty to minimize disruptions.

When compiling a list of office deep cleaning tasks, include regular tasks, such as a regular flooring stripping and waxing, and any tasks from this office cleaning checklist that aren’t regularly completed. In addition, add these areas that often don’t get added to the list of office cleaning tasks.

  1. Behind kitchen appliances (i.e. refrigerator, toaster, etc.)
  2. Light fixtures
  3. Kitchen appliance handles
  4. Microwave
  5. Window blinds
  6. Window treatments
  7. Office chairs
  8. Counters in common areas
  9. Drawer handles on desks
  10. Supply cabinet knobs
  11. Interior door knobs
  12. Touch screens on printers and fax machines
  13. File cabinets (tops and handles)
  14. Light switches
  15. Elevator controls
  16. Phone headsets
  17. Exterior doors
  18. Ducts (and duct covers)
  19. Baseboards
  20. Tops of cubicles and cabinets
  21. Ceiling fans
  22. Building exterior
  23. Behind printers and office machines

Many of these areas are hotbeds for germs and can contribute to the spread of workplace illness. If there is a series of absences due to illness, facility managers and workplace managers should consider scheduling a full company sanitation to stem the spread of germs.

Spring Facility Maintenance: Key Building Areas to Check

commercial building that needs summer building maintenanceFacility managers, it’s time to grab hold of the opportunity that comes with spring. Spring is an ideal time for building system maintenance and facility cleaning. It’s time to remove all the grime, wear and tear of winter and prepare the facility and major systems for efficiency and minimal breakdowns over the summer. The spring is also a time to do exterior facility maintenance without the threat (hopefully) of snow.

HVAC

Even commercial heating and cooling systems are susceptible to the conditions of a hard winter. Every facility commercial HVAC system should be cleaned and key components checked. Filters should be changed and, periodically, a duct cleaning performed to minimize allergy issues. The level of the refrigerant needs to be checked. If there is a low level, the unit should be checked for leaks. For optimal operation, moving parts should be lubricated.

Flooring 

Spring is an ideal time of year to strip and wax floors, especially in high-traffic areas. A regular strip and floor wax adds shines to floors and extends the life of the flooring. Schedule floor cleanings for hours when the facility is at low-staff or empty to avoid interruptions in productivity. For carpeted areas, contact a professional floor cleaning service about an after-hours carpet cleaning. In addition to floor cleaning, all rugs placed by doors should be laundered to remove salt, dirt, and grime.

Exterior

While a solid facility exterior may seem infallible, winter conditions can negatively impact a building exterior. Every spring, inspect the building for cracks, holes in caulk around windows, and roofing for damage. Any damage found during inspection should be repaired. The facility should be power washed and gutters cleaned out. All light bulbs in exterior light fixtures should be inspected and light bulbs replaced as needed. The entire exterior maintenance process can be done in-house, outsourced, or completed by both staff and an outside service. (Contact a facility maintenance service for a quote.)

Grounds

Facility ground maintenance is an essential part of building maintenance, especially after a long, hard winter. In addition to being part of maintaining a professional appearance, ground maintenance is a preventative effort.  Trees should be trimmed and branches cleaned up. Maintenance should also be completed on lawns and floor beds. Driveways and sidewalks should be washed and sealed if needed.

Restrooms

Restrooms need a regularly scheduled cleaning and periodic deep cleanings. Spring is an ideal time for a deep restroom clean that sanitizes every surface. A deep restroom clean should be completed during times when the restroom is not utilized by staff or scheduled for off-hours. A deep cleaning is also a chance to do any outstanding scheduled maintenance or repair work.

Spring Cleaning: 6 Quick Tips for a FASTER Deep Clean

mop cleaning floors during spring cleaningSpring cleaning may be a necessary chore, but it doesn’t have to take up your whole day (or weekend). A good deep house cleaning certainly doesn’t have to keep you from enjoying the beautiful spring weather! Here’s how to make this seasonal clean a faster spring cleaning so you can enjoy a clean house and spring fun.

Make a list.

The fastest spring cleaning starts with an organized approach. Before you start your spring cleaning, do a little bit of prep work, such as moving furniture and appliances. Use a spring cleaning checklist so you can get through your tasks quickly and efficiently.

Gather your cleaning supplies.

Before you start wiping or waxing floors, gather all your cleaning supplies into a bucket or caddy. Move from room to room with the caddy and vacuum cleaner, cleaning as you go. This simple effort can save you a lot of time running back and forth for supplies.

Start at the top.

As you clean every room, start at the ceiling. Wipe down the ceiling, ceiling fans, cabinets, top of appliances and tops of doors. This simple step saves you time so you don’t have to clean surfaces twice as dust falls.

Make it a team effort.

If you have any family members assisting with spring cleaning, divide up the tasks on the spring cleaning checklist. For quicker spring clean, contact a cleaning service to do the more intensive deep cleaning tasks. Schedule a home cleaner to mop floors or deep clean the bathrooms.

Don’t wash windows on a bright sunny day.

Window washing is on every spring cleaning checklist. While it might be tempting to clean the windows on a bright sunny day so you can appreciate your work, the sun can dry the cleaner quickly and leave streaks. Though the sun gets the job faster, it also makes it slows down your progress because you have to clean it again.

Be extra careful about floor cleaning.

Don’t be in such a hurry to get floors cleaned that you damage your floors in the process. Be careful not to leave puddles on wood floors which leave water stains. When moving furniture, place cardboard under the heavy items to avoid scratching floors. If you decide to hire a home cleaner for the floor cleaning, contact an experienced cleaning company with experienced cleaners (use these tips for hiring the right cleaning company for your home). The result is a faster spring clean that you can be proud of as you head outside to enjoy the spring weather.

Spring Office Cleaning: 6 Easy Ways to Boost Productivity and Morale

 

office worker working at computer after office spring cleaning

Spring cleaning the company office can be worth the effort, both for productivity and the mind. Just like the warm spring weather, a good company cleaning can be a real boost for productivity and office morale. A deep office clean can make managers and employees head into summer renewed and ready to tackle the work ahead.

Set time aside.

The biggest hurdle to a good office cleaning is time. The best strategy for addressing the effort is a combination of employee cleanings and scheduled cleanings with a professional service. For an in-office desk and file cabinet cleaning, let departments choose the optimal time for cleaning (ideally when there is minimal activity) or schedule a time for the entire office team to tackle the process. For cleanings that interrupt productivity, such as floor cleaning, schedule a commercial cleaning service that can clean during off-hours or weekends.

Organize paper and digital files.

Organization is the key to productivity, making this an essential part of any office spring clean. Managers and employees should take the time to clear out old files, both paper and digital, and organize files of existing clients and projects.

On the digital side, company drives and clouds should be cleaned out and organized. This cleaning task ensures employees find digital files quickly and efficiently without wasting time. Regular IT maintenance should also be part of the office spring cleaning checklist and can be scheduled for the weekends or overnight periods.

Clear away clutter.

In a busy office, it’s normal for clutter to accumulate on any and all open surfaces. A good spring cleaning clears all the clutter away and organizes it. Clutter can also collect in closets and supply cabinets. Once the clutter is removed, reorganize supplies and dust surfaces. Research and add baskets and other storage solutions that can prevent future clutter issues and keep the office look professional and organized.

Clean common areas.

Common areas attract dust and germs, making a deep spring cleaning a must. Managers and employees should regularly disinfect, wipe down, and dust machines and appliances in these areas, such as printers, water coolers, and coffee makers. Disinfection should be done properly without damaging machine key boards and other critical areas. Since these areas are frequently used, cleaning common areas can also be added to a regular cleaning checklist that is given to a commercial cleaning service.

Disinfect kitchens, restrooms, and conference rooms.

Spring is typically the end of flu and cold season, and the right time to disinfect and clean kitchens, restrooms, and conference rooms. All surfaces in these rooms should be cleaned and disinfected, either by office staff or a commercial cleaning service.

Clean rugs and floors.

Winter in Wisconsin is hard on office floors. Snow and salt can damage flooring and become a safety hazard. When spring hits, a deep floor cleaning removes the layers of snow and salt. On a hard floor, a floor waxing protects the floor and extends the life of the floor. A carpet clean eliminates salt build-up, revitalizes carpet fibers, and removes any deep allergens. For minimal disruptions, schedule floor cleanings with a commercial cleaning service during off-hours or weekends.