Is Your Floor Finish Reflecting Back at You?

My guess is NO.  …and it really should be.   Less than half of the buildings I visit each week can actually say yes to this question, and it really is too bad.


Those of you who clean buildings for a living are usually judged by others on 2 basic performance standards:  #1- do the bathrooms smell nice, #2- do the floors shine. 

Those of us who consult and advise on all things cleaning to those of you who clean buildings, focus much of our energy and advice on how to be successful at achieving high level results in those areas.  Sounds simple and it actually is….    listen to the experts, make necessary changes to get great results.   But, if it is so simple to have a shiny floor and odor free bathrooms, why do many of you in the cleaning trades try to make it so difficult on yourselves and in the end fail?  

It has always amazed me why people when shown a better way do something, are determined to take the most difficult(and often more costly) path and then not achieve the results they need.   Since the title of this blog is about floor finish we shall focus on the challenges, which exist to keep floors looking clean and shiny, and how to solve them, but this article is really about implementing change.

Maintaining hard floors is always one of the most labor intensive and costly part of a custodial budget, sometimes absorbing over 50% of the cleaning budget, and yet it is one area, where you can have the greatest impact on appearance and budget reductions.    If that is the case, why do so many custodial staffs accept bad looking floors, when there are now improved and more cost-effective methods to maintain hard flooring?    My experience is most custodians take pride in their work and truly desire to have the best results possible, but over and over again, I run into custodial staffs and their management, who resist adopting new and improved cleaning methods, which have been proven to work.  

The reasons often given for resisting change are:

• fear from the custodians and their unions the new procedures will lead to reduced labor hours, and possible reduction in staff.   I have NEVER seen it happen.

• “we’ve been doing it this way for over 30 years”.  I love this one!   Fear of change is a big issue with many individuals and organizations.   Just thinking of doing something different today from what you did yesterday is painful to many, and thus the reason for resistance and reluctance to adopt new concepts.

• “I don’t have the time to make any changes”.   If you aren’t happy with the results you are getting, then you need to MAKE SOME TIME to figure out how to make improvements.

• “What you recommend will not work HERE”.   Why does every custodial staff feel their situation is so unique and special?   IT’s NOT!

• “We don’t have the budget to invest in new equipment and cleaning tools”.   A viable “excuse”, since sometimes there is a capital investment needed in equipment to really make an impact, but most equipment pays for itself and is easily cost justified due to savings realized in labor and supplies.

• “We don’t have the staff to implement those changes”.    What makes them believe the suggested changes are going to take MORE labor?

With cleaning staffs being reduced in most institutions today, finding ways to be more efficient is of utmost importance or buildings get dirty.   …and when buildings get dirty, people complain, and you are risking the health of the building and the occupants of the building.  

So back to the shiny floors.  Yes, there are methods and products you can use and adopt today, which will have people complimenting your floors.   Low maintenance floor finishes and coatings today are manufactured to last a long time and maintain a high gloss for years with the proper care.   Equipment is easier to use, less costly, and reduces the time needed to maintain floors.   With innovative cleaning tools and better floor coatings, there are also new procedures, which significantly impact the floor cleanliness, and your floor WILL shine back at you.  And, along with a new clean and shiny floor you also will be implementing a highly recommended Green Cleaning procedure.  

I could tell you all the details about these great new products and procedures, but if many of you aren’t going to make the changes necessary, why should I bother?   You won’t listen or read any longer, and are probably back to checking your Facebook page.   The first step to any change in our lives or in an organization is realizing you have a problem.   Thus, if your floor is not reflecting back at you, AND you cannot accept it any longer…  reach out to me and we’ll discuss the details on how I’ve been successful in bringing the floor shine back and do it for less labor and product cost than you spend now.    ARE YOU READY FOR CHANGE?

Jack Collins, The Bullen Company