BY TED TUDOR,
Schrader Commercial Properties – PROPERTY MANAGEMENT Division
June 1, 2015
Last issue I talked about several items that are important to focus on in the Spring. I want to continue that subject for just a bit, because for many people, the idea of “Spring Cleaning” is a real concept. In commercial property that we manage, especially interiors, we tend to see a steady level of cleaning throughout the year. That said, it is our experience that all our commercial property clients and tenants like to see the result of increased focus in cleaning, whenever it occurs. Spring just seems to be a natural time for that element to come into play.
Let’s start with floors and work our way up. We all like to see a well maintained building, and floors are one of the first visible indicators of how the property is managed and maintained. Winter is a notorious time for all level of grit and grime to accumulate in parking lots and parking garages. That dirt is naturally tracked into the building, via lobby’s and elevators, in spite of additional seasonal entry rugs. Spring is a time when we get our parking lots cleaned, be that swept and vacuumed, or even power washed, so the accumulated dirt, salt, etc., doesn’t continue to plague our tenants, the janitorial staff, and the building owner, as perhaps it did in the height of bad weather. Once the outer surfaces are cleaned as good as possible, it’s a prudent time to schedule carpet cleaning to come in just behind that action and clean any common area hallways and entry’s that have carpet instead of hard surfaces. Carpet cleaning companies tend to use extra cleaning solutions on heavily soiled and well traveled areas, so you can expect the air to hold the odor of said solutions while it is being applied, and into the next day. We adjust the HVAC system fans to operate continually overnight in affected areas, such that offensive odors dissipate by the next morning.
Like the carpets, hard surfaces will also need extra attention. Wet mopping entire hard surface areas, from baseboard to baseboard is something you may have to ask for from the janitorial service, as many services tend to wet mop or “spot mop”, only in obviously troubled areas most of the time, and perform a full wet mopping of all the hard surface floors only occasionally. Likewise, the application and buffing of wax is something which we schedule regularly. This is where regular communication with our janitorial staff and a clear understanding of contractual obligations serves us and all managed property to the best advantage. In this business we learn that there is cleaning, and “CLEANING”. But understand something. Commercial properties are not the same as your home. Commercial properties typically get hundreds of people visits on site in a single day. Employees, staff, clients, patients, delivery personnel, service personnel, etc. The list is almost endless, and pretty much all contribute to the level of cleaning necessary. If a multi-storied commercial building receives this type of daily traffic, it will be a challenge for any janitorial staff to keep it in ‘white glove’ condition. It is for this reason that we sit down and have a very frank conversation with our janitorial staff about our expectations and how we define “cleaning”, and make certain that the janitorial service has assigned enough personnel and dedicated enough hours per visit to achieve our desired level of “clean”.
Similarly, when we provide janitorial services for tenants or in owner occupied spaces, we take a few minutes to meet and discuss that element of the lease, and related expectations. Some tenants want every surface cleaned and dusted, and others prefer cleaning staff to avoid touching anything on staff desks. We at Schrader find that it is to everyone’s advantage to decide on a ‘single point of contact’ with a client, such that cleaning and property management staff don’t receive conflicting or multiple reports. And we also include a representative of the janitorial staff in said meetings, such that all are in agreement about all expectations and the ability to meet them.
Emptying of trash containers seems like an obvious duty, but this too can vary depending on how the janitorial staff trains employees. It seems like common sense but the following would surprise you: Make sure the janitorial staff has access to “all” tenant spaces, if they are to clean and empty the trash there. Some offices and certain laboratory or work areas in medical offices are notorious for being locked by the tenant, without thinking about providing janitorial access. This is where we learn that “master keys” don’t always access some locked interior tenant spaces, in spite of lease rules to the contrary. And finally, if the janitorial staff takes trash out to an ‘on site’ dumpster, make sure they understand that you expect them to get the trash into the dumpster. This means good access through the winter months when snow is piled up, and good positioning of the dumpster in enclosures, that will allow room to easily access the dumpster side doors. Small items but an important courtesy we strive for at Schrader Commercial Properties, to assist the janitorial staffs upon which we depend. Happy cleaning everyone!