Schools: Why They Require A Higher Level Of Service

A lot of companies clean office buildings, but much less can say they clean schools. Schools are a very different animal when it comes to providing janitorial services. Companies that bid a school like an office building are doomed to fail. The level of service a school requires is much higher than that of an office building for several reasons.

First and foremost the personnel that are employed in a school by Central Maintenance must pass a rigid background investigation using the Pennsylvania State Police and FBI to access an applicant's criminal history and finger prints. The applicant must also provide proof they have passed the required child abuse clearances required to work in PA schools. Beyond the back ground checks drug testing is often required as well. CMS takes the safety and security of students and school personnel very seriously so the employees that are selected are carefully scrutinized to assure they are a good fit.

Second, the cleaning production rate in a school is typically far lower than in an office. The reason for this quite simple. In an office a cleaner usually has a lot of wide open spaces allowing for higher production rates. In schools there are very few areas like this. Schools consist of classrooms that have lots of desks, chairs and tables covering the floor space. This makes it more time consuming to sweep and mop. In the lower grades children often leave lots of small items on the floor like pencils, eraser heads, paper clips and paper bits. Picking up these items takes time and lowers production rates even further. Areas like cafeterias, auditoriums and athletic facilities including locker rooms also require more time to service than the typical office.

Third, most schools have extensive after school activities that often interfere with cleaning routines. This is something that is typically not a problem when servicing an office building, but in a school occurs quite regularly. These activities can take place practically anywhere in the school including the cafeteria, gym, auditorium, or classrooms so cleaning personnel must be able to adjust routines with short notice and still get the job done. At the end of the day school administrators want the school clean, not excuses. This often requires far more management time than the average office building which is something that a company that isn't familiar with servicing schools doesn't account for.

Fourth, most schools have extensive cleaning and floor programs that require service every summer. This includes stripping and waxing all vinyl tile or terrazzo floors and shampooing or extracting all carpeting. All restrooms and locker rooms must be overhauled, lockers cleaned and walls, desks and chairs in classrooms washed. The list can be much more extensive, but all of this is usually included when Central Maintenance provides a bid to clean a school. All materials and supplies including the right amount of wax is also included. This can be difficult for a company not familiar with schools.The most challenging part is completing everything before the start of the new school year. This is another reason schools require more supervision and management time to assure on-time completion.

These are just a few of the most important things a company must consider before considering marketing to schools to provide janitorial services. Having the right personnel in place, a knowledge of potential time consuming tasks and floor care, and flexibility on the fly are all critical to successfully providing the level of service schools require. Central Maintenance services close to 20 schools in southwestern PA including several high profile institutions. For more information visit our website at

Safety Training: Why It Should Be A Top Priority

In today's business climate most companies understand the benefits of properly training employees  and visitors on safety. This is especially true if a company has had to go through litigation because of accusations of negligence or operating in an unsafe environment. Money spent on safety training is usually much less than what it potentially could cost if an accident occurs. When an employee is involved in an accident several things happen that can cost the company money.  Consider the following:

Accidents halt or slow down productivity. No company ever wants this to happen. When productivity is not running at optimal levels current customers become unhappy and potential customers move on to work with competitors.

Injured employees must be replaced with new employees which often requires additional training. This uses company resources. New employees typically work at slower production rates and require more supervision as well.

As the # of claims increases, the company will pay higher premiums for coverage. This can take away from buying new equipment, giving current employees raises or adding new employees. All of which would help the company grow.

Companies can often face expensive legal claims. Unfortunately in today's climate we are bombarded with ads on TV from lawyers that are always ready and willing to sue a company for a workplace accident. These legal battles can result in negative publicity on top of paying out thousands or even millions of dollars in settlements.

Although intangible, a good safety training program is an invaluable asset to every company. Accidents are going to happen, but most are preventable with proper on the job safety training. A company that has fewer accidents is more productive and more profitable which results in higher employee morale and more of an interest in participating in the on going effort to keep the workplace safe.

Central Maintenance recognizes that safety and loss control is an essential ingredient in our operation for humanitarian, economic and legal reasons.  In 2003 we implemented a safety committee consisting of 7 members, with the objective to help provide a safe working environment.  The safety committee is certified by the State of Pennsylvania and meets on a monthly basis.  The committee is dedicated to providing active leadership and the necessary support to develop and maintain a successful safety program.