ICS Magazine

Study Indicates Ambivalence about Outsourcing Janitorial Work

September 1, 2009

Chicago, IL – August 31, 2009 - According to a survey conducted using social media Web sites, including those specifically designed targeting the professional cleaning industry cleaning contractors have mixed views about outsourcing janitorial work.

  The online study was conducted by AlturaSolutions Communications and was requested by Tornado Industries, a leading manufacturer of professional cleaning equipment. 

  According to Jolynn Kennedy, marketing manager for Tornado, the study’s goal was to determine trends impacting the industry.

  “Instead of hiring employees, some BSCs outsource cleaning work to independent/sub contractors,” says Kennedy, adding that outsourcing is common and permissible as long as government guidelines are met.  “This can be a cost savings, and with the current state of the economy, we wanted to know if more BSCs were considering this option.”

According to the survey of nearly 100 respondents:  
  • Compared to five years ago, 55 percent say they are not outsourcing more janitorial work today; thirty-six percent say they are; and the remainder indicates their use of outside contractors is “about the same.”
  • Asked the key benefits of outsourcing janitorial work, nearly 67 percent indicate it was “cost savings.”  Seventeen percent say they prefer it because it’s “easier to fire” workers.  The rest indicate contractors were more dependable and required little or no training.
  • The main problem with outsourcing janitorial work is “too little control over the work performed,” say 42 percent.  A third found the work of outsourced workers to be “less-than-satisfactory” and 25 percent say contract workers are harder to supervise.
  • Nearly 42 percent say they would not recommend outsourcing janitorial work to other BSCs-33 percent say they would.
        “Interestingly, even though there are mixed feelings about outsourcing, nearly 60 percent say they believe [outsourcing] will play a greater role in the industry five years from now,” says Kennedy.  “This may be a reflection of the tight economy and hopes that [BSCs} can cut costs by outsourcing instead of hiring employees directly.”