CMI Trainer Spotlight questions

What do you most enjoy about being a cleaning trainer?

Other than the personal satisfaction that I get from helping others learn and improve, I’d have to say that I enjoy researching and learning new things every day that I can use and pass on to others. A bonus is that I get paid to travel the world conducting classes and assessments, attending trade shows and working with individuals and companies who want to know more about cleaning and in the process I learn as well.

What operational improvements can managers expect due to training?

That’s pretty much open ended. Training has the ability to impact every aspect of a business or an individual’s life. There isn’t much else you can do. Training that has the ability and potential to improve people and the way a business operates. You can only pay so much, and discipline is primarily a last resort that often has negative consequences. It may be true that training can solve all your problems, but I can’t think of anything that can’t be improved by training.

You attend a number of industry and training events each year. What new trends are you seeing in the training realm?


First, the use, importance and value of training is gaining recognition in the cleaning industry. If a company wants to improve its operation, profit and people, it has to focus on training. Managers and owners are beginning to recognize this reality as fact. There is still a long way to go, but over the years this has and is continuing to change.

Second, training methods are evolving, our work force, customers and responsibilities are changing and technology offer new and exciting choices in the ways we communicate with and deliver training to everyone involved in the process.

Third, opportunities for learning and training are everywhere. A simple search on “Google” will turn up almost unlimited sources of information, classes, forums, and blogs on basically any cleaning or maintenance related subject you can think of. All you have to do is search and then use and share what you find.

Fourth, There is a trend towards the use of third party audits, assessments and certifications being recognized by customers as a means of identifying quality service contractors and in house operations. This will continue to increase as insurance companies, financial institutions and government agencies come to recognize these processes as valid ways to reduce risk and costs and help assure quality service.

The Future

One area where there is a long way to go relates to those doing the work realizing that they need training and also need to accept responsibility for continuing to improve their skill and knowledge base regarding work and their personal lives.

Our industry has done a terrible job of promoting the upward mobility opportunities available in the cleaning and maintenance fields. The reality is that almost nobody really wants to clean toilets, floor or desks for a living. Most of us came to the cleaning industry because we had nowhere else to go.

We need to help people understand that the cleaning industry is a good starting place as well as a great place to build life time career. When hiring people we need to talk less about the job openings we have available and focus more on the opportunities for upward mobility that our industry offers. We also need to put in place coaching, counseling and training programs that help employees understand how they can achieve their dreams and goals by doing the best possible job they can for their customer and employer each day.

We have at our disposal valid and proven methods to turn the challenges our industry faces into opportunities for future growth and prosperity for everyone involved with and impacted by cleaning. We need to change the way we view and deal with the human assets with in our organizations that we have for so long taken for granted.

We cannot stop progress or technology. Over the next 30 years engineering, science and robotics will replace the human as the primary provider of cleaning services. How we deal with that transition will depend on how we begin preparing for the inevitable today. Training can provide us with a smoother ride on an otherwise bumpy road into the future.

Consultant Bill Griffin Reports from China Clean Expo

Shanghai, China, April 1, 2 & 3, 2013
Hello from China. I’ve heard about the China Clean Expo for several years and always thought attending would be a good learning experience, so I put it my travel schedule and bought a ticket for Shanghai.
Here’s an overview of my observations from the expo and how cleaning in China compares to the USA and other places I’ve visited.

  • China has tremendous growth potential due to the size of its population and the fact that it is currently behind the times by at least 20 years, so there is a lot of room for improvement.
  • I didn’t see much innovation here. Most of what was on display in the expo hall was either the real thing in a major manufacturer’s booth or a copy of existing products and equipment found elsewhere in the world.
  • The latest products and equipment were on display in the exhibit hall, but don’t appear to be in wide spread use throughout China at this time. Even in the expo center I didn’t see any riding equipment, flat mops, microfibers or green products being used. And once you get down the block from the expo center, cleaning streets, sidewalks and shops is often done with a tree branch and a dirty mop.
  • I was told that high end customers such as shopping centers, private clubs, high tech factories and stores that sell imported goods are using modern equipment, chemicals and equipment.
  • At the expo center and elsewhere, toilet paper was used in place of paper towels and hand dryers are common place.
  • What I did see that was new included: a stone and tile repair kit that used isocyanate glue and Nano-bonding particles of various colors to fill holes and cracks, and a Nano based photo catalytic coating for metal, glass and other surfaces that claimed to make surface self-cleaning.
  • For more info visit: and if you want to see it in person, next year’s China Clean Expo is scheduled for March 31 – April 2, 2014.

To read the complete China Clean report, click here

The Carpet Dying Process, A spot on tutorial.

Carpet restoration is big business, from residential to commercial grade carpet dying you can save your customers big bucks and restore carpets to their original appearance. My production department thought it would be a good idea to capture the process and create a How-To tutorial out of it. Tell us how you would use this video and we will send you a free downloadable copy… Tell them The Cleaning Experts Blog sent you..Wink Wink

Check it out here and respond to this post with your answer for a free copy. TheCleaningOrg


When sanitizing your working surface is Life or Death… Go Hi-Tech.

Ultrasonic Cleaning
The ultrasonic cleaning system with automated workpiece transport is laid out for multi-stage aqueous cleaning processes and subsequent passivation.
Wet chemical ultrasonic cleaning allows for economic, gentle, and ecological removal of particulate and film-like contamination. Even parts with difficult to access hollow spaces, for example blind holes, are quickly and effectively cleaned with this process. The cleaning effect is based on cavitation: When a liquid is subjected to ultrasonic sound, the high intensity of alternating sound pressure during the pulling phase of the oscillation cycle breaks up the liquid – the cohesive forces are overcome. This causes the formation of millions of microscopically small bubbles. During the subsequent pushing phase, these cavitation bubbles are rendered unstable and collapse (implode), and they generate hydraulic impacts with very high energy densities, thus causing micro-currents in the liquid. When these strike a surface, they blast off contamination, which has been partially dissolved by a suitable cleaning agent, and rinse the dirt away.

Outsourcing and Privatization – It all depends on your view.

There is good news and bad news when it comes to the subject of outsourcing and it all depends on your perspective. If you are a contractor or building owner, outsourcing is good news, business prospects are looking up and opportunities for profit and cost reduction are on the horizon. If you are an in house manager, supervisor or cleaner, you probably see outsourcing as a threat to your livelihood and something you’d just as soon not think about, let alone experience. Same view, just a different perspective.


Why Business’s Outsource

There are many reasons why companies, organizations and the government outsource cleaning services and the reasons may vary slightly with each situation, but here are some of the common “why’s” I hear:

  1. Cost savings: normally a 30% to 40% reduction in labor costs is what is sold and often realized.
  2. Technical expertise: let the experts do what they do best, so in house staff can focus on the core business.
  3. Liability: shift the responsibility for such things as lawsuits, claims and complaints to the contractor.
  4. Responsibility: shift the responsibility for hiring, firing, managing, and union issues to the contractor.
  5. Cost control: paying a set amount each month allows for better budget control and projection, and depending on the agreement, in some cases if the contractor goes over budget, our costs remain the same.
  6. Financial Management: we use the contactors money for labor, equipment and supplies for 40 to 60 day, interest free.
  7. Equipment financing: the contractor owns, maintains and pays for the equipment.
  8. Education: the contractor knows the industry and is required to train and certify their staff and company.
  9. Less management time: we have one contact person to deal with and get one invoice each month.

Why keep cleaning in-house.

  1.  Don’t want to lose control over internal operations
  2. Don’t want outsiders in the facility.
  3. We know our needs better than anyone else
  4. We can do it as good or better than anyone else
  5. Union objections and Internal politics
  6. We use the custodial department as an entry level job and promote from there
  7. We’ve always done it this way and our people have been with us for many years
  8. We could end up with no staff, no management and no equipment or cleaning program and going back in house would be very difficult and costly.


It’s a mixed bag and every situation is different. There is no reason an in-house operation can’t be as competitive as an independent contractor. There are no secrets today, the same equipment, chemicals, training and expertise is available to everyone. Often the problem is a failure on upper management’s part to understand the true value of the cleaning and maintenance functions in their organization. The next problem is hiring a qualified management team that is capable of putting a professional cleaning program in place and running it in an organized manner. Hard choices are often required and some companies and individuals just aren’t comfortable making those choices.

A Trend toward Outsourcing

There is no questions that over the last two or three years there has been an increase in the number of organization outsourcing for services. When the economy tightens, outsourcing is a common way to cut costs and this trend will continue to grow in the future.

Some industries tend to utilize contractors more than others, right now we are seeing more contracting in health care, education and government markets.

If I had to guess, here’s where I put contractor penetration in the following commercial segments.

Hospitality 10%, Education 15%, Health Care 20%, Government 40%, Office Buildings 90%, Industrial 40%

The ongoing challenge is determining which approach is the best for your organization and not getting stuck in any one approach when the world around you is changing.

Next Generation Of Contractors Emerging

Over the last year or so I have noticed what I am referring to as the next generation of contractors and business owners. I’m wondering how these new comers entering the market place will impact existing businesses. It appears to me that these new guys will catch the old guys off guard. Here’s some characteristics that I’ve notice with these new guys:

  • Under thirty years of age
  • Technologically suave
  • No fear of failure or the unknown
  • No limits and no borders

Have you seen these guys in your neighborhood yet, something tell me you will and when do, they will have already eaten your lunch.

Bailouts Won’t Solve Financial Crisis

It’s my opinion that the governments current approach to buying and bailing the country out of the financial crisis is doomed to failure. In order to solve the financial crisis we (individuals and businesses) need to do things that will cut costs and generate a profit. Mailing people and businesses checks doesn’t do that, certainly not when you give it to large corporations. In fact I think it does the opposite. It’s like welfare, social security and unemployment, the concept sound good on the surface, but in reality these programs take away incentives and encourage people and businesses to become dependent on the government rather than themselves.

In the past there have natural ups and downs or cycles in business. When one business failed, another came in behind those that failed, saw opportunity, picked up the pieces, did things differently, invested some time and money and turned things around. Unfortunetly, when the government started getting involved, it disrupted the natural and needed cycle of success and failure. It messed up the entire system and now we are all paying the price, or I guess I should say we and our grandchildrens, grandchildren will be paying the price.

For us to get out of this mess, govenment needs to get out of the way of small business owners and let those that screw up, fail, so others can find a way to turn a failure into an opportunity that generates a profit. Until this happens, sending out checks will only make the problem worse and the debt larger. That’s the way I see it. What do you think?

How Much Are You Willing to Pay?

We are considering building a LEED certified office/training/storage facility onto an existing garage. Seems like a good idea to be part of something that contributes to the well-being of the environment.

A friend who manages at a local lumber yard just attended a seminar on the LEED program and informs me that using LEED certified construction materials may cost 4 or 5 times what the everyday product does. Same grove of trees, but one is tree is LEED approved by being processed at a certified mill and one is just cut down and sawn into lumber for the masses. The LEED tree is much more expensive to use than the other one and raises the cost of construction. So, too, with other materials.

I’m not sure what the reason is for this added expense. Both trees were living and now are dead. Both trees were dropped with gas fueled chain saws and hauled away with big diesel powered skidders to diesel run trucks that took them over asphalt-paved roads to the petroleum fired saw mill. If you can’t see a whole lot of ecological advantage of one tree treatment as opposed to the other, you are not alone.

The paper work involved must be the cause of the extra cost, but what on earth do you have to do to certify that a dead tree was mercifully treated when its life was cut short, (no pun intended)? Was one mill using thinner blades than another to save sawdust? Was the bark mulched rather than tossed into a pile? What exactly raises the product cost so dramatically?

Whatever it is, it will curtail seriously the appearance of LEED- NC projects around the country. There are currently none in my area, and it doesn’t look good for my plans to build one either. With fuel prices what they are, my last concern is that a dead tree has been humanely treated at the lumber yard.

I guess this all proves that any good initiative can be screwed up if one works at it.

High Tech Isn’t Always the Answer

Here’s the high tech solution to a problem, as mentioned in Housekeeping Solutions:

“In recent years, hotels and cruise ships have been plagued by health outbreaks and have turned to advanced cleaning technology as a way to combat it. In addition to preventing illness created by virus and cross contamination, these facilities can use microfiber to effectively address standard cleaning tasks, such as marble or textured tile floors.”

In this case, high tech is called upon to solve something simple. Norovirus, the culprit causing the greatest concern, is found only in the human intestine and so is easily stopped at the wash basin after the toilet is used. Wiping things with microfiber to pick up what a handwashing could have prevented from being deposited is so stupid as to defy the imagination. It is comparable to picking birdshot out of your walls instead of taking the shell out of the shotgun or avoiding firing it in the house in the first place!

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”! Darn, I wish I had thought that up.