Emergency Disinfecting Services because of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19

June 15th, 2020   •   No Comments   

Over the last several weeks, many businesses have requested emergency disinfecting services because of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case in the workplace. In the event you do have a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in your workplace, here are some next steps.

  • Reach out to us as soon as possible to schedule a disinfecting service – covid-19@austincleaning.net
  • Close off areas visited by the ill persons
  • Open outside doors and windows and use ventilating fans to increase air circulation in the area
  • After 12-24 hours, cleaning staff should clean and disinfect all areas
  • In most cases, we will recommend a Fogging Disinfecting Service, which often can be done quickly

The service should be completed in the evening or at a time when there are no individuals in the facility. The EPA approved disinfectant we use has a 10 minute kill claim of the virus, so once completed, individuals can safely re-enter the facility within 2 hours.

We are working with our team so that we can be prepared to service you quickly in the event you need us. The best way to reach out is to email us at covid-19@austincleaning.net.

COVID-19 Disinfecting Services

April 30th, 2020   •   No Comments   

cropped-coronavirusaustin.jpgUntil just a few months ago, few businesses had considered regular disinfecting services for their facility. But let’s face it, we currently find ourselves in the midst of a virus which has proven more transmissible than previously suspected. For that reason, we want to share some disinfecting service detail with you.

What are Disinfecting Services?

Disinfecting services are cleaning procedures that utilize an antimicrobial pesticide used to destroy or inactivate microorganisms. There are two disinfectant categories – hospital grade and general use (household). Disinfecting services for commercial facilities should use hospital grade disinfectants that are EPA certified specifically to target coronaviruses.

The disinfecting cleaning procedures used can vary depending on the facility, tool, chemical, and cleaning company providing the service.

What are the differences in Disinfecting Services?

High-Touch Point Disinfecting Services – Utilizes a microfiber cloth to manually disinfect high-touch areas, like door-knobs, entry ways, elevator buttons, stair railings, kitchen appliances, telephones, etc. This type of service works well as a day porter service, as the day porter could ideally (depending on size of space and number of day porters) disinfect all high-touch points every hour, keeping your space disinfected continuously through-out the day.

Electrostatic-Sprayer Dispersal Disinfecting Service – Utilizes power-assisted spraying machinery to break down droplets into smaller micron droplets, allowing for more even coverage of a targeted area. Additionally the machine positively charges the chemical droplets as they are sprayed which allows the micron droplets to better adhere and essentially cling to the targeted area. Once the droplets are released, they seek objects and surfaces more readily, which ensures full coverage of the chemical disinfectant, even in hard to reach places. This type of service would need to be completed in the evening or at a time when no individuals are in the facility.

Fogging Disinfecting Services – Utilizes nearly the same technology as the electro-static sprayer without charging the cleaning molecules when they leave the machine. Additionally, fogging cleaning uses larger particle sizes compared to an electro-static service. In many instances, a fogging application can be used in the same situations and settings as an electrostatic service. This type of service would need to be completed in the evening or at a time when no individuals are in the facility

Should All Areas Be Cleaned Prior to Disinfecting?

Yes, thoroughly cleaning surfaces prior to disinfecting allows the disinfectant to work more effectively. A  layer of dust can create a barrier between the surface and the disinfectant which prohibits the disinfectant from inactivating the microorganisms on the surface face.

We are happy to answer questions regarding introducing these services to your facility. Reach out to us at COVID-19@austincleaning.net with questions and to request disinfecting services.

What Facility Managers Should Consider When Reopening Facilities due to COVID-19

April 14th, 2020   •   No Comments   

commercialcleaningcompaniesJanitorial Companies are in high demand right now and we are being asked a good deal of questions by our clients and prospects in regards to COVID-19. Due to this, we would like to take a moment to offer some information as expectations and cleaning procedures in our field are ever changing with this new virus.

Should I consider additional services as I start to make plans to reopen my facility?
Short answer, it depends on what types of services you are already paying for. Now is a great time to start planning for the reopening of your facility. And as you’re planning for the reopen, be sure to include your janitorial company because if there are additional staffing needs or products needed, your janitorial company will need to know this information as agreements may need to be updated and potential staffing considerations will need to be assessed.

Add Additional Services – Regular weekly or biweekly services will not be enough to ward off this type of virus as it does tend to linger for up to 3-4 days on some surfaces. Depending on how much foot traffic you have in your office, you many want to consider adding additional services temporarily. Unless your staff is cleaning on the off days, we recommend M-F cleaning services at a minimum during this time.

Day Porter Services – For our larger clients, you might want to consider adding day porter services to disinfect conference rooms, restrooms, door handles and other frequently touched surfaces every hour.

Fogging Disinfection Services – We do have a fogging machine that is great for disinfecting large rooms and surface areas so if this is something you are interested in, let us know.

Disinfectant Stations – Another thing you might want to consider is to have disinfectant stations installed at all entry points if this is not something you already have.

What type of disinfectant does APCS use?
We use a neutral disinfectant that cleans, disinfects and deodorizes all hard surfaces such as plastic, Formica, chrome, toilets, sinks, countertops and floors. It is proven to be effective against corona viruses and meets CDC cleaning guidelines.

How hard is it to get hand sanitizer right now?
Currently Purell is back-ordered for 4-5 weeks as the brand is giving priority to hospitals and medical facilities. We do have access to other hand sanitizer brands, although this could change very quickly as all sanitizer products have been in high demand for the last month. If you currently order consumable products through us, let us know if you would like for us to place an order.

What’s the status of soap and paper products? How hard are they to get through the APCS vendor?
We do have access to soap and paper products and they are not yet in backorder. If you currently order consumable products through us, we shouldn’t have a problem continuing to supply these products for you.

Reach out if you have other questions that we can help you with as you are working through plans to reopen your facility. We know this is a challenging time and we want to provide as much assistance as we can. Over the last week, we have sat in on conference calls with our clients and their teams to talk through solutions and procedures so if this is something you would like to do, let us know.

Prepare your Workspace for Coronavirus Disease 2019

March 10th, 2020   •   No Comments   

coronavirusBy now we are all in tune with the news and the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).  Because this new strain of Coronavirus was only first identified in December of 2019, we do not yet have a vaccine in place to help prevent the spread, so the best way to prevent spread is to prevent exposure, which might mean not attending or canceling large-scale events or limiting travel. We are all experiencing the downfall of that with events like our beloved SXSW being canceled here in Austin, Texas.

Over the last week, we have received multiple requests for what companies can do to better prepare their facility or work spaces and as with any respiratory virus, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) is the best asset in terms of how we can keep our workplaces safe. Here are a few of their recommendations:

  • Practice Good Hygiene, which would include things like:
    • Thorough and frequent hand-washing and disinfecting stations at entryways
    • Avoid touching your face and shaking hands with others
    • Cover your mouth & nose when you sneeze or cough
    • Disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, desks, tables and handrails regularly
    • Adjust ventilation like opening windows or adjusting the AC
  • Be Careful with Meetings & Travel
    • Use videoconferencing for meetings when available
    • Assess the risk of business travel
  • Handle Food Carefully
    • Limit Food Sharing
    • Strengthen health screening and hygiene for cafeteria staff
  • Encourage employees to Stay Home if:
    • They are feeling sick
    • Have sick family members

And if you need help, we are here for you. Certain hospital-grade disinfectants work better to kill the virus and we are already using those in many of our office spaces. While the virus can live on surfaces for several hours up to a few days, it’s incredibly important that your space is being thoroughly cleaned, wiped down and disinfected more regularly.

Many of our clients have already reached out and the two items we can be most helpful in are the following:

  1. We can provide additional and/or more frequent services temporarily to do things like disinfect surface areas more frequently – if this is something you are interested in, email us at operations@austincleaning.net
  2. We can help you install disinfecting stations at entryways to further promote good hygiene within the workplace (assuming availability at time of request)

We are here to help where we can so please reach out if you have questions or concerns that we can address.

Janitorial Franchise vs Local/Privately Owned Commercial Cleaning Company

February 25th, 2020   •   No Comments   

Women at workplace, professional female cleaner washing floor inMany business owners, especially small business owners, are looking for both the best in class services AND the most competitive pricing on commercial cleaning services. We get it, price is important to you as you need to keep operating expenses down. In talking to our clients and potential clients we find they often don’t understand the differences between a Janitorial Franchise vs a Local or Privately Owned Commercial Cleaning Company. Our team has this discussion frequently with potential clients that are going out for bids during our facility walk-through. It’s one we find clients are interested in understanding, specifically if they have had a poor experience with a Janitorial Franchise.

One question we ask, tell me about the other companies you are receiving bids from? Are any of them franchises?  I find that many business owners don’t know if the pricing they’re receiving is from a franchise or not. That’s totally normal because franchises don’t always market themselves as that. But here’s the thing, if our prices are being compared to a franchise, we will RARELY be the cheapest and we want to tell you why:

1. Customer Service – Our customer service is our best asset and we know it – we are a professional team and we care about our clients – they are our lifeblood. You will feel that energy from the moment you interact with us.

2. Sick Days Happen – Have a Plan – Someone calls in sick? We’ve got it covered. That’s not how it works for the franchise business. Since the cleaners are the individual contractors, and often they are very small teams (1-4 people), not a big cleaning company, they most likely will not have the staff to clean your building if they are sick. Which means, your business could suffer a no show.

3. Fair Pay – We pay our staff fairly and on time EVERY SINGLE TIME. When you talk to cleaners that work with franchises, you will find that they very often are not paid on time and it’s incredibly frustrating and unpredictable. Franchisees also get paid up to 60 days after they start cleaning a new account, which makes it hard for them to invest in the proper chemicals and equipment necessary to get started (see #4)

4. Chemicals and Equipment Provided – Franchises don’t provide the cleaning chemicals and equipment. It’s the independent contractors responsibility to buy this on their own dime, which means there’s little consistency on the products and equipment being used. We provide chemicals and equipment to our staff. We also service equipment as needed.

5. Request to Change Cleaning Crew – The franchise profits when you ask them to change the cleaning crew – here’s why, their cleaning crews are independent contractors, so every time the cleaning crew is changed out, the franchise has the independent contractor buy the account times 3 months – this amount varies depending on the franchise but this is pretty standard in that industry. So it’s VERY profitable for the franchise to change out the cleaning crew as often as possible. Do you see where I’m going here? It’s profitable for the franchise if you have to request to continuously change out the cleaning crew. Our cleaning crew does not buy accounts from us.

6. Proper Insurance – Franchises make their independent contractors pay for their own workers compensation, which means, often the people cleaning your building don’t carry it. This is bad for business but it’s especially bad for you.

7. Cleaning Staff Turnover – We have very low turnover of cleaning staff. We are a team and we operate that way and we are in constant communication with the individuals that work with us. We care about our cleaning crew and don’t miss an opportunity to let them know how valuable they are to our business.

8. Mid-Size Local Company – We are a local, privately owned mid-sized company. We carry all of the necessary insurances and have plenty of staff to support our business throughout the city of Austin and all surrounding areas.

Franchises are definitely not all bad, but it’s important to be informed as a business owner that not all cleaning companies operate the same, even though it may appear that way on the surface. Ask the right questions, be prepared and hopefully these tips will give you a place to start.

Hiring a Janitorial Cleaning Company Guide

February 11th, 2020   •   No Comments   

Office-Cleaning-Janitor-300x198Is this your first time hiring a janitorial cleaning company? Here are the questions you should be asking the companies when going out for bids:

  1. Franchise vs Local – Is the company a franchise company or a local company? Here’s why this is important, franchises have VERY different business practices and incentives for themselves. Be aware of what those are and that they are often more beneficial to the franchise than to your facility or the independent contractor providing the services. To learn a little more about this check out our post on Janitorial Franchise vs Local/Privately Owned Commercial Cleaning Company.
  2. Liability Insurance – Does the company have the proper liability insurance? What if your facility is flooded? These scenarios actually do play out so not only should you ask about it but ask for proof of insurance as well. Ask for at least $1 million in coverage plus $2 million aggregate.
  3. Bond Insurance – What if there is suspected theft? Does the company have the proper insurance to cover that?
  4. Workers Compensation – What if the cleaner falls, is that your responsibility or the cleaning companies?
  5. Termination – What happens if you need to terminate the contract due to inconsistent service? Do you get billed for this? Look at that termination clause in the contract and ask appropriate questions.
  6. Additional Services – Does the company offer other services like carpet cleaning, floor services, window washing, pressure washing, etc?  It’s much easier to do business with the same company rather than hire a new vendor for each of these services. Make it easier on yourself and hire a full service janitorial company.
  7. Backup Plan – What’s the backup plan if the cleaner calls in sick? Do they have one? Is it solid? This scenario happens all the time so make sure the company has a backup plan in place vs a no show – you don’t have time to be stuck cleaning the office yourself with no notice.
  8. Customer Service – While this one is hard to measure initially, it’s important to ask what the process is like when a complaint is received. Also, to some extent, you need to go with your gut on this one. How quickly does the service provider respond to email and phone calls? How quickly are they able to generate a service agreement after the initial walk-through? Additionally, read reviews about the company to see what clients have to say on Google or Yelp.
  9. Walk-through – Make sure the company walks your facility as this will ensure accurate pricing and it will help when preparing the work scope items in the service agreement.

I intentionally left out price and while I understand it’s a factor, it absolutely should not be the only one. A company that has all the proper insurances, backup plan and staffing in place will likely not be the lowest bidder. And when you are comparing pricing and companies, it’s important to understand this. Do your research and ask the right questions.

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