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The Five Biggest Cleanliness Mistakes Retailers Make

Retail cleanliness is about more than just keeping a clean store. How a store looks on a day-to-day basis has a direct impact on customer satisfaction and ultimately the company’s bottom line.

GettyImages-594924058.jpgA pristinely clean and well-maintained store elevates a customer’s overall shopping experience and is a direct reflection of your company’s brand. It also keeps customers in your store shopping for longer periods of time and encourages them to come back again and again.

Savvy retailers know the importance of retail cleanliness and regular facility maintenance, yet many struggle to find the right janitorial partner to deliver a consistent level of service across multiple retail locations.

What are some of the biggest cleanliness mistakes retailers make? Prestige Maintenance USA’s own John Torres, regional vice president of operations, weighs in based on his 32 years in the commercial cleaning industry:

#1: Always engage with your cleaning vendors.

Too often, facility managers are not as engaged with their commercial cleaning vendors as they should be, Torres says. For the best results, managers should engage with contractors, make clear what their expectations are week to week, and then check in with them on a regular basis so that adjustments can be made when needed.

“Some retailers do a great job of engaging and communicating with their contractors, but others are not as clear about what is expected,” says Torres. “Your vendors can’t meet your expectations if you aren’t clear about what they are.”


When retail cleanliness falls into the hands of procurement, it sometimes becomes more about budget and “the numbers” than quality service. Not all vendors are created equal and the cheapest bidder doesn’t always provide the best service.

“There has to be some dialogue between procurement and facilities management when it comes to janitorial and maintenance services,” says Torres. “It should be about the quality of the work and not just about the lowest dollar amount.”

#3: Go with the professionals.

Most big box retailers have moved away from in-house janitorial services and have partnered with a dedicated professional contractor. But there are still some holdouts that are trying to do it themselves, often relying on sales floor employees to handle cleaning duties.

As a result, cleaning is often overlooked during high-traffic times while employees are busy with customers and high-touch areas like entrances and restrooms are neglected. The truth is, keeping cleaning services and facility maintenance in-house doesn’t result in the same level of world-class service that a professional contractor can provide. It also doesn’t make financial sense in the long run.

“Large, commercial cleaning companies have more knowledge and experience, as well as national buying power,” says Torres. “Not only can they do a better job than retailers can do on their own, but they can also do it more efficiently and for a better price.”

#4: Choose the right contractor.

Supporting small business is great, but for large retailers, mom-and-pop commercial cleaning vendors aren’t always flexible enough to handle multiple locations and large-scale jobs. Partnering with a bigger, more established contractor – especially one with a national presence – is a retailer’s best bet.

Not only do professional commercial contractors provide a wide range of janitorial services, they also have the expertise on staff to perform facility maintenance services such as general building maintenance and repair, building inspections, ceiling and floor tile repair, filter replacement, painting and more. They can even respond in real time to natural disasters.

“With the recent hurricane and flooding in Texas, we were able to quickly rally the troops and get in to start cleaning up our customers’ stores immediately,” says Torres. “We had one store that was 12 feet underwater and we were able to restore it to looking brand new again because of our experience and ability to respond quickly.”

#5: Ask the right questions.

Many times, retailers don’t coordinate with their contractors so that they can prepare for things like special projects and remodels. It is important to engage with your janitorial contractor and ask the right questions so that they understand the full scope of any upcoming projects.

“You don’t want your contractor putting labor into something and then having to turn around and redo it because there was a lack of communication,” Torres says. “It is critical that everyone is always on the same page.”

Retail cleanliness is a direct reflection of your company and shouldn’t be overlooked or pushed to the back burner. Finding a professional janitorial service partner that provides a consistent level of service is key to attracting new customers to your store and ensuring existing customers continue coming back to shop.

Are you searching for a dedicated professional janitorial service that works for you and your customers? Contact Prestige Maintenance USA today.

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