Modern Challenges Require Modern Custodial Capabilities

Modern Challenges Require Modern Custodial Capabilities

Custodial work, once considered unskilled labor, is now a highly technical profession requiring a wide range of skills from both service providers and management to ensure the highest standards of cleanliness, occupant safety, and customer satisfaction.

Modern Challenges Require Modern Custodial Capabilities

Critical Professional Skills of the Modern Custodian

Modern custodial service providers are part of a highly in-demand skilled labor force, requiring critical professional skills in addition to necessary technical skills and in-depth knowledge across multiple areas to be successful.

Widely regarded as the most essential, non-technical custodial skills are:

  • Time Management - Cleaning time estimates are critical to workloading and budgeting calculations and directly impact facility space and resource availability.
  • Honesty - Custodians often work late into the night without direct supervision and are entrusted with near-fiduciary levels of responsibility regarding facility property and security.
  • Consistency - Maintaining a consistent standard of cleanliness is critical to ensuring occupant safety and satisfaction and often the line that separates good service providers from the very best.
  • Attitude - Being approachable and friendly to other occupants is important, but the service provider's trainability and flexibility are equally critical.
  • Problem Solving - Not everything in the course of a custodian's day will fall within the framework of a cleaning checklist, and their ability to quickly problem solve towards desirable resolutions directly impacts cleaning times and outcomes.
  • Versatility - The ability to adapt to constantly shifting and dynamic environments while maintaining consistent quality, commitment, and attitude are necessary for meeting the often daunting challenges custodians face in the new modern business world.
  • Autonomy - As discussed, custodial workers often work late into the night, typically without direct supervision, and must be capable of performing at a high level, sans many of the support networks commonly available to daytime office workers.
  • Discretion - Access to secure areas commonly off-limits to rank-and-file office workers exposes custodial workers to discussions, properties, and materials that must remain confidential.
  • Pride - Pride in one's work and the outcomes that work contributes to must be at the center of the force that drives high-quality custodial professionals each day.
  • Endurance - Cleaning is a strenuous physical activity requiring both physical and mental endurance to ensure the last item cleaned is afforded the exact same level of attention to detail as the first.


Planning and Estimating are Critical to Successful Cleaning Outcomes

Finding just one person that meets all of the professional skill requirements of a modern custodian is a significant challenge.

However, finding and retaining a quality workforce is only part of what is needed to operate and manage a custodial team capable of consistently delivering the highest standards of cleanliness.

To perform at the highest levels, the first imperative is a clearly defined plan.

Planning starts with janitorial workloading, which consists of:

  • Determining the square footage of the space that needs to be cleaned.
  • Cleaning schedules and frequencies.
  • Labor costs.
  • Product costs, including shipping and storage, and;
  • Equipment maintenance expenses.

Next, the approximate time it should take to clean a facility will need to be estimated--no simple task.

For example, consider a standard ten fixture restroom;

How many minutes does it take to clean a restroom with 10 fixtures, including emptying trash; cleaning and disinfecting fixtures, mirrors, and partitions; replacing supplies; dusting; sweeping; and wet mopping the floor?

What time should be used?

In the restrooms section under restroom cleaning, the time value for RCL–7 is a production rate for these tasks.

Cleaning time can be calculated as the number of fixtures to be cleaned multiplied by the production rate in minutes.

10 fixtures x 3 minutes per fixture = 30 minutes

How to Calculate Cleaning Times

Keep in mind, this is a simple estimate for a single, standard-sized office restroom of 4 stalls, three urinals, and three sinks and does not take into account the budgeting requirements for labor, training, equipment maintenance, or product costs.

References & Resources



Clearly, creating a well-defined custodial plan and budget requires a great deal of expertise and experience, even for a small office.

Training and retaining a highly skilled and motivated custodial team is another challenge altogether.

That's where Vanguard Cleaning Systems of the Ozarks comes into play and what separates us from just another outsourced commercial cleaning company.

Our independently owned franchise businesses clean an estimated 6.5M sq. ft. every week, and we boast unrivaled customer retention and satisfaction ratings.

Cleaning that much space every week has resulted in extensive expertise, which means:

  • Expert job workloading, which translates into accurate cost assessments for your business, so you know you're not throwing money down the drain, and;
  • Highly skilled and independently motivated franchise cleaning teams whose sole focus is to ensure the highest levels of cleanliness and customer satisfaction.

Need more capability from your janitor?--Let’s talk.

In Oklahoma, dial 918-960-4450

In Arkansas, dial 479-717-2410

In Missouri, dial 417-812-9777

Vanguard Cleaning Systems of the Ozarks.

Vanguard Cleaning Systems of the Ozarks.