Getting Ahead Of Cleaning Business Competition
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6. Coupling certifications together may have a greater impact.
GMI maintains its (OS1) designation through regular third-party audits, but it also holds a CIMS-GB Certification.
“I like the combination of both,” says Wagemester. “They cross-reference one another, so they enhance the credibility of the other.”
Similarly, IH Services requires that anyone from middle-management through the C-suite hold certification through BSCAI. They currently have 15 management-level staff with the CBSE and 36 with RBSM certification. Another 13 employees are going through the classes this year. These individual certifications are coupled with their CIMS and CIMS-GB designations.
“This really sets us apart because we can tell clients that we’re ‘fully trained,’— and we are,” says Moore. “We’ve gone through everything from safety to security, chemicals, green cleaning, account management — we pay for [employee certification and training] because we feel it gives us a competitive edge.”
7. Certifications can help ensure that organizational goals are reached.
When it comes to higher-level business goals like sustainability or safety, BSCs with certifications such as CIMS-GB and Green Seal’s GS-42 offer a turn-key solution to meeting compliance requirements for designations like the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system.
“Clients who require industry certifications ensure that their service providers perform services with a sustainable, asset-preservation mindset and with the best interest of the building occupants,” says Nathalie Doobin, owner and CEO of Harvard Services Group, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “For a sustainable future, commercial cleaning certifications such as GS-42 should be a required on all RFPs for all large buildings that are LEED certified.”
Earning an industry certification can require a lot of time and resources, so before BSCs make the decision, they need to decide what they hope to achieve from it (e.g. a clear return on investment or improved business processes) and talk to other people to hear their experiences. This will ultimately help determine if a certification is a good fit.
“I talk to some contractors about renewing [their CIMS certification] and they are always focused on the return,” says Stevenson. “They are looking for the unicorn — the customer who hired them because they are certified. You have to look at your own organization and find the return.”
Certifications At A Glance
Certified Building Service Executive (CBSE): The CBSE designation from BSCAI is a higher-level designation offered to building service professionals who have been in the building service field for a minimum of three years and in a management capacity for two. Applicants must successfully complete and pass a comprehensive, four-part examination, which demonstrates contractors have a thorough knowledge of building service contracting in every aspect of the profession.
Registered Building Service Manager (RBSM): The RBSM designation, also from BSCAI, is available to building service professionals who have been in the field for a minimum of one year and in a management position for one year. By earning this seal of approval, BSCs prove that they have studied and achieved a level of understanding of issues impacting their customers.
Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS): CIMS, from ISSA, is a consensus-based management standard that outlines the primary characteristics of a successful, quality cleaning organization. Earning the certification demonstrates a BSC’s commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, helps improve overall operations and save money.
CIMS-Green Building (CIMS-GB): Building upon CIMS, the criteria and designation of ISSA’s CIMS-GB is closely aligned with procedures needed to secure points under the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (LEED EB: O&M) Green Building Rating System. The certification demonstrates a BSC’s ability to assist customers in achieving LEED EB: O&M points.
(OS1): (OS1), from ManageMen, is a comprehensive, high-performance management system for cleaning organizations that incorporates the concept of Team Cleaning. By providing training to all levels of cleaning employees — from upper-management down to the frontline janitor — the result is a simpler, safer, cleaner and healthier environment.
GS-42: Green Seal’s Standard for Commercial and Institutional Cleaning Services, known as GS-42, establishes green cleaning requirements for cleaning service providers of commercial, public and institutional buildings that protect human health and the environment.
Andi Curry is a freelance writer based in Cincinnati.