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Buyers of ride-on vacuums and sweepers should talk to distributors about other cleaning considerations, such as noise levels or indoor air quality prior to purchasing. Different machines offer various features to address a host of common concerns. In addition to lower-decibel machines and those with advanced filtration, a popular feature of newer ride-on vacuums and sweepers is on-board tools.“You can use the attachments to get into nooks and crannies, and then get back on the machine and continue working without having to come back later for those hard-to-reach areas,” Sabbag says. “It allows users to be very productive.”Distributors can provide training to make sure employees know how to properly use these special features. They can also provide cleaning schedules and maintenance checklists to make the most of the equipment and protect the investment.“A big machine with a lot of lights and buttons can be intimidating if you don’t know what you’re doing,” Schneringer says. “Take advantage of free offerings from distributors.”For example, while visiting an airport client recently, Schneringer discovered a third-shift janitor cleaning a large area with a small lobby dust broom. The janitor complained of sore forearms, but was too intimidated to use the facility’s ride-on vacuum. Schneringer offered on-site training and the employee quickly switched to the larger, more ergonomic equipment.“One of the nice things about working with a distributor is we will be around, so we see what you’re doing and know what’s going on in your facility,” Schneringer says. “Without advice, you can end up with employees who are exhausted by the end of their shift and who aren’t getting a good result with the floor.”Maintaining carpets and floors is labor intensive, which is why managers should really take their time researching the best, most efficient equipment — or combination of equipment — for the job. Doing the work in advance will save the department time and money in the end. Becky Mollenkamp is a freelance writer based in St. Louis, Missouri.