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May 15, 2024
Commercial Cleaning

Commercial cleaning is stuck in the 1800s

It relies on an army of underpaid, demotivated, unappreciated operatives, doing countless menial tasks.

With notable exceptions, this mentality is pervasive in the commercial cleaning industry. The notion that it is all a zero-sum game. That the only things you can do to increase your margins are overstating the SLA (and hope clients don’t audit certain areas of it), or paying operatives even less per hour. Invisible people, managed by shadowy companies with obscure practices.

Consider that cleaning other people’s mess is per se one of the least attractive jobs on earth, add the fact the industry is structured around contracted hours and a minimum hourly rate, and you have a recipe for disaster. A recipe for the downward spiral of mediocrity, lack of care, and poor value we have grown accustomed to associating with commercial cleaning. Let’s have a candid a look at this phenomenon.

If you are a cleaning operative on a minimum hourly rate, what is your incentive to be more productive? Probably very little. This is an industry where operations largely run under the radar, outside of business hours, in multiple sites spread across a vast region, where supervision and quality assurance is notoriously difficult and inconsistent. This means if you have a colleague on the same wage as you, and they are determined to coast through their shifts doing the least amount of work possible, there is a reasonable chance they’ll get away with it - so the inherent incentive is actually for you to reduce your own productivity even further.

From a cleaning company’s point of view, this is the perfect nightmare. They are stuck in a race to the bottom with little to no differentiating factors, competing on selling hours at the lowest possible rate, with no margin to pay operatives above the bare minimum. But this leaves them trapped with a demotivated workforce that is inherently incentivised to be minimally productive.

For the end users, who buy the commercial cleaning services, the outlook is equally bleak. They are condemned to paying substantial amounts of money for a poor quality service, delivered by demotivated staff, or worse, having the untenable social guilt of having their properties maintained by hard working staff who are paid a misery wage.

We created PEGO because we believe it is possible to do things better in this industry. To replace this vicious cycle with a virtuous one, where highly motivated staff are rewarded for their efforts, leading to increased productivity, transparency,and quality of services, and to underpin this shift in mentality through the use of technology that matters.

Pedro Arriaga

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