Outsource Office Cleaning vs. Employing In-House Cleaners

Need Your Office Cleaned?

There are 4 Different Options for Having Your Office Cleaned, Each Possessing Different Pros and Cons.

If you own, run or manage an office, then you’re responsible for the upkeep, maintenance, and cleanliness of the office space and you know how much of a headache this can be. In New York City, when a company rents out office space in a larger office building, very rarely does the building or landlord provide cleaning services for their tenants’ individual office spaces. The landlord will always provide cleaning services for the common areas such as the lobby, elevator, hallways, and public restrooms, but each individual tenant is normally required to clean and maintain their own office space. When business owners or managers decide how to clean their office space, there are many factors to consider such as equipment, security, insurance, training, management, and costs. In this post, we will go over the four main options that businesses have when deciding how to clean their space, which are: Clean The Space Yourself, Employ In-House Cleaners, Hire An Independent Cleaner, or Outsource Office Cleaning Services to a Professional Cleaning Company.

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1. Clean The Space Yourself

Who Cleans?
The business owner straps on a pair of gloves, picks up a rag and spray bottle, and cleans the office himself.

Suitable Business Type
Self-employed, Small Business, One to Five Employees

Size of Office Space
Small office space less than 500 square feet

Office Layout
Office desks, chairs, filing cabinet, side table

Pros
1. Don’t have to pay for insurance
2. Don’t have to hire, train, and manage cleaning staff
3. Choose your own cleaning equipment
4. Reduce your expenses and bottom line

Cons
1. Lots of manual labor and energy required
2. Your time can be better spent working on other business activities that generate revenue
3. Lack of professional equipment or techniques

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Overall
Cleaning your own office is a viable option for new, self-employed individuals, renting out a small office space that does not require laborious cleaning, and those businesses on a strict budget. If the small office is 250 square feet comprising a desk, chair, and bookcase, then it would make sense to clean the space yourself. Once your business and space expands, and your time becomes more valuable, many clients reconsider the act of cleaning their own office. Most growing small businesses realize that paying for an office cleaning service is a better alternative when you factor costs, time, personal labor, and peace of mind.

2. Employ In-House Cleaners

Who Cleans?
Employees of your own business, that you interview, hire, train and manage, and are legally considered employees of your company.

Suitable Business Type
Very rarely do offices of any size hire and employ their own cleaning staff. Doing this is essentially operating another smaller office cleaning business within your primary business. Offices that employ their own cleaning staff, typically are a smaller part of a larger institution and have other facilities besides office space, that require labor services such as maintenance, repair, plumbing, and security.

Size of Office Space
Large office spaces that are combined with other operational facilities such as: apartment buildings, colleges/universities, sports arenas, airports, movie theatres.

Office Layout
Large office with additional facilities

Pros
1. Can be financially cheaper than hiring a cleaning service
2. Supervision and control over cleaning staff, equipment and methods

Cons
1. High insurance costs comprising general liability and worker’s compensation insurance
2. Pay for your own equipment
3. High employment taxes from the IRS, State, and City
4. Large time commitment dedicated to hiring, training and managing employees

Overall
An office that employs its own cleaning staff is generally a large office that is part of a much larger operation that requires additional manual labor services such as maintenance, repair, plumbing, security, and lighting. Examples of offices that would employ their own cleaning staff would be offices of movie theatres, offices in apartment complexes, offices in malls, or offices in educational facilities like colleges and universities. Offices that decide to employ one or two cleaning individuals will have to hire these individuals, train them, put them on payroll and pay lofty employment taxes, purchase equipment and insurance, and manage their day to day cleaning operations. When posed with these large financial costs and significant time commitments, many businesses prefer to outsource office cleaning work to a reputable company.

3. Hire An Independent Cleaner

Who Cleans?
An individual or small team, that is generally paid under the table, not bonded or insured, and provides their own equipment

Suitable Business Type
Small-medium sized businesses from 5-50 employees

Size of Office Space
500 square feet – 10,000 square feet

Office Layout
Typical office layout with offices, cubicles, conference rooms, restrooms, kitchen/break-room area, small lobby or foyer.

Pros
1. Less expensive than outsourcing an office cleaning service or employing in-house cleaners
2. Greater amount of control than a cleaning service company

Cons
1. No insurance, so if the cleaner breaks something on the job, you and or your business are left with the bill
2. No liability insurance, so if the cleaner is injured on the job, you and or your business is left with the medical costs and a potential lawsuit
3. No bonding insurance to protect against theft if the cleaner steals any property
4. Lack of professional image
5. Lack of professional equipment

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Overall
A handful of small to medium sized office businesses will hire an independent office cleaner, but these “independent cleaners” are becoming a thing of the past. Some small business owners will use the same cleaners who clean their residence, to clean their business, because they know the good results they deliver and can get a discounted price for both their home and office. In other words they are looking to cut costs in the short run. They will also be able to maintain a high level of control over the cleaning, and to pay less compared to an office cleaning service.

This is becoming a thing of the past because there are so many risks associated with hiring an independent cleaner. Once you pay them under the table, you technically become their employer and they become your employee. There’s a good chance that they do not pay taxes on the income, and you do not pay employer taxes to the state or IRS and you can be guilty of tax evasion and owe tens of thousands in taxes as well as having your business shut down. You will also bear all of the financial liability if there are any damages to property, medical costs resulting from accident or injury, or theft. For peace of mind, it makes sense to pay an extra $8-$10 more per hour to avoid the potential tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars you would pay if something were to go wrong.

Click on this link from the New York State Department of Labor regarding an employer/employee relationship: https://labor.ny.gov/formsdocs/ui/ia318.14.pdf

4. Outsource Office Cleaning Services

Who Cleans?
Professional employees of the office cleaning service company that are trained, insured, bonded, and uniformed by the cleaning service company

Suitable Business Type
An office cleaning company can handle any sized office ranging from small to large companies of one to over 500 employees

Size of Office Space
Any office space from 500 square feet to over 100,000 square feet

Office Layout
Office cleaning companies can handle a variety of tasks and normally offer a full line of office cleaning services including stone/surface cleaning, green cleaning, window cleaning, carpet cleaning, and floor buffing/burnishing.

Pros
1. Professional services
2. Employees are trained, uniformed, insured and bonded by company
3. Knowledgeable and experienced in cleaning offices
4. Account manager support
5. Cleaning company can provide appropriate cleaning equipment and chemicals for your office
6. Outsourcing can free up time, resources and management for more important tasks

Cons
1. Most financially expensive option for office cleaning services
2. Sub-par communication and customer service
3. Can be locked into a long contract
4. Little control over cleaning techniques and methods

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Overall
The majority of businesses elect to outsource office cleaning in New York City to a reputable cleaning service company. The office cleaning service takes care of insurance, equipment, training and managing, and can customize a cleaning program to fit the office’s particular needs and specific tasks. Some office cleaning companies require long term contracts up to two or five years, while others offer short term contracts of three to six months to give the client flexibility and peace of mind. Financially, an office cleaning service costs more than employing your own cleaners, but when you factor in hiring, training, and management, most clients will gladly outsource their cleaning needs to a professional office cleaning service company.

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