Keeping your manufacturing facility operational involves a lot of preventative maintenance. If you rely on the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” you’ll likely face costly downtime in your future.
Industrial cleaning services are an important component of a strong preventative maintenance plan. Routine cleanings will also help keep your facility safe, especially if you regularly deal with hazardous materials on the property.
Cleaning a manufacturing facility is not the same as cleaning an office building. This is an important distinction because a manufacturing plant is filled with sensitive mechanical equipment. It is not uncommon for a facility to contain equipment like holding tanks, bins, hoppers, vacuum systems and tanks with agitators.
This type of environment may also include chemicals, hazardous waste and special processes. This requires qualified, trained and knowledgeable specialists to perform these services.
While it can be tempting to only focus on the cost of hiring an industrial cleaning company, it’s important to focus on the quality of service you will be getting. Here are 8 questions to ask while evaluating industrial cleaning companies to ensure you hire the best for your business.
1. Do You Specialize In Any Services?
Just because a cleaning company offers a long list of services doesn’t mean it’s the best at each of those services. A medical facility may have very different needs than a factory, and you want to make sure the cleaning company you choose is specialized in that area.
You may also have a variety of needs depending on your facility. Some of the services you may require include:
- Tank cleaning
- Equipment cleaning
- Storm drain cleaning
- Pump station cleaning
Each of these areas above require a special level of expertise. If you require one or more of these deep cleaning services, it’s important to make sure the company you are considering specializes in these areas.
2. Do You Offer Emergency Response?
While you may be considering an industrial cleaning company for routine cleaning services, it’s a good idea to consider the services that you may need in an emergency situation.
Particularly companies that handle hazardous waste should always have an emergency response plan in place that includes a certified cleaning company.
Experienced industrial cleaning companies will clean your entire facility, as well as minimize any hazardous waste contaminants so that your team can safely and quickly resume operations.
3. Do You Offer Walk-Throughs?
One of the most overlooked services that a company can benefit from is a walk-through. Industrial cleaning companies that offer this service provide businesses with the opportunity to be more proactive in their approach to facility maintenance.
Walk-throughs are collaborative in nature. They offer an opportunity to identify potential problems or areas of concern that should be addressed.
During a walk-through, the industrial cleaning company may go over what areas of your facility should be routinely cleaned and how often. The walk-through may focus on specific areas of your operation as well, such as your hazardous waste procedures. In this case, a cleaning expert will evaluate your procedures and ensure that they meet all state and federal regulations.
A vendor may also work with you to develop an ongoing maintenance or cleaning program to ensure your facility’s workspace is routinely cleaned and disinfected to meet industry standards.
Make sure the commercial cleaning company you hire is experienced and properly licensed to ensure you are receiving the most up-to-date information, since regulations often change.
4. Are You Bonded, Insured And Certified?
Because the industrial cleaning company will deal with expensive equipment like holding tanks and hoppers, it is important that you select a company that is bonded and insured. Ask for insurance verification for both workers compensation and general liability.
Hazardous waste also comes with potential liabilities, so if your cleaning company is removing that waste from your property, it’s important to make sure the company is not only bonded and insured, but certified to do so.
As part of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, hazardous waste generators must maintain cradle-to-grave liability. That means that in the United States, you are responsible for your waste from the moment it is generated to the moment it is safely disposed of.
Therefore, hiring a responsible company that has purchased the required insurance coverage and is certified to transport hazardous waste greatly diminishes the chances of something major coming back to bite you.
To check whether a company is certified, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control offers a Registered Hazardous Waste Transporter Database.
5. What Types Of Cleaners Do You Use?
A qualified cleaning specialist should be able to provide you with a detailed list of cleaning chemicals and products that it plans to use at your facility.
If you have equipment like an industrial tank onsite, it is also important to make sure the cleaning company you hire is skilled at cleaning your tanks for scale, sediment and crystallization. Look for companies that use biodegradable cleaning agents when possible during the tank cleaning process. This will help you avoid adding one more chemical to your hazardous waste streams.
6. When Do Your Cleanings Take Place?
Industrial cleaning companies that only work during a standard 9-5 weekday may pose a problem for your production.
Manufacturing facilities are on tight deadlines. Delays and shutdowns can waste money and destroy your company’s bottom line. To meet your production goals, industrial cleaning services should be able to clean the facility when the production line is down for scheduled maintenance or offline. This may require a cleaning team that is available to clean your facility at odd hours.
It’s a good idea to schedule your cleaning project with plenty of notice and discuss the requirements of your project in detail with your chosen cleaning service to make sure that an adequate timetable is provided. This ensures that your project is completed on time.
7. Do You Provide Estimates?
Always get an estimate of a cleaning service’s work before it is performed. The best industrial cleaning services will offer to come onsite and provide a FREE estimate for the work that you need done.
Depending on the amount of work and how quickly you need it performed, the company may provide you with a pricing structure that is customized to your facility and equipment or the square footage of your space.
Your estimate may also be based on ongoing work as part of a contract. If you pursue a contract for services, make sure you ask about the terms of that contract, such as if and when you can cancel it and whether signing a contract affords you a better deal.
8. Do You Have References?
A reputable industrial cleaning service should always be willing to provide you with references of its work. Reaching out to other businesses that have hired the vendor that you are considering can provide you with an opportunity to hear about the cleaning company’s reputation and any other information that may be useful in determining whether the company can meet your needs.
Make sure you ask for a reference that involves similar cleaning services you need now or may need in the future. This information can be useful if you are planning an expansion or will be taking on new applications.
Proper maintenance of your equipment and facility through industrial cleaning is an essential part of the manufacturing process. Ensuring you are getting the right company to meet your facility’s cleaning needs will help you minimize downtime, reduce costs, and protect your employees and customers.