Those who have been building service contractors (BSCs) for several years know how dramatically the industry's competitive landscape has changed. Some "old timers" say they are charging the same now for janitorial services as they were 15 and 20 years ago, just because of the competition. Yet, the costs for materials and in other areas--from gasoline to wages and insurance--have gone up considerably in those years.
As a result, BSCs often look for a niche--how to make their businesses standout from the competition. One such niche that is growing in popularity is for BSCs to market themselves as Green cleaning experts. Although many BSCs believe in the goals and reasons for Green cleaning, it is likely that others may view it as simply a marketing opportunity that cannot be overlooked.
This is certainly not the case for Kenny and Shannon Lufkin, owners of Total Clean Up, Tulsa, OK. "We believe in Green cleaning," says Kenny. "Our goal is to help keep people healthy and we want to educate not only our clients, but (also) our community on just how important this is."
As proof of their passion, the Lufkin's have been long time members of the U.S. Green Building Council, Sustainable Tulsa, which is a local organization helping to promote sustainable and responsible economic growth, and other environmentally-focused organizations.
So it is no surprise that when a major grocery store chain, which also focuses on being environmentally responsible, was looking for a new contract cleaning service, they called Total Clean Up.
"We prepared a cleaning strategy for the store that not only emphasized improving the appearance of the grocery store, but the health as well," says Kenny. "And to accomplish this, we told the managers we would not use conventional cleaning tools--mops, buckets, rags, and push brooms--but instead Kaivac's No-Touch Cleaning? system."
When using the Kaivac system in the store's restrooms, Kenny applies GreenSeal-certified chemicals such as KaiBlooey, developed by Kaivac specifically for cleaning floor and restroom surfaces. The same surfaces are then rinsed, blasting loose soil and contaminants, which are recovered using the machine's built-in vacuum system.
"But, we also use the machine on the floors in the grocery store as well," says Kenny. "The KaiAuto? attachment is like a giant floor squeegee. It sprays on cleaning chemicals which are then vacuumed-up, taking with it grit, dust, and soil. There's no sweeping or mopping, making it so much faster than traditional floor cleaning systems."
According to Kenny, before Total Clean Up was hired, the grocery store asked a lot of questions about the cleaning chemicals that would be used in the store and also inquired about the Kaivac no-touch system. "They were real careful and wanted the store to not only be clean, but hygienically clean," he says. "Fortunately, they are pleased with the Kaivac system and the store is Green, clean, and healthy."