8 Hidden Costs of Commercial Cleaning

You know you deserve a decent, clean work environment. Still, the mere thought of outsourcing your janitorial, or adjusting your current program, can sometimes cause as much dread as the growing cobwebs in the corner.

With average commercial cleaning costs ranging from $.05 – $.50 per square foot, this can be a hefty expenditure when considering the size of your space. But is inaction costing you?

It’s easy to focus on all the quotes and numbers, but there are a host of hidden costs that never show up on an invoice. Below, we will outline some often overlooked items that can help turn those hidden costs into visible savings.

Hidden Cost #1: The Perception Of A Dirty Facility Affects Employees’ Productivity

For the last few years, people have isolated themselves, worn masks, gotten vaccinations, and done everything under the sun to keep themselves and those around them safe. However, with “normal” slowly returning, are we doing enough?

With an uptick of employees returning to offices, we should work harder to make everyone feel cared for and respected. In fact, the Cleaning Coalition of America conducted this study on how safety and cleanliness are a priority for employees as they transition from home to the office.

Even if we forget about COVID for a minute (which I’m sure everyone would be more than happy to do), colds, the flu, and allergies are still a real threat. If employees are willing to commute to the workplace, we should do everything we can to make them feel seen and understood.

An unclean facility can make our employees feel uncared for, which will ultimately cost you. In addition, it can (and most likely will) result in a loss of productivity and impact your overall business goals and objectives.

Hidden Cost #2: Doing the cleaning yourself

With tight budgets and the grime piling up, it may seem like a no-brainer to just do the cleaning yourself. You’re already on the payroll, which means you can save money and not break the bottom line. But is this a real solution?

Wearing the janitor hat isn’t just emptying a few waste baskets and refilling the paper towels. It’s a full-time job that eats away your free time, absorbs your energy, and derails you from everything you should be doing.

It’s no secret that equipment, chemicals, and paper products can be costly, but the real ghost in the closet is time. We’ve all heard the saying that “time is money,” and foregoing a cleaning service or program to help save your budget isn’t going to save you. Instead, it will cost you by diverting your time and energy from the important work you should be doing.

Hidden Cost #3: Not Engaging Your Employees

If you have a cleaning company or are seriously considering one, maybe it’s time to consider having your employees clean their desks or areas.

You may ask, “why have a cleaning service at all if my employees are going to do it?” but empowering employees to have ownership of their space can promote a sense of order in the whole office. Visual reminders of disorganization can drain our cognitive resources and reduce our ability to concentrate. This Princeton University study illustrates how cleaning your desk and decluttering papers can improve your focus and increase productivity. So don’t think of it as asking employees to work harder…you’re a Zen Master, helping them to free their minds.

In the end, your zen-ness is actually saving money and eliminating unnecessary costs. Commercial cleaning is quoted on square footage (see: intro to this blog), and less outsourced space is more money in your pocket. Cha-ching!

Hidden Cost #4: Excessive Trash Cans

Take a moment and count your trash bins. Is there one under every desk? How about in the common areas, bathrooms, conference rooms, and entries? Every unit you see should also register a dollar sign in your mind. The bin, the liners, and the time devoted to emptying each one have a cost. By simply minimizing the number of waste cans, you can shave time off your janitorial teams’ route and money off your bottom line.

Hidden Cost #5: Not Knowing How Many Cleaning Days You Need

It’s important to know what your facility needs. For example, when utilizing a janitorial provider, it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of hope that you’ll never see a speck of dirt again. Of course, that is a possibility, but in those cases, you’ll need day porters, routine nightly cleanings, and a slew of other services that might put an unhealthy squeeze on those with tighter budgets.

Instead, find a reliable and trustworthy company that can help assess your specific needs. Perhaps starting with a weekly or semi-weekly clean will help you understand where you should focus. Even if you’re currently using a janitorial service, adjusting frequency can be a great solution to cutting costs. Still, it’s imperative to be aligned with a janitorial service that can meet your needs without sacrificing health and cleanliness.

Hidden Cost #6: Remote vs. In-Person Work

The virtual and hybrid work model has become the norm in recent years. While some industries cannot offer remote work opportunities, those who do, can leverage this new style of work to their benefit.

If your office or facility has a hybrid model, consider having all employees on-site simultaneously. This reduces the number of days you require routine cleaning and results in less traffic and a cleaner workplace.

By consolidating office activity, you maintain a cleaner facility at a fraction of the cost.

Hidden Cost #7: An Unreliable Cleaning Company

Maybe you’ve hired a cleaning company before that didn’t fulfill its promises. Maybe it’s the story you’re living right now. When a company is unprofessional or not doing a thorough job, it can be frustrating…and just not worth it. You’d never accept a job half-done from your staff, so why should your janitorial service be any different?

When hiring a professional cleaning company, they must have the knowledge, supplies, and staff to make your facility shine. Their efforts should take the load off your employees, impress your clients, and keep your team healthy by inspiring and curating a deep level of trust.

But how do you know who to trust?


Those three assets are crucial in making sure you and your facility are in safe hands. Ensuring that your commercial cleaning company has an operating license, has good reviews, and offers a satisfaction guarantee will protect your budget and eliminate unnecessary costs. A licensed, recommended, and guaranteed provider is the surest way to stretch your money and safeguard against companies who might bombard you with hidden fees or substandard work.

If you’re trying to decide who to trust, here’s a great (and free!) walkthrough checklist you can use and an article that can help in selecting the perfect cleaning service: 7 Steps to Choosing the Perfect Office Cleaning Service Company.

Hidden Cost #8: Getting An Unreal Quote

No company can get an accurate idea of your needs if they don’t physically know your space. They can ramble on about hypothetical solutions, but without eyes on your facility, a cleaning service can’t deliver an accurate quote.

Be cautious of those who give you a number without first performing a janitorial walkthrough. By personally meeting a representative from the company, you’ll be able to express your exact needs and proactively scrap any costs that might make it onto a quote or invoice.

A personal walkthrough and assessment of your facility’s needs is the best way to attain an accurate cleaning proposal while eliminating hidden costs and fees.

Ready To Shine?

Maybe you’re overwhelmed by quotes or just tired of the lack of care from your current service provider. Wherever you’re at, there are ways you can eliminate hidden costs by making sure you’re educated and aware of your facility’s distinct needs.

You need a service that cleans your rugs, not one that tries to sweep things under them.

We have solved this issue for companies like Crew Carwash, DEEM, First Internet Bank, and Endress+Hauser, among many others.

At Zoë Facility Services, we know a clean working environment is key to success. So we want you to find YOUR WAY to a tidy, fresh, beautiful facility.

Book a Free Walkthrough with Zoë