Lower labour costs and higher productivity – why In-Tec loves i-team’s products
In this Q&A, Paul Cameron interviewed the In-Tec Commercial Cleaning Co-Founder and Managing Director Paul Schokker as he explains how his business and clients are benefiting from the i-mop and other i-team products.
In-Tec Commercial Cleaning originally began as In-Tec Cleaning Services by my partner, Anne and I. We started the business 27 years ago from our home when I had this crazy idea to run our own cleaning company. The decision to start the business is what is called our ‘why’ – “to service clients properly and ensure that all cleaners are treated well and paid correctly.” My experience from working for several other companies was that it was the cleaners who did the hard work, however they were not paid everything they were entitled to. The decision to start the business was not an easy one, especially as we had a mortgage and three children. Fast forward 27 years and, today, the business services clients across Brisbane, out to Toowoomba, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast regions. It’s been a lot of hard work, and lessons have been learned along the way, but the move has paid off.
In-Tec Commercial Cleaning’s main market today is sites that are serviced a minimum of three days per week, however the preferable site is five days a week. We also want to partner with clients that want the most sustainable cleaning service we can provide, as well as a “site that does not just look clean, but is clean”. We have a great team of cleaners, and we currently service commercial offices, industrial complexes, manufacturing plants, and pathology units, to name but a few. Most of our clients are serviced on a very regular basis. Some clients have night cleaning only, some have day cleaning only, and some have a mix of both.
As mentioned above, the company was founded on two things – servicing our clients and ensuring our cleaners are looked after. The focus is on keeping the client happy and delivering the service that we’re paid to deliver. However, when push comes to shove, if the cleaners are not trained, supplied with the best equipment (such as an i-mop), and paid as per the award then the service cannot be delivered. Of course, all of us, including clients, want costs to be as low as possible. But part of our job is to explain what a good cleaning company looks like and why they should use us, even though at the initial stages we may cost more than some of the other options available. How long has In-Tec been using i-team products? The first i-mop we purchased was about seven years ago and it’s still a part of our equipment fleet. As of today, we have about half a dozen other i-mops in the fleet, with another one to be ordered shortly.
For us, it comes down to three reasons: an i-mop will deliver a better standard compared with string mops or microfibre flat mops. The dirt capture level increases from 40% for a string mop, to 75% for a microfibre mop, to 95% for an i-mop. an i-mop will deliver labour savings. The labour savings can either be passed directly back to the client or the labour saved in mopping floors can be utilised by the cleaner performing other tasks. an i-mop will reduce the health, safety and environment (HSE) risks for the cleaner and will also result in the cleaner being able to deliver a better standard to the client. A career cleaner only wants one thing – to be able to always do their job to the best standard.
The short answer is yes. This is only possible if the potential clients understand the difference between a site looking clean and being clean. An example I can give is: In-Tec had the opportunity to recently quote for a job at a large health facility. In the presentation, we demonstrated the benefits of the i-mop. The client decided that although the i-mop added an extra expense to the cleaning budget, the benefits to both the team onsite and the clients far outweighed the extra cost. We are pleased to have welcomed this client to our portfolio and I firmly believe that the suggestion of using an i-mop at the site assisted in securing the client. The simple way to show a potential client the benefit of an i-mop is to organise a demonstration so that they can see the dirty water we collect from scrubbing a floor at their site. Nothing beats showing them in person.
A career cleaner appreciates it when you invest in items such as an i-mop. Recently, we have had several experienced career cleaners join the team at In-Tec and when they were exposed to the i-mop they were, to put it simply, blown away. Too often we hear that they have never seen anything like this before and we often hear things like “where has this type of equipment been?”. Overall, something like an i-mop makes the job easier and can produce a better result and, yes, a career cleaner wants to deliver the best result they can.
Absolutely. If you just focus on the i-mop, the main risk reductions are clear. We don’t have cleaners carrying around mops and buckets and slopping water about. They can walk behind the i-mop without fear of slipping over, so from a safety point of view that makes their jobs safer and easier. To better explain, imagine this scenario. A cleaner fills up a traditional mop bucket and carries it across a carpeted floor to get to a kitchen or another area. Inevitably, there are spills on the carpet and HSE concerns with the weight of the mop bucket. Of course, we still have a poor-quality outcome that WILL result in a dirty and slippery floor.
We recently trialled the i-spraywash tablet-based foaming gun system and the result it delivered was awesome. We have used foaming guns in the past; however, they do not come close to the finished result and the labour saving you achieve with the i-spraywash. We also have owned an i-scrub for several years and we use this to remove graffiti off tiles, scrub tiled stairs and for getting to the hard-to-reach places like behind toilets. In the past, these tasks were done by hand and never gave the result that the i-scrub does.
In the future, I would like to have the chance to use the other equipment that i-team manufactures. If our experience with the i-mop and i-scrub is anything to go by, then I think the other items such as the battery vacuums, i-drive ride-on scrubber (especially the co-bot version) will be just as impressive. I look forward to seeing the i-link and what it will deliver to us as far as productivity and the finished result goes.
To be honest, it’s the cleaning industry being looked at as a commodity, resulting in a race to the bottom and leaving the cleaners exposed to insufficient training. Other issues facing the commercial cleaning industry include ensuring supply of the right equipment and, most importantly, making sure cleaners are paid correctly for their work. Yes, there will be the difficulty of finding the right staff, however this will always be an issue, especially if the standard we are expecting is higher than the industry standard. The overall challenge I see is the constant education of what commercial cleaning is and what we do to deliver the highest standard. Another challenge is that commercial cleaning is a career, and it requires both the company and the cleaners to keep undergoing training and development to be able to deliver the best standard we can.
I would not hesitate to recommend at least the products we have used. As I mentioned at the beginning, we have used the i-mop for several years now and they keep amazing me in what they do.