Finding and Training Qualified Cleaning Supervisors

It can be tough finding and training good cleaning managers. Succeed with tips from Dick Ollek and janitorial management software.

You’ve just lost a cleaning account that you’ve had for several years. The loss of a business relationship and monthly revenue is a discouraging realization to swallow.

But the most frustrating thing about this whole ordeal is that you know a major factor in the contract loss was the ineffectiveness of your own cleaning supervisors.

Dick Ollek, CEO of Consultants in Cleaning and a former building service contractor with over 50 years of experience in the cleaning industry, recently shared several insights with us about this very issue.

“Most BSCs are able to secure the business but haven’t got the quality, trained supervision it takes to properly manage the cleaning for their clients,” he said.

Are you one of these BSCs that are concerned with the capabilities of your cleaning staff? Do you need solutions for improving your cleaning and inspection services? Here are some helpful points:


  1. Hire the right people to begin with


    Make sure your cleaning company is hiring with a real purpose and not just trying to fill positions because there is work to be done. You will eventually have a better pool of employees to choose from for supervisor positions if you do this.

    Ollek said there is a specific reason why many prospective customers want to find out what employee turnover rates are for cleaning businesses.

    “What the prospect wants to know is: How are you going to manage the cleaning?” he explained.

    “The rate of turnover is a significant factor in that decision. If you are constantly trying to ‘reload’ with new people, how can you manage the entire process? … When you are just hiring people, you are reacting to the immediate needs of the day.”

  2. Carefully identify quality employees

    You might not have to worry about finding quality potential candidates outside of your company. Most likely, you already have some employees that do exceptional work.

    Start building relationships with these employees and give them special assignments like conducting company trainings or handling a large client request to see how well they work under pressure.

    Lighthouse, a blog on leadership and management, offers a good warning to business owners when looking for future managers.

    “Beware of ‘fool’s gold,'” the blog entry said. “Just because someone is your best individual contributor (IC) does not mean they will be a good manager. The qualities that make you a good leader are not all the same as those that matter in an IC role.”

  3. Do more than advertise jobs

    “If you are a BSC, you need to have a professional, systematic process of convincing people that you have great careers available in this industry, not just jobs,” Ollek said.

    Businessman sitting at a table

    Ollek went on to explain that it is common for BSCs to not want to spend a lot of time and effort with interviews, thinking the employee will probably leave as soon as they find a better paying job.

    He challenged BSCs to change the way they think about their job positions, to show others the opportunities that exist in the industry, and to help employees make it their career.

    Ollek also suggested utilizing newspaper ads, placement centers, and radio stations as additional ways to advertise for quality employees.


  1. Don’t just hand it over to your “experienced” staff

    Many employers settle with sending newer hires out to work alongside more experienced employees or running them through a lot of training videos during orientation.

    Ollek warned against this. He said senior employees, if left unchecked, could be teaching new recruits incorrect methods. He also said videos alone don’t allow new employees to get needed, hands-on training with the tools they will use.

    If you want to build your employees into qualified supervisors that can handle your client workload, you will need to train them correctly from the moment they join your company.

  2. Use cleaning business software to ease the workload

    The extent of your workload might be overwhelming your supervisors. Compiling and tracking work orders, inspections, and job schedules on paper tends to waste time and create large paper trails.

    Consider implementing cleaning business software solutions for your company. It can help your managers save time, increase productivity, and ensure quality client work is always being fulfilled.

  3. Set up training areas

    Conference room table

    To continue on the first point about training, Ollek encouraged cleaning businesses to take employee training a step further.

    “It is important that you establish a training area in your office so that everyone, without fail, is shown the system your company has for cleaning a facility,” Ollek said.

    He said you only need 100 square feet (10 ft. × 10 ft.) in your work area and 45 minutes to go through the training process each time. Set up different sections that teach your cleaners how to properly fulfill different tasks on the job.

Dick Ollek started Consultants in Cleaning in 2005 and has been a part of the cleaning industry for over 50 years. He can be reached at


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