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Top 5 Commercial Cleaning Problems and How To Fix Them

Often when someone is considering the purchase of commercial cleaning services for their business, they are confronted with a few important decisions regarding some potential issues and commercial cleaning problems that come with these services.

This article will explain some of these issues as well as the corresponding solutions to commercial cleaning problems.

Top 5 Commercial Cleaning Problems

  1. Poor communication
  2. Poor cleaning quality
  3. Cleaners not showing up to site
  4. Cleaners not finishing their tasks
  5. Your cleaning team keep making the same mistakes


Problem #1: Poor Communication

“Communication Barriers”

The main commercial cleaning problem here is that if you can’t communicate and be understood by your cleaning operative, it can be frustrating. Many businesses complain that their cleaning operatives don’t speak English very well, and the honest answer is that is true in many cases, leading to commercial cleaning problems.

Often, your cleaning operative will be someone who is a student, working their way through their degree and improving their language skills in the process.

But that doesn’t help you when you need to chat with them about commercial cleaning problems.

To make matters worse, if you’re working with a commercial cleaning company that doesn’t have the technology to deal with commercial cleaning problems, it can lead to misunderstandings, unmet expectations, and a general feeling of disconnect.


Look for commercial cleaning companies who prioritize bilingual training or have effective communication tools and protocols in place to overcome commercial cleaning problems. Ideally, working with an organisation that has a strong focus on providing great language interaction for both the client and the cleaning operative will give the best results. So be looking for a commercial cleaning company that leverages technology to do this, or use image-based task lists to show what needs to be done.

This will ensure clearer, accessible communication channels and not only enhance the service quality but also build trust and rapport between clients and cleaning staff while addressing commercial cleaning problems.


Problem #2: Poor Cleaning Quality

“Overlooking Details”

There should always be a detailed cleaning specification document created at the beginning of your relationship which clearly outlines what cleaning tasks are to be done, and the frequency, to avoid commercial cleaning problems.

The reason for this is to set everyone’s expectations correctly and avoid commercial cleaning problems. That document outlines all tasks included in the price, and the cleaning operative has that task list to work from.

But the problem here is that it can often sit in a drawer somewhere and never gets looked at again once the contract is signed, leading to commercial cleaning problems.

This is especially bad if you have a change of cleaning operatives. It can become like ‘Chinese Whispers’ – instructions verbally passed from one operative to another, causing more commercial cleaning problems.

Very bad news for you as the customer.

With that, commercial cleaning problems will occur naturally. Things will be missed, and the details that you’re paying for may be overlooked. And then the quality and cleaning standards start to drop.


Rather than using the old fashioned ‘pen and paper’ method of cleaning management, look for a cleaning service that has adopted technology to overcome these commercial cleaning problems. Their technology should have a raft of options, but one of the key options is having the cleaning specification in the palm of the cleaning operative’s hand at every visit.

So that you can be sure if you get a new cleaning operative on site, or someone is sick and filling in, they know exactly what needs to be done on their shift and there is no confusion from them, or disappointment for you, addressing these common commercial cleaning problems.


Problem #3: Cleaners Not Showing Up to Site

“Reliability Issues”

If you’ve ever walked into your workplace and the first thing you’ve noticed is that the cleaners didn’t clean the night before, you know how this feels. It’s a clear example of commercial cleaning problems.


Especially if you’re the one who is going to have to do a quick bin empty and clean up before everyone else gets in. Not to mention, calling the cleaning company, finding out what happened, organizing a credit for the missed clean, and then explaining to your colleagues why their workspace isn’t clean.

When your cleaner doesn’t show up, it leaves you in a tough spot, scrambling to keep your space clean and questioning the reliability of the service you’re paying for, highlighting the reliability issues in commercial cleaning problems.


Although I could spend quite a bit of time discussing ways to improve reliability, I’ll just briefly mention 3:

  1. Technology – Use a commercial cleaning service provider who has a geo-fenced and GPS tracked site attendance system, so they know before you, that someone has not showed up for their shift, and are able to arrange a replacement.
  2. Monitoring – Ask how is their tech monitored?  If they have it, and no-one is actually monitoring it everyday, it’s not going to help much.
  3. Committed Staff – A great company with an amazing company culture fosters team members who are all working for a common goal.  Go looking for a cleaning company who have that culture, because you can be sure their team will too.


Problem #4: Cleaners not finishing their tasks

“Rushing through your site”

One of the biggest concerns for clients is that they are getting value for money with their cleaning services.

If you’re paying for a service and the cleaner is missing things constantly, it could be because they are rushing.  Having said that, most cleaning contracts are performance based.   So to be clear, you agree on a cleaning specification of tasks and frequencies, at a certain fee.

The cleaning company you chose, provides those services for that fee.  If your previous cleaning team took 3 man hours to do the cleaning, and now your new team takes 2 man hours to do the same job, remember this:

some people just work faster than others, and that’s OK in this instance.

Because the measurement here is this:  Is your site clean and are you happy with how it presents?

If the answer is a resounding yes, then you’ve found a reliable cleaning partner.

If, however, things are being missed and the quality is suffering then that’s a sign that a conversation needs to happen.  Efficiency shouldn’t come at the cost of thoroughness. After all, a clean and inviting space is the goal.


If there are areas for improvement here’s what needs to happen:

  1. As a commercial cleaning client, your company will be allocated a Customer Service Manager to handle your account, and this person should be regularly visiting your site in person to do a cleaning quality audit.  This is where they check on the cleaning, make sure the specification is being met.   If there’s a problem with the quality, it’s their job to detect, record and organise to have it rectified.
  2. We talked about technology earlier, and this is another instance where site management technology can assist to ensure the cleaning specification is being adhered too.
  3. Constant training and re-training – your commercial cleaning service provider should have a professional training program in place that they can show you through, along with examples of on-site tool box talks that they carry out to continually educate your cleaning operatives.
  4. Finally, if there are recurrences of the same problems happening over and over again, your cleaning provider will have the cleaning team take photos of the site as they clean it.


If you are experiencing the same issues over and over again, you may need to investigate further with your colleagues.

Are people in the office after the cleaners have left or before you arrive in the morning?   This can often be the reason why there’s a plate in the sink or a hand towel in the wastepaper bin.


Problem #5: Cleaner Keeps Making Mistakes

“Lack of Transparency”

Obviously, if you are happy with the service, everything is being done, your workplace presents well after each visit, they invoice you correctly, can take care of all your extra periodical/specialised cleaning needs and are great to deal with, yay, you’ve won the lottery and have a successful business/supplier relationship.

However, if you don’t feel that way, and your experience hasn’t been without it’s challenges, you don’t want to be treated like a mushroom.


In the cleaning industry the fact is that sometimes things don’t go to plan.

  • Your cleaner forgets to do something
  • Someone from your site puts something valuable in the bin and the cleaners empty the bin.
  • Sometimes a colleague will not be happy with the cleaning even though everyone else thinks it’s great
  • Sometimes people will accuse your cleaners of stealing things
  • Sometimes the alarm code will be changed and no-one will tell the cleaner so they won’t be able to clean
  • Sometimes a piece of machinery will stop working for no reason

It’s an industry that is labour based, and as we all know, everyone makes mistakes.

The main thing is to work with a team who will own it, fix it, and work hard to make sure it doesn’t happen in the future.


According to IBISWorld – Commercial Cleaning Services Report, there are 36,494 commercial cleaning companies in Australia.

We hope that by being better informed, you can avoid the top 5commercial cleaning problems and these recommendations will set you on the right path as you work through deciding on which one of them will be your new commercial cleaning service provider.