In today’s pressured sales environment, vendors can all sound alike, each promising “the best”, “the most professional,” “the most green cleaning” – all for the best price.

Is there a way to separate out the ones you should be considering? Yes! There are two key quality certifications facility or property managers should look for before hiring a commercial cleaning or janitorial company partner. It’s not a case of one or the other. Both certifications tell everything you need to know about a company and its promises.

1. Quality standard, 1SO 9001

Everyone talks about quality, but the ISO 9001 certification is one way to know for certain that a company has a serious quality control system in place.

ISO 9001 is the international standard for a quality management system (“QMS”).  A company can’t pay for an ISO 9001 certification. It is only awarded once the organization can demonstrate that it consistently provides products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.

The certification also doesn’t just apply to management. All employees must be part of the program, trained to provide a consistent level of service, according to the quality standards set by the company seeking the qualification. This means as a customer, you know that you are getting what you are paying for when you hire an ISO 9001 certified cleaning service. The cleaning is held to a high standard, and quality checks are up to the vendor, not you!

Plus, there’s more!

Continuous improvement and engaged employees

ISO 9001 goes beyond quality standards in terms of products and services. The standard requires proper health and occupational safety training, which means less accidents in the workplace. It also requires a certified company to operate a program of continuous improvement in order that overall operations are always being worked on to achieve goals such as greater efficiencies.

As a customer, continuous improvement means that not only do you receive services that meet your requirements, but also, the cleaning company benefits from improved operational results. This leads to cost savings. It also gives assurance that you are dealing with an established, reputable company that’s going to be around for a long time.

As you might expect, companies that offer the highest commitment to quality and continuous improvement in addition to meeting health and safety standards end up with happy, engaged employees. These factors also translate directly to you, as the customer. You can expect less turnover at IS0 9001 certified companies because employees have greater job satisfaction and deeper engagement.

2. Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS/CIMS-GB)

The second certification, CIMS, is a rigorous standard, developed through a consensus standard development process designed specifically for the cleaning industry. It is administered by a global body called ISSA (the Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association, formerly known as the International Sanitary Supply Association).

“Facility managers and others responsible for selecting a cleaning service provider can gain an increased level of confidence in their contractor by using CIMS and CIMS-Green Building as a powerful pre-qualification tool.” ISSA

CIMS is applied across all of a cleaning company’s operations: management, processes and general performance. When a company applies for certification, it means that the cleaning company is prepared to set up a management system to meet its cleaning standard goals, and has agreed to invite an accredited third party evaluator in to check on how well they are doing, every step of the way!

The comprehensive assessment takes place at the company’s facility and looks at whether or not the organization is meeting its customer service and productivity goals. Certification is given if it is determined that the cleaning company is, indeed, being managed in accordance with industry best-practices, as set by CIMS standards.

When you hire a CIMS-certified company, you know there is a solid management system in place, with proper processes and procedures, and a good staffing plan. This not only gives you quality assurance; it means there are efficiencies in place that help keep the cost down. Like the ISO-9001 certification, such peace of mind can translate into savings to you, without sacrificing quality. For those worried that costs could be an issue, CIMS certified commercial cleaning companies are much more likely to help you reduce costs and operate more efficiently.

Knowing for sure that a cleaning company is “environmentally friendly”

Everyone includes “environmentally friendly” in their company description these days. But when a company has the CIMS Green Building or CIMS-GB certification, you know that their dedication to environmental excellence is not just talk! CIMS-GB is an extension of the CIMS standard, given to cleaning services which, as well as meeting the other rigorous CIMS qualifications, adhere to a strict environmental standards in their cleaning procedures.

CIMS-GB is very important if you are an organization working toward LEED certification. The extended standard was designed so that it meets the specific green cleaning requirements in the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (LEED- EBOM) Green Building Rating System in Canada and the U.S.

In short, a certified CIMS-GB partner is there; ready and able to help you achieve LEED points.

What’s in it for us?

For the customer, a CIMS or CIMS-GB certified cleaning company assures a facility manager that you are going to receive a quality of service above and beyond what you would expect from an “ordinary” cleaning company. You don’t have to guess or rely on a review on Google reviews or a friend’s recommendation. In addition to quality, you are going to benefit from added efficiencies.

For example, have a look at the latest research by ISSA on reported benefits from companies that held such certifications:

  • 78% reported a decrease in employee turnover
  • 85% reported a reduction in workplace injuries

Don’t just take our word for it

CIMS/CIMS-GB has received an official endorsement from the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), which has recognized the program as a powerful tool their members can use to pre-qualify contractors. As a result, more and more facility managers, purchasing professionals and others are citing CIMS in their requests for proposal and cleaning specifications.

Don’t guess, know for certain

Selecting the wrong vendor is too big a risk. Increasingly, companies are requiring certification to give them assurance that the quality expectations being promised are going to be met.

Fortunately, both the ISO-9001 and CIMS are well established for the commercial cleaning industry.

Companies, and their leaders, who seek out such certifications stand out because they “walk the talk”. Instead of just saying they care about commitment to quality, staff engagement, green cleaning practices, efficiencies, etc. they willingly submit to a voluntary process of certification, including third party evaluation. These are not easy programs. Those who go through them describe them as rigorous, time and labour intensive. But such cleaning companies do so because they want to run reputable services that are here the long run.

In short, they are EXACTLY the kind of cleaning companies you want to hire!

At Kleenway our commitment to our Quality Management System (QMS) and pursuing certifications with ISO and ISSA’s CIMS-GB programs have been driven by our focus on quality in all aspects of our operations. If you’d like to speak to a Kleenway Team member about your commercial cleaning requirements please call 1-888-638-5587 or submit a contact form.