Cleaning Services: A Guide on What to Expect

The Canadian market for commercial cleaning services is estimated to be a $6-8 billion industry as of 2018, with residential cleaning projected to reach $900 million in the year 2021, according to an independent consumer data report done by Statista. There are roughly 30,000 registered businesses that fall under the category of the cleaning industry in Canada, and 132,000 employees.

Within an industry as large as this, it’s good to have a grasp on what makes up the industry, the standards that majority of companies operate by, the types of services offered by companies within this industry, as well as the differentiating factors that would drive consumers to choose one cleaning service over the other.

Definition of a cleaning service

According to Canadian Industry Statistics, cleaning services are grouped under a category called ‘Services to Building and Dwellings’. Within this category lies a subcategory of services including: pest control; building cleaning – interior and exterior; window cleaning; janitorial services; landscape installation, care and maintenance; carpet cleaning; and providing other services to commercial and places of dwelling.

This is an overarching category, which vaguely describes what a cleaning services is, but describes what a cleaning service falls within. Independent statistics companies would categorize cleaning services under the umbrella of janitorial services – meaning services that clean windows, interior spaces, residential buildings, offices, retail spaces, industrial buildings, healthcare facilities, educational facilities, government buildings and commercial aircraft.

Within the industry itself, there is a broad spectrum of examples of where we can find cleaning services operating, but lets zoom into the two most recognized subcategories of cleaning services and understand the industry from there: commercial cleaning and residential cleaning.

What Is The Difference Between A Commercial And A Residential Cleaning Service?

Let’s point out the obvious first: commercial cleaning is done in commercial spaces; places where people go to work. Residential cleaning is done in spaces of dwelling, where clients live. As simple as it can be to boil it down to where a cleaning service will perform their work, there are nuances that further separate these two subcategories within the industry.

  1. Shift Differences: Residential cleaning is usually done during the day, commercial cleaning is usually done in the evenings, at night, and on the weekends.
  2. Residential cleaning can be more detailed in work than commercial cleaning – although there is nuance to this, for the most part, we can assume that clients will be more picky with having a cleaning job done more thoroughly in the space that they live in.
  3. Residential cleaners may interact with clients, while commercial cleaners often do not – this leads to a hospitality and personable trait aspect of the job that commercial cleaning services may overlook when it comes to their training.
  4. Cleaning products used may differ between commercial spaces and residential spaces – because commercial spaces are open to the public, harsher chemicals and cleaning agents may be utilized, whereas in residential spaces, clients may request more eco-friendly cleaning products.
  5. Commercial cleaning can be understood as a business to business type of relationship, whereas residential cleaning services can be understood as business to consumer type of relationship, which can affect the dynamics of how a client will interact with the cleaners.

There is a further breakdown of the subcategories of commercial cleaning and residential cleaning in terms where the work is done.

Commercial cleaning can be found in places such as:

  • Industrial spaces such as factories, including factory equipment, assembly plants, and sometimes warehouse spaces
  • Corporate spaces such as office towers, office buildings, shared work spaces
  • Places of large public gatherings such as malls, airports, social venues, and convention centres
  • Hotels

Residential cleaning services work in places like:

  • Condominium units
  • Apartment units
  • Houses
  • Cottages

Residential Cleaning Services: What is the difference between a house cleaner and housekeeper?

Although the two are sometimes used interchangeably, house cleaners and housekeepers play very different roles in their job duty. If you are looking to hire a residential cleaning service, it’s good to know what you’re getting, in case you have specific expectations for what your lifestyle needs.

A loose understanding of what makes the differential between the two is the level of relationship that you or your household has with the cleaner.

Often times, a housekeeper is somebody that remains at your home for a longer time of the day and is more involved with the logistics that help run your day to day life. Their list of duties may include work such as:

  • Running errands
  • Changing bed linens
  • Washing your clothes
  • Light cleaning and keeping your space tidy
  • Taking out the trash
  • Preparing meals
  • Caring for your pets and taking out the litter
  • And any other duties that can be negotiated within the parameters of the housekeeper’s skills that they feel comfortable offering as additional services

In the case of a house cleaner, this can be a single individual or a team of cleaners that arrive at your home at a scheduled date and time. Their role is less of a personable task that borders an additional helping hand to you and your family, and is more goal oriented towards cleaning your home. Their tasks can and often include high level cleaning protocols such as:

  • Disinfecting your home
  • Removal of dust, germs, and common household bacteria
  • Scrubbing down high traffic zones like bathroom and kitchen, including sinks, cabinets, drawers, backsplashes, knobs and handles
  • Cleaning tables, countertops, chairs
  • Vacuuming upholstery and carpet
  • Mopping floors
  • Cleaning your windows and blinds

What to Expect from a Professional Cleaner

It’s always easier to state what somebody can do for you, by knowing what they should not do for you. Professional cleaners that work in residential spaces often work within specific schedules, as their livelihood depends on how many clients they can reach within their agreed upon time frame of working house.

If you want to maximize your use of time with a residential cleaning service, here are a few things you should do before your scheduled cleaning time:

  • Tidy your home before cleaning, like picking your personal belongings off the ground and moving things off of tables, counter tops, or other spaces that you wish to be cleaned and disinfected
  • Prime your home by moving large items around to optimize cleaning potential
  • Secure any personal belongings away for peace of mind if you have not built a rapport with the cleaning service you have hired

Typically, you can expect a hired professional cleaner to engage in services that fall under the category of deep cleaning your home. These tasks will include dusting all surfaces, mopping floors, vacuuming rugs, carpet, upholstery, a thorough cleansing of your bathroom and kitchen, wiping down surfaces, handles, door knobs, and light switches, cleaning your windows, and making your bed. Depending on the company you hire, they may add a different touch to their job to differentiate themselves with other competitors, such as folding your towels in certain ways, using their own blend of cleaning solutions, or organizing your home if necessary.

Why Use a Residential Cleaning Service: The Benefits of Hiring a Cleaner

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, the way time is typically spent can be broadly allocated by percentage breakdown at home, at work, and leisurely activities that may be spent at neither. As of 2019, at least 25% of the American population did their work from the same place as their dwelling. With the advent of ‘work from home’ due to current societal circumstances, more and more people are spending time at home.
Within the confines of household activities, which now includes our professional lives, we can look at the activities that are done on an average day. These activities include housework, lawn care and landscaping, and other household management duties such as laundry, groceries, meal preparation, and general house clean-up. On average, these activities can tally up to at least 2.5 hours of the day. In addition to the average 8 hours of work a day, that’s 10.5 hours gone.

For adults that have children aged 6 and under, the average time spent taking care of them tallies up to roughly 2.2 hours of time per day. So for the average Westerner, at least half the day has already been accounted for dealing with the logistics of life, before leisure and free time can happen.

Hiring a cleaner can help free up time for you! The extra hour or two can be spent working on yourself, attending a fitness class, socializing, or spending quality time with people that matter to you.

The promise of hiring a cleaning company will usually include some or all of these value propositions:

  • Reduce your fatigue and stress when it comes to taking care of your home
  • Have peace of mind knowing that your home is always scheduled to remain in a clean and pristine condition
  • Save your time spent doing menial chores and use it to benefit your lifestyle
  • Improve the air quality in your home, keep the allergens at a reduced level, and improve your mental health
  • Tailor your cleanliness and tidying needs for your home by speaking to one of our professionals – have your home cleaned the way you envision it
  • A professional cleaner has been professionally trained and vetted by our hiring process, so that you have peace of mind when it comes to your property
  • Hire a residential cleaning service if you have tough to clean areas, as professional cleaning services will often have access to equipment and cleaning solutions that regular households may not have

Hiring Professional Cleaners for Commercial Cleaning

Outsourcing work that your business is not an expert at is the best way to remain on task and getting the job done quickly. Have your office space cleaned regularly, as it speaks a lot about the basics of detail oriented leadership within your work environment.

Professional cleaners that cater towards office spaces will work on a schedule that optimizes their client’s business operations. This means that efficiency of cleaning work, expertise on how a cleaning job should be done, health and safety of the physical workplace is accounted for, and cost-benefit ratio of work done by experts taken care of.

What to Look For When Hiring A Cleaning Service

  1. A Company that is Bonded and Insured: Find a cleaning company that is professionally trained as has liability insurance. Often times upon request or advertised on a company’s website, they will mention that they are bonded and insured. This means that their team of cleaners are insured in case they get injured on site, which takes the liability off of your hands as the client. Secondly, when a cleaning company is bonded, it means that any property damage that happens to you, the client, can be accounted for by the cleaning company.
  2. Look for a company that has been in business for a long time, as well as the organizations or businesses that they are affiliated with. This will be indicative of the cleaning company’s reputation, trustworthiness, and speaks to their expertise.
  3. Consider what their service includes. If you as a client are looking for more than what the standard cleaning company offers, don’t be surprised that they haven’t done the job up to your expectation. Keep in mind that in order to remain competitive, cleaning companies will offer a variety of options that can be add-ons to their service that may not be offered by another company. Find a cleaning service that matches your lifestyle or business needs.
  4. Differentiate between a standalone contract worker and a cleaning company. A full on cleaning company will have access to a team of cleaners, a host of deep cleaning solutions. They will also, on average cost more. An independent cleaning contractor may bring their own cleaning supplies or rely on you as the client to provide them with the supplies for them to do the labour.

How do Cleaning Companies Charge

Cleaning companies will charge on a per case basis. You can expect to get a quote from each company you contact. The quote will generally be based on how much work needs to be done, the type of cleaning work that needs to be done, the square footage of a space that needs to be cleaned, the area that your home or office is located in, how often you decide to request cleaning service, and the experience and reputation that the cleaning company has.

You might expect to be charged a premium for cleaning companies that have been around for longer and have a more solid reputation. Of course, this premium will generally include a satisfaction guarantee. More reputable companies will also have the logistics in place to schedule teams of cleaners to dispatch to your home or office if you choose to have cleaning scheduled on a regular basis.

What Other Types of Cleaning Services are Available

With the main focus on cleaning services tailored towards residential services such as cleaning for condos, homes, and apartments, as well as cleaning done for office spaces, there is an entire sector within the cleaning industry that has less of the lime light.

Starting with cleaning services that are more domestic, and may be an afterthought would be professional window cleaners and chimney sweep cleaners.

There are also biohazardous cleaning services. This type of cleaning service is often called upon when there are materials or organic or inorganic that need to be handled with specialized equipment and personal protective gear. These types of cleaning services will be called upon to clean up crime scenes, human waste, laboratories, and the like.

Damage and restoration cleaning is a service provided for spaces that have seen a lot of traffic, and needs a professional touch to bring life back to the space. On the flip side to damage restoration, are professional post renovation cleaning services. The debris that is left over from a big project may require specialized equipment that regular household cleaning equipment is not designed for. It’s possible that the amount of debris from a given project can block up your vacuum cleaner, affecting the efficiency of the machine.

Of course there is also professional carpet cleaning that helps to maintain the lifespan and enjoyment of rugs and carpet that people have in their homes and office. These cleaning services can help tackle issues such as: pet excrement stains, food and beverage stains, make up, paint and nail polish stains, odor control, and rug repair & restoration to name a few.

Finally, there are public sector cleaning services that cater to transportation cleaning including aircrafts, public restroom sanitization, healthcare facilities, government buildings, and other large complexes also need cleaning maintenance as well.