retail maintenance

Cost-cutting services for retail maintenance

PRSM outlines best practices, professional tools to better manage operations
Monday, June 19, 2017
By Shana Santoni

Before the digital age, facilities managers used manual spreadsheets, old-school calculators and experienced-based estimates to determine the cost of keeping buildings clean and safe. Today, high-tech, web-based tools remove subjectivity from the equation and provide rapid, reliable results that streamline FM projects and help control costs.

Janitorial expenses make up 33 per cent of the average MRO budget. The result of a well-managed janitorial program is clean stores, and studies show that clean stores make customers happy, which translates into increased sales and ultimately larger profits. Customers often decide where they will shop, how long they will remain in a store and even how much they will spend based upon the cleanliness of the facility.

In a survey conducted by The International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA), 95 per cent of shoppers reported that unclean restrooms and unpleasant odours would influence shopping decisions, along with dirty floors, spills or stains, dirty shopping carts and other factors. “Shoppers want to feel clean,” says Dan Wagner, ISSA’s director of industry standards and training.

Janitorial Workload Tool

The Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM), based in the U.S., recognizes the importance of cleanliness in retail success and launched its first janitorial workload tool in 2015. The high-tech tool helped facilities professionals generate an accurate scope of work by quantifying cleanliness and removing subjectivity.  The tool also assisted in determining and maintaining brand standards (level of cleanliness desired) and gauged staffing requirements and costs.

In 2016, PRSM updated the Janitorial Workload Tool and improved its functionality. The latest, 2.0 version, can convert costs into multiple currencies, including the Canadian dollar. It can also create schedules for janitorial teams in individual store locations. The “Job Card” function can calculate the time needed for employees such as first impression specialists, restroom specialists, sales floor specialists and utility specialists. The tool can also determine the hours per week, frequency per year and hours per frequency of project, such as high dusting, floor polishing and glass cleaning.

PRSM created this tool with direct input from retail facilities managers and suppliers and input from the Simon Institute and Michigan State University. The PRSM Benchmarking Committee provided real-world expertise to ensure the tool would be practical, easy to use and generate useful data. When FMs use the tool, they can customize results based upon unique aspects of each store and even multi-site facilities, as well as the policies and procedures of an individual company.

Facility professionals can create highly targeted reports based upon their company’s level of acceptable clean, the type and size of the facility, as well as the type of cleaning required. These reports are useful when preparing budgets for new or existing stores or when seeking quotes from suppliers.

“PRSM provides professional facilities managers the tools and information they need to do their job most efficiently and effectively,” says Bill Yanek, chief executive officer of PRSM.  “We realize our members work in a highly competitive marketplace and we want to ensure they are successful.”

White Paper on cost efficiency

“The Evolution of Cleaning in Retail: The New Normal,” a PRSM White Paper, highlights how FMs and the associated supplier community are grappling with finding cost efficient ways to provide a clean, safe store environment for sales associates and shoppers alike. FMs working in retail and multi-site facilities should carefully consider several issues discussed:

  • The definition of and the cost of maintaining a level of clean that meets brand standard.
  • Cleaning health concerns, LEED and green cleaning.
  • Contractors’ challenges, recent labour laws and changes for janitorial services.
  • Working with retail procurement and addressing total cost of ownership.

Best Practices

In addition to the Janitorial Workload Tool, PRSM also has the following best practices available:

  • Adapting Facilities Management Programs to Meet the Needs of Retail Experience Centers.
  • Vacuuming Using High-Ceilinged Industrial HVAC Systems.
  • Janitorial Services During Peak Seasons.


Shana Santoni is vice-president of global membership development for the Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association. PRSM has more than 1,500 resources in more than 40 different content areas, such as janitorial, building automation systems, corporate facilities, disaster preparedness and HVAC. Please visit for more information.

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