The spread of COVID-19 has proved to be an unmitigated disaster for many industries. The travel and hospitality sectors have seen a sharp decline in sales. Entertainment and retail have also been severely affected.
But with the increased focus on hygiene that the coronavirus has brought about, the demand for commercial cleaning services has shot up.
In this post, we’ll analyze the effect that COVID-19 has had on the commercial cleaning services industry and what the future holds for this sector.
The Cleaning Industry During 2019: Before the Pandemic
Before we analyze the effect of the pandemic on the cleaning industry, let’s examine how janitorial services and the janitorial industry were doing before the coronavirus reached American shores.
The commercial cleaning services industry was in growth mode even before the COVID-19 crisis. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of janitors and building cleaners was estimated to grow at 7 percent from 2018 to 2028. That’s significantly higher than the 5 percent growth rate projected for all occupations in the U.S. economy.
In dollar terms, commercial cleaning services generated total revenue of $61 billion in 2019.
Here are some more interesting facts about commercial cleaning and janitorial services:
- About 24 percent of facility managers outsource cleaning and maintenance.
- Education, healthcare, and medical-related industries outsource most of their cleaning requirements.
- Commercial cleaning employs more people than residential cleaning. Official statistics reveal that 2.15 million people were working as janitors and cleaners in May 2018. The number of maids and housekeepers was far lower at approximately 924,000.
That’s where the commercial cleaning services industry stood in 2019. But things changed very quickly with the spread of COVID-19.
COVID-19 and Cleaning
When COVID-19 hit, people started paying more attention to cleanliness and the need to disinfect exposed surfaces. This change in attitude has been caused by the realization that the COVID-19 virus can survive for extended periods on tabletops, door handles, or even packing materials.
How dangerous is it if an individual touches an object that has been exposed to the coronavirus? According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the COVID-19 virus was detectable on various surfaces for several hours:
- Copper: Up to four hours
- Cardboard: 24 hours
- Plastic and stainless steel: Two to three days
This knowledge has given a boost yo the sales of cleaning products. Everybody has grasped the fact that it’s necessary to clean and disinfect frequently touched objects several times a day.
But the demand for commercial cleaning and janitorial services has also seen a boost.
The Cleaning Industry and the Pandemic: the Year 2020
Commercial cleaning services haven’t traditionally been looked upon as a critical function. Janitors and cleaners typically work unnoticed and in the background.
But no longer.
The coronavirus has pushed commercial cleaning and janitorial services into the public eye. Hospital custodians, who are also referred to as environmental tech workers, mainly provide janitorial services. Jane Hopkins, executive vice president of Service Employees International Union’s Northwest chapter, says, “In a hospital, they’re just as important as a doctor — they’re just doing a completely different job.”
CBS News refers to janitorial staff as “unsung heroes” for taking up the task of cleaning COVID-19 patients’ rooms. Workers in janitorial services and commercial cleaning services are gaining new respect. They help to maintain hygiene and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
An increase in demand
Consequently, there has also been a spike in demand for commercial cleaning services. According to job search engine ZipRecruiter, ads for cleaners increased 75 percent in March year-on-year.
Julia Pollock, who works as a labor economist at ZipRecruiter, says, “There’s been a huge spike in demand for cleaning workers.”
There’s an increase in commercial cleaning and janitorial services across the board. Retailers, facility managers at property management companies, and hotel chains are taking cleanliness more seriously.
Consider the example of Marriott International, a global hotel chain with over 6,500 properties. Its Global Cleanliness Council has implemented a policy of using “hospital-grade” disinfectants in its guest rooms and public spaces.
The increase in demand for commercial cleaning services is also coming from grocery stores, restaurants, and offices. Practically every organization that sees high foot traffic is trying to reassure people that their premises are clean and free of the coronavirus.
Increased demand requires investment
It’s important to mention here that although the medium-to-long-term prospects of commercial cleaning companies are good, many of them could have suffered a temporary setback. COVID-19 could have caused customers to cancel cleaning contracts or delay payments.
If you run a cleaning company that’s going through a financial crisis, there are several options before you.
The deadline for applying to the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program has been extended to August 8, 2020. So, if you haven’t asked for financial assistance under the PPP, you still can.
You can also apply to Camino Financial for a small business loan. We can advance as much as $400,000 to your company within a matter of days. Our credit appraisal process is guided by our motto, “No business left behind,” so we’ll do our best to provide the money you need for your business.
What Lies Ahead: 2021 and Beyond
If you run a commercial cleaning company, you should know that the uptick in business may well become a permanent feature.
Yes, that’s right. The spike in demand for commercial cleaning and janitorial services may extend into 2021 and even after that.
That’s because the coronavirus could continue to be a threat.
According to experts, COVID-19 could become like measles, HIV, and chickenpox — endemic diseases that stubbornly refuse to go away. Sarah Cobey, an epidemiologist at the University of Chicago, says, “The virus is here to stay. The question is, how do we live with it safely?”
One way to fight COVID-19 is to increase the level of cleanliness and hygiene. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a national public health institute, has issued guidance to business owners stating that cleaning and disinfection are crucial to halting the spread of COVID-19.
The commercial cleaning services industry was growing at a respectable pace even before the spread of the coronavirus. Now with the threat of the disease looming large over the country, cleaning companies can expect businesses to grow and remain buoyant for years.
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