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Bob
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I notice quite a bit of talk concerning the health care debate in Congress, even from those who ought know better, suggesting that any of the recent Republican repeal or repeal-and-replace bills would cause some 20 million people to "lose their health care". We seem unable to distinguish "health care" from "health insurance". I have no dental insurance (though I suspect I could afford it) but I do have dental care; I even was able to go in for my semi-annual check-up and cleaning Thursday, with no dental insurance at all. I paid cash, at a discount. My dentist charges... Continue reading
Posted 2 hours ago at The Janitors' Closet
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Started a new janitorial client last night; they're a large sales and development office for a local manufacturer. It's a re-purposed 1920s warehouse in downtown Phoenix, a half mile from my office. Most of the floors are honed concrete, likely with a penetrating sealer. They looked a little dingy, so I did, by hand, a small test patch near the front door. The floor lightened remarkably, so I suggested a couple of test patches, no charge, with a scrubber and wet-vac, partly to see how much difference we could make in various areas, and partly to let me better estimate... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Just happened again for the second time this week – got to tell one of my favorite stories: Doug: “When I was growing up my paper route was on Camelback Road … between 7thStreet and Central. Don’t think I’d ride a bike there now.” Kind Listener: “eh, what’s a paper route?” Doug: “Well young boys (a few young girls) got up at zero-dark-30 rain/ shine/ frost/ etc. and we pedaled our bikes in the dark to where our wired up stacks of papers were delivered. Mine were usually delivered to NW corner 7th St. & Camelback, a vacant weedy lot... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Most commercial janitorial firms clean for appearance. They sell to clients, train crews and inspect jobs based upon "sparkling restrooms, dust free furniture, debris free floors" and so on. Consider, though, whether the health of the building occupants might be at least as important as the appearance of the building. One can pick up a lot of diseases from airborne allergens, germ laden touchpoints, and not quite disinfected restroom fixtures. Sick building occupants equates to more sick days and lower productivity while at work. The client's bottom line demands a healthy staff, and thus "Cleaning for Health". An unexpected bonus... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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When a client calls about a deficiency or a concern, we take it seriously, and generally head out to look at the job. My customer service rep does most of our daytime visits (in addition to visiting every client at least monthly), my operations manager does a lot of both routine and issue specific inspections in the evenings, and I visit clients as well. We keep a pretty good handle on our client facilities, and are aggressive about recording everything, and doing follow-up. So when the small once-per-week schedule client called, and claimed that a dead cricket had been on... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Caught an article, out of Iraq, on a blog I follow called Ricochet; I'll quote directly: "Well, we have a new world’s record. A Canadian special forces sniper in Iraq just made the longest confirmed kill shot in history. The unnamed sniper killed an ISIS fighter at a distance of 3,540 metres. And this wasn’t some unlucky ISIS janitor he shot, the sniper is credited with disrupting an attack on Iraqi security forces. "We’ll do the math for you. That’s 2.2 miles. That’s so far that it took the bullet almost 10 seconds to hit its target. That’s so far... Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Phoenix hit 119 degrees yesterday; we were shooting for an even 120. Perhaps today. It's a good time not to be traveling; quite a number of flights out of Sky Harbor were cancelled yesterday due to the heat. American Airlines by itself cancelled 50. The issue is lack of lift produced by the hot air; hot air expands, so supports less weight - and aircraft. The situation is worst for smaller commuter aircraft; the larger planes, with more power and larger wings, have less of an issue. It's also the time of the year when a few customers (we provide... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Caught an interesting study on indoor smoking and its effect on indoor air quality. The article headline stresses marijuana smoke, perhaps to garner audience, but mostly talks about smoking generally and the size particles (half micron down to quarter micron in diameter), generated by smoking, that impact health. Removing fine particles from clients' indoor air, and thus benefit their health, is central to our Cleaning for Health program, utilizing HEPA filtered vacuums, microfiber wipes and microfiber damp mops. And why we measure client indoor, ongoing. I'll let you peruse the article on your own. The only caveat I'd mention is... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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This has nothing to do with janitorial service in the metro Phoenix area, my usual subject, but the recent shootings in Washington got me thinking. Several years ago, the U S Army and Marine Corps got together to produce a counter-insurgency field manual, kicked off by Petraeus and Mattis, Army and Marine generals respectively, and two of the brightest and most widely read fellows in anyone's military; as senior commanders in Iraq, they both found themselves fighting insurgents on the fly, with no doctrine available. They recruited a stellar group of folks to write the manual. In the introduction to... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Took a call from a long time client a bit ago; they wanted us to quote and provide a day porter for their facility, perhaps an hour per day, mid-day. They're a large call center, with lots of folks using a couple of large restrooms, in something of a high pressure environment. So the restrooms get hammered, and my client thought they needed an extra mid-day cleaning I dropped by, early afternoon, to check the restrooms with the client and to probe a bit on exactly what his concerns really were. Turns out that overflowing trash cans and empty towel... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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I go out on a fair number of quotes, to assess both the potential client facility and its needs in the way of janitorial or office cleaning service. I do my best to get a look at the janitor closet. Clearly, it's useful to see if there is a floor sink, and to see if there is enough safe storage for whatever paper goods, and hand-soap, need be kept on hand. I also like to see what the current cleaning service uses (both chemicals and equipment), and what kind of potential liability the client is (usually unknowingly) covering. I almost... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Amazon claims to be on the edge of revolutionizing janitorial work, according to an article in the Puget Sound Business Journal. Being as I have no robots (nor little available cash to acquire any), the article caught my eye. How soon will cleaning robots do me in? It turns out that Amazon intends to equip, as necessary for the given task, it's warehouse stocking robots with floor scrubbers, vacuums, buffers, and so on. Seems a nice piece of equipment multi-tasking, but it's hardly revolutionary. We've had for a few years operator-less equipment to do all those tasks, directed by wires... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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My ruminations yesterday on check cashing firms, and banking (and its history), and the day-to-day impact on a lot of the contractors who provide janitorial service to our clients, got me to thinking about a recent conversation. CBN Building Maintenance's office is a 1914 prairie style house in Phoenix's oldest historic district (the Roosevelt neighborhood). The fellow who built it was the president of an early local bank, and of the building and loan firm that constructed the house for him. Several years ago, we did a quite thorough restoration of the building, taking it close to its original layout... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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I run a janitorial firm in the Phoenix area. For better than 30 years, we've been based on small, usually owner-operated independent contractors for much of our small client work. They're straight, down to earth hard working folks, often immigrants or their children, trying to make a decent living for their families. Good people. I've noticed that quite a number of them use check cashing firms to cash their monthly payments; it's seemed to me, repeatedly, that the couple of points charged, plus the time to visit the check cashing shop, has (from my perspective) got to be a drag... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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It occurred to us a good many years ago that, in vetting our staff, a thorough back-grounding (criminal and civil, national in scope, plus driving record and so on) made little sense without a formal program for confirming the identity of the applicant. And back-grounding of entire staff is crucial - we have key access, after office hours, to a great many client facilities, many with sensitive documents on site, as well as the obvious pilferage targets. We require and verify a current Arizona drivers license (hard to fake, and easy to teach my screening folks to spot a fake);... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Working on yesterday's article on UV lights, and bedbugs, an article from some months ago came to mind, and I could not help but re-post it. So here it is: Bedbugs seem to be making a comeback; in a recent survey, Chicago tops the list of cities with infestations. Phoenix did not make the top ten, but we cannot be far behind. So, I'm dusting off an old plan. I caught an article some years ago in our Arizona Republic about a New York retailer hiring a specially trained beagle to sniff out potential bedbugs in the establishment. Central to... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Black lights are used to help you locate the hidden sources of odor regular cleaning might miss. When everything else is dark, a black light makes certain objects glow in the dark. This is because certain objects "fluoresce" under ultraviolet (UV) light, which is what a black light emits. Black lights are required to observe fluorescence, since other types of ultraviolet lamps emit visible light which drowns out the dim fluorescent glow. A black light looks dark purple, but most of the light it emits is in the ultraviolet (UV) range of the spectrum, which is invisible to the human... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Take a look at the little card wired to your office fire extinguisher - those little boxes on the back. They let you date and initial each time you do the monthly visual inspection of the unit. Didn't know that you need to do a monthly inspection? Neither did I, once upon a time. We're in a restored 1914 two story house, less than a mile from the center of Phoenix. Old wood, untreated, doubtless very dry; wiring's been updated and fooled with, from time to time (all up to code, but who knows?). I've got a half dozen fire... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Theft of toilet paper has gotten so severe in Beijing's Temple of Heaven Park (a major tourist destination) that the authorities have installed facial recognition software on the TP dispensers; anyone wanting more that his proper allocation must sit tight (as it were) for nine minutes before being allowed another two sheets. (Here's the full CNN article.) It seems that China does not usually offer said necessity in public restrooms - one must bring one's own. So perhaps folks have not gotten used to an economy that provides abundance, at least of necessities. (Or perhaps, the economy does not provided... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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A great example of how transmission of disease around the facility can devastate any enterprise. It seems that over the last few days, 9 members of the Boston Red Sox, plus their play-by-play announcer, are down with the flu. The thing about a ball club is that many of their players are specialists; you only have one go-to shortstop (not all can be a utility infielder). That many players out, performance suffers. Kind of like most firms. Which is why well designed janitorial service, in addition to a bit of sanitation through the workday, is important to your bottom line.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Interesting study out of Harvard: worker productivity, and cognition levels, are influenced by indoor air quality. The double blind study had office workers do their normal jobs, but in a facility that could be controlled. The focus was on increasing ventilation, to remove VOCs and other pollutants (and likely increase oxygen content). Seems that productivity can be significantly enhanced at an annual cost of $40.00 per employee (much less with energy efficient systems), in increased heating and cooling costs associated with more airflow from the exterior. Makes sense, and looks like a good investment. A few things one can do,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Caught an article, on an evocative topic, from the Portland Press Herald: indoor houseplants will not only brighten your mood, but benefit your air quality. It's based on research done decades ago for NASA; they were trying to find ways to filter air during long-distances space voyages and in space stations. The article references B. C. Wolverton's 1997 book, "How to Grow Fresh Air". The article is correct, as far as it goes. Certain common house plants will absorb particular chemicals, such as formaldehyde, which tend to off-gas from facility furnishings and materials. Problem is, the low amounts absorbed by... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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In a survey of five Cleveland area hospitals, patient room floors were found to be contaminated with various pathogens, according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control. The concern is not so much for the health of one's shoes, as for the high-touch objects often found in contact with the floors, such as call buttons and blood pressure cuffs. We clean a good many health care facilities as part of our commercial janitorial service. I find myself more than a bit surprised at the lack of knowledge exhibited by healthcare facility managers regarding what they need,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Caught an interesting study out of the University of Leicester. It seems that some particulates in air pollution impact the behavior of bacteria in one's respiratory tract: how they grow and form communities, and thus how they are able to combat our immune system. While the study is concerned with carbon particles, common in highly polluted big city exterior air, it does seem to me to have some potential bearing on what we ought be concerned about in indoor air. Some studies have toyed with the idea that it is as much the existence of heavy particle load, rather than... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet
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Losing a client's keys, in the commercial janitorial service industry, is a nightmare. Particularly if, like we do at CBN, one stresses tight security in serving clients. The issue, of course, is the unintended (or sometimes intended) separating the cleaner from the keys. The clip to your belt may break; or you may put the keys down, say on the front desk, after locking yourself into the building, and forget where you put them; or have them in your hand (you think) as you take out the trash. Or you carefully set them on the front desk, went out the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2017 at The Janitors' Closet