Should the cleaner take care of your washroom supplies?

One question asked by contractor cleaners when designing and pricing office cleaning services is whether there is a requirement for the cleaner to take over the supply of washroom disposables and soaps.

There may be a knee jerk reaction in quickly saying ‘No’ to this question, perhaps in fear that this would increase the overall cost of the contract. But let us take a step back and think what the pros and cons could actually be.

Is it a real concern over cost?

Not always. It may be that the company uses a stationary supply company that also provides washroom supplies. The supplier may be contracted for a fixed term or the cost is so low that the very idea of saving pennies is not really on the radar. That said, somebody still has to order it from the stationary company, fetch it from the delivery point, and stack it into the supply area. It then becomes somebody’s responsibility in the office.

This may be workable for a site with low employee numbers, however, there becomes a point where managing multiple cases of toilet rolls or 5Kg tubs of hand soap on a regular basis gets a little distracting.

The other reason may be that the company is already in a contract term with a washroom company also supplying sanitary bins. Great for the sanitary bins as a special license is needed for the correct disposal. But is it great for the rest of the washroom supply? Especially if you find your hands tied into a contract for 3 to 5 years.

It may be that the washroom company also provides servicing of washroom deodoriser units. A contract cleaner can provide these items too, and so no extra costs are added for the number of visits these companies would charge for servicing as the cleaner is already there.

Case study.

We supplied a company with jumbo toilet rolls for many years as part of their cleaning contract – as a matter of fact, we have had the cleaning contract for nearly 20 years and still clean it today.

Our client was approached by a washroom supply company that provided a special twin toilet roll system. They told our client that their product was more cost-effective and that they would get 400 sheets per roll and 24 rolls in a case.

By comparison, we provided a case of 12 jumbo rolls for a single dispenser. This client site used around 25 cases per month and so the motivation to cut costs was strong enough to get their attention. Which deal sounds more attractive to you?

It is not until you drill down a little further that you discover the potential misleading or confusing numbers. First, the cost would have to be lower than our charge per case for our client to even consider this company, in fact, I know that it was. And secondly, it appeared on the surface that my client would be getting double the product for less? Stay with me…

So our client decided to change to this supplier. The new supplier ripped out all the jumbo dispensers and installed at great expense the new special twin toilet roll dispensers.

When I researched the product further I found the following details. The jumbo toilet rolls purchased from High Shine were 150m in length. It turned out that the 400 sheet toilet rolls from the other supplier were 46m in length. Despite the 400 sheet toilet paper having more rolls per case compared to our supply, it was in fact a whopping 696m short per case! See what they did there.

And that’s not all. We took a call from the client asking if we could help them out with some washroom supplies. We said ‘Yes’ of course. Turns out there was a gap in the supply and they need it urgently. Forgetting the dispensers had changed to the smaller twin dispenser I supplied the jumbo rolls to my cleaning team’s frustration. I was quick on the phone to try and find the right size. It turned out that the twin dispensers were so bespoke that only the new supplier’s 400 sheet toilet rolls would fit them. So now they are stuck with a dispenser with a bespoke size. We ended up leaving the jumbo rolls on the back of the toilets as they had no stock at all.

It always pays to allow the contract cleaner to work out the detail and crunch the numbers for you.  They will be super motivated for winning your contract.

It makes sense if the office cleaner is on-site every day. The chances are they already swap out the finished toilet rolls for new ones and already letting you know when supplies are getting low.

Washrooms are can be a busy place. It really isn’t that much much trouble for the cleaner to police the washroom supply and replenish when low automatically. You no longer have to think about it.

If a repeat order was set up with an existing supplier, it can be difficult sometimes to manage that whenever the supply needs dialing down or dialing back up again at the same time as managing office duties. This would be easy for the cleaning team who are able to order the exact amount, when you need it, no more, no less.

Not bad for a few pennies saving, right?


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