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Pros and Cons of In-House vs. Contracted Cleaning Staff

There comes a point in the life of most businesses where leaders have to decide whether they will contract outside help for cleaning, or develop an in-house team. Here’s some important pros and cons to consider when making that decision.

In-House Janitors

There’s advantages to having a cleaning staff employed directly by the facility or organization they clean. 


The biggest advantage is the greater familiarity and intimate knowledge of the specific building/environment being cleaned. In-house staff are more likely to have longer tenure at a specific site, and will become more aware of hidden problems, or situations that require extra care.


A second advantage is the easier, more direct communication that exists between management and in-house facility staff. If you use an outside team there will be intermediaries to go through when trying to communicate with the staff-level employees working in your building.


One downside to in-house cleaning staff is the lack of leadership they may receive in terms of best practices or newest technologies. A company that specializes in cleaning will probably have better equipment and knowledge of how to use it.


For the cleaning staff members themselves, a second disadvantage is limited career growth opportunities within the facility’s organization.


Finally, employers wanting to develop their own in-house staff need to be aware of the complex logistics that come with it, including insurance, payroll, supply management and a thorough knowledge of industry standards. 


Contracted Janitors

When a business employs an external janitorial/cleaning services company the situation changes in several ways.


While in-house cleaning staff have the advantage of facility experience, contracting out allows access to specialized expertise, support resources, and the ability to scale staffing needs more flexibly across multiple sites.


A second benefit to hiring cleaners is the economy of scale that a company entirely dedicated to cleaning can bring to a business outside that industry. Cleaning companies can procure specialized equipment and train new staff at a larger, more economical  level.  


Additionally, contracting out janitorial duties shifts the downside of an in-house staff (responsibilities like payroll, insurance, liability, staffing, and supply management) to the external company, relieving the facility of those burdens.


A downside to hiring a cleaning company to maintain your facility is the potentially higher turnover rates compared to in-house staff. You’re less likely to have the same person cleaning your building over an extended period of time.


So which is the best path for you? It depends on the needs of your company and facility. Do you have simple cleaning needs and prefer a long-term relationship with your janitor? Is there a need for specialized cleaning services and equipment? Is there an appetite for the extra responsibilities of managing a cleaning team, like insurance and supply management? All of these things will affect which way you decide to go. The important thing is that your employees operate in an environment they know is healthy and hygiene-concern free.