cleaning professional traits

Traits Of Successful Cleaning Professionals

Cleaning Professionals Must Earn Respect

It has been said that in order to gain respect, you must earn it. For cleaning professionals, this could not be more true.

Cleaning Professionals - Changing The Way The World Views Cleaning - Dan Wagner

This topic was addressed by Dan Wagner, the Director of Facility Services  Programs for ISSA in the video to the right. He makes many good points on the value of that cleaning professionals provide, but earning respect is what it takes to have others realize this value.


I have had the opportunity over the years to know hundreds if not thousands of cleaning professionals. With many of them, I was able to experience, at some level, the inner workings of their operations. Things like how they managed their staff, their budgets and even their time. How they earned the respect of their clients and bosses. Having managed many cleaning programs myself over my career, I am always observant of the details. There are few traits that I have seen which are fairly consistent when it comes to earning respect for cleaning professionals.

Number 1 – They Are Always Learning

Regardless of whether you own your own cleaning business or manage operations for an organization, you have to be a student of cleaning. Because there have been few educational programs out there that provide education for the cleaning industry, this has been challenging, at best, for those that wanted to learn about their trade. Thankfully this is changing. New educational programs being developed and introduced seeming everyday. This is refreshing to see.

Number 2 – They Are Always Teaching

As stated above, the chances of having a new person join your crew with formal cleaning education has not been likely. The ones with experience typically come with bad habits or mis-information that requires re-education. For the most part though, you are always starting from scratch. The ones that embrace their roll as educator and leader, rather than enforcer, seem to always have the lowest turn over rates and the highest quality.

Number 3 – They Are Always Selling

Most business owners don’t understand cleaning and  They can’t see the advantages of a better cleaning chemical or a mechanized floor cleaner, unless they are shown the numbers behind it. The successful cleaning professionals know and understand this. They don’t just ask for more, then whine about not getting it. They take hard facts to the table, justify the need and sell the benefits, then make sure that what was sold is delivered. This results in respect from above.

They are also constantly selling the correct practices to their employees too. It is not a “do as I say” situation. They take the time to show their staff why things are done a certain way. This earns them respect from those under them.

Number 4 – They Are Always On Duty

I don’t mean they work 24/7, but when they are at work, they are always aware of the image of their staff. Cleaning is a never-ending task. Thank goodness it is, because it provides job security. It does pose an issue when there is a concern. If the client or boss is seeing leaning, then they think there is no cleaning. (Catchy little saying there.) But when there is a plan in action that includes the area of concern or can quickly address it, then the entire operation is viewed as professionals that know their business.

This goes for being in uniform, and adherence to a dress code as well. The image of the team is just as important as the quality of work. Even if your team are the only ones in the building. You can’t clean with a dirty mop and you can’t earn respect for your work when you are not dressed for the part.

These are simply observations. I am not saying that quality work does not get done if these are not in place. I know there have been many successful cleaning professionals run their operations without one or all of these. These are just the common traits that I have personally witnessed that consistently demonstrate success and earn respect.

If you want to earn respect for the work you do, you first have to respect the work you do, and there is no more respectable line of work, than cleaning.


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