Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Hey Fletch … We are pondering outsourcing the cleaning of our church facility. Do you have any data on the pros and cons, and the cost savings metrics? I found an article about Germantown Baptist doing it. Have you surveyed XPs about this before?

DRF—We haven’t surveyed the XPastor community on the outsourcing issue. However, I know a church that had a great experience in outsourcing its cleaning to a professional firm.

The contract was for $225,000 annually to clean the entire facility. The company specialized in churches, so they understood the church’s culture and rhythms:

    • They company worked seamlessly in the background, night and day.
    • The campus sparkled, even older rooms were exceedingly clean. The company cleaned the restrooms during services, so they always looked fresh.
    • It was the cleanest church that I have visited in a long time. 

The church experienced a high degree of finesse and specialization. Since the company had many large churches and schools, they were experts on the cleaning. They took cleaning to a whole new level with annual and quarterly processes—such as special anti-bacterial applications. They were professionals in cleaning, and the church did not have to re-invent the wheel on best practices.

As a comparison, I visited a government facility. The faucet in the restroom had lost all its chrome and was bare brass. I talked to the owner of the cleaning company about this. He said, “Rookie mistake. They used the wrong cleaner and scrubbed off all the brass.” As for the rest of the government center, it looked like amateurs cleaned it.

The cost needs consideration. The church that I visited was in a state with a high minimum wage. Consider the minimum wages in Washington D.C—$12.50, Washington—$11.50, California—$11.00, Massachusetts—$11.00, Arizona—$10.50, Vermont—$10.50, New York—$10.40 and Colorado—$10.20. That brings annual wages for staff to over $21,000 a year, plus FICA ($1,600+) and benefits. The medical insurance alone could cost $14,000+ per employee. In some cases, the medical insurance costs more than an employee’s annual wages.

Let’s assume that the total wages would be $40,000. With a $225,000 cleaning budget, that would allow for 5½ workers. That might be enough people to clean an active church during the week, but not include weekends. Add in the costs the church would pay for the cleaning materials and equipment, whereas the outsourcing firm paid for those. Plus, the church would need a supervisor for those 5½ workers. That saved the church one full-time middle management position plus the HR time in recruiting cleaning staff.

By having 5½ less employees, the church’s Workers’ Compensation insurance was significantly lower. Because of a higher accident rate compared to office workers, facility workers cost more in Workers’ Compensation premiums.

The church estimated that it saved about $80,000-120,000 a year when all costs were factored.

I would suggest that you get three competitive bids. Compare the bids to the total cost that the church spends on employees, equipment, supplies and management. See if it makes economic sense to outsource the cleaning to professionals.