Westdale Real Estate Investment and Management owns and operates approximately 200 commercial and multifamily real estate properties across 30 cities. In 2014, Westdale acquired the East Shore, West Shore and Grove Park commercial office campus located in Glen Allen, Virginia, a suburb of Richmond.
Upon completion of the transaction, Westdale conducted a thorough analysis of the vendors in place at the buildings to determine how best to move forward with those relationships.
It did not take long for Westdale’s experienced Property Manager, Sean Davis, CPM®, ACoM, to realize that the janitorial services in the buildings would need to be overhauled. After careful consideration, Sean contracted with BMS to manage the janitorial services for the campus and address the challenges they faced.
CHALLENGES RESOLVED BY BMS
Lack of Management & Training
The buildings had no janitorial supervisors or management-level presence to ensure work was getting done properly, on time and professionally. In addition to this, the supervisors that were in place (offsite) were not well-trained. When solutions were requested, there was a great deal of uncertainty and lack of response.
Lack of a strong management structure is not uncommon in today’s commercial janitorial industry. As companies compete to be the lowest bidder, they make up for it on the back end to maintain margins. Management layers are stripped away, leaving very few managers overseeing many dozens of properties, resulting in a significant lack of presence at any given location.
The BMS Solution: BMS prides itself on having multiple layers of customer service. Frequently, our management staff will have an office on property. In the case of West Shore, BMS decided having an Area Manager based onsite was in order. The manager is responsible for meeting with the tenants regularly, providing real time and ongoing training to our staff, and communicating directly with the Property Management team on a daily basis. In addition, because we do have layers of management, the workload balance is tenable, allowing our staff to regularly be in front of the clients. Our janitorial staff is also well-vetted and has decades of industry experience.
“The BMS staff has truly become an extension of our own staff. We have a strong partnership and it’s refreshing to see how much pride the team takes in the work they do in our buildings. We can be confident janitorial is being handled with BMS, allowing us to focus on other things.” said Sean Davis, Commercial Property Manager, Westdale Real Estate Investment and Management, and President-elect, IREM Chapter 38.
No Quality Control Program
The number one indicator that quality control is lacking is simply when a building is dirty, as was the case when Westdale took over the new property. Examples of this may include door tracks crusted and dirty, carpets spot-stained, and restrooms regularly in need of attention. After a little digging, it became clear that the cleaners had no work flow processes in place, no regular inspection process or dedicated staff, and no ongoing training plan in place to ensure the quality of the work. This resulted in inconsistent cleaning practices and unreliable results. It also led to a very high volume of janitorial related complaints and work orders.
The BMS Solution: BMS takes quality seriously, which is why we have a dedicated quality control department, and a robust and fully customizable quality control program that we deploy with every building serviced. The program is multi-faceted and includes several layers of inspections to include daily inspections by onsite personnel, as well as weekly cross-inspections. Having a different set of qualified eyes ensures we are meeting service expectations.
Within 30 days of BMS coming on board, Westdale was pleased to see that the number of janitorial related issues and work orders had reduced drastically. Additionally, the completion time for each work order was reduced, and issues were addressed within the day, and in many cases moments after, a work order came in.
Lack of Communication
Lack of communication creates speculation, excessive and unnecessary confusion, and increases time spent on any given matter tenfold. This was the situation when Westdale took over. The janitorial staff did not communicate with property management or the tenants. Tenants did not know what services they were receiving or what additional services were available.
The BMS Solution: BMS provided Westdale with a direct line of communication to BMS Management. Additionally, the Area Manager spent a great deal of time communicating with the tenants in the buildings to review the work being done and to make supplemental cleaning recommendations.
BMS also houses critical standard operating procedures and other documentation outlining our cleaning services, quality control processes, and our sustainability program. These documents help communicate our practices both internally and externally, setting our clients’ expectations and ensuring everyone is on the same page.
Sean Davis took a chance on BMS, “recognizing that they were not the lowest cost provider in the Richmond market,” and his conclusion: “BMS knocked our socks off. Our buildings show well, our tenants are happy, our workload is significantly reduced, and we take comfort in knowing that the BMS products and equipment are all good for our health and the environment.”