Stanley Hulin


If you are a floor maintenance service technician, supervisor, manager, director or contractor, then you have been asked questions that may go beyond your scope of knowledge. It has been my experience that when someone hires you in any capacity, they are not just hiring you to do the job, they are hiring you to answer their questions and solve their problems. This can be a challenge because it puts you in a position of vulnerability if you don’t have the answers or can’t solve the problems.

As a technician, questions can arise at any time while you are performing your duties. Someone might ask; “What are you doing?”, “Why are you doing that?” or “How frequently do you do that?”. These may seem like meaningless questions, but they are not. Furthermore, if you can’t answer the questions or explain the process, then you can look rather foolish.

As you rise in position to lead technician or supervisor, the questions become harder and often invoke criticisms regarding service delivery. “Do your technicians know what there’re doing?”, “When was the last time these floors were done?” or “How come my floors always look bad?”. These questions will always make you uncomfortable and can be very difficult to answer.

Managers, directors and owners get the full line of questioning, which goes beyond service functions, procedures and processes to building floor maintenance programs and financial budgets and remuneration. These questions can be very challenging; “What is my floor maintenance program?”, “When are these floors scheduled?”, “What exactly am I paying for?”, or “How do I know these services were performed?”. Unfortunately, when the questions get to this level, the account could already be in jeopardy.

Regardless of position or stature, no one likes to be put in a negative light. Most people are not under-achievers and are often proud of their accomplishments, especially when it comes to their jobs. The best defense to overcome these challenges is to not put yourself in the position to begin with. In fact, by becoming more knowledgeable in the craft of floor maintenance and knowing who to contact when questions are beyond your scope, you can assist your customers and improve your professionalism.

As a technician; get certified. Certification from an accredited association demonstrates that you have been trained to perform the services you are doing. It will also give you background information that supports what you are doing. When questions arise in the field, you will have the knowledge and confidence to answer them correctly. Additionally, many potential customers are looking for building service contractors with certified technicians

Lead positions and supervisors can improve their understanding of floor maintenance programs and schedules by better education in documentation. Learning how to build a floor maintenance program and implementing the scheduling on time and on budget with proper documentation will remove a lot of skepticism about service delivery.

Managers, directors and owners should get as much information and education regarding floor maintenance as possible. Additionally, they should become familiar with associations that can help them provide costing, productivity rates and best practices. Independent consultants can add an additional layer of protection by having neutral third-party professionals perform building or program evaluations and analysis to ensure proper floor maintenance for their environment. The building service contractor could improve their customer service delivery by including these into the program.

Providing floor maintenance is a combination of service procedures performed at specified times by skilled technicians. Knowing what services to provide, when to provide them and the level of skill needed is a much more difficult question to answer. If you can’t answer the questions yourself, you need to seek out the information or find others that can do it for you. If you do, you will be in a better position to help your customer protect their flooring investment, improve health and sanitation, increase appearance, and provide a safer surface to walk on. All of this equates into a more professional image for the building service contractor.