The Service Companies Blog

Service. Above All

Category: EVS/Public Area Cleaning (page 1 of 2)

Emerging Leaders: Shelly Sauseda

Our Emerging Leaders Program was developed to give individuals within our team the opportunity for growth by providing comprehensive management and leadership training. The Service Companies is dedicated to fostering and investing in our associates’ careers, and as a result, we have a number of tenured associates who have risen through the ranks from Kitchen Cleaners or EVS Attendants to Vice Presidents. Today, we highlight Shelly Sauseda, who recently reached her one year anniversary with us as an EVS Attendant at a casino in Bossier City. During Shelly’s first year, her manager noticed great potential and an eagerness to learn more, and urged Shelly to apply to our Emerging Leaders Program. Currently two months into the six month management training program, which includes learning about the housekeeping and stewarding functions and departments, , including rooms cleaning, office dispatch, room inspections, floor care, kitchens, human resources and project management. We interviewed Shelly about her experience so far.

Shelly Rooms TrainingWhen did you join The Service Companies?

I started at The Service Companies in March 2017 as a Restroom Attendant at a casino property in Bossier City, Louisiana.

How did you learn about our Emerging Leaders Program and what do you hope to take away from it?

I found out about the Program from Dekindra Thomas, the Project Manager at the property where I first started. I want to develop better leadership skills and to be an example so other employees can follow in my steps.

The Emerging Leaders Program involves six months of training. How is your training schedule broken down and where are you currently in your training?

I spend time at different properties learning the ins and outs of each department. I completed my final week  at a casino property in Bossier City, where I learned how to run an efficient and successful housekeeping department. Next I’ll move on to learn about floor care and kitchen cleaning at another casino in the area.

Shelly Dispatch

Can you describe what your typical day-to-day looked like during the housekeeping training portion of the program?

At first, I was cleaning rooms while learning room procedures and how to make beds. After I mastered those tasks, I was placed on dispatch for two weeks to learn about that housekeeping function. Next, I spent one to two weeks learning how to inspect rooms. I was also trained on the responsibilities of a house attendant.

What has been the biggest lesson or thing you’ve learned through the Program?

How to run dispatch was the biggest task I mastered. It requires strong multitasking skills. A Dispatcher has to take phone calls and radio messages while simultaneously managing the computer.  

What has been the most rewarding accomplishment for you since you started the Program?

Being given the opportunity to move forward in my career already feels like an accomplishment. I also feel like I’ve learned a lot about each department’s job functions, including how to be a Dispatcher and the room cleaning inspection process. 

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As you transition to the next stage of your training, what are you looking forward to learning or doing?

I’m really excited to learn how to detail kitchens and polish and wax the floors. My training at the next property will include kitchen deep cleaning, floor care, marble care and stewarding.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in the Emerging Leaders Program?

Be strong. Never give up. Push yourself to accomplish the new tasks that come with your position. It’s not always easy, but the outcome will be worth it.

To learn more about our associate programs and career opportunities, visit http://www.theservicecompanies.com/careers/why/.

The Service Companies is the unrivaled nationwide provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services to the hospitality industry, particularly luxury hotels, casinos and vacation ownership resorts. With nearly 30 years of experience, The Service Companies approaches their work with dedication, professionalism and a keen attention to detail that leads to best-in-class results.

How We Prepare for the Spring and Summer

Although Mother Nature seems to be confused this year regarding which season it is, summer is finally on its way. With schools beginning to let out for summer break, our luxury hotel properties across the country are increasing in occupancy, specifically with family travelers.

Opening Day WP 1Last month, The Service Companies completed our Annual Spring Cleaning Event, during which our teams cleaned and organized all back of the house areas, including offices, break rooms, storage areas and more. This was our initial step in preparing for the upcoming busy season. Maintaining a well organized back of the house area sets us up for success, as we are then able to quickly identify items needed and alleviate hiccups in service delivery.

jack_cinciAs we further prepare for the summer season, we focus on and place additional effort in stocking up on equipment and supplies, ensuring our staff is full, and providing refresher training to our teams so they are ready for the influx of guests. This includes making sure our teams are equipped with enough linens and amenities to accommodate each room and adjusting as needed. For example, a higher number of families requires us to need more towels than usual. Additionally, property information will be reviewed in our mandatory training meetings before each shift, as an increase in traffic will result in an increase in guest questions.

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While we are spending time preparing for the upcoming summer months, we can’t look too far forward. In May, not only are we stocking up for a busy season, we are celebrating Mother’s Day. We may not be able to give every associate who is a mother the day off, but we can ensure all team members can leave on time or early by making small adjustments to our schedule. Managers also celebrate with pre-shift activities to let everyone know they are appreciated, and to thank them for spending their special day working hard to service our guests.

Carpet Cleaning Processes

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The appearance of a property’s carpets can affect a guest’s experience and impression of the hotel or casino. I have seen occasions where carpet appearance has impacted guest satisfaction survey ratings. Carpets throughout the building are exposed daily to high traffic, heavy soils and spills, and chewing gum, and are many times, the first areas of a hotel, resort or casino to show signs of wear and tear. At The Service Companies, we have spent years evaluating different types of carpet care processes for both carpet deep cleaning and interim maintenance to keep our customers’ properties’ carpets in excellent condition. We have furthered that by partnering with Ecolab and Kärcher for our chemical and equipment needs at all of our customer properties.

 

The Importance of Daily Carpet Vacuuming

Customers normally bring soil, dirt and other types of debris into buildings. A daily vacuuming regimen with a strong suction vacuum cleaner is our best tip to maintain the cleanliness of the carpets. This will pick up the debris and soil, leaving the carpets fresh for the next day. It is also the best chemical-free carpet cleaning method for those who want to avoid using chemicals.

If this daily carpet maintenance is done correctly, then, when the time to shampoo the carpets comes, only a mild shampoo and water is required  to clean the fibers. Because of the daily vacuuming, there will be no soil remaining in the carpet fibers to turn to mud. 

 

The Process of Interim MaintenanceED-Carpet-1

Of course, interim maintenance is required on occasion to keep carpets in good condition. The two processes I detail – encapsulation shampoo and dry carpet cleaning (HOST) – are quick and do not use water, which allow the carpets to be open for traffic immediately after the process is complete. They normally clean the top fiber of the carpets and can be applied frequently.

Encapsulation shampoo: Polymers are used to encapsulate and crystalize particles into dry residue, which is then vacuumed from the carpets right after the process is completed.

Dry carpet cleaning (HOST): This involves a dry cleaning compound with mild soap.

The HOST carpet cleaning equipment has brushes which agitate the compound, clean the fibers, and vacuum them.

 

The Carpet Deep Cleaning Process     FullSizeRender (9) (1)

When it comes time to deep clean your carpets, we prefer hot water extraction and steam cleaning.

Hot water extraction: This is the most common method of carpet deep cleaning, and is recommended by many carpet manufacturers.

Steam cleaning:  In the dry carpet cleaning vs. steam cleaning debate, it’s important to clear up the myth that steam is actually used to clean your carpets. While home and commercial machines use hot water, which gives off steam, the steam itself does not clean carpet.

 

To inquire about our carpet cleaning services, visit http://theservicecompanies.com/contact/.

Victor Vargas, Regional Vice President of Operations, launched his career at The Service Companies as a Third Shift Kitchen Cleaner in 2002. With dedication and mastery of his craft, he has advanced through the company into his current role as Regional Vice President. Victor is The Service Companies’ resident expert on all types of floor care and kitchen cleaning.

Tips for Spring Break Travel

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When the spring crowds begin to arrive there are many dynamics to consider in order to best prepare your team.  Since we have properties in all regions of the US, preparations vary based on weather, school schedules and other factors.

We have already begun speaking to our leaders in the field to prepare our teams for what will be happening one or two months from now.

 

Advance Planning

Advance Planning is critical when it comes to added stock of supplies, your staffing plan and seasonal uniform changes.

Get an earlier start on inventory of supplies. Since many of these may need additional budget approval and have longer lead times, you don’t want to find yourself running out of items such as; cribs, rollaway beds, room linen and pool towels.

If you haven’t begun pulling your extra pool and deck furniture out from storage for an inspection and deep cleaning, it is definitely that time. Even though resort properties may have a busy pool deck all year around, it is very common needing more to accommodate the spring break crowds.

As the temperatures begin to change, it is time to determine the appropriate spring HVAC “comfort” settings with your facilities team. We want the first impression at check-in to be a comfortable and welcoming experience. In addition, determine the best placement for your window treatments. As we welcome more sunlight during the winter months, keeping draperies closed a bit more will assist in cooling down the room during spring and into summer.

Review your uniform par levels for departments requiring a seasonal change. Ensure your associates are looking and feeling their best.

 

Staffing Plan

During these seasonal periods, the typical staffing plan will fail. Expect higher volume in all areas and plan accordingly. It is important for the leaders to communicate adjustments early so associates can make arrangements outside of work as well. Extra support will be needed in rooms, public areas, and food & beverage outlets. Some areas to consider;

  • More frequent public restroom checks and monitoring of high traffic areas
  • Providing extra support in the laundry department to expedite additional guest room, pool, and food & beverage linen demands
  • Accommodating additional food & beverage covers and extended outlet hours
  • Anticipate extended time needed in guest rooms. Since spring break typically has higher guest counts and a longer length of stay, this usually requires additional servicing time
  • For our resorts and coastal properties, ideal weather conditions usually prompt later checkouts, so if the weather is cooperating schedule staff accordingly for late services. I find starting some associates an hour later helps cover the late checkouts
  • Since we offer transportation for team members in many markets, this period may require more frequent stops

Many of our associates have children taking school breaks as well, so we try to be as accommodating as possible to allow them necessary time with their families. Sometimes a slight shift on their schedule is a big help during this period.

 

Setting Your Team Up for Success

Just before the crowds arrive, everyone should be well informed on how they can best contribute to your operation. As we know, in order to be successful with the influx of transient business you must adjust your usual agenda and methods of cleaning.

Be sure your daily pre-shift meetings include these important reminders and everyone is well-informed of the special activities and events happening at the property and surrounding areas. Keep daily events posted and copies readily available for your staff members.

Prepare all the extras for multiple guests and families; items such as extra pillows, blankets, rollaways and cribs. Many of these requests come in during the afternoon and evening hours so be sure to have them “delivery ready” and staged in convenient locations.

Be proactive by delivering extra items during regular services to accommodate multiple guests. In addition to stocking items for guest requests, there are a few to consider as part of the daily service such as; increased linen pars, soap and shampoo. Also, be sure to stock extra paper products in public area closets.

Most importantly, don’t lose sight of your repeat customers that may be visiting during this period.

For many, this kicks off the start of a long stretch throughout the spring and summer where families and more transient business visit your properties. It is important to continue discussing the unique needs of travelers during these periods.


The Service Companies’ unique turn-key model provides complete oversight of the housekeeping, public area, EVS, and stewarding departments, including accountability over the productivity, operations and success of the departments. These services allow hotel, casino and resort customers to focus on driving revenues. To learn how The Service Companies’ turn-key model can help your property, contact us.

Laurie Katinos is one of the leading hospitality operations directors. Her expertise in housekeeping operations spans over 20 years, with the majority of her time spent with Hyatt Hotels Corporation and The Service Companies. Her knowledge and operations savvy has contributed to The Service Companies becoming the unrivaled provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services in the hospitality industry.

What to consider when hiring newly displaced workers from Puerto Rico

As a result of Hurricane Maria, the United States, particularly Florida, has seen a large influx of Puerto Rican refugees looking for work. This could be great news for the hospitality industry which, with the unemployment rate reported at 4.1% in October and November and the difficulty securing workers through the H2B visa program, has struggled to find labor to fill housekeeping, public area cleaning and stewarding positions.What should the executive teams of hotels and casinos with understaffed departments be taking into consideration as they look to hire from this group of over 200,000 individuals?

First, hiring from this pool of workers is costly. Hotels and casinos must be aware that they will be incurring costs from the recruitment and onboarding processes as well as ongoing fees associated with insurance. Recruitment costs will include background checks, drug tests and e-verification in addition to travel costs to attend job fairs, and relocation and lodging fees for the new hires.

Once hired, these new associates go through the onboarding and training process. While this varies from property to property, at The Service Companies, each of our associates completes a 30-day training program for any of our fully managed services including housekeeping, EVS and Stewarding. The costs that result from training can be high. In 2016, in conjunction with Navigate Corporation, a premier management consulting firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The Service Companies took a deep dive to understand the drivers of associate retention and engagement. During this study, we saw that onboarding a new associate could cost thousands of dollars. Depending on how short staffed a hotel or casino is, just the onboarding costs could quickly and easily surpass $10,000 with only a few new hires. On top of this, add the costs for medical and dental benefits, general liability and workers compensation insurance, which will continue throughout the associate’s tenure at the property.

It takes a well-capitalized company or property to be able to successfully recruit this new influx of workers. Located across the country, The Service Companies, the one-stop-shop for managed, staffing and specialty services to the hospitality and gaming industry, is one of the few with the capital and experience (over 30 years) to take on this responsibility. With our turn-key housekeeping, public area/EVS cleaning and stewarding model, we assume full accountability of a hotel or casino’s most challenging departments, handling recruiting, background, drug and e-verification checks, training and insurance. No other company has the same resources, experience or nationwide presence. To learn more, visit www.theservicecompanies.com.

The Service Companies is the unrivaled nationwide provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services to the hospitality industry, particularly luxury hotels, casinos and vacation ownership resorts. With nearly 30 years of experience, The Service Companies approaches their work with dedication, professionalism and a keen attention to detail that leads to best-in-class results.

What hotels, resorts & casinos should ask when selecting a managed services or staffing vendor partner

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With budget season upon us for 2018, you may be accepting proposals from vendors to assume responsibilities of one or more departments at your hotel, casino or resort. To protect yourself, your management company and your ownership group, there are specific questions to ask as you review these proposals. The cheapest option is generally not the best option as there is always an underlying reason why prices are substantially lower.

  • Is the vendor well capitalized and able to meet their payroll needs? A number of service providers are unable to pay their employees on time, which opens their customers (you) up to liability and bad publicity.
  • What does the vendor’s workers compensation program look like? Many lower cost vendors create shell games that could put your property at risk to pay for their employees’ workers compensation claims.
  • Does the vendor follow Department of Labor regulations on overtime payment and payment timeliness?
  • Is there a plan for the management of their employees so joint employment issues are not found and filed?
  • Is there an employee training, retention and satisfaction program? What does the training program, if one exists, look like and are there processes that encourage continuous education (pre-shift meetings, for instance)? At The Service Companies we are constantly educating and training our associates, even if they have been with the team for over 10 years. There are always new techniques and best practices to share and learn.
  • Does the vendor provide benefits, competitive wages and retain their employees? If not, you may be looking at joint employment issues and a workforce that is consistently in flux and not up to speed on your specifications and standards.
  • What is the vendor’s approach to recruiting and staffing? Does the vendor run background and E-verification tests prior to hiring their employees? Unlike The Service Companies, many vendors cannot guarantee that their labor is legal because they do not run these checks, which opens your property up to issues with I.C.E. and the Department of Homeland Security.

These are just a few items that we have learned in our 30 years of experience are necessary for hotels, casinos and resorts to be aware of when making a decision on managed service providers. We take pride in becoming a seamless partner for each of our customers, so we put the responsibility of liability exposure, insurance, benefits, recruiting and quality assurance on our shoulders. This also means that we can guarantee our customers’ properties and ownership are fully protected from potential joint employment issues. Not many other companies put the same emphasis on this, and many times, that is directly reflected in price.

Steve Wilson is the President and CEO of The Service Companies, the leading provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services to the hospitality industry. With over 30 years of experience in service and hospitality, he flies more than 200,000 miles per year (all domestic) and spends over 200 nights per year in hotels visiting the company’s associates and customers, located in 44 states across the country.

Commitment to being green

At The Service Companies, one on our primary commitments is providing superior hospitality services to our customers by using the most effective and safest cleaning equipment and chemicals. Equally important, though, is ensuring that we are environmentally conscious at all of our 750 locations across the country. How do we do this? We have set up company-wide partnerships and programs that minimize our environmental impact, but also give our individual teams the liberty to come up with “green” initiatives that are most effective for them. Here are a few of the ways The Service Companies has gone green:

  • Ecolab photo 1 (4)Partnerships with Environmentally Friendly Suppliers: Ecolab is equally committed to the sustainability of their operations and offers products that are environmentally responsible. Our nationwide partnership with Ecolab means we work with their representatives to tailor select chemicals for each of our customer’s properties. When available, our first choice is to source environmentally friendly chemicals and solutions.
  • Durable, Long-Lasting Equipment and Repairs: The Service Companies is committed to using best-in-class, energy-efficient equipment, which is more effective and durable. Our equipment specifications must meet goals for improving or liming the impact to indoor air quality, water consumption, energy consumption and lower chemical usage. By working closely with our manufacturers, including Karcher, we are able to determine the right process to achieve the highest possible results at the lowest possible cost. This means our team is consuming less energy, chemical and water to clean our customers’ areas. Also, instead of replacing equipment at the first sign of an issue, we repair it to its original efficiency, increasing the lifetime of the equipment. When equipment and materials are to be disposed, we never send them to a landfill. The Service Companies contracts with local and regional resource recovery companies to recycle or redistribute material and equipment we no longer have a need for.
  • IMG_6406 (2)Clean The World: For the fourth consecutive year, many of our on-property Housekeeping teams have partnered with Clean The World, an organization that collects discarded hotel hygiene items, re-purposes them in a sanitary manner, and distributes them to people who are at risk of contracting hygiene-related illnesses. Our Housekeepers have been integral to collecting the 40 million+ bars of soap that Clean The World has distributed to over 115 countries.
  • Recycling: We support our customers’ recycling efforts by ensuring proper separation of recyclables from landfill trash. In some operations, we have one person dedicated to this task. Our employees are trained to prevent cross-contamination of landfill trash with recyclables. We use color-coded trash bins that are clearly marked for the type of trash – green for landfill, blue for recycling.
  • Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions: We reduce emissions related to our business by limiting the number of product orders per month, using battery operated equipment where feasible and limiting the use of fuel-powered equipment when work can be done efficiently by other means, to name only a few. We run estimated monthly emission reports that show total carbon dioxide tonnage created and saved in operations. These reports are critical to The Service Companies meeting and exceeding our emission reduction goals.
The Service Companies is the unrivaled nationwide provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services to the hospitality industry, particularly luxury hotels, casinos and vacation ownership resorts. With nearly 30 years of experience, The Service Companies approaches their work with dedication, professionalism and a keen attention to detail that leads to best-in-class results.

The results are in: our newest opening

This month, The Service Companies took over third shift cleaning operations at a luxury resort in Florida. The property’s management team looked to us to solve some issues for them. Having previously used multiple cleaning providers to manage the property’s overnight cleaning, the management team sought a strategic partner that would seamlessly integrate into the property’s surroundings and ensure a consistent high level of cleanliness across the property. As a large, well-capitalized hospitality partner, we are one of the only managed service providers able to guarantee and deliver this. Plus, by taking over areas that were previously overseen by multiple independent providers, we were able to provide savings along with a higher level of service than previously provided to the property.

With every opening where we provide public area, EVS or third shift services, we start off with a full assessment of the floor types to determine a floor schedule and equipment needs with our equipment partner, Karcher. We also work closely with Ecolab to spec out the right chemicals and cleaning processes for all surfaces to ensure they are perfectly cleaned and maintained. After completing this and only two weeks into servicing the property, our opening team has achieved incredible results. Take a look at our before and after pictures below to see for yourself.

The Service Companies is the unrivaled nationwide provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services to the hospitality industry, particularly luxury hotels, casinos and vacation ownership resorts. With nearly 30 years of experience, The Service Companies approaches their work with dedication, professionalism and a keen attention to detail that leads to best-in-class results.

Tips for safely maintaining your public areas during winter conditions

Shoveling Snow

Our Public Area and Housekeeping teams have been digging out from the recent snowfall in many parts of the country though we still have a long way to go.

As we operate properties in all types of climates nationwide, each season brings different cleaning challenges. When asking about top cleaning challenges during the winter season, many will say snow and salt removal. The more it snows the more salt gets put down to melt the snow and eventually gets tracked into our facilities, potentially damaging our buildings and the surrounding environment.

We understand that shoveling and plowing alone cannot always keep the areas safe and that is when salt de-icers come into play. We want to share some cleaning and maintenance tips for these conditions in order to help keep your areas safe and clean, while managing salt being tracked in and around your property.

Many times the person who purchases or applies de-icers at our properties is not the same person responsible for cleaning it up inside or out. The key is to use de-icers moderately and to apply what product works best for your situation. There are many types of de-icing salts such as: sodium chloride “rock salt”, calcium chloride, potassium chloride and magnesium chloride, which is far less damaging to concrete, plants and the environment. There is also an opportunity to add sand to provide grit for added traction. Whichever product is being used, there is the challenge to stay ahead of potential damage.

Many times salt is applied very close to the entrance. For maximum melting results, it is best to apply the product more sparingly in the highest foot traffic areas. A salt pattern should begin with product applied more heavily away from the entrance and less as you get closer to the entrance. The natural foot traffic spreads it as people come in.

Proper application can provide substantial cost savings especially for repairs to interior spaces and corrosion of metal door entrances. It also prevents harm to landscaping with over application of salt too close to vegetation.

Proper entrance matting is the next line of defense to keep the “wet” and salt outside.

Take a look at the quality and placement of matting at the property entry points. Entrances may have a scraper mat as you enter so guests can release some of the snow followed by a longer wiper mat made of absorbent material that can wick the water and salt off the shoes as they walk.

If heavy snow fall is occurring, these absorbent mats need to be changed when they become saturated, so be sure you have enough on hand to make frequent changes to all your outside entrances.

Although matting selection and placement is ultimately decided by the facility manager, it is up to all of us to maintain and inspect these often to ensure they remain in good condition.

Even with having extra matting in place, salt will still make it inside!

Your Public Area team must be ready to remove it in the most effective manner. Entrances should be swept and cleaned often during these times.

Vacuuming can work well for salt removal though for safety reasons make sure your team knows not to vacuum damp or wet carpets because it is an electrocution hazard. Also vacuuming up damp salt and soil can damage your equipment.

In addition, it is important to train your staff to thoroughly vacuum the carpeted areas surrounding the matting. Even if sufficient matting is placed, there is always more salt and soil deposited as guests are walking off.

Vacuuming often is a great start, though you must also have a regular interim carpet cleaning program in place in order to tackle problem areas near entry points. This will help eliminate the salt stains that tend to build up and seem to return even after you extracted the area.

We prefer our interim clean be done every couple days during heavy snows and the salting that follows. At times, an extraction method just using hot water with an added neutralizer can provide great results pulling the salt and soil out of the carpets. Although your carpet cleaning generally occurs during off-peak periods, be sure you have a floor blower available to speed the drying time. Once dried, always thoroughly vacuum the area.

Because salt and de-icers can wear on marble, one thing to keep in mind during the heavy winter days is to not grind marble. Reserve this process for days where salt will not be tracked into the property.

Be sure not to neglect your equipment during this period, as they are working extra hard. You will need to provide extra cleaning care and maintenance.

Before you know it, spring will be back again though your work is not complete yet. During any long thaws or once spring approaches, be sure to thoroughly wash down walkways, the base of your building and areas near vegetation to disperse product residue and prevent further damage.

Having a good prevention plan in place and keeping the salt outside your facility should provide a safe and clean facility and you will be off to a fresh start for spring.

Laurie Katinos is one of the leading hospitality operations directors. Her expertise in housekeeping operations spans over 20 years, with the majority of her time spent with Hyatt Hotels Corporation and The Service Companies. Her knowledge and operations savvy has contributed to The Service Companies becoming the unrivaled provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services in the hospitality industry.

How to make your marble floors shine

The appearance of a property’s marble floors can affect a guest’s first and lasting impressions of a property. While these floors may have gleamed a few months ago, constant and consistent traffic on the floors can leave them dull and lackluster. What should you do when this occurs? At The Service Companies, we have spent years honing our floor care techniques and have developed a step-by-step guide for you to use. Following this guide will give you the results shown below in our before and after photos, which we’ve taken at a luxury hotel property we recently began servicing.

To receive your copy today, fill out the form below the images!

 

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