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Beyond the Surface: The Science Behind Expert Floor Care

Top Five Benefits of a Professional Floor Care Plan

Who hasn’t seen a worker riding or pushing an auto scrubber inside a public facility and wondered if perhaps anyone who can steer a riding lawnmower or push a grocery cart could do that job?

At Service Management Systems, Inc. (SMS), we believe it’s important to understand that proper floor care involves a little bit more than what we notice at a casual glance.

SMS has been cleaning and maintaining all kinds of flooring in large public-facing buildings across the U.S. since 1988. From malls to schools to airport passenger terminals to hospitals, we’ve earned the trust of the people who manage these facilities. While providing expert floor care in over 75 public facilities in 28 states, we make sure that a clean and safe facility starts on the ground floor.

There are many reasons the housekeeping company at your public-facing building needs to be a floor care expert. At SMS, we believe our experience, processes, and workforce make us experts, and here is our list of the Top Five Benefits of a Professional Floor Care Plan:

1. Improves Safety and Health: We make safety and health our Top Priority. Proper floor maintenance cuts down on slip and fall and workers’ compensation cases while improving Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). By cleaning the right way at proper frequencies, SMS makes floors safer and the air your tenants and customers breathe cleaner, because germs that grow on your floor impact IAQ throughout your building.

2. Leaves Customers Impressed: A floor care expert like SMS will keep your floor’s finish looking fabulous year-round. This leaves quite an impression and sends a message that cleanliness and professional appearance matter in your facility.

3. Provides Cost Savings: It is much cheaper to hire an expert like SMS to preserve your flooring than to replace it altogether or lose your warranty coverage through improper maintenance.

4. Removes Scuffs and Scratches: Your current crew may be focusing on the dirt and grime that gathers on the surface of your flooring. But at SMS, we also work on the scuffs and scratches caused by foot traffic, heavy boxes, machinery, etc., that might seem impossible to remove, but actually are not – making floors look new again.

5. Ensures use of the Proper Tools and Cleaners: Your current crew may be using the wrong type of equipment and/or the wrong cleaners for your type of floor. Hiring an expert like SMS means your flooring will be serviced using the proper types of equipment with cleaners that are safe and effective.

Proper floor care requires the proper equipment and well-trained employees.

Cleaning for health and safety has long been our primary focus at SMS, and recent research indicates that proper floor maintenance does much more than prevent the slip and fall we remember fondly from our childhood cartoon days.

It’s been shown that a clean floor improves Indoor Air Quality, reducing the spread of germs.

ISSA: The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association points out, “As the largest horizontal surface in a building, the floor is a breeding ground for all types of germs and contaminants. Appropriate cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting guidelines and regular floor maintenance are key components to successful infection-risk mitigation.”

While on the “surface,” floor cleaning may seem pretty simple, it actually requires a structured routine of regular maintenance specific to each floor type. Everyday efforts such as carpet vacuuming and hard floor mopping are essential, but so are scheduled maintenance (like hard floor buffing and burnishing) and scheduled restorative floor care, such as stripping and finishing, specific to each type of hard flooring.

Whether it’s an airport passenger terminal, school, indoor mall, medical building, or office building, each facility SMS cleans has unique floor care needs, with variables such as foot traffic volume, temperature, humidity, and sunlight helping us determine individual cleaning and maintenance programs and scheduling a frequency for each process.

With every new contract, we start by purchasing the appropriate brand-new state-of-the-art commercial floor cleaning equipment that is quiet, efficient, and effective. SMS has close relationships with major brands and dealers, which means that when our equipment needs repair, we can quickly obtain any necessary parts and/or repair expertise with minimal downtime.

Karcher supplies much of the heavy equipment that we utilize throughout our network.

“Karcher’s goal with SMS is to offer a customized approach to each and every project,” said David Solis, Karcher National Account Manager. “Karcher analyzes each site and makes suggestions to maximize productivity and ensure the best ROI is achieved.”

When Karcher equipment is in need of service, their response time is within 24-48 hours with technicians in vans throughout the country. The goal is to get the unit up and running as quickly as possible to avoid precious downtime.


One of the most important factors in maintaining and prolonging the lifespan of your carpeting is to vacuum, vacuum, vacuum as often as possible.

Our basic carpet care training program includes detailed instructions on all of the following processes:

  • vacuuming
  • spot removal
  • bonnet cleaning
  • carpet extraction

All these processes begin every time with complete carpet preparation, such as mandatory “CAUTION, WET FLOOR” signs wherever appropriate.

Although many people who walk into a janitorial job are capable of pushing a vacuum around, that doesn’t mean they know how to do it properly for best results. Nor does it mean they understand spot removal. As to bonnet cleaning and carpet extraction, those are specialized procedures that have been perfected at SMS through experience, spelled out carefully in a written manual, and taught and re-taught to our employees at the facility level.

The devil is always in the details when it comes to processes like this.

For example, not all bonnet pads are created equal. And, it’s important to practice a lifecycle plan for when they are turned over, washed, and replaced.

Extraction is the deep-cleaning process typically done after the carpeting has received about four to five bonnet cleaning applications. However, a facility’s foot traffic needs to be taken into account when determining the extraction schedule and frequency for each carpeted area.

Another differentiating step is the after-extraction process. At SMS, this includes bonneting with a dry pad to not only remove surface dirt but also to speed up the drying process by creating heat as the bonnet machine passes over the carpet fibers.

A sparkling floor doesn’t just happen. Service Management Systems employees make the difference.


For hard floors such as tile, stone, hardwood, and composites like terrazzo, sweeping and dust mopping are daily jobs at SMS, with auto scrub burnishing on a regular schedule.

Burnishers are an important piece of hard floor equipment at SMS. The floor buffing process restores gloss and enhances shine by removing black marks, polishing, and making damaged or scratched surfaces smooth again.

One of the consumables SMS will use on a case-by-case basis is an approved floor restorer, sometimes as often as once a week or more, based on desired gloss levels and traffic in the area being worked. The restorer can help fill in microscopic scratches before the burnishing process, and extend the life of the wax.

Floor stripping is a specialty of our project teams, which usually work evening or night shifts. This process removes the old finish completely, followed by all-new floor finish, and is scheduled in concert with our customer during a time frame when the building is closed, or the flooring being restored is off-limits to the public for a set time period.

The process of stripping and applying a new finish is a significant expense and time investment that requires a lot of planning, communication, coordination, and training. Issues for consideration include the following: only 50% of a common area should be completed at one time (to ensure there is always a dry side for safe passage); and start and end points, cut-offs, and transition lines will matter when the project is complete.

Experience and planning are essential, and instructions on which floor area should be worked during each phase must be carefully plotted out. For example, stripper chemical “bleeds” onto adjacent tiles, which requires meticulous prep work and a practiced team.


These examples highlight just a few of the challenges met by SMS regarding ongoing floor care, and why it requires much more than a mop, a pail…and an auto scrubber.

Only larger companies like SMS can bring the mojo on financial strength, experience, and the documented procedures necessary for continuous success at your facility. But teamwork is what brings it all together. At SMS, we strive to hire the right employees and create the culture that breeds the teamwork necessary to provide first-class results on a consistent basis.

We always remember that at the end of a long hard workday, it’s all about the safety of the people who use your public facility – and riding on that auto scrubber is just a tiny peek into the process.

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To learn more about how to keep floors safe and make them last, contact us today!

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