For a first-time car buyer, pride and freedom are summarily usurped by a basic economic lesson: Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). No surprise—sleek lines, revving engines, and the new car smell make it easy to lose our senses and fall in love. That’s why the first big repair bill can feel like a harsh reality. What’s true with cars is true with other investments, including real estate investment—albeit on a much grander scale.

For multi-tenant property owners, the top three expenses are taxes, electrical and janitorial. Too often, it’s when a building sits without tenants and the accompanying rental income, when these costs start to mount and can quickly feel overwhelming. While smart real estate investors factor these costs in to their overall investment analysis, it’s the source of these costs—empty space—that becomes the greatest liability of all.

That means navigating this terrain and adopting best practices to avoid tenant lapses is a critical part of real estate ownership. One of the most overlooked areas in the equation is janitorial services. Cleanliness and overall maintenance of your property directly impacts tenant satisfaction. It’s what some property owners define as “keep factors.”
While many in the property management business understand and actively manage keep factors, what too often is overlooked is the direct correlation between janitorial services and your second greatest operating expense, your electric bill. If your janitorial team follows an “all on” way of working in which lights on all floors are on while the janitorial team works, they are costing you unnecessarily. That’s one reason why CCS follows a “light as we go” approach, only using light on the floors were are cleaning.

Beyond tenant satisfaction and loyalty, janitorial also directly impacts other TCO elements, including engineering and disaster recovering (think leaks, broken pipes, gas issues). The immediate and real cost of addressing these maintenance issues mounts if your janitorial team is not proactive. But it’s the hidden costs—those associated with tenant loss and unleased space—that can quickly mount.

With janitorial services so integral to your total cost of property ownership, it’s wise to select a partner and team that will help you navigate and proactively tackle these issues. The right team delivers more than just clean floors, they serve as your business partner 24/7 and are a key factor in reducing your cost of ownership and increasing your peace of mind and profits.

DANA HOLLADAYSENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA & WASHINGTON