Owning and running a commercial cleaning business is already a challenging job made even more difficult if you don’t have the right janitor tools and equipment to make your job easier and your time more productive.
There are so many janitor tools on the market that deciding what is essential, what is of good quality and what can wait until your business grows can be daunting. Let’s look at some of the essential janitorial tools and equipment you’ll want when you start your business.
What janitor equipment do you really need?
There are lots of specialist cleaning items and supplies that you don’t really need. For example, many janitorial companies won’t need to buy a rotary floor machine from the get-go unless they specialize in commercial spaces with many hard floors like healthcare or school environments.
So unless you’re specializing in a certain niche or are working somewhere that requires them, it’s better to rent the equipment until you have a business need for investing in it.
But no matter where you work, you’ll definitely need these items:
- Wet mop buckets and wringer. Even if you have an autoscrubber there will be areas of the floor that can only be properly cleaned with a mop.
- Cleaning cloths. Microfiber cloths are far better than cheap cotton ones and last longer, too.
- Various brushes. Whether it’s a long-handle toilet brush, shorter scrub brush or duster brush, you’ll need these
- Dry floor cleaning. These include brooms, dustpans, dust mops and sweepers. A dustpan with a long handle will save your back.
- Trash and debris grabber/picker. Multipurpose grabbers aid in the hygienic collection of cigarette butts and bottles.
- Scraper. Depending on where most of your jobs are, you may want a light-duty, non-scratch one for adhesives or stickers, or heavier-duty scrapers for paint or tapes.
- Squeegee. If you clean interior windows or mirrors, a good squeegee saves you a lot of time.
- Spray bottles, sprayers and dispensers. Some cleaning supplies come ready to use, but many are concentrated and need dilution.
- Vacuum. If any of your gigs include office buildings or retail stores with carpeting, you’ll need a vacuum cleaner.
- Cleaning supplies. A good all-around multi-purpose cleaner is vital, and you’ll need glass cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner and disinfectant. Don’t forget non-chemical supplies such as trash bags, trash liners, sponges, scrubbers and paper towels.
- Protective gear. Gloves (various including disposable, rubber and canvas), non-slip shoes or boots and dust masks or respirators if needed for cleaning chemicals or certain cleaning tasks.
- Safety signs. For example, warning people of a slippery floor or that a space is closed for cleaning.
- Maintenance tools. If you are responsible for maintenance, tools like a plunger, screwdriver and monkey wrench are handy to have.
- Janitorial carts. Look for one with enough shelves, hooks and holders for all your janitorial supplies, your mop bucket and a trash holder.
Janitor apps and software
In addition to all of those essential items, there is plenty of digital tools designed to help janitorial business owners stay on top of their jobs.
There are all-in-one business software such as Service Autopilot and Jobber that help you with scheduling, client management and marketing.
Or you can select the apps with features and user design you like best. For example, simple business apps like Timely or Acuity Scheduling help you schedule your jobs and produce invoices faster. Similarly, accounting software like Quickbooks, Wave or Xero to keep on top of expenses and cash flow.
Swept helps you manage your employees’ time better, stay in touch if someone will be late or out sick, track supplies and send instructions.
Specialist janitorial apps like Cleanbid make it easier to gather information and estimate cleaning times so that you can bid for cleaning jobs faster. Janitorial Manager is an all-in-one solution that consolidates operations — such as work order management, inspections and timekeeping — on one platform.
What to look for when choosing the best janitor tools and equipment for your business
Durability and quality are far more important than looks when it comes to janitor tools. While some consumer brands may have a reputation for good quality, that doesn’t always translate to rigorous daily use in commercial spaces.
Research and read reviews of the janitorial equipment and tools you want to use or ask colleagues in the same field for recommendations.
Commercial-strength janitorial supplies are not the same as household supplies. Commercial cleaning supplies are much more powerful and better for the heavy-duty cleaning you’ll be doing.
For example, an industrial mop and bucket is also much more hard-wearing and long-lasting than a household mop and bucket, even if it’s made by the same brand. Similarly, commercial-grade cleaning products are often concentrated and need to be diluted before use.
Unless you only contract at one site, you’ll need to be able to take your janitor equipment with you on jobs. Look for tools and equipment that have portability features like janitor carts with sturdy wheels that won’t wobble and mop buckets that are not too heavy.
Your bigger janitor tools like a carpet cleaner or floor polisher are expensive to fix or replace. If you're planning to buy, rather than rent tools like that, look for janitorial equipment with a solid warranty that covers realistic issues that could develop.
TIP: You might want to get tools and equipment insurance so that you’ll be covered for theft or intentional damage by a third party.
Where and when to shop for janitor tools
There are two types of janitor equipment you’ll need to buy: tools you’ll keep using for years and consumable janitorial cleaning supplies you’ll keep replacing as you use them.
Janitor tools can be bought online or from a bricks and mortar store that specializes in janitorial equipment. Large retailers include Uline, Home Depot and WebstaurantStore. There are also wholesale retailers like CleanItSupply or Wholesale Janitorial Supply.
You can also buy tools and equipment through sellers on Amazon and eBay, but make sure you’re getting authentic commercial products. Whichever way you choose, pay attention to issues of warranty and expert advice, including from employees of a store, or reviews online.
While there is no best time of year to buy janitor supplies and tools, prices can dip in the Spring for the spring cleaning season. Typically, commercial cleaning tools have steady prices all year round, so there’s no point waiting to stock up on your janitor equipment.
Protecting your janitor tools and equipment
Your janitor tools and equipment are essential to running your business. If they are stolen, lost or damaged, janitorial insurance can help get you back to work fast by paying for replacements or repairs.
Specifically, tools and equipment coverage ensures your gear is protected all the time, everywhere — including in your vehicle, stored in a trailer or at a job site.
At NEXT, tools and equipment insurance is available as an add-on to our general liability insurance for contractors and cleaning businesses.
NEXT helps your janitorial business thrive
At NEXT, we create specialized janitor business insurance packages to meet the unique needs of your business.
With our online application, you can see policy options, get a quote and purchase coverage — all in less than 10 minutes. After you pay your premium, your certificate of insurance will be available online.