Whether to outsource your aged-care facility cleaning

COVID-19 has highlighted just how important cleaning is for providing residents with a safe environment. Highly-skilled and trained cleaning teams can be the difference between controlling infections or dealing with a severe outbreak.

Outsourcing cleaning services to professional providers means the onus is on the company you contract to ensure staff are trained and provided with the PPE and other equipment required to control infections.

As well as reducing risk and responsibility, it also makes economic sense to outsource cleaning. Here’s how to see if outsourcing cleaning requirements is the right option for your facility.

Scope Of Cleaning Requirements

The scope of cleaning requirements will ultimately dictate the value you will gain from outsourcing cleaning.

Most aged care facilities will have the same cleaning needs; it’s just a matter of how many times those needs need to be multiplied to account for the number of residents cared for and the size of the facility.

When assessing the impact of outsourcing your cleaning requirements, it’s worth noting that labour accounts for 75% of cleaning contract costs. The remaining is made up of costs pertaining to chemicals, equipment, uniforms, training, and finally profit margins, which are between 4% and 7% of total contract cost in this competitive climate. Most of these costs are still borne by the aged care facility, even if they don’t outsource their cleaning. 

An example of these costs is provided below:

Example – 1 Fulltime Level 1 Cleaner
Cost TypeAmount
Labour & Oncosts Per Award Rates~$52K/ year
Statutory Costs~$4K/ year
Materials, equipment, uniforms and training~$2200/year
Profit~$2333.46/ year
Total Outsourced Cost~$61K/ year
In the example above, the actual cost of outsourcing for a facility requiring one full-time cleaner is only the profit margin ($2333.46/year). This cost is usually mitigated by the other advantages of outsourcing listed below.

Portfolio Discounts

Aged-care providers with several facilities will often benefit from a portfolio discount when engaging with a cleaning services provider. A 1-2% reduction across the portfolio reduces the gap between in-house hiring costs and outsourcing even further.

Materials Costs

Larger, reputable cleaning companies have national contracts with chemical, equipment and consumables providers. These contracts allow cleaning companies to access essential products at much lower prices.

So, the cost of chemicals and equipment listed in the example could be much higher, especially for smaller, standalone facilities without significant purchasing power. The savings generated by aligning with a larger cleaning company could cover the cost of the profit margin.  

Hiring Costs

Outsourcing cleaning services saves aged-care facilities from bearing hiring costs. Whether it’s the time taken to source candidates or money paid to external hiring agencies, the savings can be considerable.Employment Costs

Hiring in-house cleaning staff means aged-care facilities incur a range of costs. Salaries are an obvious cost, but this doesn’t consider the full range of on-costs, including payroll tax, superannuation and uniform costs.

These costs need to be weighed up when deciding to outsource cleaning. Even smaller and standalone providers may find that they save money by outsourcing instead of hiring an internal team.

Training Costs

Aged-care facilities that outsource through reputable cleaning companies will be provided with highly-trained staff that are ready to make an impact from day one. Conversely, facilities that choose to hire their own cleaning teams will have to bear the cost of training staff.

Minimise Risk

One of the key advantages of outsourcing cleaning is minimising risk and responsibility. A quality cleaning service provider will provide a compliant service that keeps your space safe; they will also assume all the risk and responsibility.

Directors Of Nursing and facility managers can focus on looking after residents and rest easy knowing that qualified professionals are cleaning and disinfecting the facility. 

In the example given, all these benefits will cost an aged-care facility an additional $2333.46 per year. This example can be scaled up to apply to any size or portfolio of aged-care facilities, so whether you need 1 or 10 full-time cleaners, it makes economic sense to outsource your cleaning services. 

This guest post was written by Jim Bottomley who has worked in facilities management for over 30 years. He has specialised in understanding how viruses mutate and spread through facilities and in designing processes and procedures for mitigating risk. He is currently the General Manager for the Health and Precincts Division at BIC Services.  


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