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Written by Bob Seibel Jun 1, 2017

Floor Scrubber, Investment or Expense?

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A Building Service Contractor once told me, “Equipment does not cost me money…it makes me money.”

 Have you ever thought, “That floor scrubber would cut the job time in half,” or “That portable extractor would let me expand my business into a whole new area,” or “I really want that backpack vacuum so my team can move more quickly and get to the next site”?

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Bear those thoughts in mind as you think about questions you should answer when deciding to purchase equipment and tools for your cleaning business. 


  1. What do you want to do?

Whether it is a floor scrubber, carpet extractor, or vacuum cleaner, you should have a clear idea of what performance results you want to achieve.  Many of the following questions are interrelated, but you must start here. 

  1. How often will it be used?

This is important especially for larger, more expensive equipment.  The less frequently that the equipment is used, the longer the return on investment (ROI).  If a contract calls for carpet cleaning once each year, and you have no other carpet jobs, then renting a piece of equipment makes financial sense. However, if you clean 100,000 sq. ft. every month, then an auto scrubber may have a satisfactory ROI.  

  1. Will it increase productivity?

You can damp mop a floor with a 24-ounce mop at a rate of 5,000 sq. ft./hour.  That work rate does not account for emptying and refilling a mop bucket.  Cleaning the same floor with a 17” auto scrubber will complete that same task at a rate of 18,700 sq. ft./hour.  The results will also be far superior.  The same work rate calculations can be done for any equipment.  Here’s a vacuuming example.  A 12” single motor upright vacuum will clean at a rate of 2,239 sq. ft./hour compared to 7,407 sq. ft./hour using a corded back pack vacuum.  Convert these productivity rates into your business plan in dollars!

  1. How long will the equipment last?

You are looking to purchase a standard speed floor machine (sometimes referred to as a side-to-side machine) and you have narrowed the decision down to two choices.  One is top-quality and highly rated, but it has a price tag of $1,000.  Another machine you saw on-line for $800.  It may be of somewhat inferior materials and workmanship, but there is that $200 invoice savings.  A top-quality floor machine will last at least 7 years when properly maintained.  That means the difference is only $2.38 per month over the life of the machine.  Will the inexpensive version last 4 years, 5 years, maybe 6 years?  Invest in better equipment.

  1. What service and maintenance will this equipment require?

Whether it is a daily cleaning you do or a routine “general checkup” at an authorized service center, equipment needs preventative maintenance service to maintain its peak performance. If you invest in equipment and tools, keep them in good shape. Align yourself with a good service department…a “go to” place for repairs and checkups to keep your equipment looking good and working optimally.


Have you answered the title question yet?... Equipment is not an expense!  Equipment is a tool to make you money.   Top quality, good looking equipment is also a selling feature you can present to your customers and prospects.

Are you interested in learning how you can get the most from your cleaning equipment investments? Click the link below and request a free SmartSite consultation with an Action representative. 

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Topics: Contract Cleaning

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