Keeping a Cool Head in Difficult Situations

I dread getting the early call from one of our professional cleaners. These calls usually mean that most of the plans I’ve made for the day will be partially or fully put on the back burner to deal with an unforeseen issue.

This particular call was informing me that upon entering the building they discovered a toilet malefaction had flooded most of the building. They had shut off the water to that toilet but to complicate the issue, we had just finished refinishing a good part of the tile in the building. Out of the blue, twenty man-hours of work down the drain.

There is no good time for a building to flood, but Saturday morning is one of the worst. My first job is to inform our client and discuss how to proceed.  We developed a plan for us to clean up the initial flooding while they would call a flood restoration specialist to deal with the lasting effects of the flood damage.

Next I need to round up enough of our people to work a long day along with the wet vacs and fans that we need to at least get the water off the floor and start drying out the building. My staff comes through for me and we agree to meet there.

What a mess. As predicted, the floors, which were buffed to a high shine only 12 hours earlier would need a complete redo.  That could wait. We deployed our people and began vacuuming as much water as possible off the floor.

I was impressed with how fast things were progressing. After two hours 90% of the immediate work was finished. The wet vac had done most of the work. I instructed two people to go over the floors twice with a mop to absorb any residual water off the floor while I deployed fans in the areas affected by the flood, then I let my team take the rest of the day off. We are a Band-aid. The doctors will be on site soon.

Flooding issues can result in long lasting problems in any building, the #1 concern though is mold growth. According to, “Building dampness and mold raised the risk of a variety of respiratory and asthma-related health outcomes by 30 to 50 percent.” “Of the 21.8 million people reported to have asthma in the U.S., approximately 4.6 million cases are estimated to be attributable to dampness and mold exposure in the home.” Properly addressing the dampness will be of utmost importance and a job left to specialists, who arrive as we are finishing our work.

I have a brief discussion with the point man from their team who told me his time frame would have the office up and running as normal on Monday. He considered this a minor job and had dealt with much worse. Relieved, I contacted the client to give an update.

If you have been in business for any length of time you quickly learn that plans will be interrupted by emergencies. I encourage you to develop a “contingency plan” for dealing with the unforeseen. For us it means keeping communication open between clients. Having an on-call list of 4 or 5 people who are available on short notice. Keeping a reserve of equipment in case we need to respond quickly.

With the immediate day’s work past I briefly inspect the floors, calculating exactly what will need to be done. As I feared, most of it is a total redo, but that’s for next week.  Now it’s time to relax and enjoy the rest of my weekend.

I walk to my car with a bounce in my step, what could it be now. As I open the door, my phone begins to ring. Reluctantly I answer…

Just another day providing quality commercial cleaning services for Berkshire County, MA.

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