If you have anything to do with the management and leasing of a shopping centre, you will understand the critical aspects of maintenance and cleaning. Every day there will be pressures applied to the property through tenancy usage and customer visits. The maintenance and cleaning aspects of the property should be well planned for this reason. That will be the job of the centre manager.
If the property fails to reach the expectations of customers, the following factors usually occur:
- A dramatic fall in customer visitations
- A reduction in sales for the tenants
- A poor image for the property
- Loss of rental for the landlord
- An escalation in the vacancy factors within the tenancy mix
- A fall in the market rental expectations for the property
So the maintenance management and cleaning aspects of the shopping centre should be maintained to a strategy and a budget. Those elements will be contained in the property business plan for the property and that will be amended each year.
Operational factors and the history of the property will have an impact on how the budget will escalate and change over time. The shopping centre manager needs to understand the operational factors as they apply to property function at different times of the day and on different days of the week. There will also be changes that apply seasonally across the year.
There are a number of things that need to be considered when looking at the shopping centre cleaning routine. Here are some of the main ones to help you get started with your property budgeting and maintenance plans:
- If you have been managing the property for some months if not years, the history of the property will help you with operational costs and pressures. You will see the patterns and factors that occur throughout the year as they relate to tenants, customers, and visitors to the property. If on the other hand this is a new property under management, you should undertake observations and surveys to see how the property functions and where the pressures will occur. You can also talk to the tenants and the contractors within the building to gauge how issues occur and why.
- Consider the different zones within the property and the special needs that are created in each. Those zones will normally be common areas, entrance ways, rest rooms, car parking, loading dock, service areas, transport drop off points, and walkways. In each area there will be factors relating to signage, cleanliness, functionality, and safety. You will also need to consider the practicality of access, lighting, and thoroughfare.
- A cleaning contract for a shopping centre will usually be split into particular requirements and regular routines. They can be related to zones such as common area cleaning, restroom facilities, toilet requisites, entrance ways, car parking, signage, and glazing. There will be a routine and cost applied to each of these zones. The size of the property and the demands of the customers and tenants will set the frequency of cleaning and maintenance. From that point you can consider the numbers of people required and the hours of cleaning and maintenance routines.
Taking all of these factors into account together with the size of the property and the complexity of the tenancy mix, you will find that the cleaning and maintenance budget for the property is a large and complex process. It is common for tendering process to occur annually for parts of the shopping centre function and maintenance routines.
Some shopping centres choose to employ their own maintenance and cleaning staff as part of a cost control initiative. On the other hand it is quite common to have professional cleaning and maintenance contractor’s appointed to a retail property on an annual basis as part of a maintenance contract.
It doesn’t matter which way you clean and maintain the property as long as it is effective and safe, but it does matter from a cost perspective and liability point of view; make sure that your cleaning and maintenance routines are within the cost standards for the industry. Check also that the chosen contractor has the necessary occupational health and safety qualifications and policy coverage, together with the required routines to minimise any risk and damage involving the asset, customers and tenants. Issues of risk and liability within shopping centre management and leasing are frequent events.