Want to improve your cleaning quality? Need to know how things are really going on-site — over time, without bias? Janitorial inspections are the key.

Creating a janitorial inspection checklist: Really good janitorial inspections can change your business forever. Here's how to get started.

First: What are janitorial quality control inspections, and why do them?

At their most basic, a janitorial or facility inspection is an evaluation of the cleanliness of a space and the quality of the cleaning.

A good quality control inspection:

  • Focuses on all of the areas the cleaning or maintenance team is responsible for (and none that they aren’t)
  • Gathers concrete data, such as a final score, action items, and deficiencies
  • Is scored consistently, making it easy to compare results over time
  • Uses a helpful rating system to give an overall picture of cleaning quality

Why inspect? We’ve found it’s really the only way you’re going to get a realistic picture of how things are going at your facilities. If you rely on your own impressions and word-of-mouth from your team, you’re only getting part of the picture. And if you’re only hearing about quality concerns once your client has noticed, that’s a really big problem.

When you regularly inspect your managed spaces with a well planned checklist, consistent ratings, and attention to detail, you’ll get valuable insight that will help you fix problems early and drive growth for your business.

Formal vs. informal inspections

You might informally inspect your space whenever you walk through. If you notice that the space is particularly well cleaned, or if there are things that need to be fixed, you’ll probably communicate that to your team.

There’s nothing wrong with this kind of informal assessment… but if it’s all you’re doing, you’re probably not getting the real story on cleaning quality in your facilities.

During a formal inspection, the inspector (whether that’s an owner, supervisor, team lead, etc.) goes through a list of line items and rates the quality of the cleaning to give the area a score. They’ll also note any problems that need to be addressed.

What should I have on my inspection checklist?

Your inspection checklist will be made up of line items that need to be looked at. So what needs to go on the list?

Here at OrangeQC, we really believe that the best inspections are the ones that actually get done. We’ve seen it so many times: a team creates a beautifully thorough inspection checklist with a nuanced rating system… but no one ever uses it.

So when you’re creating your checklist, keep these tips in mind:

  • Inspect what you expect. Does your cleaning team use a checklist that tells them what and how to clean? Great! Start with that.
  • Make it quick. If your inspections take too long to do, they’re going to get pushed to the back burner. When they’re fast and easy, they get done! Don’t use the same list you use for a big, quarterly review of the whole building for a quick five-minute walk-through you want done twice a week.
  • Make it easy. Include notes on what kind of clean deserves what score. That helps inspectors know right away how to rank each line item.

What kind of rating system should I use?

There are many kinds of rating systems you can use for inspection forms (and even within the form for certain line items). These include:

The more choices the inspector has, the more nuanced your inspection data will be. However, more choices also introduces more subjectivity and can make the form take longer to complete.

Want more insight? Check out our free downloadable guide to different rating scales for janitorial inspections, or read more about how to pick the right rating scale for your inspection forms.

How do I ensure consistent ratings across my team?

Inspection consistency is a huge piece of a successful quality control program. When you look at your data, you want to see trends that reflect the cleaning quality… not that one of your inspectors is a hard grader.

That’s why everyone who does inspections at your facilities needs to be on the same page. You can do this in a few ways:

  • Specific, objective criteria for your line items. If you’ve got a 1–3 rating scale and there’s a handprint, how will that affect the score? What about if the trash bin is emptied, but not wiped down? Including this criteria on your forms (such as with a note on the line item in OrangeQC) makes this really straightforward.
  • Training your inspectors. Do an inspection together, talking over each line item and why you’re giving it the rating you choose. Or, after your inspector does an inspection, go through the list and ask them to talk through their rating choices. This helps everyone stay on the same page.

Download a free janitorial inspection checklist

We’ve created a free printable janitorial inspection checklist to get you started. This is a great resource for starting very basic inspections, which can help you understand what you need out of a more robust quality control program. Or, you can use it as inspiration to begin drafting your own custom checklists.

Want an editable version? Open the inspection checklist in Google Drive here, then make a copy to edit however you’d like.

How can technology make inspections easier and more powerful?

It’s 2019! Most of us aren’t even using paper checklists for the grocery story anymore.

Janitorial inspection apps and software, such as OrangeQC, simplify the entire process by allowing your inspectors to fill the form out on their phones or tablets with a few quick swipes.

Plus, there’s a lot you just can’t do with paper: GPS and timestamps to ensure accuracy, real-time updates so you can see the results as they come in, and photos, to name a few.

We also crunch all the data for you. Dashboards, email alerts, PDF reports, and more keep you in the loop and help you deliver the kind service that clients expect in 2019.

But whether you’re using paper, an app like OrangeQC, or any other kind of inspection, the most important thing is to always be inspecting. We’ve seen time and time again how this simple change transforms janitorial teams and takes them to the next level. It really is the key to quality control!

Ready for simpler, easier, and more powerful janitorial inspections? Start your free 30-day trial of OrangeQC. No credit card info required, so you can get started right away.