Who’s Responsible for the Cleanliness of Your Club?

If you said the General Manager, you’re right!  But John the GM delegated the task to Joanne, the clubhouse manager, who in turn hired Sonya and Maria to do the job.

After several months John noticed that the cleanliness of the club didn’t meet his expectations.  In speaking with Joanne about it, he discovered that Joanne had assumed that Sonya and Maria knew what they were doing and how to properly clean the club – after all they came with excellent references!

As John began to list the things he felt were being neglected, a light went on in Joanne’s head.  Joanne realized that if Sonya and Maria were going to meet John’s expectations, she would have to make sure she understood those expectations and then communicate them to Sonya and Maria.  So Joanne asked John to walk around the clubhouse with her to point out all the things he expected in terms of cleanliness.  This illuminating tour helped Joanne better understand what John wanted.  In response to Joanne’s questions, John clarified what he meant by cleanliness by discussing both type of cleaning – vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, polishing, emptying trash cans, mopping, high dusting, window washing, bathroom cleaning, upholstery and drapery cleaning, carpet shampooing, etc. – and the frequency of each.

The conversation then swung to cleaning tools, equipment, and supplies.  They both agreed that bleach should not be used due to the danger of spills on expensive carpeting and overstuffed furniture, but that sanitizing wipes should be used to wipe door handles, railings, bannisters, and various areas in bathrooms and locker rooms.

During the discussion it was also realized that some of the heavier, periodic tasks should probably be handled by the maintenance staff, such as cleaning the bugs out of the portico light fixtures and power washing the exterior windows, and as the discussion progressed John and Joanne admitted that it probably made more sense to contract out some of the work such as shampooing carpets.

Based on these conversations Joanne drafted up what she called the club’s cleaning standards.  She then asked John to review and approve the requirements.  After several revisions, John approved the standards and asked Joanne to analyze the requirements to determine the most efficient and cost effective way to meet them.  A week later Joanne returned with her analysis and recommendations.

The end result was that the club hired an outside contractor to shampoo carpets and steam clean draperies and another to power wash the building exterior and wash windows on a schedule drawn up by Joanne.  She then turned her attention to working with Sonya and Maria to determine the best work schedule to meet the standards, keeping in mind the daily and weekly member traffic in various areas of the club.  Joanne then asked the two cleaning ladies for a list of necessary cleaning products, tools, and equipment to enable them to meet the standards.

Joanne also discussed with Sonya and Maria the cleaning requirements before, during, and after major events and large catered parties.  Both Sonya and Maria appreciated the fact that Joanne consulted with them about both the expected standards and cleaning strategies.

Over the next few weeks, Sonya and Maria enthusiastically set about meeting the standards and made numerous suggestions to overcome minor obstacles and to clarify and refine some of the requirements.  Maria even suggested a cheaper sanitizing wipe that she found and was using at home.

The renewed emphasis on club cleanliness made Joanne far more aware and observant as she went about her daily routine.  Once all the bugs and kinks were worked out, she finalized the cleaning standards, policies, procedures, and list of cleaning materials, supplies, tools, and equipment in writing so that when there was the inevitable turnover in the cleaning staff, all expectations and requirements would be consistently passed on to new hires.

For both Joanne and John came the satisfaction of knowing that the club was cleaned properly on an ongoing basis, but the real clincher came when the club president remarked that his wife had been unhappy with the cleanliness of the club for some time, but had failed to mention it to anyone.  Lately, though, she noticed and was impressed by a distinct improvement in all areas of club cleanliness.  He asked that John pass on his wife’s compliments to the two new cleaning ladies who were obviously doing a great job.

John smiled and with great satisfaction said that he would certainly pass on the compliments to all involved.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

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