Archive for the ‘cleanliness’ Category

Who’s Responsible for the Cleanliness of Your Club?

Monday, May 7th, 2012

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.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

Add                to Technorati Favorites

Make It Sparkle!

Monday, November 9th, 2009

When one considers all of the things that go into making a club distinctive and appealing to its members, one of the most visible is its cleanliness.  Whether a club has its own housekeeping staff or contracts with a cleaning service, cleanliness is an essential element of a quality club operation.  As with any other aspect of quality, standards must be defined and ensured.

The following list includes some of the essential areas that must be monitored for a high level of cleanliness:

Entryways are one of the most visible areas of the club through which every member and guest will pass and often make the first impression of any visit to the club.  Sidewalks and pavers must be constantly blown or swept.  Cigarette butts must be policed continually; trash or butt cans must be cleaned and emptied frequently.  The entry door must be appealing.  Smudges and handprints on glass doors or sidelight windows are unsightly and require constant wiping.  The doorsill or plate has edges and grooves that collect dirt and debris and is often overlooked.  Entry walk-off mats need to be removed and cleaned daily.

Restrooms are areas where members expect the highest level of sanitation and cleanliness.  They are used constantly and need constant attention.  Sinks and counters need to be wiped down.  Mirrors get spattered and must be cleaned.  Trash cans, particularly on busy occasions, can overflow with hand towels and waste.  Supplies must be checked and replenished as usage levels dictate.

Dining Rooms and Bars, because of the food and beverages served, must be kept clean and “appetizing” at all times.  Trash cans must be emptied frequently, wiped down, and sanitized to avoid offensive odors.  Carpets around tables and chairs receive spills and dropped food items.  They must be vacuumed thoroughly on a daily basis and shampooed with some frequency.  The furniture itself must be cleaned daily to prevent food buildup.  Young children can make a mess of highchairs.  These must be cleaned and sanitized after each use.  Menu covers can quickly get smudged and grimy and should be cleaned or replaced often.

Lobby or Seating Areas often have large overstuffed furniture.  These should be vacuumed daily, particularly the cushions which collect dust and debris, under cushions, and along raised seams.  Tables and bookshelves need to be dusted daily.

Picture Frames, Paintings, and Window Molding need frequent dusting and are often overlooked, particularly if high on a wall.

Windows allow light to enter and Mirrors reflect that light.  Often one doesn’t notice how dirty they can get until light hits them in a certain way and this will most certainly to be noticed by members and guests.

quote-call-outs1-3High Ceilings, Chandeliers, and Ceiling Fans give dramatic effect, but are the perfect place for cobwebs and dust to collect.  Inspecting with a keen eye and the use of a telescoping duster should be a daily habit, particularly in food service areas.

Verandahs and Porches require the same discipline, but even greater vigilance given their exposure to the elements and outdoor bugs and spiders.

While not as visible, Sanitation is of even greater importance given the health and hygiene implications.  A recent television report claimed that tests had shown that the handles on grocery carts harbored more germs than toilet seats.  While clubs don’t use grocery carts, the undeniable implication of this story is the near universal transmission of germs by people’s hands (and this takes on even greater importance in light of the current Swine Flue pandemic).  A further story had a doctor saying that the most effective habit in avoiding the flu was constant hand washing.

These two stories combined point out the necessity of using disinfectant cleaners on any surface touched by human hand.  Some surfaces that readily come to mind are door knobs and handles, banisters and railings, flush handles on toilets, sink handles, golf car steering wheels, armrests on chairs, bar and table surfaces, water fountains, ice machines, dish or glass washers, or any other surface or place frequented by members, guests, and employees – particularly those employees who handle food and drink.

Paying attention to these issues of cleanliness and sanitation will go a long way in creating the very real impression of a quality club operation.  While the housekeeping staff or contractor is charged with the tasks of cleanliness and sanitation, it is still the managers’ responsibility to establish the standard and to ensure it is met.  Making all employees aware of the need for a clean and sanitized operation, and providing the necessary tools and training for each department to clean whenever there is spare or down time, will ensure that everyone recognizes the shared responsibility of keeping your club clean.

And giving it that extra sparkle will help your operation and reputation shine!

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.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

Add to Technorati Favorites