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  1. #1
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    Default Shop clean up contractor

    I have a young person who is working for me doing cleaning, painting, gen maintenance. As I told her I had couple months of full time work and then I would have a day a week of ongoing work.
    I have often thought a person with a business just cleaning shops would do well.
    We all sweep up the areas that we walk and work in, put away most of our tools etc.
    But when it comes to cleaning behind machines, cleaning chips out of the less used machines, getting trash, flammables etc. put away most shops I have been in struggle.
    I have suggested she start a business cleaning shops any thoughts from the small shop owners would be appreciated.

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    Well, what might be junk in my shop might not be junk in someone else's shop. Potential for the wrong stuff to get thrown out.

    What about moving heavy stuff like skids and 55 gal drums? I wouldn't want some stranger driving my towmotor around.

    Maybe just basic sweeping and wiping down exterior of machines, but still lots of sharp chips to get cut on.

    I think it's best left to the employees.

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    Maybe I should add a properly licensed, insured, workman's comp business.

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    Good points, I don't have a very good feel for how most shops handle clean up code compliance etc. I had a large shop ran 16-24 hrs day and had a day and night maintenance guy and now that I have retired my retirement shop is the 1st commercial property as you come in to town ( county seat) so every inspector etc that comes and goes sees the place. I have to keep a very clean etc property.

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    One place I worked had a retired guy work part time keeping the shop clean.
    He even collected the empty aluminum cans and turned them in for scrap. When he saved up enough, he'd buy the shop pizza.

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    Or you could pay everybody half an hour every day to clean. Works stops at 4:30 and out come the brooms, then the Windex. Hiring people with a neatness obsession doesn't hurt, either. It's a good trait for a machinist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldwrench View Post
    Or you could pay everybody half an hour every day to clean. Works stops at 4:30 and out come the brooms, then the Windex. Hiring people with a neatness obsession doesn't hurt, either. It's a good trait for a machinist.
    This is why I am asking for her, in my case shutting machines down making 100+ hr x 10 or 20 employees for a half hour or so, it makes more sense to hire a full time clean up person. I read people on here complaining they are only making 30 bucks a hour is this because a % of the day is spent doing things besides machining? If they don't have a big enough shop to have full time maintenance would a once a week or twice a month company be of value?

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  11. #8
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    I'm more of the mindset that the ones making the mess should clean it up, at least when it comes to specific areas of shop or machines. It's when you're cleaning that you find the little insert screw you lost, the part that rolled away, the loose filter, etc. Things that "good help should know what to do with," but might not. Lots of people see a washer on the floor and think how valuable their time is and just sweep it up with the rest of the trash, but the guy making parts knows that it was made to a specific size (before he dropped it) and is worth 1/2 second to bend over and pick-up. People also tend to create less mess when they are the one's managing it. It's a common issue that rarely is addressed, but I'm of the mind-set that if you don't have time to clean, you need to make time to clean.

    If your company is big enough that you can't afford to have 20 high paid guys pushing brooms at the end of the day, it makes sense to bring in another guy, but you also have to plan on more lost inventory, inconvenient break-downs, etc. Things that the one-man shop usually picks up the slack for.

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    As discussed, much of the cleaning process could be subjective. There are liability issues, etc.

    However, if there were a service that could unobtrusively do all of the nitty-gritty cleaning in my shop; I would absolutely pay for that.

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    Most commercial cleaning outfits ought to be able to do this. I would just define exactly what you want done so you get an accurate price. If you have an actual part timer, it might help keep the guys from making a mess since the cleaning guy will get to it.

    Funny how having a cleaning crew for the executive suite or the sales office is met with shrugs but machinists should have a clean culture or some such.

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    Why not just higher an apprentice. We normally have 2 apprentices on staff. The green guy gets all of the cleaning, etc. When he starts moving up the ladder is when we generally bring on a new green apprentice to do the cleaning, gopher work, etc.

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    Usually was the low man on the pole or the apprentice if there is one. Also if you have a longer cycle time brings out the old saying "You Got Time To Lean You Got Time To Clean"

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    I'm a bit surprised by the number of less-than-enthusiastic responses to this idea - but perhaps folks are thinking of a generic cleaning crew rather than someone who actually specializes in cleaning your business.

    Not an apples-to-apples comparison, but consider a really good administrative assistant. If you have had the pleasure of working with one, you know that person is committed to knowing the ins and outs of your business, taking care of all of the details that you don't want or aren't good at remembering, and thus is a multiplier for everything you do. By contrast, a generic "temp" is going to be of minimal value, even if super highly skilled.

    In an analogous way, I could see a successful business model that specializes, not in generic cleaning, but in cleaning machine shops, and more specifically one that commits to cleaning your shop. Yes, there would be a learning curve; initially they might save *every* washer they find, and you will have to do some sorting. But if they do the job right, they will learn what you always want kept, what you always want thrown away, and what you need to look at to decide. Will they get it right 100% of the time? No - at least, my admin assistant doesn't get it right 100% of the time. But she gets it right 99% of the time, and the 1% that is wrong is greatly outweighed by the 99% that I don't have to worry with.

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    I like it better when people clean up their own mess. Gives them incentive to not make one in the first place.

    Used to work at a larger company that had a contract cleaning service. They let it be known that they were also available for other "simple" jobs. One of the night shift supervisors thought that a bridge hoist system in his area was very dusty and should be cleaned. Out came to janitor on a scissor lift. Neither one of them paid any mind to the feed rails going to the hoist. Thankfully the janitor didn't die, just got zapped a bit. They went back to just cleaning the bathrooms and emptying the trash after that.

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    Just hit my hot button! We had a retired guy I hired to break down boxes, empty the garbage cans etc. He quit one day and I thought he had health problems, then I found out he didn’t like the way the shop foreman treated him! Same reason another guy quit. So now the shop is always a mess. The owner has to tell the manager to clean up before he brings in customers.

    So now the manager has his kid working for the summer. Cleaning up? Why would we teach him that? No he has this kid making crappy looking parts on a lathe or standing around watching him work. Meanwhile these simple parts weren’t being made while he was on vacation because he isn’t training the full time workers how to use a lathe. So when he was gone a worker pushed a broom for a day or two to look busy! They have 6 days to complete a job before liquidated damages of $2700 a day start.

    Of course I am not being a team player and I am devisive when I point this out. I am a team player, on a losing team!

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    there's probably some social behaviour thing about making a bigger mess when you don't have to clean....like how you behaved living at home vs getting your first place

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  26. #17
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    Everyone has good points and when I started we each cleaned up our areas.
    But as most old machinist if I see a shop I will stop and say Hi. From my observations unless it's a very large shop there is very little cleaning that gets done. A lot of shops if the fire marshal showed up or OSHA it would be a month before they made another chip.
    This is why I was thinking it would be a good business opportunity for someone not affraid to get dirty etc.
    It seems most people are ok with the situation as it is.

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    Very good suggestion Mclure,
    I think this is a very noteworthy suggestion.

    This business model would do best in the Midwest, East Coast region.

    There just isn't enough machining going on west of Denver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by garyhlucas View Post
    Just hit my hot button! We had a retired guy I hired to break down boxes, empty the garbage cans etc. He quit one day and I thought he had health problems, then I found out he didn’t like the way the shop foreman treated him! Same reason another guy quit. So now the shop is always a mess. The owner has to tell the manager to clean up before he brings in customers.

    So now the manager has his kid working for the summer. Cleaning up? Why would we teach him that? No he has this kid making crappy looking parts on a lathe or standing around watching him work. Meanwhile these simple parts weren’t being made while he was on vacation because he isn’t training the full time workers how to use a lathe. So when he was gone a worker pushed a broom for a day or two to look busy! They have 6 days to complete a job before liquidated damages of $2700 a day start.

    Of course I am not being a team player and I am devisive when I point this out. I am a team player, on a losing team!
    Why do you continue to tolerate it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by McClure Machine View Post
    I have a young person who is working for me doing cleaning, painting, gen maintenance. As I told her I had couple months of full time work and then I would have a day a week of ongoing work.
    I have often thought a person with a business just cleaning shops would do well.
    We all sweep up the areas that we walk and work in, put away most of our tools etc.
    But when it comes to cleaning behind machines, cleaning chips out of the less used machines, getting trash, flammables etc. put away most shops I have been in struggle.
    I have suggested she start a business cleaning shops any thoughts from the small shop owners would be appreciated.
    Never mind arguing over "clean as you go". That should be standard, regardless. It just doesn't cover EVERYTHING. Nor should it.

    Dunno about it being LIMITED to "shops", but that - plus construction sites - could be a decent niche.

    Next-door neighbour, present era - made a Helluva good business off of rather vanilla "maid service" by taking-on residential, but even more so - office and commercial.

    Fast-backward to the 1950's, Day Job had a contractor that did the whole plant of a Saturday so production was not affected.

    It's a "real business", sure 'nuf. But so is "dog walking".

    One has to be where there are CUSTOMERS, as with any other.


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