Spring Cleaning

not just for spring!

By Chris Quinlan

The best doggy daycares and boarding establishments across the country understand the importance of cleaning and make it a priority every day, all year long. The ones that do get the ultimate payoff: customer compliments, referrals, and repeat business.

We are in the pet hospitality business. Our goal is to provide the best possible experience for our guests and their owners. It is extremely important to have a visibly clean and odor-free place where pet owners can leave a family member for a day, a week, or a month without any concerns for their health and well-being. Creating a healthy environment for your guests depends greatly in part on how well you clean.

How your business looks and smells are two of the top criteria pet owners use when choosing a daycare or boarding facility. Make cleaning a top priority at your daycare or boarding establishment, and you’ll be at the head of the pack when it comes to the competition.

When running a business that accommodates hundreds of guests a week, sanitation also needs to be a top priority. Having a sanitation section of your operations manual is recommended for all daycare and boarding businesses. Some cities and counties require that you present a sanitation plan before issuing a business license.

Cleaning is only a part of the sanitation section of your operations manual. The purpose of cleaning is to remove the dirt that gets brought into our facilities all day long, every day. Cleaning is a repetitive task that needs to completed on a daily basis.

Create a standard operating procedure (SOP) for three separate cleaning situations. Write them down as part of the sanitation section of your operations manual. The three cleaning situations would be daily cleaning, spot cleaning, and detail or deep cleaning. Daily cleaning needs to be quick and effective, usually done before and after operating hours. Spot cleaning should take little time, be safe for around the guests, and be done throughout the business hours. Detail cleaning is more thorough and focuses on deeper cleaning situations that should be done on a planned, regular basis when there’s additional time and labor.

The SOPs need to be as efficient as possible. That means getting the desired results for the least amount of time and money. Efficiency is always our goal in everything we do when running a business. Remember that nine-tenths of the cost of getting your facility clean is employee costs. The tools and products we use to get it done are one-tenth of the cost.

The objective is to get the cleaning done properly with as few products and as little labor as possible. Anytime a tool or product reduces the employee time needed to get the job done, it should be considered and possibly implemented. The daily cleaning process should be simple but effective. Providing the proper tools to get the job done is important; replacing worn out tools is just as important.

All three cleaning SOPs will be unique to your business based on a few factors: the design of your daycare or boarding facility, size of your facility, and surface types you have to maintain. These factors will determine the cleaning procedures you create and the products used for each one of your cleaning situations.

Cages, cage-free, indoor, outdoor, traditional kennels, prefab kennels, suites, condos, drains, no drains – the design differences vary quite a bit between individual daycare and boarding businesses. The design of your daycare or boarding facility dictates how it will need to be cleaned. For example, traditional kennels that are able to be hosed down would be cleaned differently from pet suites with no drains. A spray procedure is a more efficient method of cleaning traditional kennels with drains, whereas a mop and bucket may be more appropriate for a pet suite with no drains.

The size of the facility will determine the method of cleaning. For example, a pet care facility with a lot of square footage should consider using a floor machine called an autoscrubber. Called miniature Zambonis by many people, the autoscrubber applies cleaner or water and then scrubs and dries the floor. One staff member can clean a very large area quickly. One nice feature about these machines is that they recover the cleaning solutions. This is an excellent feature to have, especially in a no-drain cleaning situation. Autoscrubbers are ideal for most types of floors we see in daycare and boarding businesses. This equipment is also being used on concrete, both indoors and outdoors, where cleaning is necessary but dirty water recovery is a city or county requirement.

Different surface types will also determine how and, even more importantly, what you use to clean. Synthetic turf, stainless steel, galvanized steel, plastic, fiberglass, painted, glass, wood, epoxy flooring, rubber flooring, waxed flooring, concrete, and asphalt are some of the surface types we need to clean.

Any chlorine-based products or accelerated hydrogen peroxide-based products will attack and destroy many of your surfaces. These products are especially hard on metals. They are also unstable, which means they quickly lose their ability to kill germs. This is why some daycares and boarding businesses smell. They are cleaning with products that no longer kill the odor-causing germs. In these facilities, bleach water is far more destructive than beneficial in any way. As owners, we pay a lot of money for professional quality kennels and beautiful synthetic turf. To use any product that destroys those surfaces is a mistake and not necessary.

A quaternary-based hospital-grade disinfectant cleaner is ideal for a daycare and boarding business. It is easy to use, stable, animal and people safe, surface safe, and equipment safe. It has no fumes, cleans well, deodorizes, and is cost effective. These cleaner disinfectants are concentrates and have different dilutions that will determine their strength and cost. Getting a recommendation from a company that specializes in products for use in the pet care industry helps. These companies are able to recommend a cleaning procedure and product based on what you’re cleaning, which will efficiently get the results you’re looking for without destroying the surfaces.

Sticking to one product for your daily cleaning is the simplest and most efficient. Choosing a product that combines a cleaner, a disinfectant, and a deodorizer in one is best. This is better than needing three separate chemicals for the same uses. The more products you have, the more difficult it is to train staff on what to use where. It costs more and makes it more difficult to be OSHA compliant. Stay away from products that release fumes into the air, which could irritate the guests and are destructive to the surfaces being cleaned.

Once you’ve developed your SOP for each of your three cleaning situations, be sure to go over them frequently with your staff. Help them understand the importance of proper sanitation in your daycare and boarding business. Go over cleaning procedures with the same staff every 90 days and with some staff more often, because everyone has their own ideas on how things should be done.

Look for the staff who like to clean and praise them for a job well done. Let them know that their diligent cleaning is creating a healthy environment for both the guests and staff. Whether your business is pleasing to the eyes and nose will be determined by how much you and your staff prioritize the cleaning. Make cleaning a top priority at your pet care business, and your customers will let you know how much they appreciate it with that ultimate payoff of many compliments, many referrals, and lots of repeat business.

Chris Quinlan grew up in a family business that has specialized in hospital hygiene, sanitation, laundry, and floor care since 1958. While earning a Bachelor of Science degree from California Polytechnic University, Chris also received extensive training in the areas of chemistry, microbiology, hospital infection control principles and practices, institutional hygiene, environmental sanitation, odor control, floor care, and OSHA compliance. Shortly after entering the family business, Chris started the animal care division of the company in 1989. “My objective when I started the animal care division of our company was to help the pet care industry do a better job of creating a healthy environment for the animals in their care. I knew that my education and expertise in environmental sanitation would benefit these businesses.” Today Chris is president of Health Technology Professional Products, a leading brand in the pet care industry, and owns the Riverwalk Pet Resort with his wife Gia. Chris has been a speaker on sanitation for the Pet Services Association national meeting, as well as speaking on hospital hygiene and sanitation at several veterinary schools and associations. Over the last 25 years, Health Technology has developed many products based on the specific needs of a animal care facility. Products like Triple Two, Eliminator, Kennel Kare SC, and Cage & Kennel Degreaser have been time-tested over the years to be the absolute best products available to maintain a clean and odor-free pet care business. Go to sanitationsimplified.com to find out more, or call 1-800-424-7536 and a sanitation consultant will do a free evaluation of your pet care business.

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