Sustainable solutions, dedicated staff, efficiency, and reduced waste are just a few of the reasons St. Moritz Building Services has earned its reputation. The usual things – just done much better. But with its unstoppable move to day cleaning, St. Moritz is taking janitorial services to a new level.
Created by founder and CEO Philip L. St. Moritz over 50 years ago in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, St. Moritz Building Services does not rest on its laurels. Starting with a handful of employees in 1968, St. Moritz has grown to over 1,300 full and part-time people, a presence in 17 states and counting, and reliable and quality servicing of over 38 million square feet for major institutional and corporate property clients.
Despite its success it continually strives to further optimize its cleaning and maintenance programs for markets including Class A office buildings, retail and lifestyle, education, and industrial and mixed use properties.
By taking a multi-faceted approach to sustainable solutions – ranging from waste audits and fostering relationships with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Green Building Alliance to software programs, St. Moritz remains committed to reducing energy costs and operating expenses for clients, minimizing the economic impact of cleaning, and making the world a better place.
Miguel Villa, St. Moritz’s Director of Business Development, has firmly-held views. “Sustainability — as it should be — is one of our major principles: utilizing products that are less impactful on the environment, and using equipment and processes like HEPA filter vacuums, microfiber cleaning cloths, and adding value by implementing recycling programs and waste audits.”
In the past, large amounts of materials which should have been recycled went to landfill; with St. Moritz’s waste audits, clients receive additional value and are shown exactly what goes into the waste stream. This helps develop programs to reduce waste from landfill, and divert it to appropriate channels.
Historically, cleaners and maintenance staff performed their duties at night, after office and facility workers had gone home. This practice has several downsides, from finding committed staff willing to work late, to wasting energy through always-on lights.
Realizing that there had to be another way to perform services, St. Moritz became an innovator in day-cleaning solutions. With one of the largest day presences in about five markets, St. Moritz employees perform their duties during daylight hours, often eliminating the need for lights and HVAC during the night hours.
“There’s a reduction of six to eight percent in a building’s energy cost by implementing day cleaning,” says company President John Brady. At St. Moritz, sustainable solutions integrate seamlessly into Healthy High Performance Day Cleaning (HHPC), which certifies cleaners have received training to perform day cleaning programs.
To Villa, this is all about the company’s triple bottom line: People, Profit, and Planet. Customers benefit from HHPC, since it is not a capital expense for building owners or operators; it increases labor efficiencies; and it reduces energy costs and operating expenses, boosting the value of their properties. “It is pretty significant when you start talking large square footages,” says Villa.
These initiatives weave into benefits for the planet. By reducing energy costs, the carbon footprint of a building’s operations is also lowered, reasons why St. Moritz is making approaches to the USGBC and the Green Building Alliance, which focus on helping building owners and property managers reduce water usage and energy consumption.
“It’s a program we can implement with comparatively little effort and no capital expense, which is really unique compared to revamping an HVAC system, or the lights of the building,” says Brady. “It’s a really unique offering we have.”
As ways for St. Moritz to differentiate themselves from the competition and add value for their clients, green cleaning and sustainability continue to grow, and today go well beyond just choosing cleaning products that are better for the environment.
Recognition and appreciation
For St. Moritz, day cleaning has also positively resulted in much lower turnover rates in the industry — which can be over 400 percent — by providing jobs people want to be in. Since day cleaning focuses on an eight-hour model at a market wage rate, retention rates are higher since most workers prefer to be on a dayshift. As night janitor work is traditionally a thankless job, cleaners also feel more valued for their efforts during the day.
“With day cleaning, they become part of the building they are in, and are appreciated and recognized by people who see them every single day,” comments Villa. “We really embrace that at the core, because we believe if we take care of our employees as a priority, they will take care of our customers, so we have to put them first and foremost.”
For St. Moritz Building Services, another benefit to the company is gaining additional clients because of its green initiatives. As a result of presentations given by St. Moritz to the commercial real estate community on the benefits of sustainable cleaning, customers – and even competitors – are embracing the concept of ‘going green,’ bringing the idea into the mainstream, and becoming a factor in the company’s recent growth and a differentiator in gaining market share.
Smart software solutions
Another way St. Moritz works for its clients is through the use of CleanTelligent. An award-winning janitorial software solution, CleanTelligent proves contracts are being fulfilled, and project margins are being protected.
CleanTelligent is web-based software, accessible through your Internet browser or mobile device. As your teams and customers add data through inspections, work orders, surveys and service scheduling, you can track your performance and use the reporting features to make the right decisions.
Making lives easier for over 35,000 cleaners worldwide, the software is web-based; once a new account is set-up, a template is created within the software system, and allows for quality control, walk-throughs and more, with work being audited.
A robust system with a user-friendly interface, CleanTelligent allows managers to do inspections from their Smartphones, and take pictures on a one-to-three scale for grading. Along with login and dashboard capabilities, the system also has the ability to create QR Code surveys for restrooms in commercial or retail buildings.
If there is a need for stocking or immediate restroom service, an occupant in the restroom can scan a QR Code and fill out a quick anonymous survey, with information sent directly to the management team for quick response.
Unlike some companies taking on new business for its own sake, St. Moritz refuses to sacrifice its existing customers for the sake of growth. Wanting to maintain its high level of service to current clients, the company has in fact turned down business.
“Every time we have an opportunity, we measure it,” says Villa. “Will this fit with our operational structure? Will this mesh with our ability to provide services? Will this jeopardize our managers’ abilities to maintain our commitment to customers we already have, and will we be able to provide the same level of service to this new customer as we do to everyone else? And if we can’t get a resounding ‘yes’ on all those aspects, then we really have to dig in and say: is this the right business for us to take on, and should we even be entertaining this?”
As the company expands, its idea of ideal growth is strengthening its ability to service customers, rather than diluting. “We don’t want to get worse as we get bigger,” says Villa. “If we can get bigger and be able to provide more resources and strengthen our management team, and make better, stronger, more resounding investments in our structure and our service platform, then that is intelligent growth.”
Emphasizing healthy client satisfaction and retention, the company is seeing more expansion into commercial real estate development, especially in Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Raleigh, where many new office buildings are being built. Realizing that the nature of work is changing, St. Moritz is adapting to the times.
In sectors such as tech-savvy real estate, the company’s services can expand beyond janitorial maintenance to concierge, resetting conference rooms, and stocking kitchenettes and coffee areas.
“As the labor market tightens and the workforce changes, I think providers like us are going to be called upon to do more than just what our core services are, so that’s a way for us to be valuable,” says Brady.
“And the same for manufacturing. As their demand ebbs and flows rapidly, they have the ability to rely on partners that can respond to those changes quickly as well.”