In-House vs. Outsourced Cleaning Services: Pros and Cons



The in-house vs. outsourced cleaning quandary has been debated for centuries…well maybe not centuries but if your business has ever considered the possibilities of each, it probably feels like that long. You find yourself constantly going back and forth, revisiting the same topic - well maybe it will save moneybut what if our needs aren’t met…how will this affect operations…you know the drill. 

Weighing the pros and cons

A case for in-house cleaning staff

Scheduling: In-house often permits the most flexibility in terms of when the cleaning is done - whether early morning, late night or throughout the day. Especially with changing class schedules, this is an important consideration.

Security: Often in-house is preferable to owners and managers because they feel like they know who is there doing the work versus whatever random person or people the cleaning service may send.

Familiarity: In-house cleaning staff are likely to be very familiar with the work being performed and the special needs of the facilities. While an outsourced cleaning service will likely learn this information in time, this familiarity does provide considerable value in the decision-making process.

Culture: Staff employed by your team are part of the company culture, whereas it could be more difficult for outsourced staff to assimilate. 

Safety Training: As part of the team, in-house cleaning staff are updated, along with other staff, about safety issues related to the equipment, products used and other safety concerns in the facility. Outsourced cleaning workers can certainly be updated as well, but very often they are not, which could result in an unfortunate incident.

A case for outsourced cleaning staff

Cost Savings: This is a big one and likely the area where the most benefit can be realized from outsourced cleaning. With in-house cleaning staff, your business must pay all employment taxes, workers’ compensation, and other expenses for these workers, just as it would any other person on staff; if these services are outsourced, these costs are paid by the cleaning contractor, along with insurance, healthcare, and similar employee benefits.

Supply Costs: With an outsourced service, all of the equipment, cleaning solutions, and other products used for cleaning are purchased by the contractor. Further, if the contractor is a member of a group purchasing organization, it will be able to purchase supplies at reduced prices. Often, these savings are worked into the contractor’s charges, resulting in another cost savings for your business.

Budgets: If your budget is reduced, you simply must tell the contractor that service adjustments – such as reducing cleaning frequencies – are necessary. On the other hand, with in-house cleaning, this may require making staff reductions, which can end up being complicated and leave some cleaning needs unmet.

Hiring & Firing: Related to cleaning budget reductions, when it comes to hiring and firing, most businesses prefer to focus on those workers actually needed by the facility to provide its services; often, they prefer not to be in charge of the hiring or firing of cleaning workers.

Supervision, Training & Coverage: With an in-house cleaning staff, supervision, training and coverage for employee call-outs becomes the responsibility of the business. Outsourced service providers usually have a standardized training program, provide supervision as needed and are required to cover their own call-outs. 

Settling the debate

While there are certainly pros and cons to both options, your decision is more black and white than you may think.

If security and culture are your main concerns, go with in-house cleaning staff. While there is no guarantee that your own staff will not steal or that they will assimilate to your company culture, you do have the power to choose. Unless you have a special deal worked out with your contractor, a cleaning service will send people they have chosen and maybe not the same people every time, heightening security concerns.

If cost savings are your main concerns, go with outsourced cleaning staff. Operationally and financially speaking, this is a no-brainer. How much money (not just in direct cost but also in time) are you spending hiring, training, managing and firing cleaning staff as well as money on supplies and employee taxes, insurances, etc?


If you still have concerns about outsourcing your cleaning needs, discuss your concerns with some reputable service providers. A great cleaning company will offer customized options to suit your needs, such as employee training on your company’s specifications, allowing you to have a say in who they send to clean your facility, hiring staff that suit your company’s image and providing background checks on all employees. 

Afterall, cleaning is a business in itself - ask yourself, does it really make sense to run two businesses simultaneously rather than focusing your attention on the one that’s important?