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How to Kill Floor Finishing Profits

Sep 21, 2017

Stanley Quentin Hulin, a frequent writer for the professional cleaning industry since 1975 recounts a true story of floor finishing misery. As Hulin describes, a job was recently completed in twelve hours … but it had been budgeted for eight. When the supervisor asks the lead technician to explain the extra time, he hears “that everything was going fine up until it was time to apply the floor finish. “Man, it took forever [for the floor finish] to dry, there was nothing else we could do.” The result - a disappointing loss of profit.

According to Hulin, the hard-floor maintenance industry is extremely competitive with requests for proposals fairly common. Many cleaning contractors “jockey for position” he says to get these lucrative contracts. He goes on to say that many contractors have a problem even if they win their bids because they are based “on optimum conditions and the most aggressive productivity rates.” They neglect to consider vital but unpredictable time factors, particularly the length of time it takes for a floor finish to dry (drying time).

Another cleaning contractor working in the San Francisco Bay area has a similar tale of woe.  The contractor and a helper set to work stripping and refinishing a long hallway in an office building. The hallway was nearly a city block long, but it was a “thin” hallway, so the contractor expected that if he and his helper begin the job at 6:00 p.m., they should finish by midnight or so.

Once again, unpredictable drying time caused financial pain. The office was located directly over water, the humidity was relatively high but, the real culprit was the finish itself. The six or seven hour job became nine because the finish simply took so long to dry, keeping the contractor and his helper at work until about 3:00 am.

There are so many factors that can impact floor finish drying times. However, the key reasons a floor finish may take as much as 60 minutes or more to dry and harden are the following:

  • Temperature, humidity, and air movement; always install air movers to speed drying time
  • The porosity of the floor (number of pores in the floor)
  • Coats are applied are too heavily; always remember to apply thin coats of finish
  • Textured floor surfaces can require more time to dry than smooth surfaces

Before the job, review floor refinishing guidelines with a distributor or online, at Betco U, a free training and certification program for cleaning professionals. Invariably, even the most experienced floor care technician will learn something new.

Select fast-drying floor finishes; new technologies have been developed that can reduce finish drying times to as little as 15 minutes, which almost guarantees you’ll finish the job quickly with money in the bank.

Betco® is known for Floor Care and for delivering total floor care solutions for proven performance and durability. Visit the floor care section of Betco’s website or call 1-800-GO-BETCO. 

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