Small Businesses Getting Down and Dirty

The Small Business Index deployed by Mr. Clean Professional™, a provider of small business cleaning solutions, and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) finds that more than one quarter (29%) of small businesses have scaled back on workplace cleaning. The Index was conducted to identify how the economy has affected small business cleaning standards and revealed critical resource shortages faced by owners today.

Despite that roughly one of every three owners (31%) recognized “cleanliness and appearance” as having the greatest impact on customer first impressions, a significant number have curtailed their cleaning processes. Eliminating professional cleaning services and buying cheaper or generic products are the most common ways owners have cut back, while others now clean less often or buy fewer products. Of those who have altered their cleaning practices, almost half (44%) report negative repercussions, such as rising customer and employee complaints and longer cleaning time when using cheaper products.

“Now more than ever, we recognize owners’ needs for solutions that work at the speed of small businesses today and for information that equips them with cleaning best practices,” said Pete Self, research and development manager, P&G Professional.

Six out of 10 small business owners (60%) said time is the biggest barrier to keeping their workplace, whether retail or professional, as clean as possible; meanwhile, less than one sixth (14%) believes staffing is the major hurdle to cleanliness. As a result, the vast majority of small businesses surveyed believe “effectiveness” is by far the most important factor when selecting cleaning products.

Additionally, when asked what cleaning resources would be most beneficial, approximately half of small business owners (49%) cited they need free resources and advice from trusted sources that help them get the cleaning job done.

“Our membership research confirms that owners continue to face tough conditions, including plans to reduce employment over the next several months,” said Mark Garzone, senior vice president, marketing, NFIB. “Solutions that save time in performing the critical task of cleaning as well as resources that offer cleaning guidance are more critical than ever in equipping owners for success.”

The P&G Professional/National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Index is based on a national survey of more than 1,100 small business owners registered with NFIB. Small business owners representing a wide spectrum of industries and functional areas participated in the online survey, conducted by Kelton Research, between October 16 and 26, 2009. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation.