General Services – Reduce Spending on Janitorial Contracts

Savings: $5 million

In large part, the City outsources janitorial services for City offices. With the notable exception of libraries, most janitorial services are provided by three vendors to which the City paid $15.8 million in 2009 and $17.9 in 2010.[1]  The table below details the payments by vendor for each of the last two years.


2009 Amount

2010 Amount

Aguirre Building Maintenance



Nationwide Janitorial Corporation



Triad Consulting Services, Inc.






One of the provisions in the janitorial contracts is that the vendors are required to “vacuum, dry mop, or damp mop entryways, entry mats, and all hard surface floors, including baseboards and corners” and “vacuum all carpet, including corners, edges and hidden areas” on a daily basis.[2] Additionally, in public bathrooms, the vendors are required to mop all floors and clean mirrors on a daily basis.

Under this option, the City would rewrite these contracts to perform these services every other day. For offices that are open during weekdays, this would mean cleaning would only take place on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. For offices open seven days a week, cleaning would take place on four alternating days a week. While some tasks, such as emptying garbage cans would still take place daily, reducing the frequency of more labor-intensive tasks should significantly reduce the number of work-hours billed to the City under each of the three contracts.

Since this change would result in an approximately 40 percent reduction in the most labor intensive services provided under these contracts, assume this would reduce spending on the contracts by 30 percent. This would result in a savings of approximately $5 million annually.

Proponents might argue that regular office space does not need to be vacuumed and mopped daily, and given that a reduction in cleaning service is unlikely to affect the delivery of City services, this an area where it makes sense for the City to achieve savings. Opponents might argue that a clean working environment is essential to worker productivity and that if janitorial contractors are not performing these services daily, then City staff will be forced to fulfill these responsibilities.  Additionally, reducing the value of these contracts will likely result in layoffs for a number of the employees who work for these contractors.

Budget Details

Dept: General Services, 038 Bureau: Property and Security Management, 2015
Fund: Corporate, 0100 Approp Code: Office and Building Services, 0125
The appropriation is located on page 95 of the 2011 Annual Appropriation Ordinance.



[2] City of Chicago. Contract Numbers 13383, 13390, 14785.