Internal vs. External Cleaning Teams

by | Jun 17, 2020

In the Food & Beverage Industry, cleaning is paramount for brand longevity and success. The industry has several key auditors and regulatory bodies who expect you to meet a certain level of hygiene – which, if not met could see a business penalised or even shut down.

When choosing an in-house or outsourced structure for your facility there are two main options: Internal Cleaning Team & External Cleaning Team

In today’s article, we will look at what should be considered when choosing between internal vs external cleaning structures, which is the better option & why it’s better? When making decisions on cleaning the most influential questions seem to be – Cost & Effectiveness based. See a detailed breakdown below about which cleaning structure is superior:

What Is Better Cost-Wise?

The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) estimates that in-house cleaning is, on average, 23% more expensive than contract cleaning. It is a common misconception that Internal cleaning teams are cheaper, whilst their hourly rate might allude to the labour being slightly cheaper – you can’t overlook the other factors. An external cleaning teams wage reflects all of the costs associated with the said individual, including; Taxes & workers compensation, in addition to the outsourced cleaners being covered externally by insurance, healthcare and other similar employee benefits.

It’s also important to note that with in-house cleaning teams there is an increased probability of having to pay overtime. For example, external cleaners are responsible for replacing their staff if there’s an absentee at no additional cost, however, with internal teams the others normally work extra hours to fill the gap.

With over 25 years in the industry – SGA tends to see that in-house cleaning teams only work out to be cheaper if they are doing a quick clean – usually yielding poor results but cutting costs. But if an in-house team is cleaning to yield good hygiene results, then more times than not external teams could save you money.

What Is More Effective?

It is extremely common for in-house cleaning teams to be less efficient. In fact, it is almost a certainty. Normally, internal cleaners are production staff that get scheduled to stay back extra hours following production to clean the facility. The long hours worked by production staff lead to wavering motivation and will usually see a dip in productivity – resulting in less efficient and effective cleaning.

Having external hygiene specialists and a management team specifically focused on keeping your facility spick n span, traditionally results in a more efficient clean, dedicated workers and a higher quality result than pre-fatigued production staff cleaning after finishing their production shift. In addition, an external cleaning team offers greater flexibility and their expertise can offer more autonomy.

Thus far, using external cleaners is less expensive, less effort and more effective.

But let’s breakdown other considerations a decision-maker is challenged with:

ConsiderationsIn-House Cleaning TeamExternal Cleaning TeamComments
Risk to the Organisation ❌✅ The perceived risk to switching to external is perhaps larger than that of internal because of the direct control that is lost when doing so. However, employing a contracted cleaning company reduces direct legal risks as they inherit duty of care & provide their own insurance.
The Ease of Management❌  ✅At SGA we have site & area managers that ensure our cleaning results are industry leading. This alleviates the time & effort needed by internal staff in management positions.
Training & Development❌  ✅External cleaners are usually professional cleaners who are already experienced and well trained. In-house cleaners are normally production staff who just do some cleaning because they must maintain the facility.
Cleaning Supplies✅ If in-house, you’ll need to source all the cleaning supplies and chemicals. Conversely, outsourcing to a professional cleaning company all supplies and chemicals are managed and normally included in the service fee.

In Summary

There are several factors to consider when deciding on internal or external cleaning structures.

The food & beverage industry is what we specialise in and we often see internal tension between the Quality Assurance (QA) Managers who are hygiene result-focused and the Operations Managers / Owners who are money-focused.

If protecting your brand, the health of your consumers and being recognised for fantastic hygiene is important to you & your company then it’s likely you could save time, money and effort outsourcing to a professional cleaning company. Nine times out of ten the companies that save money with in-house cleaning normally have chosen to cut corners with their cleaning and are focused purely on profit. A strategy not conducive to long term success, but can be very profitable in the short term if they manage to pass their audits.

If you currently clean internally and would like to see firsthand how much money outsourcing to a professional cleaning team can save you – We provide free quotes that you can use as a point of reference.

If you are interested in receiving a quote on your facility, please email

Thanks for reading, hope you got some valuable insight from this week’s post. If you enjoyed please like, comment or share.

Kind regards, The SGA Team