Frequently Asked Questions

Floor Care

How long will it take to have my carpets cleaned?

This highly depends on the area cleaned. We generally can do 1500~2000sf in an hour, which translates to about 4 or 5 floors of hallways on a residential tower.

How often do I need to get my commercial carpets professionally cleaned?

This depends on several environmental factors, such as traffic, fabric quality, and the season, as well as the what the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning interval for maintaining a warrantee. Some very high traffic areas in winter may require monthly cleanings, but usually is around three to six is required for most residential buildings.

Can I use off the shelf carpet cleaners for spot removal?

Yes but care and attention should be paid to the nature of the stain, the carpet fabric type and the chemical properties of the stain remover. Many use chemical or organic processes to break down the offending material, which can easily damage the carpet permanently if improperly applied. Furthermore without an extraction, residue can remain and affect the carpet’s appearance and/or continue to emit odours until removed.

When will I be able to walk on the carpet after it has been cleaned?

Yes. Carpet cleaning methods are only intended to draw out any impurities. There’s really no issue walking on it after its cleaned, though it may create a visual difference as the carpet fibres will fold differently and stay that way after drying. This will disappear during the next vacuum.

Will there be an odour after you clean the carpets?

Usually not, as we use odourless solutions for most of our cleaning. There are some cases however, where a disinfectant or stain remover are applied, there might be a slight smell of the solution as it evaporates.

Do I need to do anything prior to the technician arriving for my scheduled service?

Please ensure that notices are posted, any protective floor mats are removed, and areas to be cleaned are accessible and clear of visible debris (ie been recently vacuumed). Also ensure that the technician has the ability to access all of the areas he or she needs to work in.

Are there instructions to follow after my carpets are cleaned?

Providing as much ventilation as possible is always recommended – it hastens the drying process. However a building’s regular airflow systems are usually sufficient to accomplish drying in about 24 to 48 hours.

What is Carpet Maintenance?

Maintenance cleanings are intermediate step cleaning that usually don’t involve a heavy extraction. They often use approaches that agitate fibres down to the carpet pile and while different methods can be used to remove dirt, oils or other contaminants. It provides a greater cleaning than a regular vacuum, but is faster than a hot water extraction. They allow for carpets to remain cleaner for longer without the expense of an longer, slower extraction.

What is Carpet Extraction?

Extraction is our regular cleaning approach. It involves using hot water, often with a cleaning solution, being injected into the carpet pile where it reacts to dust, soiling, oils or other discolouration, followed by it being extracted by a powerful wet vacuum. While it sounds simple in practice, knowing what solutions to use for what situation, as well as the cleaning technique, takes years to get right.

How does the Unlimited Carpet spot cleaning program work?

Buildings common areas are very high use areas that are subjected to a lot of abuse. Accidents frequently happen and cleaning them up quickly, in a cost effective manner is critical. Unlimited Spot cleaning is our way to accomplish that. For a one time fee added to your program invoice (approximately 5% more on a carpet cleaning), we address any spots, stains that occur between your regularly scheduled cleaning. This is only available for buildings on a regularly scheduled program.

Hard Surface & Grout Cleaning

Why should I get tile & grout professionally cleaned?

While Tile and grout are far more resilient than carpet, they still require periodic cleaning. tiles are usually porous surfaces that will absorb oils or liquids, often creating discolouration over time. Grout in particular is particularly vulnerable to being affected, as its usually a lighter colour to tiles, and even more porous.

Is professional tile & grout cleaning expensive?

Most foyers require several hours to complete, and the costs are roughly the same as a carpet cleaning of equal time.

How long does it take to get the tile & grout at my building professionally cleaned?

This depends on the surface, and what treatment is applied, but we tend to do 800 SF per hour, or about half the area of a regular building foyer.

Will a professional tile & grout cleaning be disruptive to my building?

Not really. We do need the area to be cordoned off, but we have a long experience with these sorts of situations, so we can minimize any disruption to your staff or guests.

How often do I need to get the tile & grout at my commercial facility professionally cleaned?

This is completely dependent on the traffic, soilage, and janitorial cleaning frequency. Generally once a year, give or take six months suffices.

When will I be able to walk on my floors after a tile & grout cleaning?

This largely depends on whether the surface sealant is applied. Many stone floors will not accept a sealant, so the floor may be able to be walked upon within an hour of cleaning. If a surfacing sealant is applied, a floor may need several hours to a day to dry, depending on the type.

Will there be an odour when cleaning tile and grout?

We use non-aromatic cleaners and sealants – there should be minimal odours.

Do I need to do anything prior to the technician arriving for my scheduled tile and grout cleaning service?

Please ensure that notices are posted, any floor mats are removed, and areas to be cleaned are accessible and clear of visible debris (ie been recently vacuumed).

Are there instructions to follow after my tile & grout surfaces are cleaned?

After the sealant has cured, regular janitorial cleaning of the floors are suggested.


Do I have to sign a long-term contract?

We do not require contracts. ServiceMaster Clean Vancouver starts with a detailed proposal based on your requirements and budget. Even before or after you can make adjustments to this will develop a detailed proposal and task schedule that will both meet your needs and budget. At any time, you can make adjustments to your cleaning requirements, and your representative will then make changes as needed and advise of any pricing revisions. You may also cancel your commercial cleaning service with 30 days written notice

Will the changeover to ServiceMaster Clean be smooth?

We have a strong managerial team with several decades of experience. We’ve transitioned over a hundreds buildings over that time and know what is required to ensure its as seamless as possible for your location. It starts with developing clear lines of communication between our staff and the building’s management, which will continue through the length of the contract. We then ensure that both sides agree on a set of expectations, which we then implement.

What are your rates?

We price jobs according to tasks and length of time our staff undertake on a location – the type of cleaning, the frequency, what equipment is used ect.. In order to provide costing, it requires discussions with buildings to discover what they require and how to fit it within a budget.

How do we pay you?

We’re flexible on payment systems, but accounts are usually invoiced at the end of the month with 30 days to be settled.

Do you supply everything required?

We tend to supply all of the labor, equipment and consumables required, but are flexible and easily able to incorporate buildings’ desires to provide their own equipment or supplies.

What are your hiring practices?

We have a comprehensive screening process and offer higher than industry average wages to ensure that we hire the highest quality candidates to provide the services you desire.

Will we always have the same cleaner?

In almost all cases, yes. Tying staff to a building are associated with a number of positive outcomes: it creates familiarity with a location and its residents, allowing them to operate more efficiently and knowledgeably. In rare cases, such as vacation or other unforeseen circumstance, we may bring in another staff member as temporary relief coverage.

How do you maintain worksite quality?

Continuous training and improvement is a core focus of our company. All staff undergo training on new processes designed to improve their ability to provide a higher level of service to our clients. This may include in-house or on-site classes, as well as courses at training establishments. . All Health and Safety issues and company policies are covered in their initial induction with annual refresher training, as needed. Furthermore we maintain constant open lines of communications between our staff and the building in order to identify and rectify issues quickly. Finally, we undertake scheduled site visits by senior staff that ensure control on the services we provide.

What steps are taken to safeguard our building security?

We are laser focused on the security of the buildings and residents we service. One of the first areas covered in initial transition meetings is identifying security routines and requirements desired by buildings. In addition to those considerations, we also practice strict access control procedures, especially with keys and security passes. We also undertake background checks, and staff are required to wear a company uniform on site.

What insurance do you have?

We have two insurance types – a General Liability insurance and WorkSafe BC coverage for our worker. These protect you against direct liability and any injury to our staff while we’re providing cleaning services to your location.

Can we contact you outside office hours in case of an emergency?


How do we get started with ServiceMaster Clean janitorial services?


Ventilation Cleaning

What is Interior Dryer Vent Cleaning?

Interior dryer vent cleaning involves a technician entering into a residential location and blowing any dust, lint or debris from the dryer unit out through the ducting to the exterior of the house using pressurized air. It is usually coupled with an exterior dryer vent cleaning for a thorough clean.

What is Exterior Dryer Vent Cleaning?

Exterior dryer vent is accomplished largely from the outside of a building, where a air skip is inserted into exterior vent, and then all of the lint or dust is blown back towards the exterior. This method can often be accomplished without entering into residential units and save time, but is not as effective as a interior dryer vent cleaning.

How often should dryer vents be cleaned?

We recommend that buildings alternate between interior and exterior dryer vent cleaning every one to two years. This depends heavily on the construction of the dryer vent system.

Do you move my Dryer for an Interior Clean?

Only for a small number of interior dryer vent cleanings, where a vent hatch is required to clean the ducting, and that it is not easily accessible without moving the dryer. However for most interior cleanings, we can actually access the vent through the dryer to blow debris out.

What kind of Exterior Cover should there be for Dryer Vents?

The most efficient are damper type vents that open and close with increased air pressure. Grill type covers often become blocked with lint, obstructing airflow.

Why do we need to dryer vent clean?

When asked most people immediately respond by saying its the risk of fire, but this is actually very low. The biggest risk of property damage comes from restricted airflow that prevents moist air from exiting the duct properly. If there is sufficient condensation, this can leak out of the vent and cause serious water damage. Even a small restriction can cause issues: it can increase the time it takes to dry clothes, and create more stress on the dryer, requiring a replacement earlier. Finally, we can also identify if there are any ruptures in the duct, which would lead moist air to enter into a residential suite and increase humidity to damaging levels.

What is Central Air Cleaning?

Central air cleaning is a specialty service where we undertake a cleaning of a building’s entire forced air ventilation system. This requires installing a high pressure air system that blows air air through the system, while opening individual vents one by one, thus creating a high powered air flow through a specific vents.

Do you clean bathroom or Kitchen vents?

We generally do not, as these typically do not require cleaning throughout their functional lives.

How long does it take to clean an Interior Dryer Vent?

Usually 5~10 minutes. The process involves accessing the duct end, setting up the compressed air equipment, blowing out the debris, then closing up and cleaning up if there is excessive amounts of dust/lint.

Do I need to be in my unit for a Cleaning?

Completely up to you, it is by no means necessary. Most interior vent cleanings we do are with the resident not in the unit at the time – we are given access by another resident, front desk manager or the door is left unlocked.

Gutter Cleaning

What is a clean Gutter?

A clean gutter is one that is free from any obstruction and water can flow unimpeded. Surface algae may remain if less than 5mm, as this will not affect water flow, and cleaning may cause damage to the gutter.

How do you clean Gutters?

We use one of several methods, The first has a technician physically remove debris using gutter spoons and other equipment. This ensures direct vision of the cleaning area. A second is the use of a gutter vacuum, which sucks any debris out of the gutter. However this generally requires some hands on work to ensure the gutter is clean and some remaining material is removed.

Do you clean Downspouts

Yes. Usually we clean the debris filter to the downspout and its clean-out hatch if one exists. We then test to see there are any obstructions on the outflow, and remedy the problem if one emerges.

What our SMPropertyServices gutter maintenance programs?

Gutter maintenance programs are basically a year round program to ensure that your gutter remains clean. Under a program buildings pay a bit more for their clean(10~20%), but our staff returns if there are any cleaning issue with the gutters in that year. Think of it as insurance – if a building has problems with foliage obstructing gutters year-round, this alleviates the problem.

What is a service call for gutter cleaning?

A service call is a cleaning that occurs when a previously cleaned gutter or drain no-longer functions properly.

Do you provide evidence that the gutters are clean after the service?

Absolutely. At the end of a gutter cleaning, we send out a detailed completion report, with photos, descriptions of the work and crew comments.

Our gutter are still not working right after the service?

Please notify us through our online case system, and we’ll set up an appointment to resolve it immediately.

Do you clean the exterior of gutters?

As part of a gutter cleaning, no – we focus only on the internal function of the gutter. If you want to an exterior clean, we suggest that they are cleaned in the summer, as part of a building facade cleaning.

Window Cleaning

What is a clean window?

A clean window is one that has no spots, streaks, dust or visible surface defects and allows light to pass through unimpeded.

How do you clean windows?

This depends on its location of the window. For low rise buildings above the first storey, we use a tucker pole: basically a soft bristle brush on a long pole that has a constant stream of water. For high rise windows where we use rope access techniques, cleaning is accomplished using a hand squeegee and water.

Do you use soap when cleaning windows?

Only when a hand squeegee is used. Tucker poles use a constant stream of clean water and do not require soap.

What is Pure Water Window Cleaning?

In places where excessive mineralization exists within local water supplies, we can add a filter to remove them to prevent any mineral residue from occurring on the window surface.

What is Post Construction Window Cleaning?

For location that have just finished construction, often excessive dirt, oil and grease smudges, or glue may remain on windows. A post construction clean is often required to remove these residues so that windows look brand new.

What is Mineral Staining?

Mineral staining can occur in situations where excessive mineralization exists in the water. Its often an acidic residue that cannot be easily removed using normal cleaning approaches.

Can you scratch glass when cleaning?

With tucker poles? no since the bristles are soft and brush is made of plastic. It is possible with the metal end of an squeegee, but it is exceptionally rare with a an experience crew member.

What windows are included in a window cleaning service?

Generally window cleaning services only cover non-accessible locations – such as several storeys above the ground. This maximizes value for customers, who can easily clean the windows that can be reached by residents.

My window is streaky after being cleaned

This can occur if a window has not been cleaned properly, such as insufficient scrubbing. Please contact us using our online case form and describe the location or problem within seven days of a service.

There are spots on my windows

First off, please check if the spots are not on the inside of the window. If they are on the outside, please contact us using our online case form and describe the location or problem within seven days of a service.

Pressure Washing

How often do we need to pressure wash?

That is highly dependent on the location’s state. Some locations can require as much as a yearly clean, while others could require a clean every three to five years or more.

How do you pressure wash a parkade?

Typically we need all of the cars and loose objects move out of the parkade. In terms of staging, we typically have the entire area emptied for an entire day, while our crew works through the area.

Do oil stains come out of parkades?

Depending on the oil concentration, it usually is able to be removed.

What surfaces do you pressure wash?

Typically concrete, asphalt, hard plastics (vinyls), and treated woods can be pressure wash.

Do you cold or hot water to pressure wash?

The pressure washer uses the regular cold water tap and does not heat up the water.

I have white staining on surfaces can it be removed?

It can, however mineralization can be indicative of a chronic problem that will not be resolved just by pressure washing.

Can my deck/balcony be pressure washed?

This depends on the material. Some woods, painted acrylics or others cannot be – if you are unsure, its best to ask.

Do do use and chemicals when you pressure wash?

We do not.

Cold Weather Service De-Icing and Snow Removal

What is an automatic De-Icing and Snow Removal Service?

All of our cold weather services are automatic. When the overnight temperature drops below freezing, or snow is forecasted, our crews will arrive at a building to salt and/or remove snow as per the agreement with a building.

How is a cold weather service triggered?

We observe several major weather sources, but with Environment Canada reporting being our primary resource. If the weather is predicted to drop below the freezing point or there is forecasted snow that is predicted to remain on the ground for more than 12 hours even if the area is pre-salted, our snow removal service will kick in.

What area do you service?

The Metro Vancouver area.

What products do you use?

We use a number of different ice melting solutions, including low environmental impact approaches, depending on the situation.

What equipment do you use?

Salt spreaders for salting, snow shovels and blowers for snow removal

Do you provide evidence after the service?

We send out text and email notifications of when the work starts and ends. We also send a post completion report that has photos, description of work completed and comments by the technicians.

Soft Washing

What is Soft Washing?

Soft washing is a building cleaning approach that uses low pressure water systems and cleaning solutions, such as bleach, or other surfactant), to remove organic material and other visible stains from building exteriors. It is far less damaging than power washing.

Health and Safety

Is site specific safety plan required for every site?

Yes, this is required for each job and must be completed and submitted before the start of the work day.

Do you need to wear fall fall protection above 10’ ?

Yes, in all cases.

When do you need a fall protection plan?

A fall protection plan is required anyone planning to operate over 25 feet in height (~7.5 meters)

Does you company have a health and safety program?

We have a robust health and safety program – its one of our sources of pride. We employ an independent safety officer who reviews site safety plans, undertaking regular site checks and guiding training courses to improve our safety. We also have weekly employee led safety meetings and a culture that emphasizes safety’s importance.

What is rope access?

Rope access is an internationally regulated and accredited technique for operating at very high heights, such as off the side of a building. We use rope access to undertake all of our cleaning at heights.

Why is rope access safer than bosun chair?

Yes. Rope access is a highly regulated approach to undertaking activities at heights, such as on the side of a building. It requires multiple levels of certification and the system has a number of redundancies in order to keep workers safe. Bosun Chairs have far less regulation, do not have the same safety redundancies – users cannot self rescue and don’t have any certification regimes like that of rope access personnel.

What certifications does your company have?

All of our rope access technicians have a level 1, 2 or 3 certification from IRATA or SPRAT – the two main governing bodies of the field. Furthermore we follow all of the Worksafe BC regulations governing the field, including the proper safety procedures and oversight mechanisms.


Clean vs Disinfect vs Sanitize

Cleaning only removes the visible contaminants from a surface using cleaners – it does not necessary kill all germs, but it should greatly reduce the risk of infection. Disinfection may not remove the visible contaminants, but will eliminate the vast majority of germs to bring it to a statistically safe level (ie the potential of infection is statistically insignificant). Sanitization removes both the surface contaminants and bring the level of germs down to a safe level as well.