Cleaning North America

CleanMark Group
Written by Robert Hoshowsky

One of North America’s most recognized and respected facility management companies, CleanMark is founded on values of service, integrity, collaboration, and passion.

Established in 1997, CleanMark recently marked its 25-year anniversary of service excellence. This milestone stands as a testament to the enduring dedication to its values, demonstrated day in and day out.

Today, following decades of sustained organic growth, CleanMark deploys a workforce of more than 2,000 employees and certified service providers. Its client list spans North America, encompassing a diverse range of sectors, territories, and client requirements—from coast-to-coast retail chains to single site condominium owners.

Built on great people, operational excellence, and a values-based approach, CleanMark’s success is driven by the pursuit of innovative solutions that deliver the highest level of commercial cleaning and workplace compliance. In practice, that can be evidenced through the development of proprietary technology to deliver real-time service reporting, the implementation of up-to-date compliant cleaning legislation, and an ongoing commitment to embedding sustainable working practices that minimizes each client’s environmental impact.

While CleanMark can rightly take pride in its expanding national network, there is also a deep understanding that local knowledge is key to delivering facility management excellence. Creating a national network of local expertise means that managers live and work in the areas they oversee, communities are invested in, employment opportunities are created, and local suppliers are supported.

“We have always attempted to have a positive effect on the communities we work in,” says CleanMark’s Principal, Angela Vavitsas. “We refer to our own workforce as the CleanMark community. It is part of our DNA and it gives me immense pleasure to know that our commitment to identifying and nurturing outstanding local talent continues to fuel our growth as an organization and as individuals.”

And it makes perfect business sense. If you have a skilled, loyal, and motivated workforce who are offered career development opportunities and feel a sense of ownership because they are employed and valued in their community, that is a strong foundation on which to build a service-focused business. Support those employees with the technology and tools to nurture a high-touch, fully accountable relationship that the client can rely on, and you have the perfect recipe for success. It is not unusual for CleanMark staff to work at the same site for years—in some instances, decades. That builds trust and equally importantly, a consistent clean which enables the client to focus on their core business activities.

Until recently, CleanMark’s growth had been exclusively organic, but earlier this year, the company was approached by Newton Cleaning & Maintenance Services. Owners and operators of Newton since 2008, the Newton family had built a successful business that specialized in servicing condominium properties in Port Hope, Peterborough, and Cobourg. It was a conversation that led CleanMark to expand its growth strategy, pivot, and embark on something new.

Vavitsas expressed her enthusiasm, stating, “We’re delighted with the Newton acquisition and although it is early days, we look forward to combining our expertise and resources to create new and exciting facility management opportunities for our businesses across the region. Given that CleanMark is an organization traditionally built on organic growth, we feel this acquisition stands as a testament to the high regard in which we hold the Newton team.”

Vavitsas elaborates, “Lastly, and importantly, CleanMark’s and Newton’s values are aligned, anchoring this partnership in a set of shared values that we believe is critical for ongoing success. We are extremely proud to align ourselves with a company that shares our vision and commitment to service excellence.”

Synergy plays a key role in ensuring a smooth acquisition, allowing for a seamless transition that diminishes the uncertainty that all too often hinders two companies coming together. CleanMark worked hard to ensure existing staff, roles, and client service were uninterrupted and that Newton employees were communicated with transparently and welcomed into the CleanMark community.

In the future, CleanMark plans to increase the service offering by introducing additional specialist services, like condominium superintendents, which have already been successfully implemented in other aspects of the business. The approach here prioritizes evolution over revolution, aiming to preserve the positive attributes that initially made Newton such an appealing acquisition. The focus is on enhancing capabilities without introducing unnecessary confusion.

The recent addition of new accounts in recent weeks shows the potential of Newton’s enhanced capabilities—made possible through this new venture—and sets the stage for a thriving partnership that is primed to achieve exceptional outcomes and surpass customer expectations in the years ahead. It also bodes well for future acquisitions.

Since CleanMark’s inception, it has maintained a focus on bringing its team members through the ranks and rewarding loyalty. This has resulted in outstanding staff retention rates, with an impressive 58 percent of supervisors being promoted from within.

“We’re very passionate,” says Vavitsas. “We care about our business, and we care about our clients, and we want to make sure the brand standard is delivered. We share that goal with the Newton team and that’s why this is a strategic step forward in our mission to provide top-tier commercial cleaning and facility maintenance solutions.”

Thrilled with the acquisition, CleanMark is looking for further businesses to help diversify its portfolio and is in discussions with another cleaning company based in the U.S. Midwest. With a significant footprint across Canada and most of the United States, CleanMark is looking to build density around city centres.

Believing that leadership takes many forms, CleanMark created the *BeBrilliant program a few years ago. Company leaders are valued for being dedicated, positive, and inspiring others, and these employees are acknowledged through the *BeBrilliant Awards Portal, which recognize and reward individuals and teams who go above and beyond for their clients or colleagues. For CleanMark, it is a way of giving something back. Team members can redeem rewards for gift cards or merchandise.

“Our values are very much built into everything we do,” says Vavitsas. “Instead of taking a top-down approach, if employees are working together and help someone out by staying longer or collaborating on a problem, they can reward each other.”

This commitment to its team has played a key role in the company achieving year-on-year double-digit growth since its inception.

Known for consistent, dependable service, CleanMark has carefully formulated auditing protocols in place which are highly customizable for every client. Developed in-house, customers can tailor the information they wish to see and its frequency.

“What we’ve found with the new sectors is that our technology is being very well received because of the control it affords each client,” Vavitsas explains. “Daily audits are conducted through GPS, and the superintendent or project manager receives a copy of all the readings. A lot of things we have built are adaptable and customizable to each building.”

Everything is monitored and tracked, and CleanMark has measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to ensure accountability. “Even though we are a distributed labour source over five or six time zones across North America, we can see what is going on at any point during the day with the technology that we use,” says Vavitsas.

Building on over 25 years of success, CleanMark looks forward to further growth and diversifying its portfolio, with condominiums identified as a significant growth opportunity across all geographies.

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