Case Study of Commercial Cleaning Companies

by | Sep 25, 2017 | Uncategorized

Throughout time we’ve seen many commercial cleaning companies come and go. Many of them end up going out of business because they can’t compete in a highly crowded space with such a low barrier to entry. While there are a few associations that deal with the monitoring of the commercial cleaning services industries, it’s still a very open field of opportunities for those who treat this as a business, and not a part-time gig. Below we’ll be going over a case study of some of the most successful commercial cleaning companies, and how they got their start and expansion in this industry.

Let’s examine a case study on the Operation of Clean Harbors, ServiceMaster Clean, and ISS A/S

The Beginning of Clean Harbors and Its Expansion

Clean Harbors, one of the largest hazardous waste clean-up companies in the United States, was founded in 1980 in suburban Boston near well-known polluted Boston Harbor. It started as a four-person tank cleaning business with the purpose of cleaning the Boston area only. However, over the years, the company acquired the scores of many companies and expanded across North America. 2002 is a significant year for Clean Harbors as it was the year when it bought the chemical services division of the bankrupt Safety-Kleen Corporation which led to the company becoming one of the leaders in the waste disposal industry.

Clean Harbors Today

Today, it has more than 400 service locations and revenues, and it employs more than 13,000 people. It runs 9 landfills, 7 plants for the treatment of wastewaters, 5 incinerators, and a variety of other facilities founded with the purpose of managing waste. Therefore, it is specialized in managing the treatment, storage, and disposal of different fuels, explosives, chemicals, and other hazardous industrial and household materials, and its services include recycling of different materials, lab chemical and PCB disposal, packing and moving in laboratories, and site management. Besides this, the company also performs various kinds of emergency work which includes responding to the spilling of fuels, management of hazardous materials, and ongoing site clean-up. Among its customers are both small and large oil, chemical and pharmaceutical, technology and biotechnology companies, government agencies, schools, and universities, etc.

About ServiceMaster Clean

The ServiceMaster Clean company was founded in 1929 by Marion Wade who had previously worked as a life insurance salesman, minor league baseball player, and a door-to-door peddler of pans and pots before getting involved with the business of cleaning and mothproofing carpets. Therefore, the company started as a moth-proofing company and it operated as such until 1942 when the company’s owner sold his first franchise license for residential and commercial on-site carpet cleaning business, and soon afterward the company became known as America’s first franchise business. In 1962 the company got its first contract to clean hospitals, and with this, it became a pioneer in outsourcing, the industry of contracting to clean institutions. From this time it continued its development and expansion in the range of commercial and residential services. In 2007 the company went private when a group of equity sponsors led by Clayton, Doublier and Rice, LLC acquired it. Today it provides cleaning and disaster recovery services to both homes and businesses all over the United States, Canada, and even internationally. It serves approximately 10 million households and businesses on a yearly basis through a network of company-owned, franchised service centers and business units.

ISS A/S as the World’s Largest Cleaning Business

Although the origins of ISS A/S company are humble – the company started as a small security firm established back in 1901 in Copenhagen, it grew steadily over time to include a large diversity of services. It changed its name several times during its course of development, became subject to many changes, passed through some turbulent times in the 1990s, and expanded both nationally and internationally until it finally got its place among the largest cleaning businesses in the world. These days it has more than 270,000 employees in 36 countries all over Europe, Asia, and Latin America and offers the services of cleaning, catering, support, property, security and facility management, etc. ISS A/S serves its customers in information technology and business services, industry and manufacturing, retail and wholesale, public administration, infrastructure and transportation, hospitality services, pharmacy, and many others. It also pays attention to some specialized areas that include cleaning semiconductor assembly facilities and hospitals, and it has several auxiliary enterprises such as providing care to the aged. What makes ISS A/S stand out from other similar companies is that it strives to maintain friendly relationships with trade unions and offers a wide range of opportunities to its blue-collar employees.


* – 2014 Annual Report – Clean Harbors, Inc.

*BIC Magazine – The Story of Clean Harbors

*Reference for Business – Clean Harbors, Inc. – Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Clean Harbors, Inc.ISS A/S – Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on ISS A/S

Read more:

*Clean Harbors – History

*Fundinguniverse – The ServiceMaster Company History

*ServiceMaster Company – History

*ISS Group Website – Get To Know ISS