Applying CIMS™

New eBook just released - Applying CIMS™

Applying CIMS™

The Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS™) from ISSA is the ultimate guide to running a cleaning business that conforms to high standards of legality, organization, and service performance. Here is the guide to the basics so you can start to profit from compliance.

Get the newly released eBook - Applying CIMS™

  • Lynn E. Krafft has written an exceptionally cost-effective guide to becoming CIMS™ certified
  • He trains you how to implement a quality-focused program by adopting the "Uniform Clean Surface Standard" and defining the cleaning outcome
  • Plus, receive the latest GB Section 6 (green cleaning) and free link resources for detailed information you need for Applying CIMS™
  • Introductory offer only $19


Order today and take your business to the next level.

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Foreword to Applying CIMS™

All too often innovations in the cleaning industry are recognized and acted on by larger, more experienced contractors and institutions, even though they would be beneficial for all segments from a small school custodial staff to a two-person carpet cleaning operation. It would be good to keep this from happening with ISSA’s Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS).

As a guide to essential business practices, this document has, since its introduction in 2006, shown itself to be a one-of-a-kind aid to any segment of the industry that seeks to ensure “quality, efficiency and overall customer satisfaction.”

Understandably, ISSA has placed considerable emphasis on certification of companies conforming to the Standard. Corporations seeking a cleaning contractor, for example, are encouraged to use CIMS certification as a prerequisite for qualifying as a professional service provider.

While undoubtedly many larger operations in the “big business” category will become certified to gain a competitive edge in the mega square foot market, many small operations, in-house and contractor alike, will likely be hesitant for two reasons.

  • One, the initial cost of certification is around $5000. The organization must be re-certified every two years at the same cost. Any operation that seldom or never works with large corporations that eventually may demand such credentials will see such an outlay as unnecessary for their market. Many small operations just can’t afford that recurring expense.
  • Two, the thought of documenting compliance seems overwhelming. There are five sections in the Standard (six, if you choose to go Green) that need attention and, at first glance, there is a justified concern that meeting the requirements will take too much time from the business to make this effort worthwhile.


This publication focuses on how to apply CIMS when you are a small operation with limited time and resources, but still want to follow the general principles that will lead to a better managed business. You should understand that CIMS is a management standard and this booklet is a guide to that, not a skills handbook. If you want to learn how to clean carpet, you must go elsewhere, but if you want to learn what goes into making a carpet cleaning business quality focused and successful, this will help.

To do this, we will concentrate on two very simple and inexpensive things.

One is awareness. For the ISSA-CIMS program to be of the greatest value to the cleaning industry as a whole, it must first become so common that even a three-person cleaning company in West Podunk knows of its existence and value. Every distributor of cleaning supplies in the USA and even in the world should promote the Standard to all their customers as the best guide to becoming a professional cleaning manager, doing a good job, and staying in business.

The second is easy compliance. If these principles of good management are really necessary for running an operation effectively, they have to be something anyone with a basic business background can implement. I will simplify the guidelines as much as possible so they can be complied with readily. I have tried to provide commonly available, authoritative sources for your personal research and I constantly update the ones ISSA provides on its website.

Just a word of caution. ISSA seems to adjust its website frequently and the result is that often a link included herein shows up as a page that can’t be found. When the material was published, the link was valid and a search of under the Education menu will likely show the new location. Seldom is valuable resource material abandoned, so your search of the site (and others that do the same updating) will be rewarded.

One final thought about CIMS certification. I need to make it clear that I am not opposed to certification and if anyone wants to attain that, they certainly should. However, as detailed as this booklet is, I am not trying to prepare anyone for certification. I am focusing simply on the inexpensive approach just discussed.

Remember, also, that certification only means that someone outside your organization has documented your compliance with the Standard, and that is what costs money. Your willing and consistent compliance will bring you the same results in business professionalism and at very little cost to you.

Don’t forget that a certificate of compliance is only as good as the company holding it intends it to be. Anyone can pay for the documentation CIMS calls for and then proceed to ignore the principles in daily practice so that the company has compliance in name only.

Not only is this hypocritical, but it almost guarantees that that company will fail to provide a quality service and will continue to reinforce the reputation of the cleaning industry as the sort of business that needs a lot of hand-holding and intervention by the customer to get the job done.

CIMS is important to the industry only when the guidelines are understood and applied consistently. This booklet will act as a guide to help you do that very thing in the least expensive manner possible.

Mr. Lynn E. Krafft, Cleaning Contractor

CIMS™ Certification Expert (I.C.E.)
International Custodial Advisors Network (ICAN) - ATEX Editor

  • ISSA
  • Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI)
  • Cleaning Management Institute (CMI)
  • New England Institute of Restoration and Cleaning (NEIRC)
  • Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI)
  • IICRC affiliate


Introduction to Applying CIMS™

Our approach is simple. We are going to take the six sections of the Cleaning Industry Management Standard and work through them step by step. You may want to download a copy of CIMS from the ISSA website at and print it out for reference. It totals only 16 pages of material, so the paper and ink cost will not break you.

The latest GB (Green Building) Section #6 is at Again, this is only a few pages, so you can readily print it out for reference.

Once you have done that, sit quietly and just read the document. There are definitions, comments, acknowledgments, and the Standard itself. Just read it over for the purpose of getting an overview of its contents.

The Standard, as you will see, deals with management principles slanted toward the special interests of those engaged in cleaning. If you are a front line worker, I have no idea why you would be reading this unless it is to see what your management should be doing. Continue and you will come away with either a greater appreciation for their business skills and industriousness, or an apprehensiveness about the future of their enterprise based on what you see them doing or not doing.

You will, however, gain some insight into your job by reading Sections 1 and 2 since you are the one directly responsible for service quality and delivery and may never have thought of your role in the manner described here. The Uniform Clean Surface Standard in Appendix C will also be of value. You should have been trained by its guidelines for Indication Cleaning. Chances are, you weren’t. Sorry.

If you are the business owner or management person CIMS targets, you will tend to be overwhelmed by all that you come across, especially since some of it is material you have never heard of before, and much of it seems to be the sort of thing only a huge corporation could handle. Relax once again, because you will probably be able to do what is recommended faster and with greater consistency than clumsy, slow to respond organizations with six levels of management made up of people who have never personally cleaned a toilet or run a rotary floor machine.

Remember, we are going for awareness of the principle or guideline and simple, basic implementation of it on a day-to-day basis so that we are in compliance with the Standard. We really don’t care whether someone else has something more sophisticated or complicated. We want things that we can do to get the desired results with a minimum of stress. Forget fancy, and concentrate on that which is basic and easily reproducible.

I suggest you start with the discussion of Section 5, Management Commitment because you need to determine right up front whether you are or are not committed to having a cleaning organization that is well-managed, capable of delivering the best cleaning service possible, and doing it consistently and profitably. If you can’t or won’t make that commitment, the rest is just interesting reading.

Section 3. Human Resources and Section 4. Health, Safety, and Environmental Stewardship logically come next because these cover basic business subjects that any company must know and apply to conform to law and good management practice. You can implement your knowledge on these subjects by a visit to your local library or bookstore and/or by doing Internet research, using the various headings as the search basis. I have not tried to give details on all that falls under these headings because any one of these could generate a 300 page book by itself. It is enough that you become aware of the part each plays. I’ll leave acquiring the needed knowledge to you.

Finally, read Section 1. Quality Systems, and Section 2. Service Delivery, which are discussed with a greater slant toward the specifics of the custodial industry. Cleaning quality is defined so you can understand it and teach it to your employees. The elements of providing excellent service are broken down and numerous ideas are given that should move you to dig more deeply into result-focused cleaning than ever before.

I've left the "Green" part (Section 6) until last because it builds on other Sections already covered. The material is up-to-date as of this publication.

The material in the Appendixes will guide you toward a performance standard that will elevate the cleaning industry and greatly eliminate the confused and hazy focus of the current industry outlook. They cover APPA levels, What is Quality Cleaning and Uniform Clean Surface Standard.

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