We are NOT all in the same boat. But we are all in the same storm.

We are NOT all in the same boat. But we are all in the same storm.

In the last three years, we have all experienced the Covid-19 pandemic, a once-in-50-year great flood, shortage of labour, food, medicines and metals, a higher than usual inflation, AKTA 446, and Employment Act (Amendment) 2022, plus a change in government. No business was spared. However, the outcome was different for everyone. Every business was impacted, some more than others. Few businesses thrived. Many businesses closed. Yet many more suffered major financial losses and are still trying to recover, while many are just hanging on. This of course directly affected the cleaning service industry market throughout the pandemic. With the economy slowly coming back to life, the cleaning service industry landscape has changed and the industry now faces new challenges, and there are of course new opportunities to explore. Here is a brief overview.


Employee turnover

High turnover rates are common in this industry where working hours are long and exhaustive with companies finding it harder and harder to offer salaries that are competitive to not just the fast-food industry but also factories (manufacturing) and others without increasing their own service fees. The emergence of multi-sided marketplace platform businesses (eg GRAB, Shopee, FoodPanda, TaskRabbit and recently AirAsia Ride in 2021 and AirAsia Food in 2022) promising higher income and freedom contributed to further employee turnover in the brick & mortar industries. An unsuitable job fit, or uncertainty of future prospects can also result in employee turnover - This can be costly and time-consuming, resulting in loss of productivity and high training costs for new employees.


With a growing population and economy, and increasing urbanisation, there is a growing demand for affordable cleaning services. This has led to the emergence of many small untrained and unqualified cleaning companies due to the low cost of entry, as well as the easy entry licensing requirements. Being a price-sensitive market, these small companies offer aggressive pricing strategies that sometimes compromises qualityThis often results in price wars, leading to reduced profits and difficulty in maintaining quality. 

Higher cost of running business

Depending on the size of the business, it can be very expensive to sustain a profitable cleaning business. With fierce competition from the increasing number of small businesses, more investment is required to provide high quality services and to stand out in the market. Overall, a combination of economic, social and regulatory factors contribute to the higher cost of running a business:

  • Inflation – higher cost of cleaning supplies and equipment lead to increase in cost of services 
  • Labour costs - the minimum wage in Malaysia has increased from RM1,000 in 2018 to RM1,200 in 2020 and RM1,500 in 2022. Training employees incur additional costs. The recent change in the Employment Act has resulted in another round of business disruption, namely with the introduction of reduced weekly working hours and increase of maternity and paternity leave
  • Regulatory compliance – complying with health and safety requirements require additional investment in equipment, training, and certification thus increasing business expenses
  • Technology and innovation – advancements can definitely improve the efficiency and quality of cleaning services but they all come at a higher cost to acquire and maintain
  • Longer payment terms – some customers have even resorted to requesting for 75 to 90 days payment terms from the usual 30 days. This puts a burden on cash flow as highly skilled and trained professional crew and staff, who are always on the frontline in any pandemic still need to be paid on time in compliance with the RBA code of conduct

Frequently evolving compliance standards

As the state of the environment changes, so do cleaning regulations. While the RBA (Responsible Business Alliance) and WCA (Workplace Conditions Assessment) have established standards to ensure good working conditions, which cleaning companies must adhere to, these standards frequently evolve in response to the market conditions. In particular, the regulations pertaining to labour and health and safety issues. The focus on ensuring the best working conditions and respect for the employees, plus the effort to minimise work-related injuries, ensure a safe and healthy work environment involves ongoing education and the use of higher quality, more expensive products. These are important regulations and are applauded, however, the constant change to these standards add to the burden of expenses that cleaning companies have to manage.


Increasing demand

As the economy continues to pick up, development and construction resume, more condos and office buildings developed and an increasing health awareness, the demand for cleaning services is also on the rise. With the borders now open, the tourism industry is attracting more visitors, causing the hospitality industry to require more cleaning services to maintain higher standards – Hence demand increases.

Technological advancements 

To provide better services and solutions, cleaning service companies are constantly exploring innovative ways to work smart and more efficiently.

  • Cleaning innovations - that include robotic cleaners, environmentally safe cleaning products and automated operational workflow

To stay ahead, cleaning companies need to explore new ways to differentiate themselves and attract new customers. These could include:

  • Diversification – expanding beyond traditional cleaning services to include landscaping services, HACPP cleaning (food grade), office cleaning and tea lady service, flexible cleaning schedules, industry specific cleaning and even on-demand cleaning and quality control cleaning it reduces
  • Green cleaning – the demand for non-toxic cleaning solutions to reduce health risks is on the rise. As green cleaning products are usually biodegradable, it is not harmful to the environment or waterways. Eco-friendly products are also often more concentrated so less product is needed to achieve the same level of cleanliness. What’s more green cleaning practices can help extend the life of carpets, floors, and other surfaces
  • Corporate social responsibility – giving back to society and embracing sustainable practices goes a long way in winning environmentally conscious customers as well as enhancing the reputation of cleaning companies

Overall, sustainability requires investment into the trends and people training. Market uncertainty with war, global inflation and supply disruptions do not make it easy to run a cleaning service company. 

While not every business will face the same challenges and opportunities as the cleaning industry, they will have their own sets of ups and downs. Whatever they may be, we are all in our respective businesses riding our boats through the storms. Let’s do it together, let’s collaborate to survive and thrive.

To find out more on how we give you the best value for your budget without compromising your health or safety, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. Please feel free to contact us at 03-7773 0300 or enquire@maclean.com.my.

Cleaning industry trends and challenges for 2023
Malaysia Minimum Monthly Wages
Gig economy

Beyond Cost Effective Solutions

“Thank you, Maclean team, for the good support and on time completion of the cleaning activities as required at the Phase 2 cafeteria and Phase 2 new wing office floor without any delays which met client satisfaction.”


“The final cleaning has come to an end today. We appreciate your team's full commitment and cooperation in ensuring the successful completion of the cleaning work at Plot H. Your site person in charge and his team has performed well throughout the cleaning period. Their prompt response and action as well as their workmanship on the end-product satisfied us.”


“I would like to take this opportunity to first, thank you for the 9 years of services to the hospital. Maclean has offered a top-level cleaning service with the magnificent team of client service right down to the cleaner.

I am particularly writing to appreciate the cleaner, namely BAL BAHADUR, M. SUMON and MASLINDAH for their professionalism and exceptional work ethic. They are punctual, dependable and presented with more than what has been asked of them.”


“We are writing to express my sincere appreciation for the exceptional work of the cleaning crew who was responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of our office premises. Over the past few weeks, we have observed the excellent work that Nur Alom has been doing, and we must say that his dedication and professionalism are truly commendable.

I have personally witnessed Nur Alom going the extra miles to ensure that the office is clean and hygienic especially during these challenging times post pandemic. His commitment to maintaining a clean and safe environment has been exceptional, and he has made a significant contribution to keep our workplace safe and healthy for all employees. “


“We would like to express our thanks towards janitor Suriakala for excellent cleaning services rendered during Deep Cleaning activities on 14th and 28th January 2023. As well, we find her job deliverance is excellent and committed on daily routine tasks.

Hereby, we extend our thanks to Bobby, Fahmi for their prompt response of any inquiries and replacement planning during janitor's absence. We are also thankful to be supported by the Maclean team for

  • deep cleaning upholstery office chairs, sofa
  • fabric wall meeting rooms
  • fabric cubicle – employee workstation areas
  • lobby reception, breakout area, workstation area
  • floor scrubbing at carpeted area total approximately 3,617sqft
  • floor scrubbing at pantry vinyl floor area"

“Excellent cleaning services. Prompt response of any inquiries and fast planning during your janitor on leave”


“Excellent service during the summer break for the school opening preparations - efficient, gracious customer service, the level of detail and accountability you have demonstrated on the housekeeping service.”


Our Supervisors and Crew Are Well Trained

“I received a verbal compliment from client on Crew’s performance & improvement after we had engagement meeting. Well done and keep up the good work!”


“Services provided by the crew on site was good and amazing, especially the head of the crew obviously showing his excellent performance on managing his team that provided high quality cleanliness service throughout the year. They have shown a great team spirit and hope this can continue and maintained in future. I would also take this opportunity to congratulate Miss Nadia who trained such a good team and of course your good services to our company as well.”


“Thank you very much for the team you lead! Professional and high efficiency!”


“Convey our outmost appreciations for the excellent service provided to our team in Bayan Lepas. Your team, which is Samy and his supportive team, have been doing great jobs & supported us. Samy has been committed to all the tasks given with fast response from him & the teams.”


“Formally and sincerely express our gratitude for the amazing honesty your team shown during recently lost and found case. Nurhayati Binti Abdullah had shown exceptional discipline and dedication to her daily work. Her actions directly impacted our image and Maclean directly benefited the team and company on a greater level. Once again, thank you for the leadership shown by Maclean’s management team – Kak Mis on the diligence and integrity adopted for all the team on the site.”


“Layanan yang sangat baik, berdisiplin, komited, sabar, berbudi bahasa dan sentiasa positif.”

3S Centre

“Thank You for the Good Service. I would like to express my deep appreciation for the women who are doing the cleaning at our premise. I am very satisfied with their work! I would like to thank Diana (supervisor) and Sajib who always monitor and ensure someone to cover when the cleaners go on leave. Good teamwork and dependable.”


We Are Well Versed with Various Industry Compliancy Requirements

“Congratulations “Maclean Team” as all cleaners have successfully passed the EHS training that was conducted on site.

We are satisfied with their service”


“Thanks for your team’s kind support to maintain the cleanliness of our LMM plant during our two important events:

(1) EHS Corporate Audit

(2) EHS Plan Forum Recognition”


“Thank you very much for giving 100% support and for ensuring we followed and maintained proper social distancing amid the events.”


“Gratitude for Maclean’s performance and support during our compliance audit held last October. Maclean’s team has made so much effort in order to keep our business running with full compliance. It's a good image that we comply to every legal requirement that was relevant with Maclean’s help. Maimunah has been key player into this Audit weeks.”


“Many thanks to Zura for the last compliance audit which covered compliance in pharmaceuticals.”


“Our management would like to take the opportunity to sincerely thank you for the excellent service provided to our facility especially for the fresh goods department, for maintaining cleanliness as per our standard.”


“Able to answer questions from Auditor during ISO Audit.”


Understanding Urgency and Providing Personalised Attention

“We would like to extend our greatest appreciation to you and your team for all the hard work going the extra mile ensuring everything is ready for the event. We know there were a quite a bit of last-minute requests, but you guys managed to extend your excellent service and that made a difference definitely. We appreciate your contribution and management also relay their appreciation and gratitude to all the Janitor team. Thank you so much for being good support for this event and hope this good performance can be maintained.”


“Hope you are doing great. For the past few months Samy Rau has been supervising our Penang location. We are very grateful that he has been showing his interest and helping me to solve a lot of problems. His presence here during the site visit has made us able to voice up regarding most issues directly. Most pending issues have been resolved. We hope that we will make a better team in future.”


“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Samy and the team, especially Ali Raihan, Sajib Sikdar and all Maclean team members for helping our team on the water leaking issue that happened. Their fast respond to our call during midnight and coming to help us to handle the situation. Keep it up and continue to work together and support our Facilities team.”


“They are remarkable with their attitudes. The way they go above and beyond to ensure that all our events are presented well, their sense of collaboration and attention to detail is greatly valued.”


“I would like to extend our appreciation for the amazing work done by your team on site especially team leader, Maimunah in supporting several occasions of main event. They have been supportive in terms of logistic, pre-event preparation and on top of that making the event running smoothly.

Please pass my appreciation to Maimunah, Sulaiman, Susilawati and Haipah for their support.”


In addition to the above, we are proud and grateful to receive 2 awards from CBRE:

  • Exceptional Service Award 2022 
  • Best Safety and Covid Response Award 2022

So, try us out and experience the Maclean service first-hand. 

To find out more on how we give you the best value for your budget without compromising your health or safety, please connect with us at 03-7773 0300 or enquire@maclean.com.my.

Mar 2023
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