Cleaning business gains fast traction in India
India’s contract cleaning sector is not only poised for fast-paced growth but also promises the creation of a large number of jobs.
HYDERABAD: With a potential to grow at the rate of 30 percent a year, India’s contract cleaning sector is not only poised for fast-paced growth but also promises the creation of a large number of jobs.
With offices, malls and other commercial establishments preferring to outsource cleaning jobs, the cleaning sector is going through a positive growth trajectory.
“It’s a tough job to recruit labour and ensure that they do cleaning perfectly. Therefore, offices and commercial establishments prefer to outsource it to some other agency if possible, rather than doing it themselves. Outsourcing the cleaning job will not only relieve establishments of an unnecessary headache, but will also be very cost-effective. This trend is creating a market for the cleaning industry,” said Murthy A L N, business development manager at McLean.
McLean counts Google, TCS, Novotel Hotels, ITC Hotels, Dr Reddy’s and others among its client list.
The market for the cleaning sector comes from both offices and commercial spaces across sectors such as IT/IT-enabled services, hospitality, healthcare, industries and even from the government sector. Of late, even government offices have been outsourcing cleaning jobs.
Given the growing preference by businesses for outsourcing of cleaning and house-keeping jobs, the sector has been growing at a fast clip and the industry size is pegged at Rs 2,000 crore per annum in India.
“The advantage from cleaning industry is that it has huge scope to create jobs, especially for unskilled. Right now, about 10 million are employed in this sector and with the sector set to grow further, more jobs will be created. There is also huge scope for small entrepreneurs and start-ups in this sector, because a cleaning services business can be started with as less as five workers,” explains industry expert Managala Chandran.
With the market expanding, even the sector is getting more organised. Besides employing people, it is also looking towards the use of more machines and tech upgradation. But unlike in the service segment, the Indian cleaning sector is yet to make strides in the manufacturing sector.
“Over the past three to four years, the sector has registered more than 20 percent growth. In case of cleaning equipment manufacturing, 10-15 percent growth is being witnessed. We have to invest in research and development to come up with machines suited for Indian conditions and it needs investment. Not much thrust is seen in manufacturing of cleaning equipment as of now, though it might grow as the sector grows in size,” says Shashank Sinha, marketing head of Eureka Forbes.
Eureka Forbes and Roots Multi Clean are among the few Indian companies that manufacture cleaning equipment indigenously, while most of the companies import machines from China and sell them here after re-branding.
Though Nilfisk, Karcher and other international companies have a presence in the Indian cleaning equipments sector, industry insiders say that even these foreign companies are not focusing much on India, thus presenting a scope for indigenous manufacturing in the sector. Puneet Mishra, director of Comac India, points out that as the cleaning sector is expected to grow, in the future even the cleaning equipment and machines manufacturing segment might see growth.
While a long-time strategy is needed for giving a fillip to equipment manufacturing, training unskilled workers is the immediate problem to be addressed by the industry, as there are no training institutes or organisations right now for skilling in the sector.
“As there are no skill development programmes as of now, organisations are recruiting and training the employees themselves. Even we are planning to design and conduct skill development programmes, as the sector can create jobs,” said Vaishali Sinha, founder and general secretary of I-Professional Housekeepers Association.