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Cobo Center in Detroit is on track to save around $200,000 annually on housekeeping by bringing those services in-house. The Detroit venue parted ways with The Professional Group, a janitorial services provider based in Detroit, last October and is pleased with the savings and performance of the restructured team, said Claude Molinari, general manager of Cobo.


The venue’s budget for housekeeping this year is $1.75 million a year, which would mean a savings of 10 percent compared to the cost last year, Molinari said. Cobo, which is operated by the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority and managed by SMG, had contracted with Detroit-based ABM Janitorial Services for several years prior to The Professional Group winning the bid in 2016. The Professional Group terminated the contract after one year. “We weren’t displeased with (The Professional Group) but, to be honest, I think they felt the contract was a little one-sided and that they weren’t being compensated enough,” Molinari said. “They made a business decision. We felt it was a great opportunity to take the services in-house.”


The cost savings come from Cobo avoiding a 15 percent markup on labor through The Performance Group. Molinari said that under the new management structure the average wage of a full-time cleaner is $13.50 plus benefits — up from an average of $11.10 plus benefits before the new arrangement. The cleaning crew consists of about 35 full-time employees and as many as 250 part-time workers. They were not affected by the management change, Molinari said. Cobo hired three new janitorial supervisors to replace the six managers The Professional Group had on site. Molinari said he has received “excellent feedback” for the housekeeping services following big events such as the North American International Auto Show.


Source: Crains Detroit