World Sweeper Editor's Overview Logo Slogan

Welcome to our July 2009 newsletter!

Industry changes are heating up with the summer.

by Ranger Kidwell-Ross

Ranger Kidwell-Ross, editor

Like most other industries, the power sweeping industry has some wildly fluctuating scenarios occurring at the moment. This is compounded by the fact we have three basic market segments, parking lot sweeping, street/municipal sweeping and construction cleanup, all of which are being affected by the economy in differing ways.

Here's what I've been learning: I've received a number of reports about a variety of national vendors soliciting contracts for WalMart, the nation's leading retailer. I contacted WalMart's home office, and after several callbacks received the following email from Anna Taylor, Spokesperson for Walmart Corporate Communications: "Outdoor maintenance is contracted at the store level, so the companies that we employ vary from store to store."

Although I spoke to Ms. Taylor about some of the concerns WalMart might want to consider when choosing 'consolidators' to represent their interests in parking lot sweeping, she declined to put me in contact with anyone in actual operations so I could discuss it with them, as well. In spite of her official statement to the contrary, it would certainly appear that WalMart is moving toward consolidation in some of its regions, at least.

Other aspects of the parking area industry, although down, are far from out. There is no question that contract profits are getting slimmer, though. This is compounded from two directions: One is the squeeze from mall managers. The other is that more sweeping contractors are chasing each potential deal. Contractors are willing to commute farther to accounts and those with a sweeper they used for allied businesses (striping, sealcoating, grounds maintenance) are now trying to get sweeping contracts with them.

The state of municipal road sweeping appears to be good news off in the distance, once the stimulus money hits. Until then, at least, cities are tending to sweep less, take sweeping inhouse and take other cost-cutting measures. The link to pollution removal is well documented in a study featured in this issue of the newsletter, but sweeping is still the service that often gets cut more than others.

As those in construction sweeping can tell you, business is dismal. The lack of home and office building starts has really decimated that end of the sweeping business. Sweeping associated with stimulus-driven projects should start picking up in the coming months. Hopefully, so will housing starts. Until then, there are many contractors who have idle sweepers that they have historically used for construction.

Because malls value cleanliness, the good news is that area of the business should continue, even if at a lower overall average number of sweeps and profit level. The need for big sweepers is anyone's guess, though, depending upon how the economy shakes out in the coming months.

We've been keying in on articles that are designed to help in the recession. You'll find several of that type in this newsletter issue. At we're trying to bring you information you can actually put to use in your sweeping company or municipal sweeping operation. If there's something you'd like us to report about, please let us know. Our goal is to write about what you want to read. You'll find plenty of variety in this issue of our newsletter.

As always, if you have a sweeping-related need please tell us about it. We'll try to assist in any way we can. I routinely reference articles and studies, provide information from my "Fundamentals of the Power Sweeping Business," manual and put contractors and city officials in touch with others who may have answers to their information needs. By the same token, if you have a story you can provide, additional information on any of the topics we've covered – or need more details – please let me know. I'll be glad to help if at all possible.

Good Sweeping!
Ranger's Signature
Ranger Kidwell-Ross, editor

By the way, if you don't have a listing yet in our Contractor Locator section, you are missing out on what is arguably the best advertising value in sweeping. At the same time, you'll be helping to keep online and active. If you're a contractor who uses this website, please help support the site and, at the same time, increase the exposure for your company, by getting a Contractor Locator listing.

If you like what you read in this newsletter or on the website, be sure to thank the advertisers who sponsored it. The only way for them to know you appreciate their support of is to tell them!

World Sweeper Logo

© 2008 World Sweeper
All rights reserved.

Newsletter Contents

Site Map / Table of Contents