How Often Should You Sweep?

Last month we examined some of the characteristics of a professional contract sweeper and outlined some of the value sweeping can provide. This month we take a look at the act of sweeping itself and answer the question, “How frequently should sweeping be performed?” Below are a few criteria to consider when considering how frequently a pavement should be swept:

What tenants are located at the property? If the tenants are something like a department store there is usually less debris so the area can be swept less frequently, perhaps two or three times might be appropriate. If the tenant is an office area with its own employees, you might need only one time per week. If it is a high-traffic area, such as a grocery or food establishment, then four to seven times might be required.

What is the condition of the asphalt? Grit will deteriorate pavement, it’s that simple. If your area picks up a lot of grit, wear will occur more quickly so more frequent sweeping will preserve the surface area.

Are there trees near the lot that are dropping leaves or sap year round? If so, the pavement should be swept more frequently. If there are evergreens you might not need to sweep as often.

When does the area start to look like it needs to be swept? If the parking lot is swept every Sunday and looks fine at the beginning of the week, but starts to fall off by Friday, you might need to increase the frequency of sweeping.

How dirty do the gutters get between sweeps?  A significant amount of the pollutants in our water system today is debris which washes and blows from unswept parking lots into the gutters and eventually into our watershed areas. More frequent sweeping reduces buildup in the gutters and reduces pollutants in bodies of water.

What is your acceptable level of cleanliness? A clean and well-maintained facility will attract more clients and patrons than a poorly kept area. The street and lot in front of the establishment are the “welcome center” that gives customers their first impression, so they need to clean and inviting.

What is your budget? Plan on a budget for asset maintenance and follow your maintenance schedule.

Are there regulations to follow? Review local ordinances to determine if there are any sweeping-related requirements.

Once property owners have evaluated those criteria one of the best ways to get the best service for the best price from any professional power sweeper is to ask for a Request for Proposal (RFP) as opposed to a Request for Quotation (RFQ). Sweeping is a subjective service. Asking for an RFP takes advantage of the creative, problem-solving nature of the contractor and can result in the best value.

Finally, how do you find a professional sweeper? Visit the NAPSA Contractor-Locator at You can search by service area to find a provider. Watch for the Certified Sweeping Company designation and find out more about why a company who is certified could give you even greater benefit.

The North American Power Sweeping Association (NAPSA) is a nonprofit association made up of 300+ contract sweepers, service providers and sweeping equipment dealers, manufacturers and suppliers. NAPSA is dedicated to providing beneficial support to the membership and enhancing services to the sweeping industry. The members of NAPSA are committed to promoting and educating the power sweeping community while enhancing the environment. For more information on NAPSA membership, please visit or call (888) 757-0130.