10 Do’s and Don’ts of Contracting with a Commercial Cleaning & Janitorial Services Company
1) Do: Know what size vendor you are looking for and what their focus is. Does it match with your primary needs? You may want to consider: Are you a customer with 50-100 employees in your building or 20 or fewer employees in your office? Be sure you hire a cleaning contractor that can pay attention to what you consider to be the most important aspects of your building and all the specific details and variables that come with the job.
2) Don’t: Hire a contractor that will only do a good job on the basics: emptying trash, dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning bathrooms, if you want more customized, meticulous services such as polishing items on desks, wiping picture frames, detailed cleaning in the kitchen area etc. Face the facts and understand what kind of a customer you are, then hire a service that can be a good fit for you and be prepared to pay the money. The old saying, “you get what you pay for” is usually applicable in the cleaning industry.
3) Do: Check referrals, however, remember the nature of referrals. Cleaning contractors will always give you referral information for the customers that love them. Wouldn’t you?
4) Don’t: Assume that just because a reference check produces a glowing recommendation that the service vendor must be a good company. Ask for contact information of former customers and reasons for separation. Some vendors can overcome these obstacles but not without doing considerably more work. This is a good filtering process. For those that provide exactly what you ask for – you will know that they are working hard for your business, and that they are serious about obtaining the contract to clean your facility.
5) Do: Have a specific set of specs detailing what you want done and be sure the vendor bids the specs. You need to be able to compare apples to apples while at the same time considering the value of suggestions the contractor may have to offer.
6) Don’t: Ask the vendor to provide their version of the specs and don’t automatically assume that the vendor understands your facility or the people in it. All customers are unique just as the requirements within each facility are unique. Tell the vendor what you want but also look for the vendor to bring back potential options to get the same job done but maybe in a more efficient manner.
7) Do: If requested, allow the vendor to tour your facility more than once. The vendor getting a second look in many cases allows for a more thorough proposal and a much better understanding of the job at hand. It also shows a sincere approach to evaluating the details and the subsequent price for cleaning your facility.
8) Don’t: Spend a lot of time with vendors who like to talk when they should be listening. In most cases if they are doing lots of talking, they will be wasting your time. But more important is that if they are talking, they’re not listening. And if they aren’t listening now, what makes you think they will listen later?
9) Do: Ask open-ended questions that gets the vendor talking. This will allow you to assess what comes out of their mouth and allow you to determine if there might be a potential fit. You will quickly determine if there is not a fit. For example- “tell me something about how you see your company staffing our building”. Or- “tell me about another building you clean that is similar to ours”. Look to see if the vendor answers your questions directly. Does the vendor do too much talking? Additionally, note whether the vendor asks pertinent questions and listens to you. Is the vendor taking notes?
10) Do and Don’t: Be patient, be prepared, and don’t rush, but maintain momentum throughout the process. Cleaning is often looked at as one of the more unimportant projects in a facility and tends to not get much time or budget allocated to it – until there is a problem! Having the right cleaning company and their staff with keys and security information in your building at night is a big deal. Selecting the right vendor for a long-term relationship should be the goal. You don’t want to go through this process any more frequently than necessary. Get it right the first time.