Before you sign a contract for commercial cleaning, you’ll likely have to provide a competitive bid against the competition. But the price isn’t the only factor that helps a prospective customer choose your company. Several other factors have a great influence on their decision, including:
- A professional website: The majority of cleaning services are found through an online search. By creating a quality website that includes contact info, services, and references, you’ll attract more requests for bids.
- Great customer service: Providing multiple ways to contact you can also make a big difference in scoring the bid. Providing online quotes, email, social media, and phone numbers are all helpful.
- Good insurance: Most office buildings require a cleaning contractor to be licensed and bonded. Many states also have business licensing requirements.
- References: Testimonials on your website are great, but also having references on hand can put you in the forefront of the bidding process.
Perform A Thorough Evaluation
The first step of any bid is to talk to the client and get their expectations of what services they need performed, the frequency, and the schedule. While it isn’t impossible to bid on a job site unseen, it can be harder to make sure you’ve covered all the bases. Asking for a tour of the office can allow you to study the types of flooring, number of bathrooms, amount of trash, and equipment that requires extra care.
If you cannot get a tour, make sure you ask for a floor plan and square footage with the amount of private offices, number of bathrooms and break rooms and what cleaning equipment if any that the company has. Many buildings have a fully stocked janitorial closet that allows for dedicated equipment such as vacuums to be stored on-site, cutting down on the amount of equipment that needs to be transported.
The frequency of tasks is also critical in not underbidding the job. If a client wants floors waxed daily rather than weekly, that can cut into profits dramatically. You’ll also need to determine how many employees you will need per cleaning job and multiply the man hours times employees to figure out a correct hourly rate. For example, if you pay $10 per hour and it takes four employees two hours to complete the job, that would be 8 man hours, equaling $80 per day. Then you will want to make sure you add a percentage of overhead to cover cleaning supplies, equipment, and transportation costs as well as the percentage of business expenses such as insurance, marketing, and taxes. Coming up with these percentages up-front can make it easier to provide bids quickly.
The Bid Process
If you are bidding on a public job for a government office, there is typically a long bid process with a set deadline for request for proposals (RFP). But generally most companies or facilities managers don’t open the bids up in a public forum, rather they contact companies directly to get bids and choose one after all have been submitted.
You will need to provide a written proposal including the services, itemized fees for each service or job task, the frequency of each task and payment schedule. Most janitorial services charge a monthly fee for large contracts, but some companies are willing to pay weekly. After you’ve sent the bid by email or mail, itâs important to follow-up to make sure everything was included and to answer any questions. Often a bid that is much cheaper doesn’t provide all of the details, and the company awarded the contract ends up losing profits because they didn’t calculate the time and costs appropriately.
Once you’ve won the bid, make sure you provide a detailed contract with payment terms, details on how to break the contract, and the length of the contract.