5 Tips for How to Bid on a Commercial Cleaning Contract
Win Cleaning Contracts
The most important part of bidding on a commercial cleaning contract takes place before you come up with a price. Doing research, asking questions, and making the proper cost calculations will ensure you have an estimate that represents the quality of the service you provide to a potential new client. Use these five tips on how to get cleaning contracts.
#1 Understand Client Expectations
Creating effective cleaning contract bids begins by doing your due diligence. “Get a good understanding of the client's business and type of facility,” says Scott Weintraub, President at SMG Corporate Services. If possible, schedule an onsite visit to walk through the property with the client. An in-person visit allows you to tell your story and understand the client's needs and expectations. Your odds of winning a bid increase exponentially if you can make a personal connection and deliver excellent service.1,2
During the site tour, take thorough notes and ask if you can take pictures. Be prepared to take measurements of the space as well, if the client does not provide them. You can refer back to your notes, pictures, and measurements when writing the final bid.
Philippe Mack, senior vice president of customer experience at Bee-Clean Building Maintenance, says that one of the keys to a successful bid is a detailed and accurate site-survey audit sheet. A site-survey audit sheet should include the number and types of fixtures, windows, rooms, and flooring throughout the space.
#2 Assess the Opportunity
On the walkthrough, ask the client about their level of satisfaction with their current cleaning contractor. What are their key issues and complaints? Why are they bidding out for a new commercial cleaning contract? “Understand the client's dominant buying motives,” says Mack. “Why are they going to market, and what will it take to win?”. Asking good questions will help you surpass the competition. Here are some suggestions for what to cover during a visit:
· Special equipment and supplies
· Frequency of cleaning tasks
· Supply vendors
· Product usage levels
· Special requests3
· Cleanable and non-cleanable space
After the visit, make sure you have discussed in detail the cleaning tasks, areas, and how often certain tasks need to be done. For example, the carpet will need to be vacuumed five times a week. If the client has any special requests or preferences, you'll want to know those as well. Scott Weintraub, instructs to “manage expectations based on the cleaning specification.” Seeing the space layout and documenting the number of restrooms, rooms4 and other cleaning areas will help you assess the opportunity in order to correctly price the bid.
#3 Calculate the Cleanable Square Footage
Pricing commercial cleaning jobs correctly will increase the chance your bid gets selected. Chris Scott, Building Service Consultant at Team MJV , states utilizing the RFP is important for providing the correct data in the bid. An RFP is a great resource for writing a commercial cleaning contract bid, especially if touring the space isn't feasible. The RFP will have all the details you need to form your bid and should include the information you would have gathered during a site visit. One of the items that should be included in a commercial cleaning RFP is the cleanable square footage. Cleanable square footage is one way to calculate the price to bid on a commercial cleaning job.
Cleanable square footage is the total amount of space that needs cleaning such as offices, restrooms, and open floor space. A building will have areas that do not require cleaning such as server rooms and closets. Having the cleanable square footage of a space will help you in making your bid.
You can calculate the cleanable square footage of the space if you do not receive it from the RFP or the client. Take the total square footage of the building and subtract all the non-cleaning areas. Next, use the cleanable square footage to calculate a custodial price per square foot. Average rates for commercial cleaning services can range from $.05 to $.25 per sq. ft. The price per square foot can vary by the facility type and size.
Here is an example:
7,000 cleanable sq. ft. X $.20/sq. ft. = $1,400 estimate
#4 Determine Time and Staffing
Another calculation you'll want to make is your employee wage. First, determine how much time it will take to complete the job and how many employees you'll need. Multiply the number of employees needed and their hourly rate by the hours it will take to clean the facility. For instance, if the job requires three employees at $10 an hour, and it will take six hours to clean, the cost to staff the job will be $180.
Knowing the cleanable square footage and employee wage are critical elements in accurately pricing a bid. There are various ways to price a cleaning job. There is no "right" way. Research different ways to price services and learn how the competition charges.
#5 Account for All Costs
Once you have the scope of work from the site visit or RFP, and have the cleanable square footage and employee wage, it's time to finalize your cleaning bid. A common mistake building service contractors make is pricing too low. Your cleaning bid communicates your value to the client. If needed, you can always reduce the frequency of cleaning tasks to lower the price in a negotiation.
When putting together the bid, list each cleaning task, the frequency of the task, when it will be done, and the associated fee. For instance, the floors will be waxed once a week on Mondays. Facility managers like to know exactly what they are getting for their money and what to expect.
Add in the costs of cleaning supplies, equipment, transportation, and staffing. If you've bid on similar jobs in the past, use those bids to double-check you are in the ballpark. Another common mistake building service contractors make is underestimating overhead costs in the final estimate. Factor in 10-20% for overhead costs such as marketing, insurance, taxes, etc. into your final estimate.
Submit and Solicit Feedback
After you submit your bid, follow up with a phone call or email. And if you don't get the bid, ask for the reason. Getting feedback will help you to refine your process for other commercial cleaner contracts up for bid. Every new bid is an opportunity to demonstrate your company's value and learn something in the process.
The key to effective bidding is in the details. Clearly understanding the scope of work and the potential client's expectations is what will make your bid stand out. Remember to factor in overhead costs and don't undervalue the level of service your cleaning company provides. A winning bid is one where both parties are satisfied.
1 How to Write a Bid for a Cleaning Contract - UpCounsel. Retrieved February 14, 2020, from https://www.upcounsel.com/how-to-write-a-bid-for-a-cleaning-contract
2 How to Bid on Cleaning Jobs - Simply Business. Retrieved February 14, 2020, from https://www.simplybusiness.com/simply-u/articles/2019/09/how-to-bid-on-cleaning-jobs/
3 How to Bid A Commercial Cleaning Contract | Palmettocommercialservices.com. Retrieved February 14, 2020, from https://www.palmettocommercialservices.com/blog/bid/343821/how-to-bid-a-commercial-cleaning-contract
4 How to Bid for Commercial Janitorial Work | Chron.com. Retrieved February 14, 2020, from https://smallbusiness.chron.com/bid-commercial-janitorial-work-11328.html