If you own your own business and are looking for a janitorial company, its helpful to know how to compare janitorial quotes. It goes without saying that price is important, but you also want to hire a reputable company that can provide quality janitorial services. If you’ve gotten quotes from 3 different cleaning companies you should have a reliable way of picking out the best company from the bunch. Your immediate impulse is to hire the one with the lowest price, but the company you liked came in higher. So, which company do you pick? Here’s a simple approach to help you choose the right commercial cleaning service.
1) Lower pricing can mean less time spent cleaning:
Janitorial pricing is largely based on cleaning times. Cleaning companies determine price by calculating how long each job will take to complete. If the company estimates that the service will take 3 hours to complete the job, the price is based on three hours of labor. But, is three hours of labor enough to get the job done properly?
Cleaning companies know they have to keep their prices low to be competitive and win contracts. They often underestimate cleaning times so they can price their jobs competitively. But, this can backfire once the job gets started. When pricing is too low, the staff can’t get their work done properly in the allotted time. They tend to cut corners and rush the job. The cleaning company can’t afford to pay their staff for more hours because the job won’t be profitable. Quality suffers because not enough time is being spent cleaning the facility.
Takeaway #1: Less cleaning time leads to poor results. Make sure you ask the cleaning company to include the number of hours they have budgeted for your job.
2) Lower pricing can mean less expensive cleaning equipment and supplies:
When jobs are priced too low, cleaning companies are forced to cut corners wherever they can. One area that won’t be obvious to the business owner is the use of less expensive equipment and supplies. Companies can’t invest in better equipment and often skimp on important things like laundry services (for soiled towels and mops). They tend to buy off the shelf, less expensive, cleaning supplies instead of commercial grade cleaning products.
Takeaway #2: Cleaning companies bidding too low are forced to use less expensive equipment and supplies, which can lead to poor results.
3) Lower pricing often means less time training and supervising staff:
When janitorial companies calculate labor costs they have to figure in training and supervising costs as well. These costs are passed on to the business owner by the way of higher pricing.
Takeaway #3: Less training and supervision of janitorial staff leads to poor results. Ask the company how they maintain quality control. How often do
they inspect their employee’s work?
4) Lower pricing usually results in paying janitorial workers lower hourly wages, which leads to high turnover and poor results.
Turnover is high in the janitorial industry. Janitorial workers are often paid minimum wage for years before getting a raise. This can lead to disgruntled workers, who aren’t incentivized to do a better job. To avoid this, companies need to pay their janitorial workers a better wage to retain them.
Takeaway #4: Low pricing often means lower wages for janitorial workers, which translates into high turnover and inconsistent results.
5) Low ball bids could be a sign that you’re dealing with a cleaning company that uses subcontractors.
Janitorial companies that use subcontractors often underbid jobs by basing their quotes on unrealistic cleaning times. Once the contract is won, they sub the work out to another janitorial company. The subcontractor is told how many work hours to budget for the job. Based on those estimates, the subcontractor accepts the job.
Once the job starts the subcontractor often finds that the budgeted hours are insufficient to provide a quality service. The subcontractor can’t spend more time cleaning because that will increase costs and hurt profitability. This leads to poor service and dissatisfied customers.
Takeaway #5: Subcontracting companies may be underbidding the job and subbing it out to another janitorial company. Ask for the name of the subcontractor who will actually be performing the work so you can check their references and online reviews.
6) So, how can you compare prices and choose the right cleaning company?
Ask the commercial cleaning companies to tell you how many cleaning hours they have budgeted for your job. If you get two companies with the same price and your research tells you that they’re both qualified to do the work, pick the one who has budgeted more time to clean your facility.
Takeaway #6: Ask the cleaning company if they use timekeeping systems to monitor how long their staff spends cleaning your facility. Companies that monitor staff hours are usually more accountable.
The next time you’re searching for a new janitorial service be wary of low quotes that seem too good to be true. If you like the company with the lowest bid and they seem like a good fit for your business, they can still be a good choice. But, before you hire them, do some research on the company. Read their online customer reviews, check their references and ask them what type of equipment they will be using (see what’s in your janitor’s closet for more information on equipment).
So, if you aren’t happy with your current cleaning company you should ask yourself: Were they the lowest bidder when I hired them? If you answered yes, you might not want to make the same mistake again.
By Zachary Shor
President, Ace Cleaning Systems, Inc.