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Hiring and Keeping a Commercial Cleaning Company

Updated: May 23

Running a customer-facing business is hard enough. In this post I share how to hire a good commercial cleaner that will perform and last for years.

The Challenge of Finding a Long-Term Commercial Cleaning Partner

Nowadays, with labor costs being so high and consumer expectations getting higher by the day, we need to be very careful by the local cleaning company we choose. There is nothing worse than hiring a cleaning company, handing them the keys to your business, just to have them fail to keep up the promises that were laid out during your first walk through. It’s unfortunate, but most commercial cleaning companies that operate today are facing the same pressures of inflation. Higher labor, cleaning supply, fuel, taxes and insurance costs should be translating into their daily, weekly, or bi-monthly cleaning quotes. The truth is, in order to get a new client and to be competitive, the average companies are lowering their bid prices in order to win your cleaning contract. How does that translate to business owners? I call it “short cutting”.

Let’s say your weekly office cleaning should take two or three hours to complete. An average cleaning company would price your job based off three hours of work. Everything will seem great for the first few weeks of your contract and then it begins. The owners, managers, or cleaning technicians of the cleaning company realize they can’t afford to provide the level of service they promised you. They slowly start reducing the time the cleaners are on your site. You end up paying for three hours of work and the company’s employees are out of there in an hour and a half or way less! Things appear to be clean but after a closer inspection you will start to notice a ton of missing items not being cleaned from the original agreement.

How do you avoid multiple uncomfortable conversations with your commercial cleaning company? Or avoid the worst-case scenario, having to fire them and have to start all over? Here’s my two cents worth.

Have clear expectations and put them in writing. It’s not enough just to lay out a few areas of importance in a cleaning contract. You need to be super specific. I would recommend writing out exactly what’s expected from your commercial cleaner on what days. All the way down to dusting light fixtures on which days. Also, and I would say most importantly, think of a measuring system to keep track if your commercial cleaners’ activities and write it out in the contract. For example, the business owner will receive a weekly, monthly, or quarterly cleaning report. You need something that you get on a regular basis that states what items are being completed. I would recommend getting that report in shorter intervals. It may seem like more work, but you will be able to catch things quickly before the commercial cleaners get too far off track. If you don’t have time, you could always delegate this task to an employee who’s in the office more often.

Secondly, If your cleaners aren’t meeting your expectations put it in writing. There’s nothing more frustrating than asking people to change multiple times with no resolve. The minute you put it in writing things get serious. Your commercial cleaner knows when you put it in writing that it’s not an open threat. What do you write? Company name, who your addressing, your name, and specific details on what’s been missed and what will happen if the commercial cleaner doesn’t correct their action in a reasonable amount of time.

I know this seems like a ton of work but it’s actually pretty easy once you get into a rhythm of holding your cleaners accountable. Trust me, it’s way better than the alternative. It just boils down to a mutual respect. It doesn’t hurt to developing a solid relationship with your commercial cleaner. One where you can be open and honest with them. If they are true professionals, your criticism will only make them better. If they aren’t pros you will know right away by the layer of excuses, they put out there.

If all of the above fails, I would recommend searching for a professional janitorial service and discovering how a solid cleaning company can make your life a lot easier and free up your time so you can get back to running your business.

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