As you leaf through the piles of proposals cluttering up your desk, the first question on your lips is probably; “How much will it cost?” When it comes to forking out for a commercial cleaning contract, cost is a big part of the decision making process… but it’s not the only factor you should consider. To help you with your decision, we have put together a list of questions you need to know the answers to:
Do they have any cleaning contracts nearby?
If the cleaning contractor has sites nearby it’s a good idea to plan a visit so you can inspect the cleanliness of the site and also talk to the facilities manager to get some honest insight.
Another reason this is a positive is because nearby sites can easily cover each other in times of need. If one of your cleaners calls in sick short notice, the contract manager will be able to seek cover from other sites in the area. They can be there quickly and you can be confident they have the same training and security clearance as your own operatives.
What is their staff retention rate?
The cleaning industry in general has a very high turnover of staff; according to the Essential FM Report, the average time a cleaning operative stays in one role is 12 weeks. This can be for a variety of reasons, some of which are summarised here in The Invisible Workforce: Employment in the Cleaning Sector. If a commercial cleaning company has a high staff retention rate in such a difficult industry, then they are likely to be good employers who value their operatives, and care about making them feel happy and secure in their jobs.
What percentage of your Contracts Managers’ time will be dedicated to your contract?
You’ve heard the expression; ‘The Service Industry never sleeps’? This may be true but people do need sleep, and structure, and support. A good cleaning company will be able to tell you at proposal stage what percentage of their time each member of the management team will dedicate to your contract. They will have thought about each employees workload and ability to take on another site, as well as planned how the contract will be supported before even sending you that proposal. You should also ask how many sites the Contract Manager is responsible for, if it’s too many the service becomes reactive instead of proactive.
How flexible is their cleaning service?
The last thing you want in the event of a cleaning emergency is to be told you can’t be helped until the middle of next month! (Pull on your marigolds, looks like this is a job for the Facilities Manager!) A good cleaning company will refer to a service level agreement which will state the exact amount of time they can send teams to you in a crisis. (Phew…)
What environmental initiatives do they have in place?
Cleaning can be a very wasteful and environmentally harmful task if done with no consideration. But a good cleaning company will have initiatives in place to protect the environment and reduce waste; not just in big bold attention grabbing ways, but small effective changes like using microfibre cloths instead of disposable ones, which applied on a large scale can save a lot of waste AND a lot of money.
There will undoubtedly be a lot more research involved before deciding which commercial cleaning company is the right fit for you but do bear in mind that it sometimes just comes down to that old saying… ‘you get what you pay for’.
How would we fair under these questions? See marcleaning.co.uk for the answers!