Let’s say you are considering hiring a janitorial provider and you’ve been presented with four different bids. Each bid is specific to your facility and includes the same services.

Bid #1: $5,000 per month

Bid #2: $4,500 per month

Bid #3: $2,000 per month

Bid #4: $5,800 per month

Bid #3 may seem tempting. It is much lower than the other three and comes way under your budget. But if you were to choose Bid #4, CMM reports that one of three things is likely to happen:

(1), now that they’ve secured your account, the provider will most likely try to renegotiate prices with you after a few months. (2), they aren’t charging enough to make a profit, so they reduce the time spent cleaning your facility or even put you last on their list of priorities. Or (3), the price shows in the quality of services you are receiving and you frequently must make complaints.

Leave the lower bidder behind. If a price seems too good to be true, it usually is. The provider will only add to your problems and cause more work for you down the line when you are searching for a replacement.

Now that you’ve eliminated the lowest bid, you’re left with three bidders. Being that the other three bids are much closer to each other in price, how do you make the right decision? There are a few things to look out for in a bid. But the most important consideration is what YOU want. Before you make a selection, you need to understand what you want to achieve with your janitorial services. Choose the provider that delivers on those expectations.

What Is a Bid?

Bids determine the cost and value of the janitorial services you’ve selected. A bid is based on a variety of different factors:

Labor – The amount of time and work your services equate to. Also, how many staff members are required to complete the work.

Size – How large your facility is measured by square feet and how many rooms require cleaning.

Direct costs – Cleaning supplies, equipment and essentials like toilet paper and hand soap.

Profit – Every business needs to make a profit, the janitorial industry is no exception. It is better to pay now than to receive surprise bills later.

There is no one size fits all process to putting together a bid, which is largely why there is such variances in bids. When selecting or looking at bids, you should be asking questions to find out why there is such a variance. What did the most expensive bidder see that the lowest didn’t?

What Makes a Good Bid?

Your bid is a baseline for your services. It tells your franchise owner what services they are required to perform. Make sure you are getting everything that you’ve asked for from the start. If the provider was listening, everything should be there.

Also pay attention to where the focus lies. It’s a transaction, but your best interest should be reflected. The point of the bid after all is to solve your problems and answer your concerns. Pay close attention to the nuances of each proposal. What benefits have been presented to you that make you think one provider is better than the others? Will they help you operate your business more sustainably? Can they help you reduce cleaning costs? Have they proposed ways to help improve the health of your facility?

This isn’t asking a lot; Sustainability, reducing costs and improving health are all attainable. Reducing costs can be achieved by using past experiences to determine how many staff members are needed to clean the space as well as how long it will take them beforehand. Reducing costs also comes down to how up-to-date the provider is on the most effective techniques and equipment. For example, are they saving time by using methods that cut out unnecessary steps and are they using automated equipment that can get the job done quicker and with better results? They must also know how to handle cleaning specific to your industry. Your facility may require a higher level of sterility than another’s. Your provider must be equipped with the right knowledge and their bid should prove it.

Don’t focus solely on the bid. The hard costs involved should not be the only thing to consider when selecting a company. How much time do you spend checking your service providers work? If you have to report an issue, it means you have to take the time away from what you are supposed to be doing to either report a complaint, schedule a meeting or have to arrange for something to be done again. You may not be paying a physical bill for this however, your time is valuable. What is the opportunity cost of you spending time on these issues rather than focusing on your job. It is the service providers job to make sure this is a hassle free process and that you don’t have to worry about the nuances of an inconsistent provider.

Also consider how good communication has been throughout the process. Communication is important. If you have to report an issue or schedule additional services down the line, you want to know that your provider will be responsive. Take note of whether the provider is quick to respond by email, answers your calls, is on time to meetings and submits the bid on time.

During the selection process, it’s a good time to ask as many questions as possible, and develop a relationship to the company you will potentially be hiring. Who did you feel was not only the most competent, but the one who truly understands the needs you have in your facility.

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