The best way to find the right office cleaning company for you is to

(1) Ask the right questions – pre-screen and choose your group;
(2) Conduct an organized walk-through; and
(3) Be sure all bidders have all the information they need to work up an informed bid and that they all have exactly the same information.

Here are our suggestions for a well-designed cleaning services procurement system.

Step 1: Pre-qualification: Put together a one-page questionnaire (see the questionnaire below) to email to all of the janitorial service companies you are interested in. Have them fill it out, email it back to you, and then pick your group.

Step 2: Notify the contractors that they have been chosen to bid (see below).

Step 3: The Bid Package: Prepare a Janitorial Services Package to be handed out at the beginning of your walk-through – or, better yet, email it to them prior to the walk-through so they are better prepared and know what to look for when they’re touring your office.

Here are our suggestions for the types of information your Bid Package should include:

  • A complete set of cleaning specifications, with frequencies (see the sample office cleaning specs below).
  • A simple floor plan. Nothing fancy, and it doesn’t have to be to scale.
  • Square footage, preferably broken down into carpet footage and hard-surface floor footage.
  • “Desk” population (number of people with desks).
  • “Non-desk” population, such as assembly workers and warehouse personnel.
  • Estimated number of visitors each day and how they use the facility. Do they simply visit the front counter, or do they routinely come into the building for extended periods and use the restrooms and lunchrooms as a regular employee would?
  • Special populations, such as children, senior citizens or tour groups.
  • Number of restrooms and lunchrooms.
  • If your company has a commitment to use of environmentally-responsible cleaning chemicals, specify that.
  • Special instructions, such as “Recycling paper marked “shredding” is not to be removed from the accounting department”. Things like this can make a difference in bid prices, as they can often eliminate a lot of work.
  • All hard-surface floors that will require periodic refinishing, and carpeted areas that might need to be cleaned more often than other areas due to heavy traffic.
  • If you have a multi-tenant building, you might consider getting 2 prices; one price for all of the common areas that would be cleaned regardless of occupancy, and another “cents-per-square-foot” price to be added or deducted as suites are filled or vacated.
  • Specify if you want restroom supplies to be included in the bids. Note – We don’t recommend this for 3 reasons:
    • (1) Many cleaning contractors don’t have experience in estimating supply-usage
    • (2) Some tenants will have a high number of outside visitors coming into the building and using rest-rooms, which will throw everyone’s prices off
    • (3) The contractor with the best purchasing power might not be the best contractor for you (and the contractor with the worst purchasing power might provide the best service you’ll ever get).
  • Time frames for cleaning, e.g. “Starting after 6pm, to be finished by midnight, Sunday through Thursday”.
  • Consider telling your bidders that you encourage “prompt-payment” terms in their cleaning proposals.
  • Insurance and bonding requirements. Ask that proof of coverage be faxed or emailed to you directly from their providers. If you feel it’s important, require that the winning contractor designates your company as a co-insured.
  • When you want the bids to be in. In our experience 1 week is plenty of time for all but the most complicated bids. On very large buildings you might want to allow 2 weeks.
  • When you anticipate the work would begin.

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