11 asks to choose the best commercial cleaning company

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11 asks to choose the best commercial cleaning company

What are the questions you should be asking when evaluating your next commercial cleaning company?

The message we most often hear from businesses looking for a commercial cleaning company is, they are unhappiness with:

  1. “Communication” in relation to a specific cleaning request that either didn’t happen, didn’t get any confirmation that it was received, taken care of, change of staff, etc. 
  2. Quality of cleaning seems to be inconsistent and depends on specific cleaning staff.
  3. Lack of transparency in cost, which can result in extra cost for things that was not clear in the contract, or just unclear communication.

There are many more but those are consistently mentioned. So how do you try to avoid those challenges, and evaluate how a cleaning company runs their business, so expectations are managed from the beginning, and you end up being a happy customer?

A few questions to ask yourself before interviewing a cleaning vendor

  1. What is your single biggest challenge right now, which you would want a cleaning company to solve?
  2. What can a cleaning company change so you can finish work 1 hour early?
  3. What frustrates you most about the cleaning vendors, and if solved, would have the biggest positive impact on your business and personal time?
  4. What current cleaning services would you change to better suit the results you want to achieve?
  5. What do you wish vendors in the cleaning industry would offer, but currently don’t?

When Interviewing Your Shortlist of Cleaning Vendors

#1 – Are you providing cleaning services only, or do you provide basic maintenance as well?

Loose door knobs, burnt light bulbs, a chip off the wall corner, loose light switches, baseboards, or wall paint touch up. The list is endless, and with different vendors for everything, this puts a load on coordination, scheduling etc. So wouldn’t it be nice, if your cleaning vendor also handled basic maintenance, so that you can reduce your time spent on coordination, scheduling, and follow up?

#2 – Ask for the business license.

You may not ask for validation of business license during the first conversation but the cleaning quite that you receive should include proof of business license. It’s a basic validation and will also inform you of how long the cleaning company has been in business.

#3 – Ask for training certificates

It’s common that commercial cleaning companies communicate their affiliation with national cleaning and disinfection organizations, and governmental agencies that help elevate the level of cleaning and disinfection quality at large for the benefit of better health and safety in our community.

The best and most serious cleaning companies send their core professional cleaners on regular cleaning training with Building Service Contractors Association (BSCAI) or International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA), to stay alert and constantly improve on health and safety.

The cleaning company should have a well defined training program for ALL new hired cleaning professionals to ensure the quality they deliver is aligned with company standards.

#4 – Ask for staff training in disinfection

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and EPA have clear suggested guidelines for which circumstances that require disinfection, the type of disinfection, and what the general effect of disinfection is.

There is still a lot of misinformation on what disinfection is and how it is done right, so always ask for a written process on  how “disinfection” is carried out and which training the staff has received. If the cleaning company is offering “electrostatic disinfection” it means they use an “electrostatic sprayer” to deliver the disinfectant. Ask for the safety measures that they use when delivering disinfection of your facilities.

#5 – Ask for Quality Control & Inspection

Quality control is not a finite set of inspection points but should include a written process for how quality control is conducted and how it seeks to ensure the delivery of the cleaning quality that you have specified in the cleaning contract that you have agreed upon.

In general, the cleaning contract should specify what kind of cleaning activities will take place in your facilities, area by area, the type of cleaning and disinfection agents to be used, along with your desired end result.

This should be the check-list used by any of the professional cleaning staff members that enters your facilities, and the same cleaning check-list that is used for quality inspection.

Commercial cleaning system

Ask for a quality control plan that explains what cleaning checklist the cleaning staff is using, and how quality control reports variations from the cleaning plan. Ideally your commercial cleaning company should use a digital version of your cleaning contract, that they access with their smartphone, so they know step-by-step what the cleaning requirements are. The same digital cleaning plan should be used for quality control, so that what has been reported as cleaned, can be inspected .. full circle. 

Commercial cleaning system

#6 – Ask for how communication works

A major reason for facility managers to change the cleaning company is the lack of communication. A facility manager wants to know when the cleaning staff is on premise, communicate if cleaning requirements have been missed, or areas that need additional cleaning for a given reason.

If these requests are not met then the quality of cleaning starts slipping and the facilities manager will experience a lack of control with the cleanliness of the facilities.

Ask the cleaning company how they ensure communication, execution on requests, and follow up communication when done. The most consistent communication happens when it is digital and both communication, requests, execution, and reporting happens via a dedicated smartphone app everyone has access to.

#7 – Ask for a list of cleaning equipment

The cleaning equipment used by the cleaning company says a lot about the company. Well maintained, quality cleaning equipment that is up to date, means that quality, efficiency, and care for your facilities, is a priority for the cleaning company.

Ask the cleaning company to provide an inventory of equipment that they currently own, by make, size, year, and condition. They should have it on file.

#8 – Ask for a Safety Plan

All kinds of things can happen during cleaning hours, so ask for a safety plan that ensures that cleaning is done as safely as possible to your own staff, customers, and cleaning staff themselves. Wet floors during floor cleaning can cause slip-and-fall incidents, so ask for a safety plan from the cleaning company.

#9 – Ask for References

List five references, include names, titles, and telephone numbers of contact persons, which you have provided services to in the past two years.

Provide a list of four additional projects or contracts that your firm currently services that is similar in scope to this RFP.

#10 – Ask for List of Workers

Employed full-time or part-time? You need to know who will be the staff supervisor during cleaning of your facilities and how many are full-time and part-time staff.

If the supervisor is not the same person every time and a good part of the staff is part-time, it is likely that there will be days where they don’t show up and the cleaning quality will be under par.

Ask for the staff member’s background check, specific professional qualifications, and years of applicable experience.

#11 – Ask for flexibility options in cleaning hours

Do you have specific requests for what days or hours the cleaning should be done, in order to minimize the impact of your ability to conduct your normal business activities? Flexible working hours will allow your cleaning service to be timed and scheduled for the most convenient working hours, even very late at night after everyone has gone home.

Ask for flexibility to suit your specific request for cleaning hours.

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Omar Miller - Advantage Cleaning New York