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Janitorial Service

Updated on November 13, 2010

One of the most important parts of running your own business or running an office or warehouse is keeping that space presentable and clean for the benefit of both your workforce and potential customers.  A janitorial service is the best way to keep standards high and make sure your office or warehouse is always clean.  There are a few possible downsides, but for the most part the benefits or a janitorial cleaning service far outweigh the negatives.  You do not have to buy your own janitorial supplies or janitorial equipment.  In addition, you do not have to manage a new employee and pay for their salary and benefits.  However, you need to be confident about letting a third party into your workspace at night when there is no one there to observe them.  If you have decided to hire a janitorial service, then there are some steps that you should follow to make sure you are getting the best janitorial services for your money.

Step 1: Request for Proposal and Bids

The first step to hiring a janitorial service is to make up a request for proposal. This is a document where you indicate the details about your facility such as square footage, types of flooring, how many windows, how many rooms, how many bathrooms, etc. The more detailed the description of your office and warehouse space, the easier it will be for janitorial products and services companies to quote the business. In addition, the quote will be more accurate and there will be less chance of surprise charges later. If you can provide a floor, plan and make a chart with the type of flooring and fixtures in each room that would be ideal.

You also want to indicate what your expectations are in terms of cleaning. Make a list of what you expect to be completed in each room such as vacuuming, mopping, dusting, window cleaning, wall and door cleaning, grout cleaning, etc. The best way to get an accurate quote is to be as detailed as possible about what you want done. You should also take this opportunity to indicate any special circumstances that will affect the janitorial service’s ability to do their job. For example, does your business work on models with lots of small and intricate parts? If so, you want to let the janitorial service know that they will need to take great care when working in certain rooms. Or, if your office is extremely environmentally conscious or you have employees with allergies, you might say that you want only green cleaning products used in your space.

Once the request for proposal is finished, submit it to no less than three janitorial service companies.  In the best scenario, all three companies will get back to you and you want at least three bids to compare.  It is probable that not all three will get back to you, so it is a good idea to submit the request for proposal of janitorial services to four or five companies if possible.  Then, you wait for the bids to come back.

Step 2: Check References and Insurance

Once you have all the bids, you need to start checking the references and insurance situation for each commercial cleaning service. You should ask each company to provide you with a copy of their liability and worker’s compensation certificate of insurance. In addition, make sure that each company is bonded. Some janitorial service companies will only have one or the other, but being both bonded and insured provide more complete coverage and you as the customer are better off. The janitorial service company should be willing to provide you with copies of their certificate of insurance and a bonding certificate. If they complain or try to give excuses about this, then there is something not on the up and up.

A bond covers anything related to the completion of a certain job. For example, if the janitorial service company does not meet the expectations of your contract or one of the janitorial service providers steals something from your offices. Both of these instances have something to do with the completion of the job for which they were hired. Liability insurance covers any damages that might occur in the completion of that job. For example, if the janitorial service knocks over a vase that was worth a great deal of money, then a claim will be filed with tier liability insurance carrier to compensate you for the loss. Worker’s compensation insurance is essential in case any of the janitorial service staff are injured while on the job at your offices.

Once you are confident that the janitorial service is properly insured, your next step should be to contact references. Ask the service for a list of references, and again, if they balk at this request, then they are probably not the kind of company you want to work with. When you call the janitorial service customers make sure that you have a list of prepared questions to ask and that they force the customer to be as honest as possible. Since the janitorial service provided you with these contacts, they are obviously going to choose customers that will paint them in a positive light. You need to ask questions that force the reference to think about the janitorial service’s weaknesses. Ask what area they think the janitorial service needs to improve the most or what their least favorable interaction was. But do not focus only on the negative. Give the janitorial service reference a chance to tell you why they like this particular service over others as well. Do not ask yes or no questions.

Step 3: Compare and Select

Once you have all the information in front of you, you can immediately eliminate any company that was unable to produce proof of insurance and bonding as well as satisfactory references. With the companies you have left, make sure to not only compare the rates for the base work that you want done each week, but also look at their lists of a la carte services such as carpet shampooing or floor waxing. You will want these services completed occasionally and you want to include the cost of them in your comparison. You may also be able to find a janitorial service comapny that will do outdoor maintenance projects and things you might otherwise need to hire a gutter cleanign company or roofing service for.  The final choice is a weighted decision looking at cost, services available, and the strength of their references.


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      kedraelston 4 years ago

      Excellent article. (Posted by owner of

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      roldan l. mencian 6 years ago

      how will i compute the required number of janitors to clean a 1,000.00 square meters school building.