- Incomplete data needed to price a facility’s janitorial services; and/or
- Insufficient time to assess the facility’s requirements.
Here are FIVE ABSOLUTES needed for any buyer to ensure contractors calculate the price for janitorial services accurately:
- Cleanable square feet by floor type: Different flooring types require different processes that either slow or speed up the cleaning production rate (Cleaning production rate = Square Footage / total cleaning hours). All too often, the gross square footage is provided leaving out a break down by carpet, VCT tile or other hard services. Getting an accurate break down of your surface types will help janitorial contractors match the appropriate production rate (See Under the Hood: Janitorial Pricing).
- Accurate separation of cleanable square feet from gross square feet: It’s all too convenient for some buyers to lump the square feet into a gross square footage. Yet, in attending bid walks, we often find vacant offices or cubicles, utility rooms and some common space that does not require cleaning. Always “right-size” your cleanable square footage. Never just throw out a gross square feet number alone, for contractors to chew on. It will result in a bloated price.
- Accurate head count in the facility: When pricing consumable
products like toilet paper, paper towels and liners, you need an accurate head count in the facility. If you have a visitor login or badge security system, you can get quick and accurate numbers for your facility’s traffic. Breaking that head count down by gender helps to improve the price of the consumable products. Even better, provide the direct history of consumable purchases (e.g., cases of toilet paper per month). Head count also helps determine the facility occupancy density which affects general cleaning production rates (More people = dirtier facilities and increased wear on surfaces).
- Give more time to finalists for bid walks: Most janitorial service RFP’s include a site visit (we call a bid walk). Most of the time, the site visit is a quick and rushed tour of thefacility with multiple competing bidders. If you want to improve pricing, I recommend only offering bid walks to pre-qualified contractors. Then, increase the time each contractor has to assess you facility’s unique requirements. Since you are dealing with a short-list, have them make their visit separately from competing contractors. This approach turns your site visit into a blind interview. You will learn more about that contractor in how they approach the site visit than you would from any proposal. This not only improves the accuracy of the bid, but it will also give you key insights into how each contractor will approach your facility.
- Customers’ Pains: The customer pain points are often hidden, and rarely identified in an RFP. Think about that: rarely do people admit their mistakes by saying something like, “Hey we got burned on our last contractor, that’s why we want someone new.” Likewise, customers do not openly announce in an RFP, “Our company is going through financial struggles, we must cut cost to survive.” However, knowing those pains would truly change both the contractor’s motivation and the creativity forming love affair that would spawn creative solutions. Proposal, offering and price all change for the benefit of the buyer if customer pains are disclosed. There is a different approach – see my post on 3 Tips to improve RFP’s.
Download our white paper: “5 Things Janitorial Companies Know About Their Price, That You Don’t“
In 2011, Marc's team won the large company category, "Best in the Industry" marketing materials from the Building Service Contractor Association International (BSCAI). Marc also directs Varsity's proposal writing, sales process and tools development, marketing campaigns, corporate website SEO performance and customer support center.
Marc has spent his career developing strategic capabilities that enhance value to customers and the company. A Lean Sigma Green belt himself, he developed the company's Lean Sigma offering, providing an innovative solution to customers' need to lower cost while raising quality. He led the development of JanOPS, an industry-leading janitorial operating system, which brings standardization and service consistency to large campus and geographically disperse national accounts.
Prior to this position, Marc was responsible for strategic management at Varsity. He has initiated or directed multiple strategic technology initiatives, ranging from a corporate website, a corporate intranet, a web/smartphone based quality control system, a learning management system, a corporate content manager and knowledge wiki, salesforce.com deployment and customization, and an Android app which facilitates the GROW sales process he has developed.
Marc is the author of several leadership and management training manuals, field guides, marketing collateral and case studies. He speaks Portuguese and Spanish and holds a bachelor degree in English/Technical Writing and a Masters of Business Administration in Finance from Idaho State University. Marc enjoys mountain biking, skiing, fishing and golf. He is happily married, and he and his wife Victoria enjoy raising and spending time with their four children.