Articles

How Janitorial Software Can ‘Level the Playing Field’ for Your Cleaning Business

Today’s commercial and residential cleaning businesses are lucky. Really, here’s why.

The playing field in the cleaning industry has been effectively leveled by innovative, intuitive software designed to give small or even start- up cleaning companies the online and mobile tools needed to quickly and successfully compete with much larger building services contractors – even those having hundreds of employees or doing millions in sales.

In the past, cleaning business owners hoping to grow a large and profitable company might have reasonably expected to face years engaged in a painful, uphill battle to get the kind of information and tools necessary to look and operate as professionally as their larger cleaning counterparts.

No more.

While experience is, and will always be, important – sometimes, in some things, it can be dramatically reduced in importance or even replaced altogether by the use of the right business tools, in this case, the software available to cleaning companies today.

That’s right; the years of painful struggle have been largely eliminated by online, …

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How to Bid On Residential Cleaning

How should your cleaning business prepare a bid on residential cleaning jobs?

There are two parts to the answer.  One deals with the outline you use to demonstrate professionalism; the other deals with the message you send to create interest. Both are important.

Let’s tackle the outline issue first.  Any professional residential cleaning bid or quote for maid services should cover a variety of important topics. These topics should be organized into a logical order so the homeowner can quickly and easily get clear answers to their basic questions.
What questions?

Well, the primary ones include: Who are you?  What do you offer?  How are you qualified or experienced for this job? What does your cleaning plan for them consist of in the areas of service schedule, job specifications and task frequencies?  What systems, policies or procedures do you have in place to guarantee your cleaning?

Other topics needing to be explained in detail in a residential cleaning bid include billing, payment terms, supplies, equipment, and …

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Carpet Cleaning Bidding Software Offers Pricing and Proposal Help

Carpet cleaners are a lot like janitorial business owners – they need help when it comes preparing a cleaning bid. While it’s easy to see they need something to help them figure out how to price a carpet cleaning job, other things they need a bidding program to do may be less obvious.

So, what else do carpet cleaners need from their bidding program?

Well, they need a program that not only helps them set the price, they also need it to give them a professional looking proposal which they can deliver in person or email to their customer.  Increasingly, documents are emailed rather than submitted in person due to the busy lifestyles of residential clients and the over-loaded work schedules of commercial customers.

Carpet cleaners also need to be able to customize the carpet cleaning proposal to impress even the toughest prospective client.  Being able to change the wording of sections of a proposal, such as the cover letter, gives the carpet cleaning business owner the chance …

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How to Prepare a Cleaning Bid

By Dan Liebrecht

How should a janitorial business prepare a cleaning bid?

There are two parts to the answer. One deals with the outline you use to demonstrate professionalism; the other deals with the message you send to create interest. Both are important.

Let’s tackle the outline issue first. Any professional cleaning bid or janitorial proposal should cover a variety of important topics. These topics should be organized into a logical order so the building owner or property manager can quickly and easily get clear answers to their basic questions.

What questions?

Well, the primary ones include: Who are you? What do you offer? How are you qualified or experienced for this job? What does your cleaning plan for them consist of in the areas of service schedule, job specifications and task frequencies, etc. What systems, policies or procedures do you have in place to guarantee your work?

Other topics needing to be explained in detail in a cleaning bid include invoicing, …

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How Janitorial Businesses Can Succeed in 2010…and Beyond

It’s clear. The janitorial business was never easy. But now in 2010, a great number of cleaning contractors would say it’s becoming nearly impossible to get and stay profitable.

How did we get here?

Small hurdles that go along with a slowing economy became bigger as the recession worsened. Finding new jobs became harder for many as building owners and managers raced to find ways to cut costs. And other challenges became more pronounced in reaction to the economic pull back.

For example, the use of illegal workers by unscrupulous contractors and the low-balling antics of empty-promising janitorial franchises and national cleaning management companies made things even worse.

Today, in the face of these mounting problems, many a frustrated, hard working janitorial business owner can be heard asking the question:

“How can I find and land and keep profitable cleaning jobs when I have to compete with ridiculously low prices being offered to building owners and managers desperately looking to cut costs.”

It’s a …

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FREE Janitorial Bidding Calculators Can Be Too COSTLY!

FREE janitorial bidding calculator. It doesn’t get better than that, right?

Well, not necessarily – not if you can’t figure out how to use it, don’t know or can’t find the data it requires to work and certainly not if it doesn’t get you the results you want. In that case, free may actually be costing you!

How can I say that? The very sound of the word ‘FREE’ is appealing, isn’t it?

To explain how, consider this old cliché: “You get what you pay for!”
These words express time-tested wisdom – specifically, the connection between the value of ‘something’ and what you paid for that ‘something’.

So, does this sage advice hold true for free janitorial bidding calculators? Well, if the limitations of many of these bidding tools are any indication, it does.

First, some rely on over-simplified, one-size fits all production rates or price per sq. ft. figures which produce, of course, equally oversimplified answers. And that’s where ‘free’ can cost …

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How to Start a Cleaning Business the RIGHT Way

If starting a cleaning business tells the whole world you have a DREAM – starting a cleaning business the ‘right way’ tells the business world you have a PLAN. A plan means you intend not only to be in business, but that you intend to be successful.

You may have already taken steps to get bonded and insured. You may have already designed your logo and printed up your business cards. You may have even decided which type of ‘green’ products you’re going to use when you clean.

You may feel you’re all set, ready to go. But feeling ‘ready to go’, and being ‘ready to be succeed’… are two very different things.

Being ‘ready to succeed’ in the cleaning business has LESS to do with logos, business cards, insurance and cleaning chemicals and MORE to do with having an effective plan for finding, landing and keeping profitable cleaning jobs.

I know, you may be thinking, “Easier said than done.” Sure, …

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What’s the ‘Going Rate’ to Bid Cleaning Contracts?

This simple question has created more confusion and frustration for cleaning business owners than nearly any other. So, why is it so hard to get a straight answer to what seems like such a straightforward question?

If you’ve been in the cleaning business for even a short time – you may have caught yourself asking this, or at least can remember hearing another well-intentioned, but frustrated, janitorial business owners ask it…. as they desperately tried to figure out what to bid on a cleaning job.

Actually, you may have heard a slight variation of it which goes something like, “What’s the going rate for pricing cleaning in my city?” But, no matter which way you’ve heard it – the question is pretty clear.

People want to know the simple ‘one-number’ answer to how much they should charge per square foot for their cleaning services.

They want to hear an answer, like 9 cents/ sq. ft. You see, that way they could …

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How Can Cleaning Businesses Find More Jobs? Part 2

The Secret to Cleaning Businesses Finding More Jobs Today Isn’t Chasing After Customers with LOW Prices but in Attracting Them with MORE Value!

Developing a set of powerful Measurable Guarantees of Performance, specific service commitments which your company stand behind 100%, may be the single most important thing you can do to quickly move your cleaning business ahead of the competition… and out of the “lowest price trap”

What’s that? What is the “lowest price trap”?

Well, simply put, it’s the misguided and reckless strategy of chasing after your competitors by lowering your prices below what’s reasonable or profitable, in order to win the job or land the account!

It’s easy to fall into if you feel your only way to get and then keep work is by doing the same work for less.

    But, it’s not

Your MGP’s or Measurable Guarantees of Performance are the reasons why you’re different than the rest of the low-balling pack.

You don’t offer the “same” service. You offer a better …

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How Can Cleaning Businesses Find More Jobs? Part 1

The Secret to Cleaning Businesses Finding More Jobs Today Isn’t Chasing After Customers with LOW Prices but in Attracting Them with MORE Value!

Things have changed.

You know it. We know it. And every janitorial business out there today can see and feel it.

What is it? It’s simply this… the old ways of growing a successful service business simply DON’T work any more.

For example, years ago, when we started our janitorial-cleaning business, nearly anyone could do pretty well for themselves and have a sizable customer list, just by knocking on doors, word of mouth and, of course, delivering a reliable service.

Really, it was really about that simple.

Growth and profitability were within relatively easy reach; hard work and a good reputation would get you more accounts and at prices… that made you money!

    Not any more.

Today, when commercial cleaning businesses desperate to find new jobs, send out brochures or post cards with yesterday’s marketing messages such “We’re bonded, licensed …

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The Time-Price-Quality Connection in the Cleaning Business

How can independent cleaning businesses respond to the empty-promising franchises and national cleaning management companies who threaten to take some of their best, oldest and largest customers with their slick marketing and low-ball prices?

Well, frankly, they need to have an ‘answer’ to this question from their customers:

“Why should I continue to do business with you when I’ve got your competitors promising me fantastic cleaning at unbelievably low prices?”

Well, each independent cleaning business has to answer that question for their individual company. But, in the end, the answer has to make one thing clear:

How you are different from your competitors, and how that difference benefits customers by delivering them more value, better value. It needs to make sense and it needs to really matter.

For example, let’s say a building owner asks why they should stick with me, rather than switch to one of my aggressive pricing, over-promising competitors.

Rather than begging them to stay out of loyalty, pleading with them to stay …

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How Independent Cleaning Businesses Should Have Responded To Price-Cutting Competitors

If you’re an independent janitorial cleaning business, you may have been asking yourself lately, “What’s happened to the cleaning business?”

And you’d be right to wonder. You see the world of janitorial work, or if you prefer, commercial cleaning, doesn’t look the same anymore.

Independent cleaning businesses – the ones that decide to own and operate their own cleaning business without financially ‘handcuffing’ themselves to a franchise, used to ‘reign supreme’.

That’s right; independent cleaning businesses used to be the ‘backbone’ of this important industry. Building owners and property managers alike turned regularly to their local, trusted, independent cleaning companies when it came time to arrange for someone to maintain their building’s appearance.

Why?

Well, customers were happy because they could count on getting quality cleaning and reliable service from cleaning people they knew, liked and trusted.

Employees were happy because they were given enough time to deliver quality cleaning; the kind they could be proud of, not embarrassed of.

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Finding the “Burn Zone”: The KEY to Pricing Cleaning Jobs

Cleaning Guy #1
“I WANT to make $30 an hour, so that’s how I bid…period!  Sure, lots of places turn us down, but I don’t care. If they’re not willing to pay my price, I’ll just find someone who will; there’s plenty more fish in the sea!”

Cleaning Guy #2
“We always try to come in a little LOWER than the next guy – you know, beat their price.  Everyone knows price is all that matters; and if that’s what it takes to land the job, so be it; we’ll figure out a way to make money once we get started.”

Sound familiar? Ever heard someone, or yourself, say something similar?  Let’s take a closer look:

On one hand, we’ve got cleaning guy #1 who simply wants what he wants.  He’s made up his mind that he’s worth so much per hour and that’s that.  No amount of explaining to the contrary, we’ll likely change his mind.

The heck with what the broader market wants.  Misguided ego and immovable stubbornness may …

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Janitorial Bidding & Estimating Software: Past, Present and Future

The future of janitorial bidding & estimating software promises to be very exciting as it moves from being somewhat slow, difficult to use, limited, and providing general estimates to one that is increasingly…  fast, easy to use, unlimited and accurate.

How Did We Get Here?

Well, as in many things, the changes in janitorial bidding & estimating software have come in waves.

For many years, and still today, various bidding and estimating “rules of thumb”  have been used to create a variety of basic spreadsheet applications or relatively simple bidding “calculators”.

For example, general production rate estimates for standard office cleaning may be used in these calculators, allowing a facility manager to estimate labor hours needed to clean an area, while price per square foot guidelines may be built in to help janitorial contractors determine how much to charge for monthly services.

These spreadsheets or calculators are generally easy to find and available if not free, usually for a modest charge.  They …

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How To Prepare A Janitorial Proposal Cover Letter

Many cleaning business owners treat the cover letter of a janitorial bid as a necessary but essentially meaningless part of the proposal; simply a formality.

Don’t you believe it; it couldn”t be further from the truth!

In fact, put together the right way, and your bid cover letter can become one of your most powerful selling tools.

However, as we’ve said, most commercial cleaning companies put very little thought, and even less effort, into preparing one. They feel compelled to include it, if for no other reason, than they think it makes them look “professional”.

The result is most janitorial proposal cover letters are filled with the same ‘safe’, but boring stuff that has been putting building owners and property managers to sleep for years such as:

“Thanks for allowing us to bid”
“We’re bonded, licensed and insured”
“We’ve been in business since 1997”
“We appreciate your interest… blah, blah, blah.”

But, if it bores you, you can pretty safely assume…it’s boring your prospects too!

It’s not the just what the cover letter says …

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How To Bid Janitorial, Commercial Cleaning Jobs

Everyone has an opinion.

Price Per Square Foot

Some say knowing how much to price a janitorial, office-cleaning bid at is as easy as multiplying the total cleanable square feet of a building by so many dollars or cents per square foot.

Unfortunately, this formula is often tossed about without even mentioning if the figures are based on a month or a year; a piece of information those new to the cleaning business would not doubt find quite valuable to know.

For example, per square foot figures ranging from $0.08 – $0.14 per sq. ft. or $0.95 – $1.50 per sq. ft., are offered up with little or no explanation; assuming it’s common knowledge that the former generally refers to a monthly calculation; while the latter is meant for a yearly price estimate.

Educated Guess

Others suggest you should rely on your own experience, simply guesstimate how long it should take to clean, and then charge so much per hour.

But, that advice can be equally misleading.  And the cleaning contractor with …

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Why Cleaning Businesses Shouldn’t Use A Price Per Sq. Ft. Method to Bid Janitorial Jobs

Could a simple price per square foot approach work when bidding on office-cleaning jobs?

Maybe.

Yeah, maybe if all cleaning companies were the same, it might work.

But they’re not.

And, maybe if all customers wanted the same thing, it might work.

But, they don’t.

And there”s the rub.

See, broad, one-size-fits-all approaches to bidding office-cleaning like price per square foot, might work, if all cleaning companies were all the same size, cleaned the same, had the same costs, and expected the same profit.

But they don”t.

The really big ones may come close.

Really large cleaning companies, some of whom, may have 500, 1000, or more employees… may come close.

At that level, the “players” (competing cleaning contractors) may begin to look similar; similar management structure, similar approaches to cleaning, similar quality control methods, and maybe most importantly… similar expense ratios and profit requirements.

And at that level of play, per square foot based pricing may work adequately.

But, the reality …

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