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, supplies, equipment, and insurances, as well as, references, length of the agreement and provisions for cancellation.

And finally, a cleaning bid should have, whenever possible, insurance certificates, list of references and detailed supporting reports.

Your cleaning bid should follow standard formats building owners, property managers and purchasing agents look for when sizing up the professionalism of service contractors. For example, customized cover pages and cover letters provide unique opportunities to demonstrate your attention to details about the company you are bidding on.

The outline or structure of a cleaning bid should be clean, thorough, easy to understand and accurate. It should also be without grammatical or spelling errors to further reinforce their opinion of you as a professional with an attention to detail.

The second part of the answer to the question of how you should prepare a cleaning bid is this – the message. What message you send to your prospective janitorial customer in your bid is even more important than the layout of the proposal.

In some important ways, your cleaning bid becomes you, or at least represents you, during those times in the sales process when you cannot physically be with your prospect to explain the program, answer their questions or handle their objections.

From the cover letter to the last section of the proposal, you are sending a message whether you know it or not. That message is what creates or destroys their interest in you and your cleaning business. It is a big opportunity. It is a big responsibility. You want to be sure you’re sending the right message.

What is that right message?

It is the message of why your cleaning business, more than any other, is the best answer or solution to the customer’s cleaning questions and problems. If the outline is about the ‘look’, your message is about the ‘substance’.

Your message should consist of all the important ‘things’ that defines your company – makes you who you are. Hopefully, who you are, is different than your competition in important ways that will powerfully attract your prospects to want to do business with your cleaning company.

What goes into the message?

Well, lots of things, but mostly it should be the procedures, policies and most importantly systems that allow you to consistently deliver the kind of cleaning you say you can deliver.

Prospective customers want more than promises. If the message in your cleaning bid makes it clear you have the necessary systems in place to deliver on the commitments you make in critical areas such as cleaning quality and customer service, you will have gone a long way in proving your case.

Your message shouldn’t be limited to only one or a few sections of your cleaning bid, but should instead be reflected in your wording used and explanations given throughout the proposal. For example, commitments to quality and service apply to how you handle cleaning supplies and equipment as much as they do to how your people are trained and supervised. Your cleaning prospects need to see and read about it in every part of your cleaning bid.

So, how should you prepare a cleaning bid?

The answer lies in having a powerful value message that attracts prospects delivered in a professionally formatted cleaning bid that convinces them of your commitment to that message.


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