8 asks to choose the best commercial cleaning company

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How do you chose the best commercial cleaning company for your business?

What are the questions you should be asking to uncover if a cleaning company is right for you?

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

  1. “Communication” – Phone and email communication is not very, as requests are often “lost”, the client needs to follow up, and lacklustre response to request when they are completed.
  2. Inconsistent cleaning quality – Cleaning quality varies, and somewhat dependent on individuals in the cleaning crew, as the cleaners and quality inspector, is not working off the clients specific custom cleaning plan.
  3. Lack of cost transparency – Unexpected extra cost frequently occurs for cleaning that was expected to be covered in the cleaning contract, mis-interpretation of the specific request, or just higher cost for extra work than what was expected.

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?

Ask for how communication works

A major reason for companies to change their janitorial services company is the lack of communication. An operations or facility manager would like to know when the cleaning crew arrives on the premises, and have a single point of contact to communicate any requests, or just get a general status.

There are two important elements in easy and clear communication

  1. “Easy communication” relates to the facilities manager ability to easily “hand off” and deliver requests, status, action points, and completion or works related to the scope of cleaning, instantly, and not have to think about whether it’s been received, or whether or not it’s been send to the right person.
  2. “Clear communication” relates to hand off of requests so the request is correctly understood, and clarification can be communicated instantly (a clear description and images). Recognition of receipt from the cleaning crew and notification of facility manager, once the request has been completed.

These are basic needs for easy and clear communication, that will other wise result in the facilit manager having to make own notes, follow up with “someone” in the cleaning crew, in order to get status and information on completion. This add hours of unnecessary management-time in the facility manager’s schedule that should be entirely handled by the cleaning company.

A simple digital platform for management and access to the custom cleaning plan, including a messenger feature is all it takes to vastly improved speed and accuracy of communication, and raise the experience of the cleaning service, significantly.

Ask How Quality Control & Inspection Works

Inconsistent cleaning quality is a major complaint among operations and facility managers, and is founded in basic processes that are either not in place, or enforced, by the cleaning company, insufficient training to ensure all cleaning crew members clean to the same high standards,

. As part of any quality cleaning, there is

Cleaning Process

Each cleaning company should have a clearly defined and documented process for how to clean floors, restrooms, office spaces with carpet floors, how to disinfect, and which cleaning products and equipment should be used, when. The purpose is to ensure quality, avoid discolouring carpets, and generally the method for delivering high cleaning standards.

Training & Certification

Cleaning standards and efficiency is an essential part of professional cleaning crew training, and covers both cleaning process, how to handle cleaning equipment, and comply with health and safety regulations.

Cleaning Requirements & Scope

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.

If the custom cleaning plan, included in the cleaning contract is not ready available to the cleaning crew, there is a high risk that the contractual cleaning plan will not be followed, with missed expectations and a disgruntled facility manager, unhappy employees and customers, as a result.

The custom cleaning plan should be readily available to the cleaning crew via a tablet or smartphone, so requirements are easily accessed, checked-off, and also used by the quality inspector for quality control. Everything fits together and everyone working off the same plan.

Ask For Cleaning Training & Certifications

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), as part of an ongoing training program which also includes on-the-job-training by the cleaning company’s supervisors or dedicated training professionals.

So ask you cleaning company for a training program the describes how they train new and experiences new hires, what ongoing training program is in place and what certifications, they are expected to take. A formalized training program means the cleaning company sees training as part of delivering a high quality cleaning service.

Ask For Disinfection Training

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers clear guidelines for how to maintain health and safety in public facilities and private homes, and EPA have clear guidelines for which cleaning and disinfecting products should be considered to ensure desired health and safety standards. But there is more, as disinfection products and equipment is fairly new and came about after the start of COVID-19, there is a variety in available disinfectants, equipment, and claims for what disinfection services can do.

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.

Ask For A Safety Plan

All kinds of things can happen while cleaning, whether someone slips, falls down a ladder, or something else. A cleaning company needs to have a clear plan for what action to take in these different situations, and measures put in place to prevent them. 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.

Ask for List of Cleaners

You want to know a couple of things in relation to the cleaning staff that will be working on your premises. Dependent on the amount of cleaners that is expected to be working on your premises, you want to understand what implications are for you in case of i.e. sickness, or other unplanned events. Will there be a supervisor for the cleaning crew and who will be the point of contract.

The list of cleaners should also show what kind of experience, training, and certification they have.

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

Ask for References

References can tell a lot about a cleaning company, so look for a list of references that will indicate the size of facility that is being cleaned, for how long they have had the contract, and what cleaning services they provide. It is of course essential that contact information is listed for each of the references, as this means the list of references more current, and provides you with the possibility to cross check.

Ask For A Business License & Insurance

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

A Higher Standard Of Commercial Cleaning Services

If you are looking for office cleaning services for you office building in Washington DC, Virginia, or Maryland area. Let’s talk and schedule a walk-though of your office building.

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