Questions You Need to Ask When Bidding on Cleaning a Building

Steve Hanson

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When bidding on cleaning a building, walking through the building with the prospective client is an important part of the process. This offers you not only a chance to do a detailed site inspection, but to ask questions and get to know your prospective client and start building a relationship with that person.

Here are some important questions to ask while doing the walk-through:

Why are you putting the contract out for bid? Perhaps they're required to put the cleaning out to bid once per year. Or maybe they're not happy with the current contractor. Or it could be that they need to cut costs and are looking for someone that will offer a lower price.

If the latter is the case, then this should be a big red flag for you. Prospective clients that are just looking for the lowest bidder don't usually make for the best customers for your cleaning business.

If they're having a problem with the current contractor, then ask specifcally what the their concerns are. Having this information will help you to let them know how you'll be able to solve their problems.

When talking about the current contractor, don't talk badly about them. If the prospective client you're talking with hired the current contractor, then they'll feel as if you're criticizing their poor judgement!

What is your budget? Many cleaning contractors don't feel comfortable asking this question but it is a valid one that many people are willing to share, and it will be helpful to you when deciding on a price.

Do you have a list of cleaning specifications? If they do, ask for a copy. If they don't, find out exactly what they're looking for and provide a list with your bid proposal. Here is a sample Bid Specifications list.

Here are some additional questions to ask:
- What is the frequency of cleaning (once a week, five times a week)?
- What is your timetable? When are you looking to make a change?
- Do you have the amount of cleanable square feet?
- Do you have the amount of carpeted square feet and hard floor surface square feet? (You will need this information if bidding on floor care)
- Do you have recycling paper that needs to be handled by the cleaning company?
- Do you have an alarm system?
- Are there specific hours that the cleaning company is allowed to be in the building?

Take the guesswork out of the bidding process and get the information you need to make an accurate and competitive bid.

Steve Hanson is co-founding member of The Janitorial Store (TM), an online community for owners and managers of cleaning companies who want to build a more profitable and successful cleaning business. Sign up for Trash Talk: Tip of the Week at and receive a Free Gift!


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