Hiring a commercial cleaning company is not an easy task, though if you do it right, you can land a janitorial company that you can build a mutually beneficial partnership with for years to come.
Still, there are so many variables and so many different size and types of cleaning companies that finding the right one for your facility can be a daunting process. Making this already difficult process even harder is the fact that far too many commercial cleaning companies will say nearly anything to get your business. But what if there were ten simple questions you could ask prospective cleaning companies to separate the fakers from the shining stars?
“What if there were ten simple questions you could ask prospective cleaning companies to separate the fakers from the shining stars?”
Below we have gathered the ten most critical questions you should ask before hiring a commercial cleaning company. Whether you are looking for an office cleaning company, school cleaning company, industrial cleaning company, day porter cleaning services or more, these questions will help you determine if a commercial cleaning company is set up to provide you with excellent service at price that offers you real value.
Question #1 How many years have you been in business and what accounts do you service with a business similar to mine?
Every company has to start somewhere but do you really want your facility to be the training ground for your newly minted commercial cleaning company? Experience matters and experienced companies are just better at what they do. Sure enthusiasm counts, but it can’t make up for a lack of experience. So look for Detroit area commercial cleaning company with both enthusiasm about what they do and a solid track record of success. After all, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.
“Enthusiasm counts but it cannot make up for a lack of experience.”
Likewise, does your prospective commercial cleaning company in Michigan have salient experience working with accounts similar to yours? If you are looking for medical cleaning, you don’t want a Janitorial services company that has never worked with a medical facility before. Rather, you want a cleaning services company with enough experience under their belt and the willingness and know how to take what they already know and learn what you need to customize their service to you.
Question #2 How do you screen your employees?
Any Janitorial services company should at a minimum screen applicant for drug use and verify that they do not have a criminal history. But even better, the best Commercial office cleaning company will work hard to look for candidates that are a good fit. This can be done through personality testing. Additionally, verifying previous employment and checking references can go a long way to building a great team. When your prospective janitorial company takes shortcuts on screening employees, they put you, your employees, your reputation and your facility at risk.
Question #3 What kind of training do your employees receive?
After your Office cleaning company has hired a suitable applicant, they need to give that individual the tools they need to deliver very good service to you and your facility. This means comprehensive training designed to help cleaners consistently deliver good service. And beyond basic training, if you are in search of medical cleaning, industrial cleaning or school cleaning, your commercial janitorial services should provide their employees with training specifically geared toward your kind of facility.
Question #4 How do you motivate and manage your teams?
After your Detroit area commercial cleaning company attracts good candidates and then trains them, they must manage and motivate them. Success in the cleaning business is largely a function of what kind of employees a housekeeping service has and how they feel about their people in general.
“Success in the cleaning business is largely a function of what kind of employees a housekeeping service has and how they feel about their people in general.”
Even great people who are well-trained need to feel important and even vital to their organizations. They need to be held accountable and offered incentives for stellar performance. And when employees are not performing, they need to be managed in order to do better or let go to save you the customer from having to live with poor service.
Question #5 Are you insured?
Not only should your Office cleaning company be insured, they should insure that YOU are protected. What four types of coverage should your Michigan commercial cleaning company have? These are general liability, workers’ compensation, automobile liability and an umbrella policy. You should verify coverage in order to give you peace of mind that your Commercial office cleaning company is adequately protected.
General Liability Insurance protects your assets against a variety of claims for alleged negligence or wrongdoing by your Cleaning Company. Your cleaning company should have a minimum of $1,000,000 of general liability insurance.
Workers Compensation Insurance covers job-related accidents that injure, disable, or kill an employee. Workers Comp Insurance covers employees at your place of business, and during business-related travel (for example, a cleaning person driving to your facility). You should verify that your cleaning company carries at least $1,000,0000 by checking their insurance certificate.
Automobile Liability Insurance protects people and property from accidents that occur involving your cleaning company’s auto fleet as they come and go from your business. Requiring your cleaning company to have a Commercial Auto Insurance Policy helps protect the assets of your company.
Umbrella Policies cover all losses in excess over General Liability, Workers Compensation and Auto Liability Insurance. Businesses of any size are increasingly vulnerable to multi-million- dollar court decisions. If the actions of your cleaning company resulted in a single, unforeseen event that left your company facing a catastrophic financial judgment, a Commercial Umbrella Liability (Excess Liability) insurance policy could save the day — and keep you in business. This policy takes over where coverage under the other Liability policies stops, paying large judgments and providing legal defense costs. You should require your cleaning company carry at least $5,000,000 of Umbrella Coverage on their insurance certificate.
Question #6 Will the same cleaner or cleaners continually maintain my facility?
Not only do you not want a steady stream of new people in and out of your facility, but also a long term cleaner comes to understand your facility and your specific requirements and thus delivers a more responsive clean. Most great Detroit area commercial cleaning companies have floaters, or highly trained cleaners who can deliver service when your regular cleaner or cleaning team is out either on scheduled vacation or ill. But generally, you should not have a continual parade of new faces. The best cleaning companies hire and keep good people.
Question #7 What is your employee turnover percentage?
Part of continuity with people is your Janitorial services company turnover percentage. Did you know the industry average is nearly 200% Yes, turnover tends to be high in the lower paid service jobs but many housekeeping services have been able to create practices and systems that help keep good people and thus lower turnover. What is your prospective Commercial janitorial service doing to keep their turnover numbers low?
“With janitorial turnover hovering around 200%, look for cleaning companies with dramatically lower turnover and you will find the quality and value of what you are getting to go up dramatically.”
Question #8 What kind of quality control checks do you use to assure reliability through accountability?
The gold standard for quality control in the cleaning industry is janitorial inspections. Janitorial inspections bridge the gap between a facility manager and a cleaning company. And the best Office cleaning companies not only make liberal use of janitorial inspections, they use technology like apps, software and reporting to communicate the information gleaned from janitorial inspections quickly and to the right people to adjust your service or handle an issue quickly.
Question #9 What kind of green cleaning program do you have?
With green cleaning there is a focus on sustainability, environmental responsibility and health and safety. Basic green clean practices can include things like proper chemical storage, disposal and labeling. Really every commercial cleaning company should do this but it is surprising how many neglect these important practices. Likewise, good green practices can include limiting the disposal of plastic trash liners by reusing them if they are intact and not soiled with food or liquid. This simple practice alone saves money and limits the amount of plastic trash your facility generates.
Likewise, utilizing hand towels and toilet paper with a significant percentage of recycled or recyclable material, cleaning with microfiber rags rather than disposable paper towels and recycling are more eco-friendly. Taking it a step further, does your cleaning company utilize HEPA filter vacuum cleaners and other equipment that helps reduce indoor air pollution? Likewise, the greenest equipment can also lower noise emissions, improve energy usage and reduce the excess use of cleaning products. Similarly, the best commercial green cleaning companies utilize state of the art carpet cleaning like the Whittaker style. These carpet cleaners are low moisture, meaning less water usage, and absent the harsh chemicals of many other conventional carpet cleaning methods.
Question #10 Are you CIMS Certified?
Asking a prospective Commercial janitorial service whether they are CIMS certified is the single most important question you can ask. Why? Because CIMS certification insures that a prospective Commercial janitorial service has a proven track record of following industry best practices that are proven to deliver consistent, responsive, effective cleaning.
“Asking a prospective Commercial janitorial service whether they are CIMS certified is the single most important question you can ask.”
CIMS certification, (Certified Industry Management Standard). This CIMS certification demonstrates a commercial cleaning company’s steadfast commitment to their industry and shows they meet the very highest standards set forth by the best of the best within their industry. CIMS is among the most rigorous and difficult levels of certification offered. It is the closest thing that you can get to a guarantee when contracting with a commercial cleaning company.
There are nearly unlimited choices out there when it comes to choosing a commercial cleaning company and yet, so many choices can make the process harder rather than easier. Still, if you ask the right questions, you can take at least some of the guess work out of finding a quality Michigan cleaning company and find the right janitorial services company to partner with to deliver quality services to your facility.