As the end of the year draws close, we have added a bevy of new customers that switched to us because they found they were paying far too much for their previous commercial cleaning services. Not only were they likely paying too much, many of these Facility Managers weren’t really sure what they were paying for. It can be really difficult to compare and value your commercial cleaning services when there appears to be little rhyme or reason to how you are being charged. With today’s tight Facility Maintenance budgets, it is imperative that Facility Managers have a clear understanding of their commercial cleaning and office cleaning charges. Not only is it simply good business, it can be vital should a Facility Manager want to add services, cut budgets or even compare competing providers to determine the best value for their dollar. What situations lead to so many customers paying too much for their current commercial cleaning services? And what should you expect from an above board, reputable commercial cleaning service when it comes to commercial cleaning pricing?
Where Commercial Cleaning Pricing Goes Off the Rails
How can commercial cleaning pricing seem to be so variable and hard to pin down? There are a few factors that seem to create such seemingly variable pricing in the commercial cleaning industry. First, with an influx of new start-ups every year into the industry, many of who exit as quickly as they enter, many of these new businesses just don’t understand how to accurately price their services. Sometimes they price too low to try to secure contracts. Then the reality of the work they have agreed to do sets in and they have to make up the shortfall somewhere, usually with “extras” on your invoice that you had not previously agreed upon. Confusing commercial cleaning prices can also be a means for a cleaning company to make it difficult for you to shop around. If you don’t understand exactly what is and is not included in your cleaning specification, how can you say with any confidence whether another cleaning company is offering you a better value? What warning signs should you be looking for when considering your current commercial cleaning company or prospective cleaning company’s pricing?
1. No clear Workload Specification
The workload specification is a normal part of your cleaning contract. It specifies what type of services and with which frequencies your commercial cleaning contractor will perform said services in your facility. We have seen a recent trend where commercial cleaning contractors do not supply such information leaving the customer guessing what services are to be performed and when the customer does complain it magically is not part of the normal cleaning routine.
2. Excessive extra charges
Again, this comes back to having a good workload that spells out exactly what the contractor is going to perform. Otherwise, you can expect that everything can end up as an extra charge. At Stathakis we try to find out up front what is important to our customers so we can build it into their service agreements so they are not always being up-charged for every little thing that we do in their building.
3. Non Specific Invoicing
It is important that your invoice reflects the services you are getting. If the contractor does not want to break their charges out to you by location, cost center, or whatever other parameters you are asking for it could be a sign that they have something to hide. The bottom line is your commercial cleaning contractor is a steward of your facilities budget and need to hold themselves accountable. Therefore, they should be willing to provide whatever information you ask for.
Comparing Apples to Broccoli
When you are trying to find the best commercial cleaning services, it can feel less like comparing apples to apples or even apples to oranges and more like comparing apples to broccoli. The most clear way to understand what it is you are getting for your dollar is with transparent pricing. A solid, reputable commercial cleaning contractor certainly doesn’t want you to take your business elsewhere but understands that you have the right to understand what you are paying for a shop around. Great cleaning companies are also organized, price their services effectively and accurately and feel confident giving you real information to make the best decision for you and your facility. Anything less than transparent pricing is less than you and your facility deserves.
With the Right Commercial Cleaning Company Will You Know What You Are Paying For
For all the newbies, shoddy operations and less than honest providers, there are still quite a few good guys in the realm of commercial cleaning service contractors. These are the operations that offer fair and transparent pricing, great teams, quality services and enough know how to help you get what you need with the budget you have to work with. The good guys of the cleaning industry won’t shake hands on a deal and then pepper your invoices with extras and confusing billing to mask an up sell. If the job you want is going to cost more than you want to pay, they will give you your options upfront and let you make the decision. As a Facility Manager, you have enough to do without being asked to get into detective mode to get a handle on the cost of your cleaning. The right commercial cleaning company can be powerful ally rather than a source of frustration and mistrust.