Why What You Don’t Know About Janitorial Pricing Can Cost You
Janitorial services have a cost and that cost can vary tremendously, even for what may seem like a similar set of requirements and services. With so many different types and sizes of janitorial companies in a crowded marketplace, getting clear, consistent pricing from contractors can seem nearly impossible. As a Facility Manager, you can look at a desk full of janitorial quotes for the same building and not see any two remotely alike. This only adds to the confusion of determining what your building needs in maintenance and what you should be paying for it. The reality is, what you don’t know about janitorial pricing can cost you. Maybe you go with the cheapest price not understanding that the low low price a janitorial company agreed to was never going to cover the services you actually need. Or you pay too much hoping the premium means you will get a higher level of service and consistency only to find price and value aren’t always aligned when it comes to cleaning services. Understanding how janitorial price often works and how it should work will help you determine what your facility needs and at least approximate how much it should cost.
Why Are Janitorial Prices So Hard to Pin Down?
Janitorial pricing is based on a number of factors. First, for your janitorial services company there are labor costs, insurance and taxes, benefits for their employees, a multitude of direct costs like cleaning supplies, toilet paper and more, a management fee and a profit. For your part, your budget must be considered first. Then, you must take into account the type of building and business you operate, your building’s traffic and use patterns and such. Where are your facilities located and what are the labor costs in your area? What scope of cleaning do you need and do you have any special requirements? Do you need outdoor maintenance or a daytime cleaning service? Do you have special projects or interim needs you must also budget for? What frequency are you most comfortable with? Now add to the normal complexity in janitorial pricing the fact that some companies like to play shell games and deceptively price janitorial bids whether in an effort to appear competitively priced or just inexperience in accurately pricing their own services. Clear pricing from prospective janitorial companies is critical to helping you determine what you need and what it should cost.
Help Your Janitorial Company Help You
Sure you need a janitorial service committed to clear pricing but they still need solid information from you. So that they may provide you with the most accurate janitorial bids possible or reply to your Request For Proposal (RFP) with the best information, your prospective janitorial company must begin with accurate information from you. For example, what is your building’s square footage and how does that break out by flooring type? Using gross square footage alone fails to give enough detail to offer an accurate quote truly reflective of your building’s specific needs. How many people typically use your building and how many total restrooms are there? Not only does this information offer clear picture of your facility’s traffic and thus cleaning requirements, it helps estimate consumable goods like trash can liners, toilet paper, paper towels, hand soap and more. Into that you must balance your overall maintenance requirements, your must haves and ‘can live withouts’. What have your previous commercial cleaning services missed or failed to do?
Understanding the Components of Janitorial Pricing
A clear janitorial quote should be broken down into segments that include:
- Insurance and taxes
- Employee benefits
- Direct costs (cleaning supplies, toilet paper, etc.)
- Management fee
For most janitorial companies, labor is the single biggest expense. On top of labor, you have the costs associated with labor like insurance, taxes, benefits and management. Then there is profit. In order for your commercial cleaning company to continue to operate and effectively meet your needs, they must also build in a healthy profit margin for themselves, it’s just good business. The trick can be to find those companies that balance their need to clear a profit and your need to man your own bottom line. When you have these pricing segments in front of you, don’t be afraid to discuss and clarify costs and even profit with your would be janitorial company. A reputable, professional effective janitorial contractor wants you to understand and feel comfortable with what you are purchasing.
Why You Shouldn’t Shop Janitorial Services On Price Alone
Oh if only we could pay less and get more or pay more but get more, instead often we pay more for less or pay less for far less than we need to get by. Unfortunately, the connection between price and value in cleaning services is not always strong. Paying more doesn’t assure you better service yet getting wooed into not questioning very low bids causes issues down the line as well. Regrettably, janitorial prices do not always reflect reality, value or what you will really end up paying. Some contractors low ball, counting on hidden charges, add-ons and upsells to at some point get them to the number THEY need. Other companies just aren’t experienced enough to precisely price their services. Other contractors will bid low in order to secure your business but then deliver services that are far below what is really needed in your facility. The reality is that price matters. You likely have hard budget numbers you must meet but much more significant is the idea of value. Price is what you pay, value is what you get. Your objective as a Facility Manager is to get the best value at the most reasonable cost and in order to do that, you need clear janitorial quotes allowing you to compare your choices in a meaningful way.
Can You Get the Price AND the Service You Need?
Even tight janitorial budgets don’t excuse poor service. Those cleaning companies that are both effective and experienced appreciate that there are areas where you can reduce services and others where you cannot. They know that low janitorial quotes can’t come with increased problems and complaints. They come prepared to help you determine out how to get the essentials covered and put together a cleaning specification that is reasonable and meets both budget and maintenance goals. They understand that blending quality service with clear pricing is what leads to value. Experienced professionals can do more with even reduced budgets by the application of smart cleaning, zone cleaning and other efficiencies designed to reduce costs without sacrificing overall building maintenance.
Putting It All Together
You want to secure solid value for your facility. You must meet budget requirements and even make cuts where needed. You don’t want to overpay, but you also don’t want to find out what looked like a good deal wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. When you put out RFP, you are likely to get quite the variety of janitorial bids but here’s what you should be looking for. Labor typically accounts for 50-70 percent of costs. The best janitorial companies will spend more time asking you questions about YOUR facility than telling you about what they do. They will ask for specifics and even do a walk through so that when they give you their pricing or a janitorial quote, it reflects what you and your facility REALLY need. Those janitorial contractors unwilling or unable to do the work of familiarizing themselves with your needs and then clearly pricing their services to reflect that just aren’t worth your time or your business.