There are usually only two reasons a cleaning contractors deliver low bids to a property or business manager. These are:
- They did it on purpose. The cleaning contractor knows they can undercut the competition for several reasons, such as not paying employment taxes; paying less than minimum wage; hiring subcontractors, or selling the contract to an independent contractor, which is essentially what a franchise does. Or, as we have discussed in an earlier blog, plans ways to cut corners and reduce the amount of cleaning time they spend in the facility.
- They did it by mistake. There is an adage among bidders of government offices, which by law, often must hire the lowest bidder. It goes something like this: “The work isn’t awarded to the lowest bidder; it’s awarded to the contractor that makes the biggest mistake.”
Making mistakes when bidding is quite common when working with a new, inexperienced cleaning contractor. And now, with many people out of work, several are starting cleaning services. They are looking for an easy business to get into and believe cleaning fits the bill.
However, what they do not realize is that bidding in professional cleaning is based on cleaning time estimates and calculations, cleaning best practices, and cleaning knowledge. And today, with COVID-19, we should add that cleaning is based on science. All cleaning tasks must now be designed to help stop the spread of infection.
The Low Bids End Game
It can be tough to ignore a low bid. The client assumes they will be getting the cleaning service they need and at a very reasonable price. They have reviewed the proposal several times and gone through the specifications step-by-step with the contractor, so there is no reason not to accept it.
However, all too often an assortment of problems can materialize when working with a low bidder. Poor service is usually just the start of them. No service can be another.
But something we have not discussed before, which I believe is particularly important to address, is what often happens once a manager hires and starts working with a low-bid cleaning contractor: an adversarial relationship develops.
The client wants the quality of service outlined in the proposal and carefully reviewed with the cleaning contractor. When the managers does not get it, it fast becomes an embarrassment for her. She wishes she had not hired the service in the first place.
Worse, the manager may be concerned that this will become a “black mark” with her employer. She is not happy, and this often is reflected in a series of calls and complaints to the cleaning contractor, all a reflection of the adversarial relationship that has evolved.
When problems start emerging, the contractor, on the other hand, may try to address the issues and complaints initially, but in time the quality of service drifts back down. In time, it is not uncommon for a low bid contractor to begin ignoring the client’s calls and concerns altogether, another reflection of an adversarial relationship.
The only way to avoid such an uncomfortable situation is to be cautious when taking bids. We know now that low bids only occur for two reasons, neither of which paint a bright future working with a low bid cleaning contractor.
So, what should building and business managers do?
Here is a suggestion. When taking bids for cleaning, take several and look for the range of charges. What you will likely see is a couple of remarkably high bids and a couple of exceptionally low bids. But there will also be bids that fall between these two extremes. Those probably reflect the correct costs to clean your facility, and those are the cleaning contractors you should consider working with.
The Secure Clean blog is designed to help building managers keep their facilities cleaner, healthier, greener, and safer, in the most cost-effective ways possible. To learn more about us, please take a few minutes to explore our website at www.securecleanbsi.com, contact us here, or at 888-609-1410.