Employing a new cleaning contractor is a huge undertaking for so many reasons. You need to know the company are capable of the job, that their cleaning team are trustworthy, that they have the specialist experience you need and that they have the industry accreditations necessary. By doing thorough research, meeting the people face to face and getting detailed quotes from at least three different companies you will be in a position to make an informed decision. Finding the right cleaning company can be a lot of work, but believe me, you’ll be glad you did. I once had a dreadful experience with some cleaners in Glasgow. But I’ve no one to blame but myself. I was busy, I googled it, rang the first people on the list and booked them . . . so foolish now looking back! Here is a guide to how you can get it right:
1. Get a number of quotes to compare prices. It is recommended you get at least three detailed quotes. They need to be aware of the preferred times you’d like them to operate whether within office hours or out of hours, as well as the frequency of their visits. You will need to specify whether your quote should include labour as well as materials and it should be as detailed as possible with each company addressing the same requests. A large differential in prices should give you cause for concern.
2. Knowing how long they have been in business is a strong indication of their level of service. Companies with poor levels of service and dissatisfied customers would not stay in business very long so longevity in a company is something to look out for.
3. As they will be entering your premises possibly alone, you need to be able to trust they will do a good job and respect the contents of your building. Therefore it is imperative that they have professional insurance such as employers and public liability insurance.
4. You need to understand their customer service processes. Do they guarantee a certain level of service and if you are dissatisfied, what is the reporting and feedback procedure.
5. Following on from customer service levels, you need to find out if you will have a dedicated account manager and if so, will you have their details so you can contact them direct if there are any problems? Also, how quickly will they deal with customer problems, is there a guaranteed reaction time?
6. What systems do they have in place for tracking or reporting additional requests or issues? If you wish to change the schedule, add jobs to the current task list or ask for one off cleans such as a carpet cleaning or external clean, can they offer this service?
7. You need to ensure these cleaning companies can cover all of your requirements so a detailed list of jobs will help them fully understand what is needed. Are they experienced cleaners in your industry? Can they do high level cleaning; do they clean carpets and polish hard flooring? There is no point employing a company who cannot fulfil all the jobs required even if they are infrequent requests.
8. Does your company have a sustainability policy? Do you require your cleaning company to be green? Requests for environment and people friendly products are on the rise as businesses consider their carbon footprint as well as the health and safety of their employees. There are some companies that specialise in green cleaning that can offer alternatives to suit your green credentials.
9. Each company should visit your premises to understand the size of area that is to be cleaned and to get a feel for the business and understand exactly what is required. They should be taking detailed notes on the work to be done and ask relevant questions i.e. if they are required to include windows and to add deep cleans into their schedule. They should then be able to provide you with an itemised plan and schedule of the best way to clean your premises along with their quote.
10. You need to find out if they consider periodic cleaning or one off jobs. Do they polish floor or clean upholstery? Do they do high level cleaning such as soffits, fascias and canopies?
11. As there is a great deal of trust involved between the cleaner and their employee you need to ensure the company undertake background checks on all their staff such as CRB checks and whether they are working legally in the UK.
12. A reputable company will have a good training structure for their staff. They will need to be educated on how to use the equipment as well as training on health and safety procedures. Knowing who undertakes the training and how this is done i.e. at an external training company and if it results in certification such as an NVQ, is important.
13. It is essential to know that the company will check on the standards of cleaning. Do they do periodic site inspections? How often will these take place and how will they report their findings to you?
14. Health and safety certification is essential so you will need to ensure the companies you consider for the contract hold current and relevant certification. CHAS is considered the best accreditation; however, there are a range of accreditations that are deemed to satisfy CHAS.
15. Finally you should note how interested each company is in the contract. Are they eager to please? Do they ask relevant questions? Do they have appropriate industry experience? Do they understand the needs of your company? Do you like them and do you feel they will be willing to go the extra mile? A professional approach from your prospective account manager reflects the company culture and ethos and the service you will receive in the future.