5 things to consider when appointing a cleaning contractor

Appointing a cleaning contractor is no mean feat. We know as well as anyone that the cleaning market is crowded with many players, some good, some not so good. Low barriers of entry make it easy for anyone to set up a website and start a cleaning business, but as with most things, to do it properly takes more than just a website and some cleaners.

Here are 5 things to look for when appointing a new cleaning company:

1 Look at references and conduct site visits

Any well established and well regarded cleaning contractor will have collected a portfolio of satisfied clients and references eulogising about the standard of their work. This is a great first step, but to really get a taste for the service that they deliver, ask to speak to one of their clients, or better still, ask to visit one of their client premises to see standards for yourself.

2 Insurance

Nobody is infallible, which is where insurance comes in. A professional contractor will hold sufficient insurance to cover indemnity, but also cover other possible eventualities such as replacing locks in the event of keys being lost etc.

There are, of course, also measures that can be taken to minimise the risk of damage, wrongdoing, and theft. In the cleaning industry, training and staff security vetting are the two best ways of avoiding these occurrences and too many cleaning companies do not take adequate measures.

3 Ask how many other sites your appointed supervisor is responsible for

The level of contract management is possibly the biggest differentiator between a good and an average cleaning company. Poorly supervised cleaners will not receive the support, encouragement and training needed to perform at their best; problems may go unreported; quality control will slip; and you will not feel engaged with the contractor.

The key is to agree with your cleaning company how much time the supervisor will dedicate to your contract and how often you can expect to meet with them.

4 Ask what training, development and salaries they offer their staff

If a contractor does not look after their staff, how do you think those people are going to look after your contract? The best companies respect employment legislation and pay at least the minimum wage and offer training and self development opportunities. This is the best way to recruit and retain the best staff, and to get the best out of them.

The cleaning industry unfortunately has a bad reputation for paying low wages and employing illegal workers. So ask questions about the training, development and salaries they pay their staff, and double check what they tell you by asking the cleaners themselves.

5 Insist on a regular monthly audit and review meeting

A recent survey showed that just 44% of service providers carry out periodic surveys, whereas unsurprisingly, 85% of Facilities Managers agree that a regular client survey would improve service standards.

Agree an audit schedule with your contractor and work together on a building checklist that will form part of a monthly inspection.This will ensure that if standards slip, you can hold them to a pre-agreed service standard that they have committed to achieving, and it explicitly tells the cleaners what you want them to do (if they don’t already know for themselves – which should raise alarm bells).

Whilst many of these points should be obvious to a seasoned pro, we have heard countless horror stories from new clients about problems that they have experienced in the cleaning industry. Unfortunately, a few bad apples spoil the reputation for the rest of us, but don’t be afraid to press prospective cleaning contractors on these points, any cleaning company worth their salt will be able to demonstrate how they meet these minimum standards and hopefully more. And if they don’t, call us. In fact, call us anyway and we would be delighted to work with you.