Don’t Be A Guinea Pig: Hiring The Right Cleaning Contractor For The Job

If you’ve ever chosen to end or not renew a custodial contract due to performance failure, you probably went to great lengths to ensure that your next contract was a better fit. A careful pre-qualification process is necessary to prevent cleaning contract failure. But how do you know that the contractor that looks the best on paper is actually the best one for the job?

Often, it’s not a matter of how much experience the company has, but the type of experience that makes the difference. There are five types of experience to take into consideration that can make all the difference when choosing a service provider.

Service Sector Experience

Whether you’re outsourcing your cleaning, landscaping, security, or all three, the type of sector experience a company has is just as important (if not more so) as how much experience it has. Each facility presents a unique set of cleaning and maintenance challenges. The right contractor has had years of experience in their service sector with many facilities, and a track record of exceptional performance with those facilities.

Industry Experience

Don’t take a chance on a contractor that has never worked with facilities like yours before. Different industries have different types of facilities, which require different kinds of cleaning and maintenance. If your facility is an airport, seek out a contractor that services airport accounts. If it’s a corporate office building, look for a contractor that services other office buildings. Choose contractors that have accounts in your industry, with buildings that have similar square footage.

Best Practices Experience

Your contractor should know what they’re doing and take pride in their work. Know the type of equipment and products a potential contractor plans to use, and why they think it’s effective for your facility. Ask them to look at your facility and propose specific solutions to the problems they find, and ask them about the metrics they use to determine whether their cleaning/maintenance system has been successful. Take advantage of the knowledge and expertise that an experienced contractor brings to the table.

Performance Management Experience

Is your contractor’s management team response-driven, or prevention-driven? A response-driven management team acts to correct problems after a complaint has been made. A prevention-driven management team strives to prevent and eliminate complaints by analyzing trends and using predictive algorithms. And because it costs more to correct a problem after a complaint has been made than it does to anticipate and prevent the complaint, a prevention-driven management team will save you money, and improve customer and tenant satisfaction.

Technology Experience

Finally, a contractor’s use of up-to-date technology reflects their operations capability. Ask your potential contractor if they use “green” or chemical-free products, and get a sense of their knowledge about the effectiveness and environmental impact of the products they use. Ask them which software platforms and applications they use for project management, scheduling, database management, etc. The answers to these types of questions will help you understand whether a potential contractor’s technological experience is a suitable match for your facility support needs.

Pre-Qualification: Asking for References

Asking potential contractors for specific information about accounts they service or have serviced recently will help you measure whether they have the five types of experience listed above. Potential contractors should provide you with a list of the clients they serve in your geographic area, and names and contact information for any clients they have that will provide reference information. Ask their references about the square footage, budget, and level of satisfaction with that contractor. This information will help confirm that these contractors have the above-mentioned experience, and give you an idea of the level of customer service and satisfaction they provide.

Don’t be the Guinea Pig

A contractor that already has a proven record of success won’t need to use you and your facilities as a “practice run.” By pre-qualifying potential cleaning contractors, you can ensure that you hire the right contractor for your facilities needs, and avoid being your contractor’s guinea pig. For more help and advice on managing your cleaning program, contact us.

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