Part of running a business is keeping your work spaces clean and useable. For most businesses this means that you have to have someone come in after normal business hours to do cleaning a restocking because it often is disruptive to have a janitorial presence around during the workday. A janitorial service will empty trash cans, dust work surfaces, vacuum, wipe down kitchen appliances, clean bathrooms, and restock disposable items around the office such as paper towels, sanitary napkins, and kitchen items. You can also arrange with your janitorial service to occasionally do major cleaning projects like shampooing the carpets, waxing the floors, cleaning windows, scrubbing walls, and outdoor maintenance projects like power washing sidewalks or signs. The services offered by a professional janitorial service are quite numerous and you can cater them to your needs.
Benefits of a Janitorial Service
The fact that there is no one size fits all janitorial service is one of the major advantages. Typically you will meet with a sales person for the janitorial company and go over what your expectations are, give a tour of your business, and talk about what kind of cleaning you want done. Then a quote can be tailored to your specific situation. You do not have to pay for more than what you need and you can get everything you want done addressed. If you hire your own janitorial staff and purchase all of your own janitorial supplies, you may be paying someone for doing a lot of sitting around if you do not have much work for them every day. Conversely, you may not be able to rely on them to get everything you need done finished in the allotted time. A janitorial service company will bring in extra janitorial personnel if it is needed.
Another advantage of hiring a janitorial service is that the cleaning company will be bonded to protect their customers from theft or damage. If you have your own janitorial staff, then you have to rely on your own property insurance for protection and if there is a problem, your rates could be affected. A janitorial supply and equipment company that offers cleaning services also has the burden of doing background checks and making sure the people they hire are trustworthy enough to be allowed inside a business after hours without supervision. The cost of doing an extensive background check along with the liability of choosing the right people is a great reason to choose janitorial services over doing your office cleaning in house.
One last advantage worth mentioning is that you will be dealing with professionals if you hire a janitorial service. Even if you buy all the right janitorial products and make sure you have all the best janitorial equipment, if you do not have a trained janitorial staff, you will not get good results. Janitorial service companies spend time training their employees on how to use the equipment, what kinds of cleaners are best for different situations, and on etiquette and how to go about their jobs unobtrusively. The costs of training a new employee could be quite substantial because you will need to utilize outside resources since you do not have the expertise in house. A janitorial service already has trained individuals that can start making a difference in the cleanliness and convenience of your office and work places immediately rather than waiting for training to take effect.
Possible Disadvantages of a Janitorial Service
Of course, a janitorial service is not the perfect solution and there are some possible pit falls or problems with hiring a professional cleaning service to work in your place of business. First, there will be people in your office that do not work for you. Even if the cleaning company is bonded, you run the risk of letting someone in who may steal from you, use your workplace for inappropriate activities, damage your work or property, or commit acts of industrial espionage. Just because someone makes it through a back ground check, it does not mean they are immune to the temptation of stealing or, more likely, to the possibility that something might accidentally break under their watch. You have to give up a great deal of control to allow a non-employee into your office when you are not there. It is a good idea, if you hire a janitorial service to password protect your computers and lock filing cabinets. In addition, you will need to take the time to move any models or fragile work items to the middle of a large conference table or anywhere that they cannot be accidentally bumped or damaged.
Another disadvantage of hiring professional janitorial services is that it is difficult to prove if the work is not being done to your satisfaction. Generally the janitorial company will leave a checklist of all the items that were supposed to complete when they leave for proof that they did all that was expected of them. However, there is no one to double check their work and make sure that it was done to your satisfaction. Unless you are the first person in the office and do a complete tour when you arrive in the morning, there is no way to know if the office or bathroom in questions was clean before other people arrived and starting using it. If it were your own employee you could walk them through what was expected of them and discipline them accordingly f the job was not done to your satisfaction. With a janitorial service, you can fill out the survey they leave when they are done for the night, but they will not see the results until they are called or are supposed to come back on a contract. It often takes several reviews and a phone call or two to a supervisor before you start seeing results of your complaints.
Finally, there is the cost associated with hiring an outside janitorial service. If you run a small business, then you might not need daily or even weekly cleaning and the small amount of cleaning that you do have may be able to be handling by existing staff. If you have a laborer who is underutilized or has down time frequently, then you can assign them janitorial tasks and it will not cost you any more than it would otherwise except for the cost of the janitorial supplies. Even if you only have a janitorial company come in once every other week, it is still an expense that you have to add to the bottom line.
Steps to Hiring a Janitorial Service
Once you have made the decision to hire a janitor service, there are several steps that you should follow to make sure that you get a reputable company and to make sure you are paying for exactly as much cleaning as you need, no more and no less.
- Your first step should be to create what people in the janitorial industry call a request for proposal. This document should outline details about your facility such as square footage, the types of flooring you have, a complete list of duties that will be expected, and any special circumstances that might affect how a company cleans or who specifically can complete the job. For example, if you workplace is a green workplace and you require that only green cleaning products and recycled paper products be used.
- Once you have prepared the RFP, you should ask for bids or quotes from at least three companies. The more janitorial service companies you ask to bid, the better, but you need to make sure you will have time to review each bid carefully when it comes back. A good way to find possible janitorial services is to do an online search or ask neighboring businesses who they use.
- Once you have reviewed each proposal, you should probably eliminate the lowest cost option and any company that is showing you introductory or special rates. Many times, janitorial service companies give you one rate that is your introductory rate and the price is going to go up considerably after your trial period. Make sure you are comparing the base rate of one company with the base rate of another rather than sales or specials.
- With the remaining professional cleaning companies, check to make sure that they are all bonded. Each janitorial service should be able to produce proof of bonding and insurance upon your request. If they cannot, then they are not a good fit for your business. Bonding protects you, the consumer, from any damage or theft that is the fault of the janitorial service or their employees.
- Next, you should check references for each janitor service. Again, the companies should be happy to provide you with references and you should be skeptical of any janitorial company that will not provide them. When you call a reference make sure to ask questions that require more than a yes or no answer and make sure to ask about the companies weaknesses.
- Before you sign any contract with a janitorial company, make sure that they are comfortable with you visiting the office during their cleaning hours to check on their work. Many companies that offer janitorial services will do a practice run before a contract begins so that you can see if you are happy with the results.
- Ask for a complete list of a janitorial service company’s services so that you are aware of any additional a la carte cleaning projects you might want to add. Every janitorial service will include cleaning bathrooms, but you might have to pay a onetime fee for some heavy duty grout cleaning every so often. Alternatively, you might be willing to pay a fee for carpet cleaning.
- Some janitorial companies offer maintenance work as well. They can do tasks such as clean debris off of your roof, change the batteries on your solar lights, power wash sidewalks, and rake leaves. If the company offers many additional services, that is a plus and should be considered before making your final decision.
Cost of a Janitorial Service
Most janitorial contracts are set up so that you pay a monthly fee for whatever work is completed by the janitor service. Whether the janitor crew comes in once a week or daily, the bill is usually paid once a month. There will be a base fee that is negotiated before a business relationship begins where both the client and the janitorial service work out exactly what the responsibilities of the janitorial service will be. On top of that base fee, the business can choose to add a la carte cleaning items for additional fees. These cleaning projects are usually detailed in a price list provided to the client when they sign their contract. The base cost can be anywhere from one hundred dollars per month up to thousands of dollars a month depending on the number of square feet and how many cleaning personnel the job takes. They have internal numbers that say what their overhead is per hour and how many square feet they can clean in an hour to come up with an overall cost to the customer. If you are stressing over how to clean grout in your office restrooms, you can probably hire a janitorial service for around twenty to thirty cents per square foot.