I’m not always comfortable entering people’s homes, but I like cleaning. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. So, I think I’d prefer to start a commercial cleaning business. How do I get commercial cleaning contracts?
Good news! Many of Chris Mondragon’s strategies are great for companies wondering how to get cleaning contracts. Read his story here.
Chris doesn’t use “contracts,” but he’s mastered the concepts of booking ongoing work on Airbnb properties and made over $1.5 million with Queen Bee Cleaning Service in one year.
We’re going to explore commercial cleaning contracts to help you understand what’s in them, the steps to prepare for cleaning contracts, and how you can guarantee you have satisfied customers for your commercial cleaning company.
What is a commercial cleaning contract?
A commercial cleaning contract is a legal document outlining the obligations of the cleaning company and the client. These may also be referred to as the terms and conditions of the agreement.
The client should sign the contract before any work is done. You should include your signature in the template and simply add the date before sending it to the client. The contract should include:
You’ll need to have a lawyer draft the template to make sure it’s legally binding. Still, I suggest you take a deep dive into contracts for a minute and add Alliant’s Insurance Requirements in Contracts: A Procedure Manual to your reading list.
Brandon’s summary of the recommended reading:
The standard $1 million per incident and $2 million for lifetime general liability doesn’t cut it anymore. It should be at least double. Expect to need other insurance as well if you are working with big businesses. Check out Tuft’s vendor requirements for some of the more stringent requirements you might encounter.
Step #1. Determine Your Target Customer
You’ll need to decide what type of cleaning services you’ll offer. This will mean choosing what facilities to work with, where your clients are located, creating a cleaning service pricelist, and preparing a commercial contract template.
You’ll need to decide what kind of commercial businesses to provide services. We’ve broken the bidding process into seven categories:
If you already have your commercial cleaning business running like a fine-tuned machine, feel free to jump ahead to the various business types.
You’ll want to narrow down your locations for contracting cleaning services. When you first start a commercial cleaning service, you might not have any employees and will need to secure cleaning contracts that aren’t too far from each other.
Most cleaning business owners suggest keeping within a 30-minute driving radius so you can handle more clients per day.
Create a Cleaning Services Price Guide
Create a price list you can hand to other businesses. Doing so makes you look professional and makes estimating how much to charge them easier. Check out our blog about the Queen Bee Cleaning Service pricing guide for a price list you can use for your own cleaning service.
Prepare a Cleaning Contract Template
You’ll want to hire a lawyer to help you draft a template that will hold up in court. While no one ever wants to take clients to court over failure to pay, sometimes a business owner or property manager refuses to pay. A contract makes it enforceable.
Try LawDepot for an easy service contract in your state. They offer unlimited one-time, ongoing, and fixed-term contracts for a small monthly fee.
Step #2. Market Your Cleaning Business
You’ll need to develop an engaging marketing strategy to interact with potential clients.
Focus it on the types of commercial cleaning contracts available in your area. Prepare to research your competition, develop a marketing strategy, and join some trade organizations. Let’s look at how each of these can help you get cleaning contracts.
Research your competition
Understanding what your competition is doing is imperative to get the best clients for your business. You’ll want to look at their websites and social media to establish:
- What services do competitors offer?
- What is competitor pricing?
- What platforms are competitors using for marketing?
- What are competitors doing well?
- What are competitors doing poorly?
- Are there gaps in the market that I can fill without competition?
- What kind of colors, font, language, and marketing formats are they using?
You’ll use the observations to…
Create a marketing strategy
Your marketing strategy will be focused on five main aspects:
- What are you sharing?
- What formats are you using?
- What is your call to action?
- How are you tracking results?
- How are you using the data?
The following sections will help you answer these questions with a few ideas for a marketing strategy.
Create social proof
People like to know that what you’re telling them works. How can they possibly know that if they don’t know you?
By showing them what you’ve already done!
The picture below tells you that 286 people liked Queen Bee’s services enough to review them on Google. That’s a pretty good testimonial!
There are other ways to share:
- Case studies
- Customer quotes
- Industry news
Any of these can be engaging and tell people what you’re doing.
Develop an online presence
Build your online presence. Chris suggests using the following resources to build a digital presence:
- Your website
- Google local ads
- Social media
- Industry organizations
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- NextDoor, Porch, and Thumbtack (for highly rated backlinks)
This is just building your digital ecosystem. The bigger it is, the more likely people will see your company.
Use print marketing
Consider putting offers for your cleaning services in the following locations:
- Direct mail
- Door hangers
- Local newspapers display ads
- Local newspaper classifieds
- Church bulletins
Chris loves using door hangers after any client service to increase consumer awareness.
Build a network of business owners
Everywhere you go is a networking opportunity. Some of the easiest ways to find cleaning contracts include:
- Talk to local businesses where you are a customer.
- Reach out to commercial real estate offices.
- Build relationships with property management companies.
- Talk to apartment complexes.
- Check if there are available contracts for private and public schools. (Governments will normally have incentives for minority, disadvantaged, and women-owned businesses. We’ll discuss this more later.)
You might want to consider some of these ideas as well:
- Cold calling
- SMS messaging
- Learning closing techniques
- Promoting your sanitizing protocols
- Your local public radio station
Hear more from Chris in our interview below.
Pro Tip: Join a Trade Organization
Trade associations are a great way to network with other professionals in your industry. They also provide valuable resources and information to help you advance your career.
Association of Residential Cleaning Services International (ARCSI) and the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) are professional trade associations in the cleaning field.
By joining them, you get:
- Discounts on certifications
- The latest information in the cleaning business
- A high-quality referral to your website
Christopher Mondragon is a member of both trade groups.
Step #3. Make Quoting, Booking, and Paying Easy
Requesting a quote, finalizing the booking, and paying for cleaning services should be a piece of cake for the customer. Whether clients prefer online, in-person, or over-the-phone service, companies should make it easy for new clients to get a quote, book your service, and pay.
Companies should make it easy to get a quote when customers go online. Queen Bee Cleaning Service offers a great example of how to quote online, see the screenshots below (its not a full page). While this is for residential, you could easily create a similar platform for contract commercial cleaning.
Focus on their concerns and needs first. Once you understand those, share your price list and do a walk around with them to establish what services they’ll need and others you recommend. Before you leave, make sure to give them a personalized quote.
You can do this from your phone, but if you’re carrying around an iPad while you do the walk-through, it adds a level of professionalism and transparency because the customer can easily see what you’re doing.
Over the Phone
Chris suggests having your phone service available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. He told us:
You might want to hire a call center to assist you with answering the calls. Chris recommends outsourcing it to an overseas company to reduce your costs.
You’ll probably need a different sales process when you sell over the phone than when you sell online or in person. For instance, you may want to get the contact information early in a phone call, while Chris collects it near the end online. As Chris tells us in the course we’re creating:
It’s more appropriate to do that if you have already collected the business contact information.
Use Subscription Models
Most businesses have more to do than they have people to do it. Make working with your company as easy as possible by providing a subscription payment model and using open-ended contracts.
If your cleaning company offers these terms, it can make both your life and the customers’ lives easier. Benefits of these models include:
- Customer knows when their property will be cleaned
- Customer saves through discounts on long term contracts
- Customer submits payment information one time
- You get paid like clockwork
- Fewer sales fluctuation
- Better budgeting for both parties
Step #4. Find Clients
Your marketing initiatives should lead to plenty of leads for potential janitorial contracts. Once you find the leads, it’s extremely important to close the deal and book commercial cleaning jobs.
Let’s discuss a few things you’ll want to have prepared before you start booking business clients.
Don’t forget the low-hanging fruit!
People sometimes think that the lowest-hanging fruit isn’t worth going for because everyone is fighting for it. But let’s be real here––sometimes people think you need an elusive, complicated answer so they avoid the obvious ones like searching:
- Cleaning contracts near me
- Commercial cleaning jobs near me
- Local government cleaning contracts
- Cleaning opportunities for disadvantaged businesses
Worst Case: You waste a couple of minutes and find nothing.
Best Case: You find opportunities that change your life!
Check out 21 ways to get cleaning clients for more great info.
Find Out WHY They Need a New Cleaning Service
There is a saying I really love:
Office managers, real estate agents, and other people who need janitorial services aren’t likely to look for a new office cleaning company unless they have an issue with their current one.
You need to know what that issue is so you can keep from repeating it.
Have Your License and Proof of Insurance
Make it really easy for the ideal customer to verify you meet the requirements for cleaning accounts. They’ll want to see the following:
Each company you bid for may have different requirements for vendors and contractors. Be open to increasing the level of coverage if the company requires higher insurance. It normally doesn’t cost that much more and the cost should be included in the price of the customer’s quote.
Hiscox is one of the easiest ways to get the insurance you need for cleaning businesses.
Offer a price list
Hand potential clients a price list while you are touring the customer’s property. That way, while you are asking questions and creating an estimate, they are formulating an estimate as well.
Give potential clients a detailed bid
Create line items with as many details as possible. You’ll want to include:
- Each task you’ll do
- Quantity of each task
- Price per task
- Cumulative price of each task
- Add-ons available
- New customer discount
- Discount for long term contracts
- Date the offer expires
Make sure not to offer a lower cost on your new customer discount than you would want to provide for the entire service relationship. Potential clients will often want to negotiate, and that will be an easy way for them to establish a negotiation tactic.
Step #5. Provide a Great Cleaning
Once you have booked the job, make sure to fulfill your end of the business agreement. Customers of commercial cleaning contracts will often offer more opportunities when you provide excellent office cleaning services. Be ready to do your best job each time.
Make sure to bring a janitorial checklist including all tasks required for the job. Have your cleaners check off each task to verify the service provided matches the game plan. This helps ensure the job is done according to the terms of the agreement.
If you take pictures of every room before and after you clean it, you can help verify the completion of the job, protect against potential liability claims, and have social proof for other customers. Make sure to ask permission before sharing any images.
Check in with a representative of the company when you first arrive on-site and as you are leaving. Many jobs may require badges and egress through security checkpoints. This is especially common in hospitals, government offices, and companies like banks and casinos that hold a lot of money on-site.
You’ll also want to let the security or company representative know you are leaving so they can make sure the office space is secure after your business leaves.
Step #6. Verify Satisfaction
The key to keeping customers happy is verifying your business met or exceeded their expectations. Chris told us:
While you might not want to do this every time you clean for small businesses, you probably want to do it after the first time and then every couple of times until you know that the new business is happy with your services. Then you can move to a monthly or quarterly check-in as you go along.
Step #7. Renew the Contract
If you are doing a trial period or fixed-term cleaning contracts, you’ll want to reach out to the client to renew the contract. You’ll probably want to reach out 30 days before the end of the contract, then once a week until you have confirmation of how to proceed.
You’ll also want to follow a similar procedure if you are increasing your prices or there is a major shift in the market that suggests people may be tight on money and unable to pay.
At this point, you are done with the process of finding commercial cleaning jobs for your own cleaning business. The following sections will have some new information, but they are category-specific based on how to get cleaning contracts with specific types of businesses.
Frequently Asked Questions
Get the answers you’re dying to know here!
How to Get Commercial Cleaning Contracts?
Getting commercial cleaning contracts is a seven-step process:
Jump to the top of the page for more details on each of these steps.
How to Get Cleaning Contracts with Banks?
If you want to clean banks, be prepared to take some extra precautions. You’ll probably need to have:
- FBI Background Checks on everyone who will work in the bank
- Insurance policies that cover the amount in the vault
- Cybersecurity insurance and more
- I’m working on getting requirements from a bank. We’ll see what happens.
Other than stricter requirements, you’ll be doing the same thing as with any other office building. Jump to step two in the blog to learn more about each of these steps.
How to Get Airbnb Cleaning Contracts?
Airbnb cleaning contracts are similar to residential cleaning, but there will be a couple of extra considerations. You’ll need to:
- Change out towels and bedsheets.
- Bring replacement/refill toiletries.
- Wash laundry or partner with a laundry service.
How to Get Office Cleaning Contracts?
This easy six-step process shows how to get cleaning contracts with offices:
Jump to step two in the blog since you already know who you’ll be targeting.
How to Get Government Cleaning Contracts?
If you’d like to know how to get cleaning contracts with the government, start with considering your circumstances. The government has a lot of programs that make it easier for smaller companies to get contracts.
You’ll probably need to build a reputation before you go for these contracts, so I’d add this to your long-term goals. Don’t be like the guys in War Dogs.
How to Get Cleaning Contracts with Builders?
If you want to work related to construction cleanup, you’ll need to build relationships with them. You can do this in a few ways. Here are some of the best:
How to Get Cleaning Contracts with Apartments?
If you are wondering how to get cleaning contracts with apartments, you’ll want to take a slightly different approach:
- Establish the size of the property.
- Provide estimates for the different apartment sizes.
- Offer them a discount based on the total number of properties cleaned.
Example: These are actual prices from Chris’s move-in/move-out pricing sheet:
You could offer a 5% discount for the first 10 apartments, a 10% discount for the next 11 to 50 apartments cleaned, a 15% discount for 51 to 100, and 20% for every apartment after.
Start Cleaning Commercial Properties
We’ve given you a lot of information to start providing cleaning contracts to other businesses. If it sound intimidating to start your own business, there are opportunities to buy a business. Over the next few months, we’ll be releasing a whole lot more about how to start a cleaning business.
What part of the commercial cleaning business interests you most?