How to Get Cleaning Contracts: 7 Proven Ways

  • Brandon Boushy by Brandon Boushy
  • 7 months ago
  • Blog
  • 2
man wearing long sleeves showing a cleaning products with cleaning contract

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 our partner Chris Mondragon’s strategies are great for companies wondering how to get cleaning contracts. 

Chris doesn’t ask customers to sign contracts, but he’s mastered the concepts of booking ongoing work on Airbnb properties and has made over $1.5 million with Queen Bee Cleaning Service in one year.

Click any of the links above to jump ahead to that section.

IMPORTANT: You’ll also learn all the exciting details about Chris’s new course, The 7- Figure Cleaning Business Blueprint. This groundbreaking course is the best way for you to learn the “insider secrets” to ensure an ongoing stream of cleaning contracts from high-quality customers.

What is a Commercial Cleaning Business?

A commercial cleaning business is a small business that offers:

  • Office cleaning services contracts
  • Janitorial cleaning contracts
  • Cleaning contracts for small business owners
  • Airbnb or apartment cleaning for property managers

Chris told us:

When I first started, I made $44K in the first 3 months.

Check out our first interview with him below.

While companies do not have to implement janitorial service contracts, many local business owners prefer cleaning business contracts because they define client expectations, cleaning duties, cleaning supplies, and payment schedules.

When we polled our YouTube community, 57% of the 2300 responders said they always require a service contract before starting work.

What is a Commercial Cleaning Contract?

man holding cleaning contract

A commercial cleaning contract is a legal document outlining the obligations of the cleaning company and the prospective customer. These may also be referred to as the terms and conditions of the agreement.

New customers should sign the contract before any work is done. You should include your signature in the template and simply add the date before sending the business cleaning contracts to prospective customers. The contract should include the following aspects:

  • Parties information: Names, addresses, and contact information for both parties.
  • Cleaning services: Description of provided services. Remember to include:
    • Number of staff
    • Inclusions
    • Exclusions
    • Time on-premise
  • Duration: Length of time the contract cleaning business contract is valid.
  • Payment terms: When and how payment(s) should be made, discounts for early payment, and consequences for late payment.
  • Violation of contract: Consequences of failing to meet the terms of the agreement outlined in the office cleaning contract. Potential terms (arbitration, interest liens, and more).

You’ll need a lawyer to draft the office cleaning service contract template to ensure it’s legally binding. Still, I suggest you dive deeply into cleaning company 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

If you’re not up for reading the above link, we’ll give you a quick overview:

You should have at least twice the standard $1 million per incident and $2 million for lifetime general liability. Big businesses may expect commercial cleaning contractors to have other types of insurance too. Check out Tuft’s vendor requirements for an example of requirements you might encounter.

How to Get A Commercial Cleaning Contract

To get contracts and secure your cleaning business’s cash flow, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Identify Your Target Market
  2. Market Your Cleaning Business
  3. Make Quoting, Booking, and Paying Easy
  4. Find Clients
  5. Provide a Consistent Cleaning Service
  6. Verify You Satisfied Customers’ Expectations
  7. Renew the Contracts

Chris suggests starting with residential cleaning first. Here’s why:

Most commercial cleaning customers have Net-30 or Net-45 billing terms (which means from the time they receive the invoice they have 30-45 days to pay). When you first start, I suggest starting with residential. 

Commercial have accounts receivable and accounts payable, and it takes time to get paid. Meanwhile, you have to pay bills and pay employees. Just start with residential and then work up to commercial.

Hear other cleaning services tips in our podcast about cleaning contracts.

Step #1. Determine Your Target Customer

house keeper looking at the cleaning products

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 price list, and preparing a commercial contract template. 

Facility Type

You’ll need to decide what kind of commercial businesses you want to provide services to. We’ve broken the bidding process into seven categories:

  1. Commercial cleaning contracts
  2. Office cleaning contracts
  3. Bank cleaning contracts
  4. Airbnb cleaning contracts
  5. Government cleaning contracts
  6. Construction cleaning contracts
  7. Apartment cleaning contracts

Chris told us:

I mostly do residential but I also clean Airbnbs and also offer some contract office cleaning.

If you already have your commercial cleaning business running like a fine-tuned machine, feel free to jump ahead to the various business types.

Location

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 staying within a 30-minute driving radius so you can handle more clients per day.

Create a Cleaning Services Price Guide

laptop and cleaning products on the table

Create a price list you can hand to a potential janitorial service contract customer. Doing so makes you look professional and makes estimating how much to charge them easier. 

Chris shared his office cleaning business estimating process:

  1. Go to the site in person. Measure the square footage with a laser.
  2. Count stairs, cubicles, bathrooms.
  3. Calculate the total number of square feet, then assume a rate of cleaning 2500-3500 square feet per hour. 
  4. Calculate hours to clean. Round up.
  5. Multiply by hourly rate. 
  6. Include 3+ cleanings/week times 4 weeks. Make that your monthly contract bid.
  7. Itemize upsells.

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. No one wants to go to court over breach of contract, but a business owner or property manager may refuse to pay. A contract makes your agreement 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.

LEARN MORE: We’ve partnered with Chris Mondragon to create a 7-Figure Cleaning Business Masterclass. Learn more about it here.

Step #2. Market Your Cleaning Business

man holding a cleaning product on a blue background

You’ll need to develop an engaging marketing strategy to interact with potential clients. 

Focus 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 the following:

  1. What services do competitors offer?
  2. What is the competitor’s pricing? 
  3. What platforms are competitors using for marketing?
  4. What are competitors doing well?
  5. What are competitors doing poorly? 
  6. Are there gaps in the market that you can fill?
  7. 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:

  1. What content are you sharing?
  2. What formats are you using?
  3. What is your call to action?
  4. How are you tracking results?
  5. How are you using the data?

The following sections will help you answer these questions and develop a few ideas for a marketing strategy.

Create social proof

man holding cleaning products with social reviews floating around

People like to know that what you’re telling them works. How can they possibly trust you if they don’t know you? Chris is a big believer in this:

There’s nothing like social proof! Get reviews and social proof. Ask friends and family to provide reviews. You need them!

There are other ways to share:

  • Case studies
  • Pictures
  • Customer quotes
  • Industry news
  • Videos 

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
  • Craigslist
  • Google local ads
  • Social media
  • Industry organizations
  • Yelp!
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • NextDoor, Porch, and Thumbtack (for highly rated backlinks)

While Chris used Nextdoor, Porch, and Thumbtack for customer referrals when he first started, in our most recent interview, he shared some updated advice:

Use them for the banklinks, but to get business online, you need to use Google. All these sites get the customers from Google. You can too!

Consider cold calling

Chris told us when he first got his cleaning business license, he aimed to get one or more contracts per week. He went on to explain:

I started cold calling property managers. The good news is you don’t need many property managers. Two or three are good enough to get started.

He even told us how to get their attention. Just call and ask:

Hi, would you like to lower your cleaning costs?

It will normally get your foot in the door and lead to some janitorial accounts.

Build a network of business owners

chris mondragon holding cleaning products

Everywhere you go is a networking opportunity. Here are some of the easiest ways to find cleaning contracts:

  • 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.)

Other considerations

You might want to consider some of these marketing ideas as well:

  • SMS messaging
  • Learning closing techniques
  • Promoting your sanitizing protocols
  • Ads on your local public radio station

Chris says:

I’ve been doing SMS marketing for years now. It has a great ROI and less competition.

Hear more from Chris in our interview below.

If you enjoyed it, check out this FREE training by Chris.

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:

  1. Discounts on certifications
  2. The latest information in the cleaning business 
  3. A high-quality referral to your website

Christopher Mondragon is a member of both trade groups.

Step #3. Make Quoting, Booking, and Paying Easy

female cleaner showing client onboarding process

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.

Online

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). While this is for residential, you could easily create a similar platform for contract commercial cleaning.

cleaning service quote sample

While a potential client might prefer this online quote process, Chris told us that most commercial cleaning jobs are better to bid in-person.

In-Person

Focus on the 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 what others you can recommend. Chris suggested:

Use a laser distance measurer to estimate the square footage, then estimate the cost.

Before you leave, make sure to give the client a personalized quote.

Using an iPad during the walk-through adds a level of professionalism and transparency because the customer can easily see what you’re doing.

Over the Phone

cleaning business customer support

Chris suggests having your phone service available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. He told us:

Two of the differentiating factors in my cleaning business are the online booking system where customers can book without talking to anyone and my phone service being available longer than most cleaning companies. This makes it easier for customers to book 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. 

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. 

Chris told us:

Commercial buildings normally need cleaning three to seven times per week.

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 just one time
  • You get paid like clockwork
  • Less sales fluctuation
  • Better budgeting for both parties

Step #4. Find Clients

Your marketing initiatives should result in 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!

man working on a laptop

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 these terms:

  • 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:

Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change. – Tony Robbins

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

simplybusiness website business insurance

Make it really easy for the ideal customer to verify you meet the requirements for cleaning accounts. 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.

Simply Business 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
  • Taxes
  • Total cost
  • Exclusions
  • Available add-ons 
  • 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

cleaning service before and after

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:

I’ll reach out to customers the next day to verify they were happy with our services. If they have any concerns, I try to address them immediately.

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

female cleaner holding a whiteboard

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:

  1. Determine your target customer’s location, business size, and the services you’ll provide to them.
  2. Market your business digitally, with print, and through audio sources.
  3. Make estimating, booking, and paying for cleaning services simple.
  4. Provide potential clients with the information they need to make an educated choice and book the job.
  5. Provide clients with great service.
  6. Routinely verify the client is happy with your cleaning job.
  7. Renew contracts when they expire.

Read this article thoroughly for more details on each of these steps.

How to Get Cleaning Contracts with Banks

two businessman settling a contract agreement

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

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 how to build your business once you’ve designated your target market as banks.

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:

  1. Change out towels and bedsheets
  2. Bring replacement/refill toiletries
  3. Wash laundry or partner with a laundry service

The best ways for Airbnb cleaners to get work are Turno, host groups on social media, and Turnify.

Chris says:

Airbnb can have much higher profit margins if you get the service right. I like using AirDNA to get an estimate of their revenue so I can price the service right.

How to Get Office Cleaning Contracts

This easy six-step process shows how to get cleaning contracts with offices:

  1. Market your business digitally, with print, and through audio sources.
  2. Make estimating, booking, and paying for cleaning services simple.
  3. Provide potential clients with the information they need to make an educated choice and book the job.
  4. Provide them with great service.
  5. Routinely verify the client is happy with your cleaning job.
  6. Renew contracts when they expire.

Jump to step two in the blog since you already know who you’ll be targeting.

How to Get Government Cleaning Contracts

screenshot of small business program from gsa.gov website

If you’d like to know how to get cleaning contracts with the government, start by considering your circumstances. The government has a lot of programs that make it easier for smaller companies to get contracts.

  • You have an advantage if you meet the following requirements:
    • Stay under $7.5 million in annual revenue
    • Acquire proper licensing
    • Meet insurance requirements for each job
  • Register for different government sites:
  • Subscribe for updates on projects that meet your business goals.
  • Submit proposals within the timeline specified.
  • Adhere to government rules.

You’ll probably need to build a reputation before you go for these contracts, so I’d add this to your long-term goals. 

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:

  1. Establish the size of the property.
  2. Provide estimates for the different apartment sizes.
  3. 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.

Can I Buy a Cleaning Contract?

Yes. You can buy cleaning contracts. Chris told us that the best place to buy a cleaning contract is Craigslist. Just search “Cleaning” and you’ll normally find some contracts to buy.

You can also buy into cleaning franchises as another way of buying cleaning contracts.

Discover How to Get a Never-Ending Stream of Cleaning Contracts in “The 7-Figure Cleaning Business Blueprint”

webpage mockup of cleaning business blueprint from upflip website

While I’ve shared many helpful tips, if you really want to learn Christopher Mondragon’s “insider secrets” for always having an ongoing stream of cleaning contracts, this life-changing course is a must-have. Inside the course, Chris shares his innovative strategies for obtaining high-ticket cleaning contracts, which earned his business $4.5M in record time. Click here to learn all the exciting details.

Start Cleaning Commercial Properties

We’ve given you a lot of information to start providing cleaning contracts to other businesses. If it sounds intimidating to start your own business, there are opportunities to buy a business. If you haven’t already, check out our other cleaning company articles.

What part of the commercial cleaning business interests you most?

Join The Discussion

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2 thoughts on “How to Get Cleaning Contracts: 7 Proven Ways”

  • Shawn Davis

    How can I get started

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