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Selling Cleaning Contracts

By Cliff Beiser | April 26, 2018 << Back to Articles
selling

“Do everything in your power to make the people you are hoping to sell feel appreciated and important, and they will become your customers. Treat the people who are already buying from you the same way, and they will remain your customers for life.”—Dale Carnegie

Take this quote to heart; it can go a long way toward helping you score more contract cleaning bids by allowing you to focus on selling the right aspects of your business. The refrain is the same for the entire cleaning contracting industry: All our customers care about is the lowest price! We can start changing this refrain today by making a concerted effort to not sell based on price. Instead, we should be focusing on major value-added strategies to close the deal.

Each of us deserves high margins because professional cleaning is a time-consuming business that has become even more difficult in recent years due to the economic downturn, increased outsourcing, and heavier competition. So if your cleaning business isn’t rewarding you with sustainable profits, then revamping your sales strategy can help improve the situation.

Below is a short outline of items you must consider and include if you want to “win” bids not just based on price.

What factors should be present when preparing a high-margin bid?

  • Understand exactly what level of cleaning detail the potential client is looking for.
  • Focus on the procedures, policies, and—most importantly—systems that allow you to consistently deliver the kind of cleaning you say you can deliver.
  • A clear scope is the key to accurate pricing.

Prepare your bid. The most important part of creating a bid is ensuring that it is vibrant and organized.

  • Ask questions until you have ALL the information you will need. Listen to Francis Bacon, who once said: “Who questions much, shall learn much, and retain much.”
  • Detail the scope of work you plan to perform. Don’t be afraid to use illustrations to spell it out for your customers.
  • Put down in writing your communications plan, your teamwork initiative, and how you develop your people and yourself. Emphasize that you are a partner and not a vendor. 
  • Illustrate via a color chart (pie chart, highlighted spreadsheet, etc.) what you will use for cleaning, including frequency and time of day. 
  • Describe and illustrate how you will measure the cleanliness of your staff. Technological advantages should be included here.
  • Highlight your sustainability efforts. If you feel your company is lacking, look into bolstering this aspect of your business. ISSA’s Cleaning Industry Management Standard Green Building (CIMS-GB) will give you great credibility.
  • Finally, provide your price and a time frame that this price will be in effect.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
I recently learned that 70 percent of people comprehend best via visual representations.  Think about the way you best learn. Is it easier to grasp a new concept when it is clearly illustrated for you?  For most of us, the answer is yes. But the real question remains: Why aren’t we using this fact to our business advantage in bidding cleaning contracts?  See below for some examples of how you can use visual representation to present cleaning bids to potential customers in a way that is clear and concise to them.


Cliff Beiser is Lean Six Sigma Certified. He has had full financial accountability for cleaning hospitality facilities of over 2,000 units/rooms including a staff of over 800 full- and part-time workers. Cliff is ISSA Certification Expert (I.C.E.) certified and in 2010 helped MasterCorp receive ISSA Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) with Honors recognition. He has comprehensive real-world experience using Lean Tools and Integrated Cleaning Measurement (ICM).  He can be reached at cliff.beiser@championstouch.com or (407)

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