Contract Cleaning Services – Considerations When Choosing a Provider

A Buyers Guide to Contract Cleaning Services

Are you Thinking of Hiring a Commercial Contract Cleaning Company? If so here is our essential guide to top 10 considerations when choosing a contract cleaning company:

1) Staff Training
The single most important question – any company is only as good as its staff – especially a company that is selling the services of its staff rather than a product. Look for cleaners that are trained in house by the contract cleaning company, at a minimum they should receive training on how to clean and health and safety. Ideally they should be trained to BiCs standards (British Institute of Cleaning Science)

2) Maintain Cleaning Standards Over Time
Many cleaning firms carry out regular inspections in the early days of a contract, and many cleaners are motivated in the early days of a contract. The key here is to ask how quality and cleaner morale is maintained THROUGHOUT the contract.

3) Agency Staff
Choose a company that does not use agencies – agency staff often lack commitment and motivation and can be unreliable. There will be occasions with any cleaning company when you regular cleaner is off sick, the key is to ask how cover would be provided and check this would NOT be an agency.

4) Terms of Business?
Any company of repute should have standard terms of business – these cover both parties. If they do not, or do not know what you mean by standard terms of business, alarm bells should ring!

5) Small, Medium or Large?
The size of the cleaning company is important. The contract cleaning market in the UK divides into three overall categories. Small firms that are often run from a home office, medium sized ones that cover all of Kent but now else and large ones that cover the whole country. A small one may not be able to handle larger contracts, a large company certainly will however their customer service may be less good, and it is illegally that the owner will be involved in running the firm. Do not forget it is the owner (s) of a company that really cares the most about providing a good service. So … you may want to choose a medium sized firm that combines the best of both worlds unless you have a very large cleaning requirement (eg a 24 hour one) in which case it is likely that only the largest companies would be able to accept.

6) Commitment
There are some cleaning companies that are literally run from a garden shed, or by a person working part time from their living room. There is a school of thought that you should choose a firm that has shown commitment to their line of business by investing in proper offices. Addresses can sometimes give this away – for example "the xx building" is reasonably to be a proper business address where "xx cottages" is more likely to be a home address. If in doubt just ask the company if they operate from an office or from home!

7) Professionalism
Any cleaning firm should come round to see you to do a survey before quoting. This is an ideal chance to assess the professionalism of the firm. Someone that turns up late without telling you, wearing ripped jeans may not be the best choice!

This is a set of guidelines enshrined in law that governs what happens in the event you want to out source an in-house cleaning team. So, if you are in this position ask your cleaning contractor for information on how they handle TUPE. If they look blank, alarm bells should ring!

9) "People Buy People"
Ask your cleaning contractor if you can meet the person you would be dealing with once your contract starts. Ultimely this needs to be someone you like and get on with – and it may not be the same person who provides the quote for you.

10) References
References from current clients are useful when buying any good or service. However bear in mind that any one providing you with details of a referendum is only going to give you the details of someone who will give a good reference, therefore it is worth asking around independently yourself too.

Nick Wareham
Director, Kent Cleaning Solutions Ltd