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How to Win Janitorial Bids

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Knowing how to offer and win janitorial bids for your small business is one of the most important steps when you are ready to start cleaning for commercial businesses

It is important to meet with your client first if possible. This helps you understand what they need, explain your company and services, and be able to give a good estimate. 

Understand Everything the Job Entails and Client Expectations

Once you have met with the client, ensure you know everything about that job. Will you need any special licenses or are there any legal requirements? Do inspections happen often? Are there any hazards or will you need additional insurance? For example, if they are a hospital, they may have more stringent cleaning and disinfecting requirements than an office building. 

Check that you meet all the requirements for the job. Don’t waste time bidding for the job if you don’t meet all of their requirements. 

What is a Bid for Janitorial Services?

Once you are ready to start cleaning for commercial businesses, they may ask for a request for proposal (RFP). A bid or job proposal is a contract or promise of what you will do to successfully complete the cleaning job. If it is a government contract, they may ask for an RFP from you and other companies. It is important to only submit a bid for janitorial services once you are ready to do the job completely. You want every client to be a recommendation for you and to help build your reputation.

Here are some recommendations for bidding on a contract. It is recommended to bid if any of these three conditions applies:

  1. You have an inside track. You either helped the potential client write it, or you have an advocate inside the organization who’ll support you.
  2. Your expertise makes you the only logical choice. 
  3. You have absolutely nothing better to do and need the money.

Set a meeting to make sure you understand exactly what the job entails. You want to know that the jobs you are bidding on are worth your time and money. If they are just looking for someone cheap, you may not want to bid on the job. If you start doing a job where you feel you are getting underpaid, will you still offer good quality of work? Will you start to resent that client? Also, you want to ensure that job pays your employees and pays your bills. 

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How to Calculate a Janitorial Bid

Once you have spoken or met with the client and you have determined this is the job for you, it is time to calculate your bid to submit to the customer. It is important to know all the expectations for the job in order to create a successful job bid. Also, use your commercial cleaning checklist to ensure you understand how many hours it will take to complete the job.

Determine the Cleanable Square Footage

Some companies determine the cleanable square footage when calculating janitorial bids. 

Cleanable square footage is the total amount of space that needs to be cleaned. If you take the total square footage of the building and measure out the areas which do not need to be cleaned that is the cleanable square footage. 

A building will have areas that do not require cleaning such as closets. When meeting with the client, ask which areas should not be cleaned.

Once you know your square footage you can calculate the base price. For instance, if your total area to be cleaned is 2,000 square feet and the price per square foot is 25 cents, you multiply 0.25 by 2,000 to get a total of $500.

Determine the Number of Employees Needed 

You will also want to determine your employee’s wages. Think about how much time it will take and how many employees you will need to complete the job.

If you need to hire two employees to clean and each employee earns $10 per hour, the hourly wage for the two is $20. Then multiply that by the number of hours they will clean each day. If they will clean for 3 hours a day, it will cost $60 per day to clean.

Determine the Equipment Needed 

Do you know what special services they need in which you may have to rent equipment? For example, if they would like you to buff floors once a week, you may need to rent a buffer.

Ensure any equipment use is added to your janitorial bids whether you own it or rent it.  

Determine Other Costs for the Job

Add in cleaning supplies, transportation, and other business costs. You may want to add a percentage to cover liability insurance, marketing, and any software you use to manage your business. 

Determine Any Discounts

What discounts could you offer them? Are you bidding on several buildings or multiple businesses for one client? You may be able to offer them a special rate. Consider different discounts. For example, could you give them a discounted rate for the first month? Or 10% off for any referrals? 

How to Write Janitorial Bids

Once you have determined all the costs, it is time to write your bid letter. There are many online resources or examples of how to write a bid. Here is one example from a job bid software.   Because your janitorial bids can be like a contract or agreement, you should be clear in your intentions and what you will do for your client. 

Here are some important details you should include in your bid:

  • Will you have a contract length? If they want to end the contract, how much notice will you need? 
  • What special services will you offer? Price those areas separately. These can include buffing and waxing floors, cleaning outside windows, or carpet cleaning. 
  • You could list the fee for each job task such as vacuuming, mopping, office cleaning, etc. 
  • Include invoicing details. For example, when do you bill and when do you require payment? Most large companies pay within 30 days of receiving the invoice. 
  • Will they supply the cleaning chemicals, or will you? Some companies want you to use their chemicals. You could offer a discount on this.
  • Make sure they know your hiring practices and that you strive to hire great workers. 
  • What are services, products, disinfecting measures, processes, or programs that make you stand out against the competition? Ensure those are shown on your job bid.

How to Stand Out Against Competition When Bidding on Contracts

Demonstrate ways in which you may have processes or systems in place which show good quality of work. For example, ensure they know your expectations that the commercial cleaning checklist is completed each night by your employees. You may also want to show them your checklists and see if they need anything special added. Make one with their required items and attach it to the bid. This shows you have a thorough process when cleaning. What other processes can you highlight in your bid? Will you do frequent inspections to ensure your employees are doing the work you promised?

Show what systems you have in place that would stand out against the competition. For example, if you are using the ezClocker janitorial time clock app, you can mention that you are using a time clock system with GPS function to verify your employees are showing up on the job site on time. 

Your bid should be honest, clear, and direct. When running a business, they don’t need to worry about the janitorial staff. Make sure they know you want to offer them top quality work and hire great people. This contract could produce more contracts for your business, and you will earn a great reputation when you hire professional people who do great work. 


Author: Kimberley Kay Travis

Kim Travis has over 20 years of experience in business, human resource management, and leadership roles. She has specialized knowledge in employment law, employee relations, recruiting, management consulting, small business growth, leadership development, workplace safety and health programs, and writing business content.

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