COVID-19 cleaning jobs require more from you. Here’s how to ask for more money so you and your team can get paid the premium you deserve.
There’s no way around the obvious: COVID-19 cleaning jobs mean more precautions, more time, more equipment and supplies, and frankly, more risk. But figuring out how to ask for more money for these jobs can be tricky. You don’t want to overprice your services and scare away your clients and potential clients. Nor do you want to overlook the fact that these are not your run-of-the-mill cleaning jobs.
This isn’t news to you, especially if you’ve read any of our previous posts on the matter. That doesn’t mean it isn’t tricky. Still, it’s an important subject to review. And there are multiple approaches to the issue. But let’s review some of the facts.
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COVID-19 cleaning jobs: Why it’s okay to ask for more money
When you bid on COVID-19 cleaning jobs (which at this point, is pretty much any job, at least to some degree), you’re looking at an expanded list of tasks. You can look at some of those additions in How to Bid on Coronavirus Cleaning (COVID-19) Jobs. Here is an excerpt from that post that gives you an idea of the level of detail that COVID-19 cleaning jobs entail:
“All high-touch surfaces will need extra attention. That means doorknobs, vending machines, microwaves, computer keyboards, elevator buttons, stairway railings, and so on. Bathrooms will need extra attention, too. Then there are things like table and chair legs that are easy to overlook under normal circumstances. If you use a sprayer or fogger to disinfect a location, that will require special protective equipment and trained employees.”
The point here is that for every job you take on, you are doing substantially more work than ever before. That doesn’t count the additional supplies you need, either. At a minimum, you and your team need masks and gloves for every job you do. You may also be using new and more expensive cleaning products, such as those approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as effective against this strain of coronavirus.
It’s probably worth mentioning that you may require more time to clean and sanitize locations effectively, as well. Some disinfectants require up to 10 minutes of contact time to be fully effective. So you can’t just spray, wipe, and move on.
Bottom line? Your overhead is higher than it was in the pre-coronavirus days. If you want to keep your cleaning business running, you have to either lower your variable expenses, charge more, or figure out some way to make the numbers work.
How to ask for more money in a way that encourages agreement
You get what you pay for. You’ve heard it countless times, and yet, there is an elemental truth in that statement. It’s also an effective way to think about how to ask for more money from your clients.
COVID-19 is no joke. Your clients, and those sending inquiries to you about one-time or ongoing COVID-19 cleaning jobs, need to know how seriously you and your team take your work. If your team has specialized training in biohazard cleaning or infection control, be sure to emphasize that. If you’re certified for hospital cleaning or specialize in working in high-security facilities, be sure to share that information.
Your job here is to turn the conversation away from cost and toward value. There will always be someone who can do the job for less than you can, but there won’t always be another cleaning company that can offer the value that you do.
One visible way to accomplish this is through sharing your coronavirus cleaning checklist. Every facility is different, of course, but you can read How to Prepare a Custodial Cleaning Checklist for the Second Wave of COVID-19 to get an idea of what an office cleaning checklist might look like.
Go into detail, too, about how in-depth your team gets for COVID-19 cleaning jobs. And explain why. There’s a great video on this post that uses 3-D modeling to help visualize the spread of contaminated particles from someone coughing. Be sure to also point out that it is estimated that coronavirus could live on plastic and stainless steel for up to seven days.
This all helps impress upon your prospect the value they get by hiring you or why they’re paying increased rates if they are already clients. It shows you’ve done your homework and you know what you’re talking about. And it positions you as an expert, offering not just a clean space, but peace of mind.
Be prepared, as well, to offer an on-the-spot bid when you do your walkthrough. If you have cloud-based Janitorial Manager software, this is a breeze, since all you need is a smartphone or tablet. Similarly, you can also showcase the JM Connect App, which gives clients an easy way to communicate with you and your team.
If, after all this, you still run into the issue of money, there are options available to you. Explain that you set your rates based on the quality of the work you provide, and that you pay your team well, ensuring they will show up on time, and perform high-quality work.
At this point, you may need to let fate take over. If you feel comfortable negotiating a lower price, that’s certainly within your rights as a business owner. But don’t accept a deal you aren’t happy with. That is a set up for disappointment if ever there was one. Offer a referral if that seems appropriate, and don’t be afraid to walk away. Some clients simply aren’t right for your business.
Make sure your cleaning team has the information they need to complete their job accurately and thoroughly. Using a janitorial software like Janitorial Manager can effectively transform your cleaning operation!