Your standard cleaning services contract agreement is due for a pandemic (and beyond) update
Thanks to overstaffed corporate legal teams, many contracts are indecipherable to most of us mere mortals. But your cleaning services contract agreement doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, some would argue that you should be able to read and understand a basic contract even if you don’t have a law degree.
After all, any contract, your cleaning services contract included, is merely a formal way that two or more parties come together to declare their willingness to work together. It spells out the expectations and, ideally, makes everything clear. To be fair, there are plenty of situations where you may want or need to have a lawyer involved (including one of the sections below). Or, you may come across complex deals that require expertise, such as buying out another cleaning business. While the rest of the article addresses the information you should include in an updated cleaning contract, we are not attorneys and you should run any changes through your own legal professionals.
In its simplest form, however, a contract, states a few facts, such as how often your team will clean a facility and what the expectations are for the job. In return, the client will pay you in full within so many days.
The twist here is that COVID-19 means you can’t rely on the contract you already have in your files. More specifically, if you’re contracting with someone just for COVID cleaning, whether that’s a one-time job or on a recurring basis, you need to build that into your agreement.
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Contract basics: What your agreement needs to include
Before you get into a total rewrite, don’t overwhelm yourself and think you need to build a new cleaning services contract agreement from the ground up. Most likely, you just need to make some additions to the one you currently use.
As a quick review, here are the essential ingredients of a commercial cleaning contract:
- Your company’s name and address
- Your client’s name and address
- The date the agreement goes into effect
- The end date of the agreement (This might be anything from a specific date to a statement saying the contract is in effect until one party gives notice of its termination.)
- Frequency of the cleaning – even if it is a one-time occurrence
- Approximate time of day the cleaning will take place
- What, specifically, the expectations are for cleaning (You can reference your proposal here to make things simpler.)
- Payment information, including amount and manner (check, credit card, etc.) and any associated penalties for late payments
- Who provides equipment and supplies
- Insurance information
- Signatures (both yours and the clients)
- Date of signatures
You may find there are additional elements you wish to include. Some commercial cleaning companies write out tasks they don’t do, such as moving furniture, maintenance work (which, by the way, can be an excellent add-on service), and other similar duties. Other companies include non-solicitation clauses, so the client won’t try to hire a cleaner away from you.
There’s generally no harm in adding these extras into your cleaning service contract agreement, but again, the most important parts are those essentials above.
Rewriting your cleaning services contract agreement for the pandemic era and beyond
Now that the basics are in place, it’s time to account for COVID-19, along with other future viral outbreaks. Even if we never face another global pandemic, it’s not uncommon for geographic regions to get hit with small outbreaks. The changes you make to your contract template now can be useful in dealing with these situations in the future.
With that in mind, here are some sections to add to your contracts:
Safety: For obvious reasons, safety is high on the list of requirements for COVID cleaning. One good example you can follow comes from PuroClean, in Rhode Island. Their technicians wear full PPE, including Biohazard coveralls, and they use “hospital-grade EPA-registered products” to clean and disinfect areas. Though this is specified on their website, it’s a good material to include in a cleaning services contract agreement.
Training: Training is aligned with safety; however, your contract may state something to the effect that only properly-trained team members will conduct assessments and cleanings in suspected or verified instances of COVID contamination.
Contact tracing: Include a section that spells out your client’s duty to inform building occupants and the proper authorities of possible or confirmed COVID contamination. You want to be sure this responsibility doesn’t fall to you as an outside contractor.
CDC guidelines: Be clear in your contract to state that your team will follow the current CDC guidelines, and the client is expected to follow the same or similar guidelines.
Liability: This can get tricky, and in an ideal world, we would all do our best, and that would be it. Unfortunately, that’s not how the world works. As long as you follow the most up-to-date safety protocols, you don’t want to be liable for the health of the people in a building. You absolutely want to include this information in your contract, and this is also where we would suggest consulting with a lawyer.
Additional fees: Point out that the client is responsible for any additional fees that may arise. This might include disposal fees, extra equipment costs, or other unforeseen expenses.
Keep in mind, however, that even a cleaning services contract agreement for COVID clients doesn’t need to be complicated. Yes, it does require some additional elements that your standard contract doesn’t. Again, you would be wise to have a contract lawyer look it over. Still, you want to be able to read and understand the agreement just as well as your client does.
So whether it’s COVID-19 or a seasonal flu outbreak, if your commercial cleaning business contracts to clean and disinfect after a viral outbreak, add these sections to your agreement.
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