More than anything else, winning bids can improve the health of your commercial cleaning business. Here’s how you can find and bid on cleaning contracts successfully.
It’s no secret that the key to running a successful commercial cleaning business is learning where to find and how to bid on cleaning contracts. That’s where, literally speaking, the money is. Unfortunately, we can’t just go to the store and pick out contracts like we would choose a new mop bucket or case of floor cleaner.
Of course, your marketing strategy can bring in some business. It might even bring in all the business you need. Nothing wrong with that. But even then, you’ll still need to bid on cleaning contracts. It’s unlikely that someone will hire you without comparing a few proposals.
That said, it’s also a good idea to know how to find potential contracts, too. No matter how great your marketing is, there are never any guarantees. And we all know that competition is fierce, so it behooves you to learn as much as you can about bringing in more business.
Use software to help manage your cleaning business so you can do more. Check out a free demo of Janitorial Manager today to see what we’re talking about!
Where to look for new clients and how to bid on cleaning contracts when you find them
Obviously, before you can bid on cleaning contracts, you need to find potential clients. Fortunately, they are all over the place. Business parks, shopping centers, retail corridors on city streets, strip malls, medical office buildings, restaurants, colleges, and private and public schools are just the start of where you could find new business.
Remember, though, finding these clients is just one part of your overall plan. Don’t forget you need to get your name out there through networking events, newspaper ads, social media campaigns, and being active in your community. It’s easier to “sell” your services when people already know your name.
But how about some detailed ideas?
Commercial real estate office: See if you can create a referral partnership with a local commercial real estate office. They talk to business owners regularly, and it’s helpful for them if they have a cleaning company they can recommend.
Businesses you already frequent: That diner you go to on weekends or the coffee shop you visit several times a week are potential goldmines – especially if they’re locally-owned businesses. Why? Even if the owners or management aren’t looking for a janitorial service, they might know another place that is. You don’t want to hard sell here, but there’s nothing wrong with telling them what you do and asking for help promoting your business.
Your local public radio station: Assuming that’s your target audience, underwriting a public radio station in your area can be great advertising. Since these stations don’t run commercials, your business name can stand out when they mention you.
Management at business parks or shopping centers: Some of these businesses may already have in-house cleaning and maintenance services. However, they can also be lucrative contracts, so it’s worth your time to set up a meeting. You never know what 30 minutes of your day can result in.
Private and public schools: Schools can be tough contracts to win. However, you can set yourself up for success by doing a lot of the legwork ahead of time. For example, almost every school will require anyone working in their facilities to have a criminal background check on file. If you prepare that ahead of time, you’re already one step ahead in the game.
There are certainly more places to look for customers, but once you have their attention, how do you bid on cleaning contracts in a way that gives you an advantage? Here are some ideas for that.
Offer a thorough and detailed bid: When you do your walkthrough, write down as many details as you can. Take measurements and pictures if your client agrees to it. Be clear on what your client wants, then take it a step further. It looks more impressive to list “Streak-free wash for 6 windows in Room 1,” than it does to write down, “clean windows, Rm 1.” Even though it may mean exactly the same thing, you want your clients to know how in-depth you go with your work.
Find out why you’re there: Yes, to offer a bid, but really why. Are they not happy with their current cleaning service? Why not? Are they looking for a more environmentally friendly service? Are they shopping around for a better price? (As a side note, try not to sell yourself on price. Someone can always be cheaper. Sell your cleaning services on values like reliability, customer satisfaction, and such.) This could give you valuable information to work with.
Offer a price list: There’s always room for negotiation, but when you have a prepared price list, you accomplish two things. To begin with, it feels more legitimate for your customer. They don’t feel like you’re just making up a price on the spot. Secondly, there could be all sorts of add-ons outside of your typical cleaning services that your customer might be interested in, like light maintenance or basic landscaping.
Promote your COVID-19 protocols: Yes, we are all a bit weary of talking about COVID. That doesn’t make it disappear. And even if it does disappear, there are still things like the seasonal flu and common cold to contend with. Frame this however you think is most appropriate (cold & flu protocols, cleaning for pandemics, or COVID-19 policies), but don’t ignore it. Especially if you plan to bid on cleaning contracts for schools or medical offices, you need to be upfront about your training and operations. Just like your price list, have this information written down and offer it as part of your bid. Which brings us to…
Give them a proposal before you leave: Hey, if you want to bid on cleaning contracts and actually win them, you gotta be ready to go all in. Do your walkthrough, determine your cost for payroll and supplies, figure out your margin, and offer a bid right then and there. Seem impossible? It’s entirely reasonable if you have the right janitorial management software (and we happen to know of some).
Most of all, don’t forget that all of this is a long-term game. Keep at it, do great work, and success will find you.
Manage bids, track inventory, monitor jobs, and more with Janitorial Manager. Get in touch with us for a free demo to see how we can add value to your business!