Long-term contracts for cleaning services are the key to running a successful janitorial business. Find out how to keep those contracts in your stable.
We all love having customers sign our cleaning services contracts. It feels good to know that money is coming in, and you and your team have the work you need to grow profits. This is true for one-off jobs, short stints, and long-term contracts.
They all have their place in business, too. Those one-time gigs give the bank account a little boost. The three-month contracts help with payroll, business insurance, and all those regular expenses. But those six-month and year-long contracts are the real bread and butter, beans and rice, pasta and sauce of an operation.
It’s those long-term contracts for cleaning services that help us plan budgets, determine how many people we need to hire, and whether or not it’s time to invest in new equipment or expanding locations. These are the contracts that help a business remain stable. That doesn’t even count the relief of knowing you have a baseline to work with, even if those shorter-term accounts fall through.
Undoubtedly, it would be nice to have a full roster of long-term clients and contracts. But there’s a lot more to just signing up those clients. When the contract term ends, you want to keep them. A lot can change in six months or a year, and it’s your job to keep up with those changes and make it easy for clients to renew their contracts with you.
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A surefire way to get renewals on your contracts for cleaning services
Some of your most reliable clients probably didn’t start out that way. They may have hired you for a COVID cleaning gig or on a trial basis with a short contract. If you’re in a long-term contract with them now, then you’re clearly doing things right.
Your experience with other clients, particularly government agencies or larger institutions, may have been different. Because of the process involved in hiring third-party vendors, many of these clients may come on through longer-term contracts for cleaning services.
How you get to that point is important for your business, but what you do now to keep them as clients is even more important. There’s some good news and some less good news here.
The good news is that if you’ve been reliable, professional, and easy to work with, then you’re off to a great start. The less good news is that enticing clients to renew these contracts for cleaning services isn’t an overnight process. It’s something that happens with every interaction you have with them, from billing to handling complaints or other issues to the actual work you do.
In other words, renewing any contract begins the moment you start working with a client. That means your onboarding process should be worry-free for clients. Your billing should be accurate and timely. And it shouldn’t be a mystery that you need to do top-notch work.
Let’s dig in a bit, though, and look at five ways your clients will look forward to renewing their contracts for cleaning services.
1. Keep up with the competition. You don’t want to get surprised by a challenge to your contract renewal. Not to say that won’t happen, but you should have a decent idea of what another commercial cleaning company may approach your client with. Do they have state-of-the-art equipment or janitorial certifications and training that your team doesn’t have? Do they use janitorial management software that makes it easy to communicate? Do they offer deeply discounted services? (It’s better to compete on quality than on price, but be aware of what other companies may be charging.)
2. Send thank-you notes and holiday cards. There’s something about a hand-written note that makes people feel special. So it’s well worth the time to sit down now and then to send out “Thank you for your business” cards or “Congratulations on your business anniversary” cards, or a nice card for a holiday celebration. Don’t overdo it. You’re probably fine with sending two or three cards a year. Just make them meaningful, and your clients will absolutely think more highly of you when the time comes to renew their contracts for cleaning services.
3. Set a meeting in advance of the contract’s end date. Ideally, you’ve been in regular contact with your client over the course of the contract, but as renewal time approaches, get ahead of any competition. Meet with your client to review and discuss your hopes of continuing to work with them. Find out if there are changes they’d like to make or what the future looks like for them.
4. Send out janitorial surveys. Janitorial surveys are incredibly valuable in getting honest feedback about how your clients perceive your work and your business’s value. This isn’t a last-minute thing that will save a contract that’s already in dire straits, but if you send out surveys once or twice a year, you’ll be in a much better place to understand what your clients are thinking.
5. Ask for the contract renewal. Sometimes it’s a simple matter of telling your client that you want to renew the contract between your businesses. Be upfront about it. It’s not impossible to think that your client may assume you don’t care about their business if you don’t explicitly say so.
Ultimately, winning renewals on contracts for cleaning services is about great customer service and great work. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do a little extra to put the odds in your favor!
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