Restaurant cleaning contracts can be a lucrative source of income, but unless you specialize in hospitality cleaning, you’ll need a few tips to get that contract.
Busy restaurants get dirty much faster and more often than many other commercial cleaning locations. For that reason, cleaning contracts within the hospitality industry can generate a lot of revenue, making them attractive jobs to bid on. However, cleaning a restaurant isn’t the same as cleaning, say, an office or a warehouse or even a medical facility. There are specific rules and regulations to follow, especially since COVID-19 came along, which means that you may need to tweak your sales strategy a little bit.
Here are some ways to strengthen your bid for restaurant cleaning contracts, even without having much previous experience in the hospitality industry.
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5 Can’t-miss tips to win service industry cleaning contracts
1. Do your research
Whether or not your business has cleaned restaurants before, do your research on current health code rules and regulations supplied by federal, state, and local government agencies. The Department of Health or an equivalent agency usually inspects restaurants a few times a year on their cleanliness. A bad report can make or break a restaurant, and restaurant owners typically know very well what to expect in terms of keeping the place clean and up to standards. Before you do anything else, learn those standards so the restaurant owner will know that you’re informed, experienced, and able to tackle the job in a way that will satisfy government agencies.
If you’re not sure where to begin, search the web for health code regulations in your area and talk to restaurant owners. Find out what’s important to them in a cleaning company, what they expect you to do and not do. This also allows you to think about add-ons you might want to pitch once you get negotiations underway.
And of course, no research would be complete without a walk-through of the premises. A customizable template will make it easy to adapt your restaurant cleaning contracts to the unique site and craft an effective bid.
2. Go in with a thorough bid
With the research you now have in hand, craft a thoughtful, thorough bid that shows a restaurant owner that you understand their needs. Detail your plan for separate areas, like the kitchen, restrooms, and dining areas. Highlight the surfaces you’ll clean and how you’ll comply with food safety regulations. Outline the equipment you’ll dedicate to different areas to help avoid cross-contamination. In addition to the regular services you offer, here’s where to include (or at least discuss) additional services you may offer, such as carpet cleaning or floor buffing, if you believe it can add value to your proposition.
Today, you also have to think about COVID-19 when bidding on cleaning contracts, especially with restaurants, where the virus can quickly spread. Detail in your bid how you plan to keep your employees, their employees, and their customers safe. Include any policies you’ve put in place internally to ensure that your business is doing all it can to keep itself and its customers safe from COVID-19. Are you using additional personal protective equipment (PPE)? Are you contact tracing? How will you adequately staff a cleaning job without putting workers and customers at risk? These are all things to think about and spell out for your potential client.
3. Share your core values
Many cleaning contracts focus almost entirely on services and price, but including your company values might sway a restaurant owner to give you the bid over someone else. If you don’t have these written out, now is the time to do so. You only need a few statements, but they should be thoughtful and communicate to your clients why you do what you do, how you do what you do, and what you hope they’ll get out of your services. (Obviously, they’ll want a clean restaurant—what else do you want them to get out of it? A stress-free experience? Security in knowing their restaurant is safe?)
The door swings both ways on values. When looking for new restaurant clients, learn more about their values as well. Are they committed to sustainable food? Are they looking to create a family-style vibe? Are they involved in any charitable initiatives that resonate with your business? Winning cleaning contracts is one thing, but your work is more fulfulling when you work with someone who shares your core values. If you know what the client’s values are, you can show them how yours align, which adds significant value to your proposition.
4. Propose a fair price
Some commercial cleaning companies high-ball their clients, knowing that they’ll want some wiggle room for negotiation. We don’t recommend doing this. It’s usually more transparent than it seems, and it can rub a customer the wrong way from the beginning. In your bid and discussions with the owner, outline your prices, explain why things cost what they do, and demonstrate the value that the restaurant will get out of the services they’re paying for.
That’s not to say you should under-sell yourself. Don’t drop prices or offer discounts just to win business, though sometimes a sign-on discount can be beneficial. If you’ve put together a solid, successful cleaning business, you’ll know your prices are both fair and competitive, so don’t back down on that unless there’s a good reason to. Remember, a restaurant that’s only concerned with the price of the services may not be the client you want to work with. Be as selective as you can be without compromising your bottom line.
5. Offer certifications and references
Finally, show evidence of your insurance and any other certifications you may have. This will help to establish your credibility from the beginning. Include previous customer references if they’re willing to provide them. All of this will show that you’re an experienced professional cleaner who cares about their cleaning contracts and is ready to get the job done.
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