Every office building cleaning contract is different. Avoid these mistakes when you sign on a new client.
Contracts are one of the trickiest parts of any business. Both sides want to be thorough and touch on all the necessary points. For the contractor, especially, you need to be sure that you’ve covered all your bases, or you might end up giving something away for free. That’s why it’s important to take your time with every office building cleaning contract that you enter into and avoid simple mistakes that could be costly.
There are six common office building cleaning contract mistakes that people make, and understanding how they happen is the first step in understanding how to avoid them. Examining these mistakes should help you on your way to securing contracts that put money in your pocket and keep your customers happy.
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Don’t make these office building cleaning contract mistakes
Mistake #1: Copying a template
One of the first mistakes that a lot of people make when putting together an office building cleaning contract is to copy it from a template they found online without tailoring it to fit their offering. This can be a catastrophic mistake. Template contracts only outline the basic services. None of them are intended to be copied and pasted, even if a website says it’s okay to do so. There are dozens of little details that you’ll miss if you use the same contract over and over again.
Using a contract template is okay as long as you customize it for each client. That extra work will protect you and your business in the long run.
Mistake #2: Using a general cleaning contract
Much like using a template, using a general cleaning contract won’t necessarily touch on all the points that will be important to make when bringing on a new client. In fact, general contracts probably shouldn’t be used with any agreement, not just those that involve office buildings. Again, it’s about the details.
A general cleaning contract will refer to many things broadly, perhaps even some things that aren’t relevant to your client or your services. It may take care of some pricing and other guidelines, but it leaves your client wide open to request changes that weren’t specified at the start of the contract. This may sour a relationship over time, but that doesn’t necessarily stop clients from doing it, and then you’ll have a fractured relationship which will likely lead to lost business. Be specific with any office building cleaning contract so there can’t be any questions or objections later.
Mistake #3: Poorly defining the scope
Speaking of details, one of the most important things you can do with any office building cleaning contract is to outline the scope of work in a way that covers all of your bases. If you’re going to clean an office, which parts, exactly, are you going to clean? Will it include window-washing? HVAC dusting? Carpet-cleaning? If so, mention it and include the price. If these are optional, say so. And most importantly, if it’s not a service you offer, outline that as well. You want to be clear about what services you provide, as well as those you don’t. This way, there’s no confusion between client expectations and your services. Don’t leave room to mistake your no for a yes, or vice versa.
Mistake #4: Neglecting restrictions
Most offices are going to have places that they don’t want you to clean. Server rooms, for example, and other restricted areas may be off-limits for regular cleaning. Get these areas outlined in the office building cleaning contract so that your employees don’t mistakenly enter these areas and cause a stir. Don’t assume that just because a room is unlocked means that the client wants it to be cleaned. Get express consent from the client on each room your teams will work in, which includes a signature on the contract agreeing to exclude these specific areas.
Mistake #5: Not defining hours of work
Cleaning offices usually happens after hours, starting somewhere around 5:30 or 6. The start time is something you’ll want to agree upon with the client and put in writing. If your team arrives too late, a client may notice and take issue with it, and if your team comes too early, it may disrupt the operation of the office until employees have finally gone home. This can also cause your team stress because if they’re too early, they may likely be working around others who are still at work, which can make the cleaning work tedious and inconsistent.
Your time scope should also specify when work should be done. Cleaners are often the last ones to leave offices, but on the rare occasion that they’re not, you don’t want a client thinking that your team is taking too long to do the job, especially if your rate is related to hours worked.
Mistake #6: Leaving out other details
Again, an office building cleaning contract is primarily about the details. Address things such as where it’s okay for your teams to park, especially since you’re likely using a utility vehicle and there may be local restrictions. Agree on what, if any, equipment and supplies will be stored onsite and where. Specify how large the team is that will clean the office. Note the hours the office is open, and which hours your team will spend overlapping with that. Indicate what types of products you’ll be using, whether traditional or eco-friendly or something else. And perhaps most importantly, include clauses about what will happen is your team can’t access a space that’s scheduled to be cleaned.
Office cleaning is good, consistent work to have, but don’t take the small stuff for granted. Simple mistakes on an office building cleaning contract can cost you a lot of money, and as the vendor, the onus will usually be on you to prove your case. Avoid the headache and negativity that mistakes can cause and be thorough from the start.
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