Six Pricey Deceptions of Commercial Janitorial Services Providers

March 23, 2017

Deception #1: The Commerical Janitorial Services Provider with the Lowest Price is The One I Should Hire.

Performance Janitorial Cleaning Services
Often times, the price you are quoted may not equal what you eventually wind up paying. If you’ve ever hired a commercial janitorial services company before, you may have been the victim of slight of hand, false advertising, or bait-and-switch tactics. You probably learned the hard way that some companies offer a cheap price, but then, once you’ve hired them, trick you into paying more at every turn. These unsavory companies cast a dark shadow on the entire janitorial industry with false promises and misleading advertising. But you can avoid getting tricked.

A common way that savvy customers/companies get exactly what they agreed upon is to request a bid bond. A bid bond ensures that the vendor bids according to the scope of work represented in an RFP (request for proposal). This removes some of the risks of hiring an unethical company. If your janitorial company won’t agree to provide you with a bid bond, search for another cleaning company.


Deception #2: I Save Money When My Services are “Bundled” in a Package

Performance Janitorial Cleaning Services

These days, bundling is everywhere. Bundles are offered by insurance companies, cable/internet/phone companies, clothing companies, fast food chains, electronics retailers, and more. In theory, when a company combines several of its products or services and then discounts individual prices to create a “bundled price,” both the company and the customer benefit.

The deception comes when companies don’t provide you with a clear and specific list of tasks, as well as a detailed timeline indicating when each task will be completed. These firms attempt to cut corners and provide less than promised, with little or no accountability. Over time, tasks slip through the cracks and your facility doesn’t get the attention needed to remain a clean and healthy environment.

Ask your janitorial service provider for a detailed schedule indicating specific dates and times that each of your contracted services will be performed and completed. Once you have the schedule, hold the company accountable for delivering the agreed-upon services in a timely and thorough manner

Deception #3: We’ll Just Hire Someone Else to Replace Them, Constant Employee Turnover

According to a recent cleaning industry study, the average employee turnover rate for most janitorial service providers is about 75% or higher. So, what’s the big deal?

What this means is that, in any given year, a company’s entire cleaning staff has been replaced by a whole new crew…two times. The frequent cycle of hiring and training, hiring and training, hiring and training new staff leads to an inexperienced workforce that never really becomes proficient or in tune with your company’s cleaning needs. With this revolving door approach, it’s hard to imagine that the customer is getting the most for their money. In fact, another recent study found that mis-hires cost companies anywhere from 5-25 times the employee’s base salary, because the company spends so much of time and money recruiting, interviewing, training, and providing benefits. Now, multiply this by the number of employees who come and go each year and it becomes clear that high turnover puts a financial strain on a company.

Subsequently, companies attempt to make up for these losses by reducing cleaning budgets and employee wages, neglecting essential cleaning equipment, and ultimately passing these costs on to you by charging too much for sub-par work.


Deception #4: Janitorial Companies Perform Services with Their Own Employees

Performance Janitorial Cleaning ServicesThe birth of your children, your son’s graduation, your daughter’s wedding—what do all of these events have in common? Each is an important event that you prioritize and plan for and requires your personal involvement and attention.

Now…imagine calling up a friend, colleague, or a perfect stranger and proposing to pay them to walk your beautiful daughter down the aisle on her special day; to smile with pride and applaud as your son is handed his diploma; or, to hold your wife’s hand and cheer her on as the doctor shouts, Congratulations! It’s a girl!”

Sounds absurd, doesn’t it? Well…this is exactly the approach that many commercial janitorial services providers take with their customers’ cleaning services. Instead of prioritizing the customers’ needs and completing the jobs themselves, most janitorial firms subcontract their work out to smaller “mom and pop” businesses and take 10-20%—or even more—right off the top. This makes it nearly impossible for the people who are actually doing the cleaning to effectively complete the job, as the amount they are paid won’t even cover the expense or the time necessary. More often than not, this approach results in inconsistent performance, employee turnover, and overall poor service.

When a company sells a service, but hands the job off to another service provider without proper oversight, accountability, and intensive training, the most important people suffer—the clients. You.


Deception #5: Always Hire “The Best of the Best Janitorial Company

From Philadelphia, PA, to Cambodia, companies and organizations from every sector and every service have one thing in common: employees. Companies operate because people within the company, with certain skills, knowledge, and talents, occupy positions that drive and support that organization’s goals. It is safe to say that a company is its employees. Without employees to do the work, a company would not exist.

Janitorial service companies are no different. So, here’s the question: Why would companies hire employees that would be anything less than the best for a position? It just doesn’t make sense.

There is a truckload of reasons why it is “bad business” to hire a disposable workforce. But the main reason —as we discussed in Illusion #3—is that companies that avoid paying a little more to attract experienced, high-quality employees end up paying a lot more in the long run. And the cost of endless recruiting, hiring, and firing inevitably gets passed on to the customers. The customer also pays by having to deal with janitorial service employees who are poorly trained and unreliable.


Deception #6 – The Janitorial Company with the Highest Price is the Best

Janitorial service companies have a job to do: keep your facility sparkling clean. Some janitorial companies want you to think that they achieve this goal by cleaning every inch of your facility, every day. Therefore, they charge you to clean your entire facility, every day. Fair enough, right?

Not quite… Think about this: in your own house, every time you clean, do you clean the entire house? Or—like most people—do you clean the higher traffic areas more frequently (because they get used more)? You still clean the lower traffic areas, but less often because they don’t get as dirty. It’s just common sense.

The same approach goes for janitorial and commercial cleaning. They don’t need to clean every inch of your facility, every day. It is a waste of time and money.

Upper Valley Cleaning takes the common-sense approach. We clean the areas of your facility that need to be cleaned…when they need it. Our professional janitorial cleaning staff works from a detailed checklist that outlines daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning tasks, based on the specific needs of your company, facility, and budget. We also tackle special cleaning projects as needed. We do what we say we’re going to and we only charge you for what we do. This means you are not paying for services that you don’t really need (or aren’t actually getting).

Updated 3-25-17


Key Takeaways:

  1. Don’t focus on just price, focus on getting the most value for their services.
  2. Hire a reputable local company that has employees and a long-standing track record.
  3. Do your research on the company, ask for references from other customers.
  4. Hire a company that has local managers to manager your account and communication with you.

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