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Office Cleaning | Commercial Cleaning | Hiring Commercial Cleaners

7-Steps to Hiring a Commercial Cleaner You'll Love

April 21st, 2021 | 6 min. read

7-Steps to Hiring a Commercial Cleaner You'll Love

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You're an office manager, facility manager, and a recurring task has reappeared on your to-do list: Find a new commercial cleaner. 

As this may not be the first time you have had to look for a new commercial cleaner, you may be thinking, I checked out everything last time; how hard can it be to find a commercial cleaning company that has: 

  • A proven track record
  • High quality services
  • Good reviews
  • Affordable pricing

On top of this is the added frustration of repeatedly onboarding and managing a new vendor, putting a strain on your already stretched productivity. Of course, the obvious decision to hire a commercial cleaner who does the job and does it well saves you time and money in having to re-hire.  

In this article, we've outlined a 7-step journey to finding the commercial cleaner that will do what you want - to just clean. In our experience, we ask you to ensure you ask these questions and get answers that not only make sense, but are also able to be backed up before you and your new selected commercial cleaning company, as they say, shake on it. 

1. Outline the scope of work

Commercial cleaning can be a very complex procedure depending on your site’s needs and expectations; whatever your sites needs, be sure to talk through it all. 

The three steps you should ask for and expect are:

  1. A good commercial cleaner will want to have a walkthrough of the premises or site with you, and this is something that you should expect, if not demand. After all, without a walkthrough how does the cleaning company know exactly what you want?
  2. A good commercial cleaning company will submit a detailed scope-of-work document. This outlines every element of cleaning discussed at the walkthrough, clearly laying out the expectations, and in the case of what In-Tec Commercial Cleaning does, clearly spells out the labour needed for each clean
  3. A good cleaning company shouldn't only want but expect your feedback, after all, it is your site. Any feedback about the proposed scope of works should be actioned. If the request cannot be actioned, the cleaning company will need to explain why this is the case - sometimes we think something can be done, when in reality, experience says it can't.   

At first, you might think, why do I need so much detail? Like all things that relate to running a business, it's the details that ensure that we receive the service or product that was agreed on. A clear and concise scope of works helps both you and In-Tec Commercial Cleaning to be accountable. 

As they say, “the devil is in the details”. 

2. Are the cleaning staff experienced?

The cleaning company you're interviewing might be a new start up in the market or a well-established one. Either way, the ultimate service delivery will come down to the experience of the entire team employed by the cleaning company. 

The questions you should ask are:

"Will your cleaners be experienced? If not, what support will they have during the initial training?" After all, not everyone has the experience to perform everything from day one.

"Will the cleaners be supervised and constantly monitored? How will this happen?" If the cleaning company is not using a digital platform in today’s world, then ask why.

"Will the cleaners training include initial full onsite monitoring? Who will do this?" The reason to ask this is that you want the trainer to know how to clean.

"What experience does the management team have?" Whilst we all need different experience to perform our tasks, you may be surprised how many cleaning companies hire someone in Business Development or Operations that have no cleaning experience. How does someone sell or train someone if they don't know how to do it themselves?

Lastly, you should ask - "do I need to engage with the cleaners directly?" Of course not, the answer should always be no; however you may have experienced that if you did not get involved things just didn't happen.         

3. Ask the difficult questions

This is commercial cleaning, so obviously, they clean everything, right? Not necessarily. It may surprise you to read that at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many cleaning companies did not know how to disinfect.

Every commercial cleaning company operates within specific parameters, and it's good to be aware of these at the onset of the business relationship.

Some initial questions can be:

  • Will you clean the toilets? 
  • Will you empty the bins? 
  • Will you replace bin liners?
  • Can you put the dishwasher on? 

These might seem like trivial questions but will save you a lot of hassle in the future. 

It's also be good to ask things like:

  • Do you steam clean carpets? Do you do this directly or do you use a contractor?
  • Do you, or can you, supply washroom services (toilet paper etc.)?
  • Do you clean items like phones, keyboards etc.?

Making sure these finer details are captured in the scope of works keeps things clear and makes your work as a facility manager easier.

4. How much are the cleaning staff paid?

Pricing is a critical factor when looking for commercial cleaners in Brisbane. But cheap is not always the best choice, as the saying goes - “a poor man buys twice”. As labour is the main component of the cost for cleaning, it may not surprise you that some companies use methods that may not be above board. 

You may ask why do I need to know how much the cleaner is paid? Of course, a well-paid and cared for cleaner does a good job and stays at the position for longer. However, there is another thing to consider - is your cleaning company operating in the modern slavery practice? 

In the cleaning industry, the practice of using subcontractors is commonplace and in most cases, results in cleaners being underpaid. This will result in either the cleaners not caring about the work, not being onsite long enough to do the work, or in many cases, the cleaner doesn't stay in the job for too long.

Depending on the commercial cleaner's quoted rate (and hours allocated to the site), it should be easy for you to estimate how much the cleaner is earning. This hourly rate must be in-line with the government-approved rates or higher. If the commercial cleaning company pays their staff well, it means you won't have to keep looking for a new cleaning company every two weeks. Hire a commercial cleaner that will save you money

5. Can your cleaning company track if the scope of work is being delivered?

Outlining the nitty-gritty in the scope of work is all fine, but will the cleaners do what has been promised? 

A diligent commercial cleaning company is digitally-savvy. There are digital platforms like FreshOps that let the commercial cleaning company track completed tasks, as well as communicate with the cleaner on-site. This way, the cleaning company knows if all jobs have been completed, how much time it took, and if there were any incidents that needed to be reported.

The cleaning company should be ready and willing to give you access to the digital platform, ensuring total transparency.

6. Does the commercial cleaning company have an improvement plan?

The end result shouldn't only deliver what was expected, it should also include an improvement plan for the future. 

Your cleaning provider should have a system in place to carry out audits on a regular basis, as well as a system that provides you the opportunity to communicate at any time anything that you believe needs to be addressed or improved. Of course this is easy in today’s digital world using systems like a comprehensive CRM package and an auditing package like iAuditor.

Of course the best CRM or auditing system is only as good as the auditor and again this can come down to their experience. Do they have access have access to the current scope of works for the site? Is the auditor an experienced cleaner?

7. Can you have a conversation with the cleaning company?

This is probably the most important step of them all. 

The key to any successful relationship is communication. After all, “communication breeds understanding and understanding breeds respect”.

In choosing a commercial cleaning company, being able to communicate with them from the start will determine how the relationship will develop.

To ensure that the communication path is open and honest from the start and then to continue, the things to ask for and expect are:

  • The cleaning company will want to spend time with you, doing a thorough walkthrough of the site
  • A detailed scope of works will be prepared and agreed to by both you and the cleaning company
  • Regular communication will occur, through both digital platforms, emails and most importantly, site visits
  • Any other communication or feedback will be welcomed and actioned

To sum up - a cleaning company that knows how to clean and ultimately one you trust is what both you and the cleaning company desires.

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