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What Does a Bad vs Good Cleaning Scope of Works Look Like?

December 9th, 2021 | 7 min. read

What Does a Bad vs Good Cleaning Scope of Works Look Like?

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Do you go into work with a set list of tasks you need to complete before the end of the day?

Generally, most of us need something to work off of.

Some of us have a ‘to-do list’ for the day or week.

Some of us have a checklist or agenda that we follow.


It’s to keep us accountable – we want to make sure everything that needs to be done…is done.


And a scope of works is just that. It serves as an agenda and schedule for the cleaner, and for you, the client.

When receiving a cleaning scope of works, you want to be careful with what you get. On the surface, it may look like a good scope of works. But, if you were to look a little deeper and read into it, cracks will start to show, and you don’t want that.

So what should you look out for? How will you know the difference between a good and bad scope?

At In-Tec, we’ve guided many clients through what a good scope should look like – so we can help you too! In the following article, we’re going to explore two versions of a cleaning scope of works so you’ll be prepared next time you’re presented with one.

What is a cleaning scope of works?

If you’ve never heard of a scope of works or have no idea what it should even look like, then don’t fret!

We’re going to explain to you right here, right now, what a scope of works actually is.

Just as most of us work off of a ‘to-do list’ or something similar, a cleaner has the same thing – a scope of works. The scope lists all the areas of your workplace that you want cleaned e.g. kitchen, reception, amenities, etc. But it doesn’t stop there. Underneath all the areas is a list of every task the cleaner will be performing e.g. ‘wipe clean reception desk’ or ‘wipe clean reception waiting chairs.’

In fact, you may not look at it this way, but a scope of works is essentially a statement of work that covers all the requirements within the service – both parties know what is expected from the partnership.

There is one crucial thing I’m yet to tell you about a scope of works. And this is something you really want to remember.

A good scope of works is clear, concise, and in-depth.

If your current or future cleaning scope is anything but this, then it’s highly unlikely you and your cleaner won’t know what’s being done and when it’s being done.

Believe us, you don’t want this to happen.

Now you know what it is, let’s take a look at what you do and don’t want to see in your cleaning scope of works.  

What does a bad cleaning scope of works look like?

A bad cleaning scope of works is the opposite of what we said above a few moments ago.

It lacks clarity, brevity, and thoroughness.

And what better way to show you this by going through a few examples of what a bad scope looks like and what you don’t want to see.

Let’s begin.

A bad scope of works uses open-ended statements

If your scope of works ever says “monthly” or “weekly” or “every second day” next to specific cleaning tasks, then it is a bad scope.

Because for example, what does “weekly” even mean?! Will it be cleaned on a Monday one week and then on a Wednesday the next week….I mean, who knows! These types of statements are an inconvenience to you, the client because you won’t know exactly when the task will be performed.

A proper scope of works will explain precisely when something will be done. For instance, if your scope has “empty and clean the kitchen fridge” it should say “completed every Friday.”

The same can be said for “every second day.”

Let’s say a cleaning company wrote down that your toilets would be scrubbed every second day. On their first week at the job, this ends up being a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. But this is where it all starts going wrong. Technically, every second day (if you exclude the weekend), means that it would next be cleaned on Tuesday and Thursday….

That’s only two times a week whereas the previous week was three times.

Wow, isn’t that super confusing?

Having those sorts of statements ends up being a never-ending cycle. Especially when it means those tasks are probably never attended to by the cleaners.

Essentially, it all comes down to wording – you want your scope of works to be in-depth and clear. If a scope has “as required” or “as needed” after certain duties, then it is a bad scope.


Well these statements can be really open-ended because what do they even mean?

The reason why many cleaning companies will say these open-ended statements is so they can’t be held accountable if something goes wrong or if you have a complaint.

If you were to go and ask your cleaning company why the urinals are dirty, they can come back to you and say that they were going to be done during tomorrows clean. So, because there isn’t a specific day allocated, they can’t be held accountable as it’s done “as required.”

A bad scope of works does not acknowledge all areas of your site

There’s one last thing we want to talk about.

A bad scope of works is not broken up.

Let us explain what we mean by this.

For instance, a bad scope of works will have all the toilets in your workplace listed as one area, not separate. So, if you have 3 sets of toilets, they’ll just be classified as “amenities.”

Not only is this confusing for the cleaner, but also you, the client. You won’t know if all the toilets have been cleaned, or only just the one.

And because they’ve done it this way, it also means they aren’t breaking the amenities further down into female, male, and disabled. We all know that there are different surfaces in each of these that need to be cleaned e.g. urinals, support handrails, etc. and they need to be addressed separately.

The same goes for offices or lunchrooms or staff breakout areas. If you have 5 management offices, they should all be noted down as separate areas in the scope of works, not just under “management offices.”

After reading what a bad scope of works looks like, let me ask you one question.

Wouldn’t you prefer to know exactly when every task is completed?

What does a good cleaning scope of works look like?

Get ready to be blown away by how simple it is for a cleaning company to create a good scope of works.

We’ve all heard of the saying, “a small change can make a big difference.”

And surprisingly, this saying ties in with changing a bad scope to a good scope.

By including more detailed wording and separating all the areas of a workplace into their own, a good scope of works is formed.

That’s all it comes down to.

Let’s take a look at some examples of what a good scope of works would contain.

A good scope of works should be broken up

A good scope of works will list absolutely everything down – every area within your site that you want cleaned.

For example, a clear scope of works will individually list how many meeting rooms you have, no matter whether it’s 2 or 10. And, if you were to add or reduce the number of meeting rooms you want cleaned, this would be updated in the scope of works to suit the new requirements.

Doing it this way ensures that the cleaner has a scope of works that they can follow to the letter. It also gives the cleaner a clear direction of what needs to be done where. But not only does it benefit the cleaner, it also benefits you, the client – you will know exactly what’s cleaned in every part of your workplace.

A good scope of works will be detailed and worded properly

Let’s start with an example straight away.

“Weekly – performed every Friday”

This is exactly how a good scope of works would be worded. It pinpoints exactly when a task will be performed by the cleaner – everyone is aware when a cleaning job will be done.

If a task needs to be completed once a month, the scope of works could say “the last Friday of the month” or “the first Friday of the month.”

If you want the tops of your fridges to be cleaned on the last Friday of every month, then the time to check whether it’s been completed is the following Monday. So, if you find that it hasn’t been cleaned, you can go to the cleaning company with your inquiry, and they’ll have nowhere to go as it was listed in the scope of works for that day.

It’s the same for periodical cleaning services. Nail down the actual month you want your periodicals conducted. Or, if you wanted to, nail it down to the week! By doing this, the cleaning company will know that they’re obligated to do those cleans in that specific month or week. There are no ifs, buts, or maybes about it.

The more detailed the scope of works is, the more clarity everyone will have on what is cleaned and when it is cleaned.

Doesn’t that seem so much simpler?

Why you want a good cleaning scope of works

Which scope of works would you rather have?

Option A: A detailed and clear scope


Option B: A scope that lacks clarity

(Hint: Choose option A!)

When you sit down with your cleaning company, make sure they acknowledge all your cleaning needs in the scope of works. The scope should specify which areas need to be cleaned, which surfaces within those areas will be cleaned, and how often they ought to be cleaned.

We hope that by shining a light on the differences between a good vs bad scope of works, you’ll know what to look out for next time you’re handed one by a cleaning company.

If you’d like to get in touch with the team at In-Tec to talk more, schedule a call with Paul or Caitlin. We’re here to help.


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