Getting cleaning contracts keeps your schedule filled with predictable work, making it a surefire way to improve cash flow and grow your cleaning company.
But where do you find clients who are willing to sign commercial cleaning contracts? And when you do find them, how do you submit a bid—and win?
Don’t worry, bidding on a contract doesn’t have to be as intimidating as you might think. Let’s go through the process and get you on your way to signing your first contract—and leveling up your business.
Here’s how to get commercial cleaning contracts:
1. Build a list of ideal cleaning clients
Want to know how to get cleaning contracts with offices and large-scale commercial settings? Start by deciding who your ideal clients are.
Here are a few considerations that might help:
- What size of client do you prefer? Do you want to work with small businesses? Large businesses? Both? They have different needs and you may charge different rates for each.
- Will you choose a cleaning niche? You might want to focus on cleaning office spaces, medical buildings, grocery stores, banks, schools, or other commercial spaces. If you prefer residential, apartment buildings are also a good option.
- Where do you want to work? Pick the neighborhoods you want to work in. It’s best to go after a more local area to start so you can save both fuel and driving time.
PRO TIP: Not sure how to get clients for your cleaning business? Look at your existing client base, see if any of them are a good fit for cleaning contracts, and start a conversation. They already trust you to provide top-notch service!
2. Tailor your cleaning services
Once you know which clients you want to work with, figure out which types of cleaning services they need. You’ll want to think about:
- Which services you’ll offer (vacuuming, dusting, carpet cleaning, exterior tidying)
- Which tasks will need to happen when (daily, weekly, monthly)
- How many times a week you’ll need to clean
- Typical daytime or evening working hours
There’s a great deal of competition in the cleaning industry, so you should also think about what will set you apart from other commercial cleaning companies.
Maybe it’s green cleaning products, or services no one else offers such as charity function cleanups.
3. Market your cleaning services
It’s time to start promoting your cleaning services to potential clients! Try these tips to advertise your cleaning business:
- Build a professional brand. Apply your cleaning company name and logo to everything your clients will see—uniforms, business cards, vehicles, you name it.
- Create an online presence. Make it easy to find your business online with an easy-to-use cleaning business website and social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter.
- Make connections. Network with real estate agents, property managers, office managers, condo associations, and other local business owners. Any one of them could be a prospective customer.
- Encourage word of mouth. Ask happy clients for testimonials and positive reviews. You should also create a loyalty program that rewards client referrals with a discount or other incentive.
- Train your teams. Make sure your workers know about all the services your company offers. That way they can help promote your services to both new and current clients.
READ MORE: Check out our commercial cleaning resources
If you’re new to the cleaning industry, you may be wondering, “How can I get cleaning contracts if I’m a new business with no references?”
Start small by building relationships with local businesses, then work your way up to the bigger clients over time. The more good work you do, the more good buzz you’ll get.
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4. Do a walkthrough
The walkthrough is a can’t-miss step in the bidding process. Schedule a time with the client to go through the space together and talk about needs and expectations.
To help you understand the scope of work, ask your clients questions that will help you plan your schedule and services, like:
- What time and how often does the client want you to come in and clean?
- What’s their budget for cleaning services?
- Are there any areas that need special attention (restrooms, break rooms, etc.)?
- Make sure to get all the information you need so you can quote more accurately.
PRO TIP: As part of the bidding process, be prepared for the fact that some clients will want to run background checks. It’s a key part of how to get cleaning contracts with banks and landing government contracts.
5. Set your cleaning contract pricing
You need a fair price for annual cleaning services to keep your contract bids competitive. This price should account for labor, supplies, travel time, and profit margin.
Here’s how to decide what that pricing should look like:
- Calculate the cleaning area. The most common way to calculate commercial cleaning prices is by square footage. The client might already have this data, or you may need to take measurements yourself.
- Calculate price per job. The average commercial cleaning rate per square foot is $0.07–0.15. Pick your rate, then multiply it by the cleaning area’s square footage to get your price per job.
- Price the contract term. Multiply your price per job by the number of times you’ll be providing services during the contract term. For example, if you’ll be cleaning twice a week for a year, multiply your two weekly visits by 52 weeks. This will be the final quoted amount for the contract. (To see your monthly fee, just divide the final amount by the number of months in the term.)
- Decide on any incentives. As an optional step, you might want to offer discount pricing or other incentives to reward your client for their repeat business.
Remember, this is just your basic pricing structure. Every job is different, so you’ll make adjustments based on what each client needs from their cleaning services.
PRO TIP: Sometimes the lowest price will win the bid, but don’t cut into your profit margins to make a sale—even if the number seems high to you! If you make your business stand out, you’ll still be a contender, even if your price is a little higher.
6. Send your bid and close the sale
Now that you have all the information you need, it’s time to create a quote using cleaning business quoting software. Your quote should include:
- Business name and contact information for yourself and your client
- Quote number and send date
- A detailed list of the services you’ll be providing and how often, as well as what supplies or equipment the client will need to provide, if any
- Your terms and conditions (including deposit amount, start date, payment timelines, and any other important details that could affect service)
The client may ask you to include other information in your bid, so make sure that’s in there, too.
Make a point of sending bids within 48 hours after the walkthrough. This shows the client that you’re serious about the partnership and eager to start work. If they don’t get back to you, send a follow-up email.
Once the quote is approved and the contract is signed, you’re all set to start cleaning!
PRO TIP: Get the client to pay in advance for the first cleaning job using a payment processor like Jobber Payments. Once their credit card information is stored securely, you can auto-collect payments each month without your client having to think about it.
That’s it! Now that you know how to find cleaning contracts, you’re ready to bid on regular work, improve cash flow, and grow your cleaning business.
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