Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Selecting a Quality Cleaning Contractor

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Selecting a Quality Cleaning Contractor

Article excerpt

Some property managers change cleaning contractors so frequently that they eventually give up on finding a good service provider and instead, put the contract out to bid annually.

By going this route, the property manager can rest assured that he or she is getting the best price. Unfortunately, however, this approach often yields the poorest results. The property manager earns a reputation for low bidding, and contractors grow weary of doing their best, only to be replaced the following year.

On the other hand, by seeking a long-term relationship with a cleaning contractor, property managers will find that good contractors improve over time. There are advantages to allowing your contractor to become familiar with the facility, the customer's requirements, and the demands of the building's tenants.

So how do you find a good contractor--one worth keeping for the long-haul? Understanding how your contractor plans to handle the following key responsibilities before entering into a contract can prevent unfortunate mistakes:

* OSHA compliance. There are certain fundamentals that must be met in the selection process. The contractor must be well insured--paying worker's compensation--and be in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations, particularly OSHA. If the contractor does not meet these basic requirements, you may be accepting an invisible liability if workers and/or tenants are ever harmed as a result of a cleaning accident.

* Performance guarantees. A cleaning contractor should also be prepared to guarantee its work. At first glance this may seem a somewhat subjective concept. However, you should request a written guarantee from the contractor, which states its commitment to performing according to the contract. A guarantee represents the contractor's confidence in its ability to perform according to your expectations.

* Realistic cleaning specs. You should also be concerned about specifying quality. This involves getting written details identifying exactly what "quality" means to each contractor, what it costs, and how much time the services will take.

* Crew selection/training programs/cleaning supervision. As you will regularly have people in your building at night, most of whom you do not know, you have to rely on your contractor to exercise the best management practices.

You should be assured that the contractor uses thorough screening procedures in its hiring process. For instance, it should use employment applications notifying applicants that a criminal history check will be performed.

Training procedures for cleaning crews are a critical component to a contractor's quality services. It is best if this training leads to a career path for the employees. If developing people is an objective for your service provider, then you can be fairly assured that its people are looking to better themselves. …

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