Entrepreneur magazine, January 1998
Choosing a janitorial service may sound easy, but think of this: Your cleaning service will be in your facility after hours and unsupervised. So it's important to find a service that not only does a good job but is trustworthy and reliable. The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International offers these tips:
- Develop a list of specifications. List the areas that need to be cleaned and what you expect the service to do (dusting surfaces, emptying trash cans, vacuuming floors, cleaning glass doors and so on), along with how often. Indicate the minimum qualifications you require, such as experience, references and insurance. You may want to use this list to develop a questionnaire for initial screening.
- Prepare a request for proposal (RFP) to obtain bids from contractors that pass your initial screening. Be sure the RFP includes square footage, counts of fixtures and other specifications. The contractor should examine the premises before submitting a bid.
- Prepare a request for qualifications (RFQ) to ascertain the professional qualifications, background and experience of the bidder. Ask for client references, financial references, evidence of workers' compensation and liability insurance coverage, details on the company's hiring practices, training and supervision methods, and a list of facilities you can inspect.
- Develop a scoring system to evaluate bidders' proposals. According to a recent BOMA survey, the three most important criteria in selecting a cleaning contractor are experience, price and references.
Jacquelyn Lynn is a business writer in Winter Park, Florida.