Seven questions you need to include in your commercial cleaning tender

If you are a facilities manager working in a commercial building, one of the most critical tenders outside of your essential services will be the commercial cleaning tender. For commercial premises, cleaning is much more than just vacuuming and cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms. Depending on the site, you may need specialist cleaning teams and procedures to eliminate dust, cross-contamination and the health and safety of the people who inhabit the building daily.

At Clean Focus, we have built relationships with many different businesses and pitched, won and lost many various tenders. With our extensive commercial cleaning pitch and presentation experience, we are sharing the seven things you need to include in your cleaning tender to ensure you pick the right cleaning partner.

A costing template

A costing template will make the tender process so much easier, why? Well, it allows you to see how each cleaning company costs out a job and enables you to compare costs thoroughly. For example, there may be a total cost for one pitch which seems too good to be true. However, buy ensuring they complete the costing template, you may spot that they have woefully underquoted hours, or included costs for cheap, inferior consumables.  

Look for things such as hourly rates to ensure that they are paying workers fairly. Compare hours quoted compared to competitors and look for outliers, such as those building in more hours than they should do to add a bit of fat to their profits. More worryingly, search for those who have not understood the brief and quoted too low. This, for example, will most likely lead to overworked staff and poor service delivery.

Green cleaning practices

Every business should take into account the impact their commercial services have on the environment. It is likely that as a facility or building manager, you will have specific green, waste and emissions targets to achieve. Ensure that you pose questions in your tender document covering:-

  • Recycling initiatives
  • Equipment used (do they use old, electricity guzzling vacuums and floor polishers?)
  • Green initiatives they have implemented in other businesses
  • Their own, internal green targets and practices

Shopping list for cleaning consumables

Consumables are where a lot of tenders falter, and decisions are made without the due diligence of what a total yearly contract will cost you. Ensure that you ask to quote for consumable brands you would prefer to use in your building, and keep consumable costs separate from the central cleaning tender as an appendix. This keeps the commercial cleaner honest when it comes to quoting for core cleaning services. It also gives you a choice whether to order in your consumables or go through the commercial cleaner.

Managing waste channels and waste management

Waste and recycling has gone from a hot topic for facilities and cleaning managers to a necessity. Add questions about how your prospective commercial cleaner will manage, separate, dispose and measure waste and ask for examples of processes at other sites. It is important to stress that the proposed procedures for waste management actually happen day to day. You can also state that the cleaning contract will be terminated if staff do not follow the correct steps. It is all too common to have a waste management system in a commercial contract, only for poorly trained staff to tip your co-mingled recycling into the landfill bin as they don’t have time, or the knowledge to carry out the task adequately.

Commitment to paying fair and treating cleaning staff well

On January 1 the modern slavery act was finally passed in Australia. This Act gives the courts power to fine and imprison those who exploit workers. The cleaning industry is working hard to shake the stigma of employing low skilled migrants on expired or inappropriate visas which in turn leads to underpayment. This Act goes a long way to eliminating such underhand practices, but do you understand the requirements? Underpayment issues are also prevalent in the hospitality industry with several high profile businesses being charged recently for underpaying staff, there is fast becoming nowhere to hide for unscrupulous employers.

Remember, you are responsible for the people who turn up and work on your site. You have a duty of care to perform due diligence. Ask for a commitment from your cleaning provider demonstrating they will employ staff in line with Australian laws. Also, ask about their training programs and how they hire and retain staff.

How does your commercial cleaner measure results?

If you are managing a medium to large commercial premises, your cleaning tender can push up into hundreds of thousands of dollars. With big budgets comes big responsibility and it’s therefore essential to see, measure and analyse results. In your tender document, you should ask your commercial cleaner how they manage and report on the following and which online cleaning management platforms they use.

  • Scheduled vs actual hours worked
  • Efficiency of staff
  • Shifts, rotation, holidays, public holiday working
  • Supervisor hours on site 
  • Meeting schedule with the client
  • Communication with client, i.e. daily, weekly report, monthly catch up, notification of staff changes

An excellent commercial cleaner should be able to deliver and commit to all of these as part of a standard service level agreement.

Added Value

Added value should be completed in a separate column, or free text box as part of your costing template. It is here that you will separate a standard commercial cleaner from an exceptional one. One who wants your business and who wants to work in partnership for you rather than for you. It’s also a great way to find out about any new, innovative cleaning industry practices!

Cleaning tenders can be lengthy with a lot of irrelevant marketing material built-in. The key to choosing the right commercial cleaning partner for you is to ignore all the ‘noise’ and marketing buzzwords which will fill the pages. Instead, drill down and focus on the cost template and the cleaning schedule.

Once you compare the costs and added value across your cleaning tenders, it will be easy to create a shortlist. Adding these seven questions to your cleaning tender will stop you falling down the rabbit hole of numerous pages trying to create a fair comparison.

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info@cleanfocus.com.au 02 9130 7550