House cleaning to country club cleaning it’s all the same type of cleaning – just bigger, right? WHOA! Not so fast. BEFORE you bid on the job there are some serious questions that need answers. If you bid without knowing the scope of work you can over promise and undercharge. Heck, you might not even be covered by your insurance company if use commercial cleaning equipment you haven’t been trained to use.
Here’s some stuff to know to keep you from screwing up the bid.
First Country Club Cleaning
Here’s the latest question we received on our show:
Hi Angela. This is Kylene from Ecopolish cleaning in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. I’m recording this today because I have an opportunity to clean a country club. This would potentially be my first commercial client. When I set up my business and purchased my insurance, I did get insurance that would cover this event.
Why I’m recording this today and asking questions is because I’m shaking at the knees. I’ve not yet done this. And I don’t exactly know how. I’m looking for any tips or tricks for dialogue or word tracks I can use. I’m also looking for tips on pricing, or just general protocol as I meet with the country club’s management and finance staff.
Assess How You Got Here
All right, Kylene I love the question, and I want you to stop for just a second before we talk about protocol. Ask yourself how you got this opportunity. Did this come from your ads and your marketing? And the answer is if yes, is this the response you wanted? Do you do this kind of work?
Earlier, you said this is the first time you ever gotten this kind of an opportunity. So, something either malfunctioned or went wildly successful. If you want more of these types of clients, then do more of the same that got this call. If you want less of it, then don’t do whatever you did in that ad.
Know What Kind of Work You Offer
It’s as important to know what you do in your cleaning business as what you don’t do. Do you wash windows? Are they expecting that you wash windows? Are they expecting that you do floor care and that you will strip the floors and that you will shampoo the carpets? Do you do that as well?
If no, it’s important to know. That way, you can outsource that to someone else. So do you have those contacts in place? So, it’s important to know what you do do, what you don’t do before transitioning from house cleaning to country club cleaning.
Understand Your Insurance
Before we can talk about pricing, you need to understand your responsibilities. I know you said you have great insurance, but is your knowledge great? For example, when you go in, do you know what kind of a vacuum cleaner you’re going to be using?
Consider the Space
Consider the possibility of massive ballrooms and wide open lobbies and long hallways. Are you going to be vacuuming that with a residential Shark vacuum? Or are you going to have a great big riding vacuum cleaner? And if so, do you provide that? Or is that something they already have on site?
Now, if they have it on site, are you trained to use that equipment? Because you might be responsible for it if it’s in your care, custody, and control, even if you don’t know how to use it.
What About Flooring?
Often, in country clubs, they’ve also got five-star flooring. You walk in and there’s not a speck of dust anywhere, and the floors are super polished. Is it your job to burnish those floors? Do you know how to run a burnisher, and do you know what kinds of pads to use on what kind of floors?
What about if you strip the floor? Are you prepared to pay for that and replace that and have somebody else come in and redo that? If you’re not, I recommend you not take the job until you have a little bit more information.
Pricing Your Cleaning
Now, when it comes to pricing, there are other things to think about. It works different from residential cleaning because you’re paid the same day you work.
On the other hand, in commercial cleaning, you might have 30, 60 or 90-day terms. You’re not going to get paid for two or three months down the road. And with such a big space, this is a 10 or 15 person job around the clock.
Do You Have the Staff?
You’re going to need people throughout the whole day. They are going to be cleaning up the bathrooms at all different times. If there are lots of events like weddings or concerts, you’re going to be cleaning up 24/7.
So ask how many days a week they need you. Then ask how involved the job is. Are you prepared to pay your staff for two or three months while still you’re waiting to get paid by the club? Lots and lots of things to think about.
I recommend getting a software like CleanBid by CleanGuru. They started a residential cleaning business some 30 years ago. Then they moved into the commercial space. CleanBid will help total the costs of supplies and time and square footage. All these factors can help give you an accurate price that you can then turn around and give to the country club.
Go In with an Open Mind
So, I would go in with an open mind if you’re going to take the conversation. Of course, prepare to ask a lot of questions
Who does the cleaning now? How much are they paid? How many people does it take to do that? Do they include the windows and floors? Do they use your equipment? Who replaces the paper towels and toilet paper? What is your company expected to bring with you?
Assess your inventory and what you can offer. Lots of different things like that are up for grabs when you bid a contract.
Is This the Kind of Business You Want?
Then the next thing that you have to ask yourself is, is this where you want your business to head? Because you’re going to have to give up your residential cleaning to take a commercial contract. Either that, or you just hire lots of people and start outsourcing around the clock. But that’s a different business model altogether.
So, I love the fact that you’re in this situation, but what this does is just raise a whole bunch of questions. Until you have the answers to the questions, pulling a number out of the air would be a huge disservice to you. And it would be a disservice to your staff and the country club.
There's A Lot to Consider
If it’s a five-star resort, for example, we want to make sure that you can live up to those expectations. The new people who you’re hiring are going to need training in all those areas.
Even just wheeling a cart, you have to make sure you don’t block doors and interfere with fire codes. Plus, it’s not just a regular cleaning caddy you’ll have, but one on wheels with rolling garbage cans. Then consider how to clean and stay out of the line of sight from guests and parties.
Be Educated and Prepared
So, with your conversations are going to come a lot of the answers that you need. But before you do that, I recommend you find out more about the type of business that you’re diving into. For example, you wouldn’t just show up at a pool and swim a race unless you had first done some training, right? You don’t want to show up and drown.
All right, so I hope this helps a little bit. I know it’s a lot to consider. It’s a huge question you asked me. Whichever direction you end up going, I wish you the best of luck in your business. Keep up the cleaning.
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