Secrets for Hiring a Janitorial ServiceGet a free quote
If you’ve ever hired a janitorial service, you know it’s difficult to find a trustworthy and consistent cleaning company. When you hire the wrong one, you waste lots of time, money and resources. The following are five secrets to hiring a great janitorial service.
Secret #1: Call references and ask questions
Many customers ask janitorial companies to provide references before hiring them. However, they rarely contact these references. Break this trend and contact references before hiring anyone. The best way to avoid wasting time hiring and firing poor janitorial companies is to actually call references. You can learn more talking to a reference for one minute than you can learn from talking to the janitorial salesman for one hour.
When calling references, make sure you call those of the specific person who will be managing your account. Merely calling references of the janitorial company is not nearly as helpful. You’re hiring the account manager— not the company. Janitorial companies often have multiple account managers. Some of them are helpful and some of them are not. You need to find out what type of account manager you’ll be hiring. It is also important to ask in-depth questions when calling references. Many references are concerned about giving bad references and will often try to find something positive to tell you. You must realize this and ask questions that penetrate the wall put up by the reference.
The following are several important questions you should ask when calling references:
How long has janitorial company XYZ worked for you? A reference is not very valuable unless janitorial company XYZ has worked for the customer for at least six months. Many janitorial companies will provide extra attention to new customers, but fail to provide those same customers with quality service after the first few months.
How much turnover in cleaning personnel has occurred in your building since janitorial XYZ has been cleaning for you? Turnover of cleaning personnel is a sign of instability and this in turn is the sign of a poor janitorial company. If janitorial company XYZ has had to replace the cleaning crew more than two to three times in a year, there may be a problem with the janitorial company or the account manager.
Have you had any security problems in your building that are related to janitorial company XYZ? This question will unearth important information that you need to know—such as whether the cleaning crew has ever stolen anything from the building or whether the cleaning crew ever forgets to lock the doors or set the alarm when they have finished cleaning.
Does the cleaning personnel of janitorial company XYZ ever fail to show up at your building to clean? Unfortunately, no-shows are fairly common in the janitorial business. You need to know whether the janitorial service you’re about to hire has this problem with its personnel.
Would you hire janitorial company XYZ again if you were given the opportunity? This is a bottom-line question that is easy for the customer to answer and tells you exactly what you need to know.
When obtaining references, you shouldn’t let a few minor, negative comments scare you away from an otherwise dependable, trustworthy janitorial service. The janitorial business is a difficult one and there are many challenges in keeping a customer satisfied. Some customers are extremely picky. Others are negative by nature. Sometimes a single bad incident may occur that makes a great company look bad. Keep this in mind when checking references.
When a janitorial company is delivering you a bid for services, it will normally provide you with three to five of its best references that you can contact. A great technique for getting truly insightful references is to ask the janitorial salesman to provide you with three additional references from within your industry on the spot. Any company, given enough time, should be able to come up with three to five customers who are satisfied with their work. Only a really good janitorial service can come up with three additional references on the spot.
Secret #2: Find out how the janitorial service pays their cleaning personnel
Your janitorial service is only as good as the people who clean your building. As a potential customer, you need to find out whether your janitorial service is motivating their personnel to provide you with great service.
Many companies hire janitors and simply pay them by the hour. There can be serious problems with this approach. Hourly workers may not be given any incentive to please you or try to satisfy you long term. If they perform poorly, their employer will lose your account and they’ll typically get reassigned to another account. As a result, hourly workers often fail to provide quality service. These types of workers are the ones who fail to restock the toilet paper in the ladies restrooms, forget to take out the trash in certain offices or simply fail to show up at all.
The most effective way for a janitorial service to attract and retain good workers is to provide them with financial incentives to perform better. Some companies offer ownership of janitorial accounts to their cleaning personnel whereby they share in the profit if they retain an account for a certain period of time. Under this model, cleaning personnel are very interested in keeping you satisfied long term.
Secret #3: Identify who you can call to solve problems
Unfortunately, problems will arise with the cleaning of your account. And when they arise, you want to make sure that the person responsible for managing your account is genuinely concerned with providing consistent, quality service. This account manager must be committed to quickly resolving your problems in a manner satisfactory to you.
For this reason, when hiring a janitorial service you need to ask who you can call to solve problems. After identifying your account manager, determine whether this person is reliable and trustworthy. One good way of making this determination is to ask their references whether they return phone calls in a timely manner and if they quickly resolve problems. If the account manager is the person that sold you the janitorial services, evaluate whether he or she was easy or difficult to connect with during the sales process. If the account manager was unreliable or hard to reach during the sales process, he or she will likely be difficult to reach when you are calling to ask for assistance in solving customer service problems.
Another method of determining whether the account manager is likely to be dependable is to find out whether he or she has an ongoing financial interest in maintaining your account long term. Great janitorial companies structure their businesses so that the person managing your account (as well as the person cleaning your account) has strong financial incentives to keep you happy every month. For example, some companies pay the account manager a percentage of the profits earned from your business every month for as long as the company maintains the account.
Secret #4: Confirm that the company has liability insurance
Ask each janitorial service that you interview if it has general liability insurance. If it does, ask them to send you (directly from the insurance provider) a certificate of general liability insurance so you can verify that the policy is currently in force. Do not consider hiring a janitorial service that does not have this insurance.
The purpose of the liability insurance is to cover certain losses that arise from injuries or damages associated with the janitorial company’s cleaning of the building. For example, if a visitor to your building slips and falls down a flight of stairs because the janitor left a mop bucket in the stairwell, the janitorial company’s liability insurance policy should cover certain costs associated with the visitor’s injuries.
Secret #5: Determine whether the company uses quality personnel
Again, your janitorial service is only as good as the people who clean your building. As a potential customer, you need to find out what screening processes the janitorial service uses to find their personnel. Here are some questions you should ask:
- Does the janitorial service generate a lot of applications, or do they use anybody that walks through their front door?
- Do they hold screening interviews?
- Do they perform background checks?
- Do they require their cleaning personnel to pass a cleaning and safety test before cleaning your building?
These are all steps janitorial companies can take to make sure they’re sending quality people into your building.
Another method of determining whether the janitorial service has quality personnel is to ask them how long they’ve been in your market. It takes time to make contacts and develop good cleaning staff. New entrants into a market don’t yet have these contacts. Be wary of any janitorial company that is new to your market.
Now you know the secrets!
By remembering these five secrets, you are sure to cover all of your bases when hiring a janitorial service, ensuring that the cleanliness of your facility will be maintained by quality professionals.