Performing a janitorial bid walkthrough is an essential part of getting a new bid and building successful client relationships. Like any interview process, knowing where to start and how to present yourself can be daunting.
When you want to make the best impression possible as a janitorial cleaning service, there are several ways you can set yourself up for commercial cleaning success.
Arriving At The Location
The first way to start a good business relationship is to make a good impression when arriving at your location. As a professional commercial cleaner, your appearance and mannerisms should reflect your industry. Cleanliness is key and will make you appear attentive and experienced, even if this is your first time. Don’t be afraid to represent your company with confidence. If you are proud of what you do, you will automatically look like a more reputable candidate for the job.
Along with cleanliness is promptness. In a service-based industry, presentation is everything. Being on time is crucial to getting a new bid.
Next, remember to have all your tools and resources for the walkthrough ready ahead of time. This can take a bit of planning and preparation but there are several ways you can make the process easier. For example, using a janitorial software like Route can streamline the process of performing a janitorial cleaning walkthrough by integrating all the information you need to capture in one place.
Field Tools like Route’s Walkthrough Builder™ allow you to capture details about the scope and location of your work while you’re on site, eliminating paperwork back at your home or office. However, you can also take notes about your location in a notebook, or whatever you can comfortably carry with you.
Performing The Janitorial Walkthrough
Once you arrive at the location of your walkthrough, you will likely meet with a facility manager or the owner of the building. Introduce yourself and take a moment to gather all the items you will need to accurately record information during the tour itself.
Some basic things you’ll want to take note of is the size of the facility, how well kept it is currently, and how long the initial tour lasts. This will all help you come up with an accurate bid that’s in line with the prospect’s expectations. Your objective is to figure out how much time it will take your team to do the job well.
The first part of the bid walkthrough is the general tour. During this time, it will be extremely important that you pay close attention to the layout of the space and ask relevant questions as you make observations. Taking notes is an extremely valuable skill you’ll need to master. Everyone will find what works best for them but there are some things to always keep in mind as you are taking the tour.
When you enter each room, record as many details as you can about that space. Too much is better than too little. There are tools on Route’s Walkthrough Builder™ that can help you capture notes in real time and save them for later. The main details to take note of is the square footage of the room, the type of flooring, and any other major areas of concern.
Past that, you’ll want to go into as much detail as possible in each room to supplement your notes. Make sure you can successfully observe things that can be improved upon without the client telling you. If you notice that the windows are dirty, mention your fantastic window cleaning services. Don’t be afraid to make yourself stand out because you only get to make a first impression once.
Asking The Right Questions
For newcomers to the world of janitorial cleaning walkthroughs, it can be intimidating to determine the right questions to ask so that you can submit a winning cleaning bid. Remember that the entire process should feel more like a conversation than a contract. It’s all about how you present the questions and what you say will change from bid to bid.
A great way to approach this is to think about why this potential client brought you into their space in the first place. Then you need to figure out how to frame your questions to make you look like the best solution for all their needs.
For example, you might want to ask the client what they don’t like about their current commercial janitorial service. They wouldn’t have asked you to give them a bid if they planned on staying with their current service. Asking the client what they aren’t happy with is only one way to go about it. Also, you can try reframing the question by removing the negativity and making you and your company the answer.
Instead of saying, “What do you not like about your current janitorial service”, try saying,
“What can I do to improve upon your current cleaning services?”
The client will tell you some of the things they aren’t happy with. Now you know areas of improvement you can deliver upon as their cleaning company partner. Make sure you’re taking note of all the things the client doesn’t like. If you can provide them with an immediate solution then it’s likely your business relationship will start off on fantastic terms. By making yourself part of the solution, you already look like a proactive and value-added member of your client’s business.
Something you might want to avoid asking is how much the prospect is currently paying for their janitorial services. On the surface this could give you an idea of the prospect’s price range. The reason this is something to carefully consider before asking, however, is because it may look like you are going to cut corners on formulating your own bid. Some facility managers report that when they disclose their current budget to contractors. The bids almost always come back at the exact same rate they are paying currently, which leads to skepticism about the quality of service the prospect is getting.
The takeaway is to come up with your own bid that reflects the time it will take you to do the job well and still make a profit. If the prospect offers their budget to you independently, definitely take note. It’s still great information to have if available. It may sound like a lot to handle right now, but with practice, you’ll find that your own unique process of calculating bids and submitting informed proposals will develop naturally.
Using digital tools like Route’s Estimator can help you make sense of this process and help prevent underbidding on future projects. Another walkthrough question is how long does your current cleaning company take to finish their work? This doesn’t have to be an exact number of hours, but it helps to know a general number as you proceed with the tour for a few reasons.
The first reason is that it helps you estimate the client’s current costs without you having to ask for their budget directly. The second is that it may help you identify the source of the client’s current problem. If they are only spending a few hours in a 50,000 square foot building, that could very well be why they aren’t happy with their current service.
As a segue to the above question, you could also ask when the cleaning service operates in the building. This could be very important for you as the contractor, because staffing workers at odd hours could potentially increase your personal costs as a janitorial cleaning company.
It could also help you determine if this client is the right fit for you and your business. If the client wants their office building cleaned in the middle of the night, you should ask yourself if that is a schedule you are willing to maintain and cover for if someone calls in. If something goes wrong, will you be able to come out during that hour to fix it? These are all important questions to ask yourself as you are formulating your bid. You may want to account for discrepancies like this by adjusting your hourly rate.
There are many more questions that can be asked while performing your walkthrough but these should get you started. If you use this as a guide, you’ll be able to come up with your own list of important asks when you start each new janitorial cleaning services proposal.
Dos And Don’ts At The Walkthrough
To finish, let’s review some of the big do’s and don’ts of performing a janitorial cleaning walkthrough.
-DO dress for success for by arriving in clean, professional attire.
-DO take time to get to know your client before you start.
-DO take detailed notes in every room you visit.
-DO ask plenty of questions.
-DON’T worry if this is your first walkthrough, just be yourself.
-DON’T ask what the prospect is currently paying upfront.
-DON’T undersell yourself or your services- you are the best one for the job!
-DON’T feel like you need to give an estimate on the spot after completing the walkthrough.
As with everything, time and patience are the most important elements of a successful cleaning bid walkthrough, so keep practicing. Each bid is another chance to make a great first impression and start a new business relationship. Once you find out what works best for you and your service, you’ll be performing walkthroughs and gaining new clients faster and better than ever before.