The most critical time in managing janitorial services is going to market. Here are five janitorial RFP tips to ensure that you and your tenants are happy with your cleaning company, your quality, and your costs.

1. Get your cleaning specifications right.

Commercial buildings with revolving tenants, corporate requirements, sustainability programs and ongoing special events often need fit-for-purpose cleaning services. Think about interviewing major tenants, building operations staff and your current contractor before updating cleaning specifications. The latest models are a blend of performance-based and frequency-based tasks and often include a hybrid of day and night cleaning.

2. Give yourself enough time.

Few things will put stress on you and the process like an overly ambitious RFP timeline. Depending on the size of your building and your requirements, you may need 4 to 6 months. Your janitorial or custodial RFP steps should include:

  • Information gathering
  • Writing the specifications and operating condition
  • Crafting the pricing document
  • Selecting and informing bidders
  • Touring bidders
  • Scoring and shortlisting bidders
  • Shortlist interviews
  • Contract start-up procedures
3. Calculate the cleanable square footage accurately.

Cleanable square footage is a key cost driver. Typically the closest number available is “net rentable square footage” which is normally usable square footage and common area square footage. Be careful of retail space, storage space, and mechanical space. Remove these from the overall cleanable square footage and it will save you money.

    • Carefully select the contractors you want to bid your project.
      The janitorial contractor market in North America continues to change at a rapid pace. Company ownership, executive turnover and new programs are all things to consider. Rising and falling contractor portfolios are sometimes good indicators of who you might want servicing your building(s).
    • The devil is in the proposal details.
      With minimum wage increases across Canada, the pricing analysis is critical. Are there enough hours to do the work? Are the stated wage rates sustainable? Is innovative high-efficiency equipment included in the price? Do they include enough management and supervision? Are the janitorial corporate overheads and profit reasonable? Are key elements like management, supervision, training systems, quality control and other service hours stated in the proposal sophisticated yet practical enough to meet your needs?


And finally, consider using the process to reach out to tenants (remind them that you are working hard to keep their building clean, green and safe). Think about including surface sanitization to help tenants get through cold and flu season and reduce absenteeism. Rethink how often and how you clean certain areas, optimizing the process can save you 10-15%.

Life as a property manager is busy and stressful. Awarding a new cleaning contract typically comes around every 3 years and adds to that stress. Good planning and a solid process will help preserve your sanity.

Need a customized solution?

DCS Global specializes in facilities maintenance consulting services tailored to your sector and needs. We are known for increasing quality and sustainability while managing cost, across large and small portfolios.

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