CBRE, the global leader in commercial real estate services and investment with over 115,000 employees in 100 countries, hired DCS Global to manage the commercial cleaning RFP process for 33 of their buildings across the United States. Before issuing their new cleaning RFP, DCS Global conducted a comprehensive review of cleaning quality, issues, and existing janitorial contract details across the CBRE portfolio. DCS Global’s contract analysis, scoring, and targeted cleaning recommendations saved CBRE $7.5 million over three years while saving CBRE staff significant time. DCS Global’s independent commercial cleaning expertise also added a significant element of external governance to CBRE’s process.

Project Background & RFP Requirements

CBRE contacted DCS Global to support a cleaning services RFP process for 33 commercial buildings totaling 11.4 million square feet. Cleaning contracts at many of the buildings had expired and had been extended without updating or renegotiation. CBRE were seeking cost savings, up-to-date specifications, some standardization across janitorial contracts, digital quality control, and a better understanding of commercial cleaning quality, potential issues, and best practice opportunities.

DCS Global Client Process

The DCS Global client support process has several customized, overlapping stages. In the initial phase of the CBRE U.S. project, DCS Global worked with the CBRE head office team to fully understand their objectives, discuss issues, and agree on timing and process before finalizing the project’s work scope. As soon as the scope of work was confirmed a call was held to connect the DCS Global team with both CBRE’s regional vice presidents and individual property managers.

Next, DCS Global gathered site-specific information for all 33 buildings, including individual contracts, building information (e.g. cleanable square feet,) and other relevant data. While this was underway, our  professional auditors conducted on-site cleaning inspections of select buildings, and held interviews with property managers and cleaning supervisors.

Once this analysis was complete, DCS Global reviewed all the findings and recommendations and agreed on next steps.

Key Findings & Recommendations

DCS Global’s independent inspections demonstrated that cleaning quality at these CBRE buildings was all over the map. In addition, a number of property managers were dissatisfied with janitorial contractor performance. Day staff across a number of facilities where poorly utilized. Cleaning requirements had changed, but their task list hadn’t been updated.

The use of task or schedule-driven cleaning standards was one major issue. Contractors were judged on meeting a work schedule rather that delivering specific results. This led to inefficient cleaning and required property managers to spend significant time monitoring activity.

DCS Global recommendations for CBRE included the adoption of performance-based commercial cleaning standards and KPIs. This allowed for greater flexibility with less time spent filling in checklists, and a targeted focus on cleaning quality. While met with skepticism at first, by both CBRE property management and contractors, this shift proved to be extremely effective. It also allowed DCS Global to update and optimize the labour work-loading models for each building.

The DCS Global Cleaning RFP Process

DCS Global created a cleaning RFP draft template (including format, general content, and contract language) for CBRE head office review and approval. Next, site specifics for each building were incorporated based on a review and edit process with the individual property managers. DCS Global also provided regional background information to identify strong potential bidders in advance. Once CBRE issued the final RFP documents, DCS handled and posted Q&As during the tender process. When the bids arrived, DCS Global checked for errors and omissions, working with the contractors to ensure all submission requirements were met.

DCS Global provides a comprehensive custodial services RFP risk assessment process, both grading the technical proposals and evaluating pricing. Low commercial cleaning RFP bids often come with unrealistic productivity assumptions and/or low wages for contractor staff. The DCS Global RFP evaluation system grades grades bids to clearly identify their risk and success level.

Once the initial RFP review was complete, DCS Global submitted detailed written evaluations. That reporting was followed by a series of debriefs with property manager and  regional vice-presidents, followed by a series of proposal short-list interviews with DCS joining those calls.

RFP Services Results 

As a result of optimized work-loading and performance-driven contracts, the successful CBRE bids netted savings of $7.5 million (13%) over the three-year term of the new contracts. Including some subsequent renegotiations, total savings from this RFP issuing, review, and evaluation  process were actually closer to $10 million. This was achieved despite the rejection of a significant number of low bids as a result of DCS Global risk analysis.

DCS Global also assisted various cleaning contractors to explain the reasoning and requirements for these changes to their staff members and unions. On average there were five to six bidders in each of the seven cities, including some national contracting companies who participated across the country. Contractor feedback on the overall process was positive.

CBRE was pleased with both the streamlined DCS Global RFP process and the cost savings in addition to the new cleaning contracts and the improved, more consistent level of cleaning across a mix of their building portfolio. DCS Global contributed cleaning-specific expertise, saved CBRE a significant amount of time and effort, and decreased the risk of awarding an insufficient bid. Incorporating independent oversight into awarding bids for a $50 million three-year cleaning budget is also good corporate governance.

Download a PDF of this complete DCS Global Case Study, with appendix, right here. 

DCS Global advises and supports facilities across North America to achieve cleaner, safer, more cost-effective, and consistent operations, every day. As expert specialists in facilities maintenance consulting, DCS Global services are tailored to your industry or business sector, specific project needs, and unique technical requirements. DCS Global is known for increasing cleaning quality, efficiency, and sustainability while managing costs. We work across both large and small portfolios. Connect with our DCS Global team: Contact us online here, or email us at 

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