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August 19, 2020

When starting your search for a commercial cleaning company, it is important to identify all of the needs and wants of your business and its space. Not all janitorial services are created equal, so understanding your requirements beforehand will support you in doing proper due diligence when procuring cleaning services for your business.

You want to make sure that the cleaning company that you hire has all of the necessary liability coverages, can provide a complete suite of services that support the growing needs for your facility, can guarantee a certain level of service and coverage, have the proper certifications and training, adhere to health and safety guidelines, and can create a customized plan to help you save money on facilities maintenance costs, as well as accommodate for your seasonal needs.

So whether you simply need a deep cleaning once a month, or daily, ongoing services, here are 20 questions that you should ask yourself and the companies that you are vetting as you search for a new commercial or office cleaning company to ensure that you find the right match.

1. Does your current provider geofence the building to track employees to make sure they’re on site and actually working?

One of the biggest reasons why companies search for new commercial cleaning services is because service providers often do a great job out of the gate, but then, later, the quality of the services starts to dwindle. We’ve done our research to try to figure out how and why this happens, and we’ve found that many cleaning teams lack processes for accountability, both internally and to their clients.

Cleaning staff might start to show up late, leave early, or often don’t show up at all, which is why there is such a degradation in service. To combat this, and to provide a level of transparency and accountability internally and to our clients to ensure that we are exceeding our standards of service, we set up geofencing.

Geofencing allows for the monitoring of employees so that you can make sure the job is getting done in a timely manner (which saves you $$$). Our team isn’t allowed to clock in or out until they are within the geofence of the facility that they are assigned to clean. We know when they show up, how long they are there, and when they leave. If needed we can provide this information to our clients to rule out any staffing issues related to attendance.

The data collected can also be used to make changes for future cleanings, such as by adding or removing team members or equipment as needs fluctuate.

2. Does your current cleaning company provide you with before and after pictures and inspection reports?

Post-cleaning inspection reports are great tools that not only show what exactly was done during the service, but also can highlight where modifications to your cleaning regimen will benefit your office. The cleaning company should make recommendations on services that will minimize risk and keep your office safe and maintained at the level that you expect.

3. Are they able to provide disinfection and decontamination services during flu outbreaks or pandemics like Covid-19?

Cleaning (and even deep cleaning) is not the same as disinfecting, so make sure that the cleaning company that you choose offers the latest disinfection and decontamination services to help fight the spread of communicable diseases. They must use products and equipment that are certified by the CDC and EPA in order to protect the health and safety of your workspace.

They also must understand protocols for what happens if/when someone in your facility gets sick, and what needs to happen to continue to operate safely.

For more information on how to protect your team and facilities, check out our commercial disinfecting services page.

4. What measures does the company take for safety issues like slip and falls, monitoring coefficient of friction, OSHA, JACHO, bloodborne pathogens, and infectious disease training?

The spotlight has been on cleaning services ever since the Covid-19 outbreak. Under increased scrutiny and analysis, it became clearer to the general public that the commercial cleaning and disinfecting industry is a lot more technical and complicated than most of us previously imagined.

There are many regulatory agencies that govern cleaning companies and specific industries, and there are niches and specialties within commercial cleaning that further complicates navigating requirements and regulations. OSHA regulates almost every industry, including commercial cleaning. Every facility has to have Safety Data SDS and properly labeled materials that meet OSHA regulations. In the medical cleaning industry, for example, you have to deal with JACHO from The Joint Commission (TJC), and at times the FDA.

If there is a slip and fall accident, you may be liable if the floors do not pass a minimum coefficient of friction. It’s important to hire a janitorial company that has all bases covered and will protect you.

5. What happens when a cleaner is out sick or quits?

Cleaning companies should have contingency plans in place to ensure that there is no interruption of service should there be personnel issues. They should have backup employees on reserve and effectively communicate with you any time that there is potential for a disruption in service.

6. How does the company handle Product Safety, Labeling, and maintaining SDS to be in compliance with OSHA?

Staying compliant with state and federal safety regulations can be a pain, but the last thing you want is to be cited for a violation. A comprehensive safety and training program designed by a cleaning company will not only help you remain compliant, but also make your workspace that much more safe and efficient by reducing risk (as it pertains to the use of chemicals and slip and falls).

Make sure that your future corporate cleaning partner understands these rules and guidelines and can support your facility in maintaining compliance.

7. Do they provide Cross Contamination and HACCP Training & Compliance?

HACCP or Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points, is a food safety management system developed in the 1960s to regulate the manufacture, sale, and service of food products. The color coding system developed by HACCP, originally developed for food safety, should also be used for office cleaning. Training and implementing cross contamination prevention systems is one of many small details you might not think about. Often our industry is only seen as an expense line item. When evaluating cleaning proposals it’s important to look beyond the numbers when comparing bids.

8. Do they provide consumables, and have inventory tracking systems in place that allow them to monitor trends and identify ways to save money?

Consumables are items like cleaning supplies, paper towels, and trash bags that may be used by visitors and employees alike throughout the day. There are also chemicals and cleaning supplies that are required to be on hand at all times, so your cleaning company should help manage those and keep them stocked, as well. Ask your future cleaning company what programs they have in place, because they should be able to save you some money on cleaning products using their buying power. Even in times like these, when protective masks and some disinfectants are unavailable through other vendors, make sure that your cleaning company is able to keep your facilities fully stocked. A cleaning company that will pass their savings on consumables on to you values efficiency and loyalty. That makes for a mutually beneficial relationship.

9. Are they able to implement a maintenance plan and project schedule to maintain floors, carpets, high dusting, and window cleaning?

The projects that are needed a little less frequently than regular cleanings must not be overlooked in your search, whether you need those services now or in the future. Having a maintenance schedule will allow you to determine the services you want and let the company worry about everything else when the time comes. Besides, most folks don’t notice the cleanliness of windows and floors until they’re already dirty, so having a regular cleaning system in place will make sure that everything looks good all the time, and it will help you budget for these services accordingly. Including this in your maintenance plan may also save you some money and the additional headache of having to look for another provider and outsource later on.

10. Do they have staff trained to shut off water valves in the middle of the night when an auto flush toilet keeps running?

A cleaning crew that is cross-trained to notice issues that potentially could cause a major maintenance emergency is key. Our team is trained to shut off auto-flush toilets (or handle common maintenance emergencies), which can save your company from a potential flood should something malfunction. A highly trained cleaning crew can be an invaluable resource in identifying building issues outside of normal operating hours.

11. In case of a water emergency, are they able to extract water from the facility quickly and dry to minimize property damage and help prevent mold growth?

Water mitigation and damage control capabilities are imperative to the inhibition of mold growth, so find a cleaning company that can identify problems and have fast solutions in place to help your facility reduce the potential property damage from water leaks and emergencies alike. The faster water can be removed from the building, the better the chance of minimizing property damage to the paint, drywall, and flooring.

12. Are they able to provide light maintenance, such as plumbing, electrical, and handyman services?

No one sees more of a building than the cleaning crew, and having one that can identify routine maintenance issues can serve as a great resource to make sure your building stays in pristine condition at all times. Well trained cleaning crews will find those potential problems and fix them before they get worse. Don’t hassle with having to call four different services when your cleaning company can handle common routine maintenance issues. Your point of contact at your cleaning company should be ready to provide solutions for these necessities should they come up.

13. Does the company carry liability (with a $10 million umbrella policy) and worker’s compensation insurance policies for their employees?

With better insurance coverage comes greater peace of mind should a cleaner injure themselves on your property. Good commercial cleaning companies will have plenty of insurance coverage so that you won’t have to take risks in your facility. Know that the company that you’re hiring has your back and that employees are properly protected should an accident occur.

14. Should an issue arise, what are the typical response and resolution times?

When an issue arises or if you want to add services, you should be attended to promptly and professionally. Even small problems can get out of hand quickly, so make sure your cleaning company is attentive and that you can reach them if necessary.

Simply ask what their guaranteed resolution response time is, and if they have a way to contact someone if an issue arises. You’ll want to know what number to dial, and what their hours of availability are (including on weekends), because as you know… emergencies like to happen at the most inconvenient times.

15. Do they have dedicated office staff to always answer the phone, or will you have to deal with an answering service and callbacks?

Again, prompt and personalized attention will help to reassure you that your facility is under the watchful eye of commercial cleaning experts who are there for you when you need them. You should have dedicated staff that knows your company’s needs and is familiar with the systems implemented within your facility.

We pick up our phones, so no need to wait should you need something handled promptly and efficiently.

16. Is the company involved in, and does it give back to, the community?

We take pride in our community, and we know the importance of giving back. Not because we expect anything in return, but because we are all in this together. A cleaner Chicago is a healthier and safer city for the rest of us.

We’ve provided disinfecting services for free for local food banks during the pandemic, scholarships for motivated and exceptional students, and more!

For us, it’s not just about winning new business, it’s about creating as much positive impact as possible.

17. What retention strategies do they employ to reduce turnover? Do they provide their employees ACA compliant health benefits? Do they provide 401k with matching incentives? Upward mobility into specialty cleaning, leads, supervision, office, and management roles?

A cleaning company is represented by the employees who show up to the job, so it is of the utmost importance that those employees are well trained, punctual, and efficient. When cleaning companies have a lot of employee turnover, it can create an uneasy feeling knowing that many different people have been through the facility, with no real way to track who or when.

By offering competitive benefits packages, constant training, and opportunities for growth into management positions, cleaning companies will have a better shot at retaining those employees that you want in your facility. Longer term employees will be better trained, more experienced, and more efficient, resulting in savings and a cleaner, healthier facility.

Spotless Cleaning Chicago has all of these items covered because we specialize in providing commercial cleaning services for corporate offices, industrial facilities, manufacturing and assembly facilities, and anything over 10,000 square feet. Facilities that deal with several regulatory bodies and have strict requirements are where we shine. We are overly cautious and over-insured so you don’t have to take risks.

Make sure that your future commercial cleaning partner is comparable in nature when shopping around for a solid provider.

Give us a call (or we can contact you) if you’d like to learn more about how we save our clients money, and create healthier, safer work environments in Chicago and surrounding areas.