A reader writes: “I have a customer who refuses to pay for cleaning the janitor closets, storage areas or custodial office. Do you think this is fair?”

My opinion as to “fairness” has little to do with what the customer wants you to do. In reality, the customer pays for everything related to the account unless you are in some way subsidizing the contract which may not be beneficial to your bottom line. As I understand their demand, they expect you to take the servicing of these areas out of the total square footage and remove the tasks involved in keeping them clean. Unfortunately, this become a shell game since you must be compensated for keeping these areas clean just like keeping the CEO’s office clean. Everything you do at this account has to be paid for by the customer one way or another. In most specifications I have seen the requirement by the customer that the janitor closets, storage areas and offices be kept maintained to their standards. If it is part of the specs then the customer is going to pay for it one way or another.

This does not mean that you have to argue with the customer or do anything perceived as underhanded or dishonest. It does mean that you make sure to measure the square footage and note all the tasks and frequencies for these areas, delete them from the gross area and then reflect this “savings” in your estimate. Of course, you may need to adjust your profit margin or retained earnings to capture these labor/benefits costs unless your employee volunteers to clean these areas for free. Just kidding!!!!!

Remember that perception can be easily confused with reality.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.