A reader writes: "I manage properties and struggle with the poor, inconsistent services that I receive from commercial contractors in janitorial, carpet cleaning and floor maintenance. They always promise a lot more than they produce after a few weeks. I am considering going in house to save money as well as simplify outcomes. Any thoughts?"

Although we can't consider every point in this brief article, I hope I can get you started on the right track in evaluating and hiring a successful custodial contractor. Following are some suggestions that may help:

1. How long have they provided service in your trade area? It does not matter if they are a national company since each location is different no matter that they claim. It helps if they are locally owned and have roots rather than just growing by acquisition in many cases.

2. What real world experience do they have in your type accounts? It is very important that you are not the first since there is always a learning curve that can be very expensive to you and your time as they experience OTJ (on the job) training.

3. How qualified is their onsite supervisor? It is very important that he/she be not only experienced but also engaged in your specific needs. This includes your interviewing them before signing any agreement after reviewing their resume'.

4. Are you providing the specifications or do they suggest enhancements based on their background and experience? Don't hesitate to ask to see at least samples and if you get serious, discuss how they plan on providing daily services, project work, emergency jobs, etc.

5. How important will your accounts be to their operation? You certainly do not want to be their only account in most cases; nor do you want to be just another contract lost in a very big ocean of other business they manage.

6. Finally, what is their turnover in staff, especially supervision and management? In fact, you may want to know what the pay scales and benefits are since you ultimately will be paying for them.

Your goal should be a stable company that values your business.

In you go in house at this time you will have a game plan subject to finding a competent supervisor to manage the crews.

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.