Managing customer expectations is crucial to the survival and growth of a cleaning service. Unfortunately customer expectations may not have much to do with the SOW (Statement of Work) or contract specifications. A key tenant may have been verbally promised by an eager salesperson that certain services would be provided. They may also have been assured that they would be given special services at no additional charge. Remember that many promises can easily be made in the heat of negotiations with a prospective tenant or during a renewal that have to be fulfilled by the onsite supervisor and crew.

The Building Service Contractor has to tread softly in this area to make sure that they are fulfilling (and hopefully exceeding) the written specifications and can defend their position. They must have a clear, working knowledge of the SOW so that if a request/demand is made they either respond positively and perform the work or they politely advise the person that they will need a purchase order and means of payment first. 

Communication at different levels is essential for the BSC to avoid misunderstandings and pitfalls that can cost labor and supplies for services that they are not being paid to perform. Some companies empower their onsite supervisor to respond to minor requests and document the actual costs. These onetime “favors” (with a dollar amount) can be provided in the meetings held with customer to validate that the service was performed and that if requested again, the actual cost to be incurred. 

The old saying “It isn’t fun if you don’t get paid” applies in certain situations and this is one of them. 

Your comments and questions are always welcome. 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