A reader asks: "Our onsite supervisor has failed to abide by the contract specifications and the customer now expects us to continue this practice without due compensation. Any ideas of how we can satisfy them and keep the contract?"

This is what I refer to as "contract creep" and it can happen to anyone of us in the industry. Based on a preliminary look you are 3-4 FTE's (full time equivalents) short on this contract to fulfill the original specifications while taking on the increased square footage and shifts. Since you do not seem to have accurate data to work from at this your first goal should be to update the total square feet you are servicing per day and per shift. This needs to be broken out so that you can get a handle on how many tasks you are performing in a twenty four hour cycle. I am certain you will be surprised.

Although the customer has not complained about your additional work over the last several months, I doubt if they are willing to back pay for what is technically non-contracted services. Of course, the icing on the cake is that various tenants are complaining that their area is not being serviced to their satisfaction and are clamoring for a new cleaning service. Time is of the essence since you need to have real data to bring to the customer so that this contract can be updated as soon as possible. It may not be possible to simply revert to the original specifications without generating even more complaints from tenants.

First of all, I suggest you re-measure the building by using either blue prints if available or having a crew inventory each area by square feet, floor type, frequency of cleaning per day and priority as to importance to the customer.

Let's look at this as an opportunity to assist the customer and find a win/win outcome.

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.