As mentioned in prior articles, negotiating contract adjustments can be a dangerous and exciting exercise in futility. It is very important that the Building Service Contractor be perceived as a partner and part of the solution rather than an expense that needs to be slashed. 

The customer will oftentimes check national averages to see if their price is “competitive” with what others are paying. The BSC can lose credibility if they are perceived to be “too high” when actually they are very competitive when all factors are taken into account.

Unfortunately, these surveys and averages can be misleading on the surface and usually tend to drive prices downward at the expense of quality outcomes as well as profit margins. What is included and excluded is crucial in these surveys. One such service simply adds a percentage to cover grounds or garages and other outside areas. Others choose to exclude paper supplies or tag work while others include such costs on a percentage basis. Most do not take into account the same level of service (task/frequency/detail) being provided and can assume that all are receiving the same which oftentimes is not the case.

An example is for a high security account that requires extensive (and expensive) background checks that can literally take weeks to process before a new hire is allowed to be in the building after hours. Compare this to a typical office building that requires the BSC to only employ staff who have passed a basic background check. VIP tenants who expect a higher level of service, a designated cleaner (aka maid service), specified paper products and other such services can totally disrupt any true comparison to so called national averages.

The important lesson is that the BSC should have solid documentation along with other data to support their costs based on a reasonable application of the contract specs. 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