Contracting may be a local building owner who occupies space in the building being serviced and therefore have intimate knowledge of the day to day operations. Or they may instead be located on the other side of the country, another location or even in another country. Regardless, their function is to negotiate the best deal they can get based on the anticipated revenues or budget for a specific building. The last thing they want is to negotiate a contract only to have it come back for unnecessary modifications due to miscommunication either with the tenants or the custodial service provider.

A building contractor is usually the only person authorized to change the SOW or spend additional funds on tag jobs (project work such as stripping, carpet care, window washing, etc.) that are not clearly paid for in the existing agreement. They may authorize their local manager to spend up to $ XX amount on clearly defined expenses. They seldom authorize the local manager to negotiate anything not clearly defined in the existing contract.

The rub often comes when there are differing interpretations of the SOW (Statement of Work) due to poorly worded sections that can be very expensive to fulfill. “Keep restrooms clean at all times” sounds reasonable until the word clean is defined and frequencies are explained. It would be far better to clarify the servicing schedule and what tasks are performed during “policing” and “full clean” since the tasks and time involved can be radically different. Wording that states “any” and “all” should be clarified to specific tasks and frequencies that have a labor and supply cost clearly explained. Anything less can cause a lot of angst between the stakeholders involved. 

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