There will always be the low bidders who can steal contracts away from you while promising to fulfill the statement of work and you know they cannot. Building managers are under increasing pressure to reduce costs, remain competitive and keep tenants satisfied. They will turn to the BSC (Building Service Contractor) to do more while paying less. Although this seems contradictory, it has been going on in one version or another since custodial operations came into existence. 

Following are some points to consider as pressure mounts to reduce costs while responding to demands for the same or even higher levels of service.

• What is your company good at doing?  Are you a generalist that will bid on any type contract and then try to figure out how to clean it when the deal is inked?  If so, do you have the staff in place to perform such a herculean task?

• What are you not good at?  Example:  although you may excel at hard floor care, you do not have the talent or expertise to maintain carpet effectively and competitively.  

• What are you doing now to improve your weak areas?

• How profitable is each account?  If you do not know this information, you could be slowly bleeding out financially due to one or more accounts that should either be renegotiated or terminated so that you can pursue profitable business.  An account that is high maintenance (always complaining and demanding more than the contract allows) can cost you in lost marketing opportunities and focus

• What is your productivity rate in each type of account?  You should not compare a day care center to a factory or a bank or an auto dealership since each have different tasks/frequencies that can impact productivity in many ways.  Example:  a bank may easily generate 5,000 plus square feet per hour whereas a day care center may only allow 1,200 SF/Hour due to the aseptic level of cleaning required.

• To determine a rough idea of productivity, divide the total square footage being serviced per visit by the total DLH (Direct Labor Hours) expended.  Note that an account that requires the same task more than once in a twenty four hour cycle should be measured differently since the same tasks are performed again on the same space.

• Finally, what are your standards for a contract based on a clear understanding of the expectations and what the customer is paying for?  Are you living up to the best that your company can do for what you are being paid?  

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