A reader writes: “I disagree with your approach to bidding. My job is to drive the price down and squeeze the vendors for all I can get. Your comments?”

Remind me not to ever bid on your accounts since you are looking for a win/lose outcome that will cost us both a lot of time and money.

Based on our conversation, you have been burned many times in the past by BSC’s and others who either intentionally misled you or were simply ignorant of the true cost to fulfill the specifications once the contract starts. Your practice is to get a minimum of five or more bids and always go with the lowest one without qualifying them.

Such a practice is fraught with peril since the lowest bid may be the most expensive in the long run for you and your company. You do not seem to be aware that there are embedded costs in going through the bid process over and over again that adds to your overall expenses for managing your facilities.

I suggest you:

1. Develop a more reasonable job specifications with a focus on simplicity rather than making it overly complicated. I doubt if you could clean the account 100 percent based on these specs.

2. Eliminate/replace words such as “As Needed,” “All the Time,” “Every,” “Strip/Wax,” “Upright Vacuum Cleaner,” and “Only Hot Water Extract,” since they tend to drive costs up with very little real benefit.

3. Replace these and other absolutes with a predetermined number of times per year for a task. Example: Instead of “Clean Meeting Room As Needed,” replace with “Clean Meeting Room up to 156 times per year” based on your knowledge of how often the meeting room is used. This allows the vendor to be more accurate in his/her proposal and save you some hassle.

4. Your carpet is all glued down and very tight. There is no benefit to using an upright which artificially increases labor costs due to its lower productivity.

5. Use terms such as “strip/scrub/recoat” since it allows the vendor to focus on areas that receive the traffic/wear and tear. Focus on the dirt.

Cheapest is not always the least expensive.

We will continue this conversation in a future article.

Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. 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.