A reader recently asked me whether it might be a good idea for them to sign an agreement as a cleaning sub-contractor. Please understand that I am not an attorney and cannot give legal advice, but I’m happy to share my experiences, for what their worth.

In the early days of starting my cleaning business, I agreed to sub-contract for another service, with less than acceptable results. Your experience may vary from mine, but I caution you to go into such agreements with a full understanding of what you are doing.

In my situation, I soon realized that I had been hired for my labor to clean a couple of small offices. The income I generated seemed adequate at first, but at tax time, I had to pay both sides of social security since nothing was withheld and matched by the contractor. I also was deducted for insufficient insurance, since their insurance carrier stated that I did not have sufficient coverage to satisfy them or the customer. I had failed to take into account my fuel and vehicle expense that could be written off, but that still did not give me much room for profit.

Although I was held to a very high standard for cleaning, which I fulfilled, there was not recognition, bonuses or raises from the contractor. I never saw the actual contract and on occasion was asked by the customer about providing additional services, for which I had to refer them to the contractor.

One final straw that got me was that I was restricted from using my company logo on uniforms (basic golf shirts) and vehicle (my work van with my company name on the side).

As I learned more about the cleaning industry, I got away from subcontracting, since it was not a good fit for my goals and way of operating. Perhaps you will have better results, but I suggest that you please read the contract carefully and calculate it’s true cost before signing.

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