business man writing diagram of business improvement circle plan - implement - evaluate - improve

A reader writes: "We have had the same contract for close to ten years and now are going to sign a new three year agreement. Based on the information I provided, do you have any suggestions?"

Congratulations on keeping this contract for ten years. I realize the type of customer you are dealing with needs to budget their resources and are a steady source of income for your company.

The information you provided was enlightening since there have been some major changes in the building inventory, as well as specifications that need to be captured so that you can fulfill the specifications and maintain the consistent service you have provided over the years. Following are some general suggestions to consider:

  1. Update the building (actually twelve buildings on a campus) inventory to reflect the current square footage for carpet, hard floor needing finish, hard floor not needing finish, rest room fixture count as well as shower head count.
  2. Carefully review the changes in specifications to determine the task/frequency requirements necessary to fulfill these stated performance based standards which are rather exacting.
  3. Compare your current direct labor (hands on custodial and floor crew) and indirect labor (supervision, quality control, etc.) with the projected changes since the last time the contract was negotiated.
  4. Since this contract is over 65 percent carpet, consider converting to a blended cleaning, which would involve the mixing of back pack vacuum cleaners with upright units based on the type carpet and expectations of the customer.
  5. As to hard floor care, I suggest you reword the specifications to allow for scrubbing/recoating hard floors requiring finish rather that the strip/recoat that is currently in the wording.

Finally, I suggest you consider implementing Mickey's 80/20 Rule that will direct your attention to the high use and high profile areas to maximize first impression. Good luck on your next ten years.

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