A reader writes: “I totally disagree with your approach to negotiating a custodial contract. As the customer, I do not have to explain why the bid is too high. They have to meet my price, or I will go elsewhere.”

With all due respect, I disagree with your approach. For some reason you think that negotiating a custodial contract is a win/lose proposition, which usually results in a lose/lose outcome. In checking with one BSC (Building Service Contractor), I learned that they diligently counted fixtures (toilets, sinks, urinals, shower heads), conducted a building inventory survey breaking out each area by square feet of carpet, hard floor requiring finish, hard floor not requiring finish and even counted walk off mats and glass door entrances.

It appears that they have a more accurate inventory of the building then you do since your data is about four years old and does not reflect changes in floor surfaces. They applied a nationally recognized cleaning times standard and even adjusted it for density, traffic count and other variables.

You, in turn, seem to be holding the line on an unrealistic budget number that has no support in fact. You are telling all five vendors that they are “too high” when in actuality, the lowest two probably would be out of business or walk away from the contract within six months. You have a very detailed job specification (that is obviously cut/paste) that sounds good on paper and is probably very impressive to your tenants. Unfortunately, the laws of physics make it next to impossible for any service to fulfill the specs 100 percent and still make a profit. In reviewing your past bid history, no company has stayed with you more than two years with the average being six months or less. You are spending an inordinate amount of time and resources negotiating failed contracts and always blaming the BSC.

Until you are willing to negotiate from data you (and any unfortunate BSC to get your business) are doomed to a lose/lose outcome.

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.