In providing technical support, I am often confounded by the building service contractor that makes rather expensive assumptions in its rush to close a deal. The BSC has its work cut out to defend the interpretation of the specs. If there is a reduction in the numbers, it should be directly connected to a clarification or adjustment in tasks/frequencies to reflect that change. Following is a thought to consider. We all have to be in agreement on basic assumptions that may mean one thing to the customer and another to the BSC. If we are operating from different data then we will never agree to final numbers.

  1. Are we in agreement on the total cleanable square footage?
  2. Are we in agreement on total square footage for carpet, hard floor requiring finish/buffing, hard floor not requiring finish/buffing, ceramic tiles that should not have any finish on them, specialty floors such as rubber, wood (gym), day care areas, etc.? (Please note that I have yet to see a common BOMA number that captures these areas accurately.)
  3. Are we in agreement on task/frequencies for the cleanable square footage? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Annual?
  4. Are we in agreement on access to every site and clear policy on return visits? We cannot subsidize the customer on this point.
  5. Are we in agreement on total direct labor hours required based on ISSA/RS Means/BOMA? This is crucial since a lot can be lost in translation, which can result in incorrect assumptions and outcomes. Although BOMA may be convenient for use, I do not accept it for some facilities with 400-plus buildings/areas that are not comparable to a nice, tidy office building in downtown.
  6. Are we in agreement in total mileage (based on either geo data or actual mileage)? This means we need to be very clear on number of vehicles being used to not only clean the accounts but also inspections, meetings with customers, etc. The customer has to pay for whatever they are requiring in the specs.
  7. Are we in agreement to whether there are restrictions on use of backpacks and other technologies considered custodial best practices? For instance, if upright vacuums are required, does the customer understand that BOMA does not restrict the use of backpacks thereby making the BOMA numbers suspect if not invalid?
  8. Are we in agreement to every term that is being used and is it acceptable to all parties?
  9. Are we in agreement that this contract is being driven by actual task/frequency and not budget limitations? If it is budget limitations then we need to be driven by adjusting task/frequencies accordingly since we cannot control wage rates, benefits, etc.

One of my “Mickyisms” is “the only thing worse than not getting a contract is to get it for the wrong price.” 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