We all have heard the phrase: “The customer is always right.”  This principle is true in that the customer pays the bills and unless they are satisfied with outcomes, the payments may stop as they find someone else who think can meet their expectations.  The savvy BSC (Building Service Contractor) must find the right balance between keeping the customer satisfied and making a profit.  


The customer is only right only to the point of knowing what they are talking about.  Many building managers and owners know very little about the real mechanics of custodial operations and expect us to be the SME (Subject Matter Experts) in meeting their expectations.  The SOW (Statement of Work) is an attempt at clarifying those expectations.  Unfortunately there is always the temptation on the part of the customer to word it in their favor to be point that it becomes a guaranteed failure.  Phrases like “As needed” should be clarified since that can mean one thing to the BSC and something totally different to the customer’s inspector or even tenants.  If the building is cleaned 5 days per week and is used on the weekend, the rest rooms, common areas and even offices can be soiled and in need of service on Monday morning.  I have had well meaning customers complain that the building was dirty and due to the “as needed” clause they expected it to be serviced a sixth time during the day to meet that requirement.  Unless we could find an accommodation that contract was soon history.


The only option in such cases is to either price in the additional services (which makes you the high bidder in most cases) or find other ways of fulfilling their expectations.


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