This tip will continue our discussion of the following comment from a reader:

“When I suggested to the prospect that we conduct a final inspection a few days before we started the contract, they acted offended and claimed we were not operating in good faith. What gives?”

We addressed some key points in a prior article but I would like to stress that it is imperative that you conduct a pre-inspection of a new contract to document the current condition of the facility. Much could have changed since you participated in the bid walk and was accepted by the prospect as the custodial service provider.

When I left a contract, I usually tried to leave it so clean that the only way the new cleaning service could keep the same level was to work very hard and in some cases attempt to raise their charge. Although this might be considered sabotage by some, it was a successful marketing tool in at least a few cases. When the customer noticed that the new service was not performing at the same level of service as I had provided, they opted for their 30 days and brought me back.

If you are starting a new contract and the level of service is not the same level as described in the specifications, you have every right to bring this to the customer’s attention. There are usually a couple of options that you can pursue. Remember to be diplomatic and not overly critical of the condition but proactively point out to the customer that you are inheriting an account that is not up to par with the stated specifications. I suggest you give them the choice of the site being serviced within the first thirty days to the standards of the specs for a set fee or alternatively negotiate that the area will be brought up to standard within 90-120 days subject to continuation of the contract. Be clear that you are not liable for restoring an area without being compensated. Oftentimes, this could be carpet care or hard floor maintenance that requires additional labor and equipment.

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