In developing proposals it is important go about it in an organized way. The worst thing you can do is throw out a random number to a prospect over the phone without conducting a walk through of the account and reviewing the specifications very carefully. If a prospect calls and demands an immediate quotation for custodial services such as cleaning, hard floor care, carpet care, etc. they are probably fishing for a few numbers to add to their bid list and have already chosen the winning bid.  If they have a favored bidder and want to make sure they are the lowest or best value or other criteria, they will solicit some bids to develop a range (example: $.50 - $.85 per square foot) with their favored bidder coming in between the lowest and the highest.

Such tactics are inappropriate and should give you fair warning that a serious prospect will always take the time to have you look at the site, review the specs and submit a proposal based on tasks and frequencies with the desired outcomes described in detail. Often you may be invited to participate in a bid walk with your competitors.  Always attend such meetings when you can since they can give you an idea of the opportunities available as well as a first hand look at your competition.

The only exceptions to this process are 1) you were highly recommended by an associate of the prospect or 2) the incumbent left or was terminated and the prospect needs service immediately.  In the first case, you can come in as a perceived consultant who is there to provide answers and solutions similar to what you did for the person who recommended you.  In the second case, you can offer to take the contract on for a thirty day period (same terms, price and conditions) while excluding any periodic work such as stripping/recoating or carpet cleaning.  This can give you can idea of why the other proposal failed and also allow time to develop pricing and services that will satisfy the prospect.  It should give you an inside track on pricing the contract to the satisfaction of the customer.  

If your company is to grow, you must aggressively pursue new opportunities.  Just remember that the only thing worse than not getting a contract is to get it at the wrong price. 

Your comments and questions are always welcome.  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