There are times when you need to make a major adjustment in a contract, or in a business or employment relationship. Here are some guidelines to follow when making an appeal, especially for a price increase:

1. Preparation. Make sure all the terms covered in the cleaning contract are current and the building appearance is up-to-par. If the facility has an attractive and clean appearance, and the customer is satisfied with your service, then your appeal will carry more weight. Ensure the relations with the account convey unmatched integrity and excellence on your part. When a customer knows that you always look out for their best interests, a relationship of trust ensues.

2. Timing. It would be unwise to ask for a price increase if the customer just experienced a major financial setback. Their priorities would then shift to finding ways to cut costs. Avoid presenting an appeal at such a time as when the customer is overwhelmed with projects or emergencies. Assess the best time to present an appeal.

3. Reassurance. Let the customer know that your appeal will bring a win-win outcome. Always convey your objective of continual service improvements. Convince the customer that you are on their team. When a customer’s long-term goals are at risk or subject to compromise, you want to alert them of a tweak in the cleaning service that could bring long-term improvements.

4. Supporting evidence. Your request should be based on accurate information and logic. Is it fair, valid and reasonable? Make sure you have sized up all the circumstances involved in the particular situation. Have you omitted any facts that would show your ignorance or incompetence? Have you taken into account the customer’s background, interests and viewpoints? Develop a logical and orderly presentation of the facts.

5. Methodology. Always begin a request or an appeal with some type of a genuine compliment. Avoid fake flattery; be sincere and grateful for the opportunity to serve the customer. One opening might state; “We sure appreciate having you as a customer.” Positive traits of loyalty and gratitude should underline your approach. Avoid selfish and arrogant tactics. When the customer believes you have their best interests at heart, your success rate improves.

6. Negotiation. Be prepared for the customer to only meet you halfway. If the counter is for half of what you requested, are you prepared with the best response? If the customers’ counter is met with sound “No”, your defensiveness will create a distance of separation. Instead answer with, “I wish I could, I would love to be able to accommodate you, but that leaves me with this problem.” And then review the elements that are not addressed in their counteroffer.

7. Follow-up. Always follow through with any commitments you have offered during the negotiations. If everything was accepted as you proposed, submit a big thank you. Maybe some flowers, a card, a nice bowl of candy or whatever. If your offer was rejected, continue with a positive attitude, stay patient and eventually you may win out. Let your communications remain gracious and never allow bitterness to rule your relationships.

Gary Clipperton is an author, consultant, trainer and developer of software and training programs for the cleaning industry. He is a 45-year industry veteran and as president of National Pro Clean travels to assist contractors and facilities with any cleaning challenges. His website,, offers free advice as well.