Relationship marketing is very important in that trust in your professionalism will take you a long ways when the going gets rough. If your customer trusts you as a professional they will tend to partner with you on finding solutions to minor issues before they get out of hand. I recently came across a BSC (Building Service Contractor) who failed to factor in enough funds for major equipment, tools and expendable supplies. Major equipment includes items such as buffers/burnishers/autoscrub units that can radically impact the labor required to maintain the facility. They had a broken hot water extraction unit that literally did more damage than good since it could not pick up the chemical solution. They did not buff the floors since they did not have any budget for pads. They did not have a budget for floor finish, carpet spotter and other cleaning products that were necessary to adequately service the contract.

When asked why they had failed to add sufficient funds to cover these costs, they responded that they were afraid that they might lose the bid and decided to use their profit margin and overhead to cover these costs. Needless to say, they are failing at the contract and the customer is wondering what they were thinking when they went with the lowest bid. They do not want to adjust the price and are already looking for a more competent bidder.

Based on a quick review, we determined that if the BSC would provide better training (courtesy of their distributor) and purchase more productive equipment they could actually reduce their direct labor costs to the point that they could fulfill the contract and make a reasonable profit.

This should never have happened and a review of the costs before signing the contract could have saved a lot of time and energy.

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