The No. 1 means of quantifying claims is to bring cleaning case studies to the table, says Hewett. Include past specific projects and how various strategies saved money, reduced energy or water consumption, or improved efficiency. Contractors should be actively gathering this documentation from existing clients.

“From day one, BSCs should be sitting down with facility managers and asking to do a monthly audit of their energy bills to document savings,” says Hewett. “That way, when you bid on a new project, you can say, ‘With these projects over the last three years we’ve cut energy costs in these facilities by 6 percent by doing A, B and C.”

As facility manager, Mabrey says cleaning case studies really catch his eye.

“Their references shouldn’t just be a list of happy customers,” he says. “It should be those who can talk about how the contractor saved them money and made them more sustainable, so that it doesn’t feel like they’re just talking a good game, but won’t really deliver.”

The next means of validating how various processes can help reduce facility costs is to provide industry documentation, says Hewett. To that regard, they may incorporate information from BOMA’s experience exchange reports, which can show that the average building’s electrical costs and water usage is X and that by incorporating certain steps costs can be reduced.

Team with other vendors to quantify results, says Mabrey. Elevators are the biggest electricity hogs, after air conditioning, in a facility. The bid might talk about how the BSC’s employees work floor by floor and only take the elevator when absolutely necessary. They can multiply the cost per use by the number of times they expect to reduce elevator trips to show how much electricity is being saved.

“Go to an elevator company and have them help you figure out how much money you might save in electricity and how much life they add to the motors driving the elevators by doing this,” says Mabrey.

Or a contractor might point out that they use Company A’s vacuums, which burn 50 watts per hour, versus Company B’s vacuums, which utilize 60 watts per hour.

“Then show how we save you 10 watts of electricity per hour, five days a week, over the course of year, how much electricity we will save,” says Mabrey. “Multiply that amount by the electricity rate they pay, and show them how much that puts to their bottom lines.”

Quantifying quality in this way validates the sustainability practices. It shows accountability and ownership for the claims being made.

“It’s not greenwashing because you have the matrix to back up your statements,” Lee says.

And remember, where there’s quality and validation of that quality, there will be business opportunity, stresses Mabrey, who laments that many contractors miss out on future opportunities by providing bids that list processes and make claims without any validation.

BSCs need to tap into their expertise and tackle the opportunity to really shine in the sustainability realm.

“They know what it takes to get a building cleaned, and they need to be creative in those efforts,” says Mabrey. “Property managers love creativity and are willing to try new ideas that might save them money. Proving your sustainability both inside your business and as you carry out the tasks at hand is going to become more and more important as we go down the road.” 

Ronnie Garrett is a freelance writer based in Fort Atkinson, Wis. She is a frequent contributor to Contracting Profits.

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