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In response to COVID-19, many businesses were forced to shut down their physical operations, meaning regular cleaning services were no longer needed or greatly reduced. Building service contractors responded to fluctuating needs, but now are faced with a different problem.

As more states move to loosen their stay at home orders — or completely eliminate them — many businesses will grapple with their staff physically returning to work, and in some cases their customers returning, as well. This means regular cleanings will continue moving forward. Building service contractors need to be proactive in discussing the needs of their clients during this time to ensure they're moving full steam ahead.

Start Talking To Your Contacts Now

It's important to not wait for your clients to come to you. Being proactive in your communications will show you care, and that you have a solid plan for what to do when clients are ready to open their doors.

Start reaching out today to gauge what the cleaning needs are for your clients. When do they plan on returning to their physical locations? Are they going to return at a limited capacity? Is there anything they would like to do differently in their normal cleaning schedules in response to the virus?

Consider also asking how you can prepare their physical space for the return of workers. For those clients who have entirely stopped their regular cleaning, it will be important for the space to receive a deep clean before workers return.

Don't be afraid to pitch these services to your clients. Having a clean space to return to can put those weary of returning to work at ease. Going above and beyond with services at this time will show not only your skill, but your dedication to your contracts.

Be Detailed About Deep Cleaning vs. Disinfecting vs. Sanitizing

It's likely that many businesses will want to do some sort of deep clean before physically opening their doors again. With that in mind, they might not know the difference between deep cleaning and disinfecting.

A deep clean can mean something different for everyone. And for many business owners, there is no distinction between deep cleaning and disinfecting or sanitation.

Disinfecting kills germs on the service. Regular use of disinfectants can remove viruses and according to research, inactivate SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Sanitation, on the other hand, is lowering the number of infectious agents to a safe level through cleaning and disinfecting. Deep clean is a more amorphous term that has no "real" definition.

To eliminate confusion, take the time to go through all the services offered within a quote or a contract — including what types of products you plan on using. Lean on the Environmental Protection Agency's list of products (List N) that work against human coronavirus, highlighting which ones you use and for what.

Consider including a list of the services you plan on completing in written form to your client, if you don't already do so in your contract.

Think About Pricing

Many of this transitional work will possibly be a one-time job for existing clients. Just as you should go through your planned services, BSCs should also be explicit with their pricing.

Some BSCs are finding that clients want them to come in and do an extra cleaning before their workers return, and then ask for extra services on site. This can be difficult to accommodate — especially if the cleaning supplies or equipment are not available. When going through the detailed list of services a client is asking for, make sure they understand that any extra services cost more per square foot, which adds onto their ultimate total.

For businesses that want to change any of their regular cleaning protocols — whether that's an increased focus on high touch areas, added deep cleans, or something else — you also need to think about differentiated pricing. Work with your clients to find terms that work for both of you. Starting early in this process will ensure there are no hiccups or surprises once everyone starts getting back into their regular routines.

Be Thoughtful

At the end of the day, customer service is extremely important. For many businesses opening up their physical locations again, this can be a stressful time. Reinforcing patience with your sales teams and your frontline manager can make the difference between a negative experience to a positive one.

As America — and the rest of the world — gets back to work, it's important that janitorial and sanitation staff be part of those tactical conversations.