Everyone wants to save money  — and nowhere is this more true than in the world of contract cleaning, where accounts can be won or lost over the most miniscule of margins. Building service contractors understand all too well that in business, the closing of a deal is as much about a low price as it is about a quality product or service.

While BSCs can spend time scratching their heads about how to reverse the commoditization of cleaning, they can also benefit from bigger picture thinking that focuses on the needs and priorities of customers — like energy reduction.

“Talking about energy consumption and what a BSC can do to help reduce it — because energy use is so costly — will get the attention of property managers,” says Stephen Ashkin, president of The Ashkin Group in Bloomington, Indiana. “It creates business opportunities that differentiate those BSCs from everyone else who is selling their services as a commodity.”

Property managers know that mere fractions of cents can add up over time into big savings. To many customers, the saying “it’s the little things” rings true.
“In the cleaning industry, we lose contracts over not pennies — but tenths of pennies,” says Ashkin. “What a BSC needs to be able to do is put a service program together that’s believable — to look the customer in the eye and say, ‘We understand this is a small piece of the puzzle, but we believe we can save you one or two cents per square foot on energy.’ That could mean the difference between winning and losing a bid.”

Customers that have larger facilities may want to consider energy reduction initiatives — particularly if BSCs can reduce energy use during peak hours.

“Energy reduction for the customer is very important because they get charged a different rate at different times of day,” says Steve Spencer of State Farm Insurance in Bloomington, Illinois. “It’s something to consider with your customers, especially if it’s a large facility.”

Putting the cost of cleaning into perspective can help BSCs understand why a focus on energy reduction is such a big deal. Energy consumption in an average office building costs $2 to $3 per square foot, whereas cleaning costs about $1 per square foot, says Ashkin. Understanding why customers have a vested interest in saving energy costs is step one.

next page of this article:
Demonstrate Energy Conservation Capabilities