A recent survey finds that while some building service contractors (BSCs) — as well as carpet and window cleaning professionals — have raised their bid and service price charges in the past three years, many have made few, if any changes.

The Tornado Industries e-Poll was conducted December 13-20, 2006. Approximately 1,000 BSCs were invited to participate in the online survey and more than 150 complied.

When asked how their current bid proposals compare to those submitted three years ago:
• Thirty-six percent indicated they are “more than 10 percent higher.”
• Twenty-one percent said they are “less than 10 percent higher.”
• Almost 40 percent said they are “about the same.”
• Three percent said their bids are lower today.

Among the other findings:
• Forty-three percent indicated they have not raised the amount they charge current customers in the past three years.
• Another 43 percent believed most customers select the janitorial contractor with the lowest bid “most of the time.”
• As for hiring subcontractors, 29 percent of the respondents said this is done mainly to cut costs; another 29 percent indicated it helps them “broaden their service area;” and 25 percent agreed with both of these statements and added that they find the quality of service from subcontractors is “better.”

Green and Cost Issues Also Investigated
With green cleaning in such high demand, the survey included questions on whether BSCs charge more for the environmentally preferable products and cleaning systems. Results indicated that more than 46 percent respondents would charge more, while more than 32 percent said implementing green cleaning products would not affect their bid price.

The survey also asked the cleaning contractors which of their business expenses has been rising the most in the past three years. Nearly 52 percent reported wages were their fastest growing expense. This was followed by business insurance and Workers’ Compensation at 44 percent.

The cost for cleaning chemicals has not gone up according to the respondents. However, a very small number, four percent, said that the amount of money they pay for cleaning equipment—such as floor machines, extractors, and vacuum cleaners—is their fastest growing expense.