1. Are they insured and bonded?
Not having liability, worker’s compensation and bonding insurance should always be a deal breaker. When they aren’t covered, neither are you, meaning you are liable for any theft or damage caused when they are on your property. If they don’t have worker’s compensation covering their employees and someone gets hurt on your property, the company or individual cleaner can sue both the cleaning company and your business.
Do they claim to have it? Ask them to prove it. A professional cleaning company will always provide you with copies of their insurance certificates prior to start of work.
2. Do they guarantee their work?
Companies who are confident in the quality of their work will always guarantee it because they know they can satisfy their customers.
If complaints happen, and they inevitably will at some point, a company should be willing and able to go above and beyond to make it right.
Do they claim to have a guarantee? Ask them what it is. Whether it’s your money back, discounts on future service, or the willingness to come out and fix whatever you are unhappy with right away, a guarantee says a lot about the level of service you can expect.
3. Who are they sending to clean your space?
Many cleaning companies are guilty of the warm body syndrome. That is, hiring the nearest living, breathing human willing to do the job, regardless of background, language barriers or training.
Allowing an outsider access to your business, providing keys, alarm codes, etc., requires a lot of trust and you should not trust a company who will send any person off the street just to get the job done.
Ask the company how they hire their employees. What are their hiring requirements? What is their training program like? If they can’t provide clear cut answers to these questions, chances are they will send you a warm body and you may be putting your business at risk.
4. Are their employees easily identifiable?
Employees of a cleaning company should always come to work in uniform – whether that is a company t-shirt, a sweatshirt or a full suit. Allowing people, often strangers, into your business requires a lot of trust and not having uniformed employees poses a security threat.
Are you or your staff present during the cleaning? If the answer is yes, they should still be in uniform. There is a lot of turnover in this industry and your cleaner might be different from one day to the next so having a way to identify them as an employee of the cleaning company is crucial.
Are you or your staff away during the cleaning? If the answer is yes, it’s even more important that they are in uniform. Whether an issue requires security footage to be reviewed or the alarm goes off and the cops show up, having someone in the building without proper identification creates headaches for everyone.
5. Do they employee quality control methods?
If a cleaning company does not employ multiple methods to ensure quality, you are better off hiring a cleaner and managing their work yourself.
A good service provides just that - a service. Yes, at the most basic level they clean, but on a higher level they fully manage that process to ensure that the standard of work is consistently upheld and the customer is always satisfied.
Ask them what they do to ensure quality – it could range from quality control checks performed by managers, employee training programs and incentives, on-site supervisors, etc.
A bad company will employ none – run. A decent company will employ one – consider, but beware. A good company will employ multiple.
6. How do they communicate?
Good communication is critical to any successful relationship and cleaning is no different. Here are three ways they must be able to communicate:
Do their employees speak English? While many workers in this industry are immigrants and do not speak English as a first language, they should be conversational in English at a minimum.
Does the company communicate with their employees? A company who sends their employees out on a job but never speaks to them is not managing. Employees in the field and in the office should be in constant contact regarding issues or questions that arise at each site, quality of work and other issues. Ask them how often they are in contact with their employees.
Does the company communicate with you? The level of communication in the beginning sets the tone for what to expect for the duration of the relationship. You probably don’t want to be communicating via phone or email with your cleaning company everyday, but you should be wary of a company who is not willing to do that with you. Issues may not arise everyday, but you want a company who is communicative, keeping you abreast of any changes, questions or problems at your business as they occur. Conversely, you want them to be available and willing to speak to you when you have a problem, question or need to communicate some changes regarding your business.
Can’t meet all three points of communication? Don’t waste your time.
7. Do they use a checklist?
If you explain to an employee how to do something and then throw them in there to do it, how likely do you think it is that they might miss something or forget about some of the details you mentioned? The answer is very.
Explaining the work to employees is one thing, but a company must take measures to help ensure that specific details – the details you are paying for – are not missed.
Many cleaners are cleaning multiple locations each day - ask the company how they ensure their cleaners remember the details specific to each account. Checklists are a common way good companies will help their staff keep the details straight. Each location should have a specific checklist outlining the specific standards and areas of focus.
No checklist? If the company does not have some comparable method to keep the details straight, you can bet that details will be consistently missed.
At the end of the day a cleaning company is a business.
Due to the low barrier of entry into the cleaning industry there are many people out there running cleaning companies who don’t understand how to properly run a business and serve clients. They think that because they know how to clean they can have a successful business - but there is a lot more to it.
Protect your business and beware of those who cannot meet these 7 criteria. They may dazzle you with discounts and promise you the world, but at the end of the day you need to ensure that they can deliver on those promises and not cause your business harm rather than good.