Outsourcing isn’t always an easy process. It can be stressful, chock-full of pushback from executives in your facility, and feature bids covered in fluff and hidden agendas.

However, when it comes to vetting a potential cleaning service, you have questions that need answering.

If you’re thinking about outsourcing or are currently searching for a new janitorial service, it’s important to ask the right questions. In this post, we will outline the questions you may WANT to ask and highlight the ones you SHOULD.

1. Instead of asking how big their company is, ask for client reviews

We live in special times. We used to believe that bigger meant better. We turned to industry juggernauts in order to solve all of our problems. However, with the rise of small businesses, boutiques, and craft eateries we’ve begun to see the quality of what smaller institutions can provide. In fact, even job seekers are gravitating toward small business because of the perks.

Instead of getting caught up in the size of a company, and whether or not they are nationally recognized, find out how pleased their customer-base is. There are two easy ways to do this:

  • Ask to speak to one or several of their current clients.
  • Look at online reviews with Glassdoor, Facebook, and Google.

It’s important to get real reviews to understand how the company, big or small, will treat you and deliver on your needs. Size doesn’t matter. Service does.

2. Instead of asking how long they’ve been in business, ask how long they’ve had their clients

Be leery of the companies that have statements of “Cleaning our Community since 1948” or “The Trusted Name in Cleaning for 100 Years” as it doesn’t mean anything. Sears and Toys R Us used to corner the market, but the 21st century is here. And they aren’t. Just because a business has longevity doesn’t mean they’ve been able to adapt to the times, incorporate cutting edge technology, and deliver great service.

An easy way to understand how a company might perform for you is to inquire about the retention rate of their clients. Are they are a revolving door, only holding a contract for 3 months and getting dropped when service doesn’t meet expectations? Or have they been the trusted team of a contracted facility for years on end? Length of time in the janitorial industry means nothing if the company doesn’t retain their clients.  

It’s vital to know whether the company values a contract after it has been signed. If this is a program that you are willing to adopt, measuring your expectations against a company’s current retention rates is imperative.

3. Instead of asking about their specialty, ask how they will meet your specific needs

No two facilities are the same. Don’t adopt a program solely because they “specialize” in your type of building.

A good janitorial company will explore YOUR specific needs and expectations. On the surface, there is very little difference in what an educational facility needs and what a medical facility needs. Or a production facility and a warehouse. The wisest option is to investigate the company’s client demographic as a whole and whether they share an invested interest in your unique goals and needs.

Being stuck on whether a company currently has a client that completely matches yours is a moot point. Even if they have a current client that matches yours to a T, your facility will be a completely different animal. Look at the services they are currently providing and ask how they will meet your specific needs.

4. Instead of asking about wage, ask about culture

Competitive wages are important. However, if your only concern is what a potential company pays their employees, you’re most likely missing out on why employees may choose to leave or stay with them.  

Currently, the janitorial industry averages a 200% turnover while the economy is seeing the lowest unemployment rate since the 1960’s. Ask how they plan to overcome that hurdle and effectively staff your facility. How are they actively investing in their employees? What programs or benefits do they provide? What does their employee turnover look like?

In this day and age, culture is as important as (if not more than) the paycheck. Just like was outlined in the post, The Cost of Culture, companies who are not investing in the livelihoods of their employees are shooting themselves in the foot.

In the same way you can seek client feedback, an easy solution is to investigate what their current employees are saying by looking at Glassdoor, Facebook, or Google for employee reviews. Look for the value a company puts on their people and it will mirror the value they place on you.

Asking the right questions is an easy way to understand what sort of service you will receive after you sign on the dotted line. It’s completely within your rights to ask for reviews, client retention rates, values, goals, and company culture to better inform your decision. By shifting the way you ask your questions, you will get a better picture of who you will be hiring. Don’t just ask the mundane questions. Ask the ones that dig in a little deeper. You will get more truth and clarity that way.