With the cleaning industry in the UK being so competitive, it can be difficult to differentiate between cleaning contractors. We all want the best price possible but it’s also important to consider their reliability and quality ensuring you get the best value for money. There is a clear gulf in quality between the results of professional cleaning services and the cowboy type companies that operate with inexperience.
To help you steer you in the right direction before you sign on the dotted line, here’s a list of what to look for in a potential cleaning provider:
Tip 1: Experience
It is important to consider whether the company is familiar in cleaning commercial facilities similar to yours. While it may seem that cleaning services are a basic skill, there are specific standards across different industries that may vary. For example, a company may be equipped to clean an office but may be completely incapable of handing the needs of a hospital, school or factory.
Therefore, when considering companies be sure to check whether they have the experience to the specific cleaning requirement of your facility. A professional company that has been delivery quality services for many years will have serviced several industries is will probably be better equipped to handle a range of cleaning different services.
Tip 2: Training
Whilst the experience of a potential cleaning company is critical, it's far better when backed by specific and ongoing training of the front-line cleaning team. If your looking for a quality cleaning service, ask for specific information about how the potential company trains their teams. Unfortunately, in the battle to be the cheapest, many cleaning companies simply skip training all together which will have a knock-on affect to the standard of cleaning you receive.
Tip 3: Cleaning schedules
Don't get cornered into a cleaning program that provides too much or not quite enough for your facility. Before engaging a cleaning service, it’s a good idea to clearly discuss what your expectations of the cleaning service are from the start. You may also want to highlight any processes that must be followed when working in certain areas.
Professional cleaning companies will typically have a set cleaning schedule for your facility type that can be modified to suit your individual needs. This will give you a sense of comfort in knowing exactly what you’re getting for your money.
Tip 4: Health and safety
Most professional cleaning companies will have the relevant insurance policies provide uniforms, lone working policies, COSHH data sheets for the cleaning chemicals, confidentiality and keyholding procedures in place for peace of mind. However, it’s also vital the front-line cleaning team have knowledge of health and safety procedures such as emergency exits, fire procedures, what to do in the event of a chemical spillage, and the importance of wet floor signs, especially where lone workers are involved.
Another piece of good advice is to ensure they have a set colour coded cleaning system in place, so separate cloths and mop heads are used for toilet areas, kitchen areas and general cleaning areas which prevents cross contamination. Not every company may use the same colour cloths for each area. However, they should be using different cloths. You don’t want your cleaner to be using the same cloth for toilet and to clean tables.
Tip 5: Consumable supplies
Do they provide all their own cleaning chemicals and equipment? Ensure you find out what exactly is included within the provision of your service.
It is vital that the cleaning company uses the correct cleaning product for each specific area. For example, the use of bleach might be prohibited in some environments such as laboratories or schools. Some facilities will also want a cleaning company that matches their own values and only use a cleaning company that uses environmentally friendly cleaning product.
Does the cleaning company provide the chemicals within the hourly price they have quoted or do bill separately for only what you actually use? We always recommend using a company that only bills you for cleaning consumables you use rather than include it in the hourly cost. As you can see clearly what your paying for and there is no incentive for the potential cleaning company to use cheap low quality or diluted products.
Tip 6: Equipment
Ask about the products and equipment the cleaning company uses. Professional cleaning contractors should use professional equipment that is fit for the job. No one wants to hire a new cleaning company for them to turn up with a basic, domestic or old cleaning equipment.
Occasionally, a professional and well-trained team can make good use of a limited equipment and still deliver a quality cleaning service. However, by ensuring the correct equipment will be used before hand, you are increasing the likelihood of appointing a cleaning company that will probably deliver a high-value cleaning service.
Also, be aware of the damage caused from the use of incorrect equipment or toxic chemicals in the cleaning process. They can also be harmful to persons who interface with the environment if they are not used in a safe manner. Professional cleaning companies will be experienced in professional equipment and alternative chemical products that are less toxic and harmful. This will provide you the sense of comfort in knowing that the cleaning procedures employed are safe for your facility and the people using your facility.
Tip 7: Management
Always ask to meet the person who will be managing your account before you sign up to any cleaning company.
Problems and issues will inevitably arise from time to time, its therefore imperative you know who to speak to about these problems as your partner in cleaning. Strong communication is key to developing worthy working relationships with customers, whereby if any problems or issues do arise they can be addressed easily and swiftly and tackled in an efficient manner. Ensure there is a full support network of supervisors and management staff in place to deliver a quality service. By having a good communication with your cleaning company, it allows both parties to work well together.
At the end of the day you should feel as though any potential cleaning company is just as concerned an ensuring that your cleaning needs are met as you are.
Tip 8: Service continuity
In our experience as a professional cleaning company in Milton Keynes, we have found that most potential customers are simply looking for a consist reliable service. Therefore, it is also important to make sure that your potential cleaning company will ensure when possible that you have a dedicated cleaner for your facility which helps provide a more consistent service.
Of course, it’s not always going to be possible to have the same person all the time. Hence, it’s a good idea to find out how the cleaning company will managing sickness and holidays at short notice. A good measure of their ability to deliver a consistent service is to find out how many cleaners they have within the local area.
Tip 9: Watch out for cowboys
Here are some tips to look for that will help prove to you that they can be trusted and stay clear of the cowboy type companies:
Sometimes far too much emphasis is placed on price and this is unfortunately where a lot of less professional cleaning companies win cleaning contracts. Always remember that you generally get exactly what you pay for. Like the saying goes ‘if you get peanuts, you get monkey’. We’re not saying to not try and get value for money, but just don’t go for the bottom of the barrel. It’s likely that you could end up disappointed and having to go through the process again very soon. Alternatively, go for a professional cleaning company that is known for using well-trained staff, decent materials and adequate equipment.
Tip 10: References
Ask any potential cleaning company to provide you with references who can vouch for the quality of their service. Some may have testimonials on their website, but others may only provide this information on request. Make sure these testimonials have contact details, so you can verify the source. It’s also a good idea to ask for testimonials from their client who has similar needs to you. For example, if you’re looking for a school cleaning service then ask for contact details of the other schools they clean in the area. This will give you a good idea of the service you may receive from them.
Just beware that they will probably only give you details of their customers who they know are happy and be very cautious if they refuse to give you and references. A professional cleaning company should have a proven track record in delivering a first-class cleaning service within your sector.
Tip 11: Company culture
Do the cleaning teams look professional? Are they easily identifiable as cleaners from the potential cleaning company? It’s shocking to think about but not all cleaning companies interview their staff before sending them to a customer’s facility!
Thus, is important to ask about their interview and screening process. Good cleaners need to be honest, hardworking and reliable individuals, who want to be part of a professional cleaning company. Ask about how high their retention rate is and how they handle increasing demand.
Companies that are on the lower end of the scale often have high staff turnover figures. This usually results in sub par work, as well as in constantly seeing new faces on your premises. As an alternative, opt for a company that has a solid retention system in place, usually means a happier overall workforce.
A company that treats is staff with integrity and respect, if probably one of the most tips mentioned before for choosing a cleaning contractor. Companies with a focus on good company culture are more likely to provide higher standards of work, provide training and the necessary tools for their staff to complete work to a very high standard.
Tip 12: Security
Making sure you can trust the cleaning company you select, and their processes is vital, especially if their cleaning teams are being left alone or locking up your facility’s. A professional company will have a clear security, keyholding and lone working policies in place that the cleaning staff are fully aware of and have signed. Why not ask to read the policy to make sure it agrees with your own policy?
We hope these few tips add value to you and act as a sort of a guide when considering which cleaning company is best suited to your needs and the serviced desired. The UK contract cleaning market is highly competitive, hence why it may be a difficult task in choosing the right cleaning company for you and your facility. With these few tips we hope that job becomes less of a challenge and it will be an easier process for you to find a cleaning company with a great culture that consistently provides an excellent service.