How to Win Every Commercial Cleaning Bid

22 June 2021

One of the most common questions I get asked is, “how do you win every commercial cleaning bid?” This seems to be one of the biggest struggles that janitorial business owners face. And the unfortunate reality is, you simply are not going to win every single bid. But, I would personally rather go on 100 bids and win 20 of them, than go on 10 bids and win 10 of them. I am always going to get better the more frequent I am, and I’m still going to have 20 bids versus someone else’s 10. So, I’m going to take you through 5 Steps that you need to follow in order to actually close a bid. 



A decision maker is someone that is either an owner of a company who can actually put pen to paper and make decisions, or it can be a very close influencer who can make decisions on behalf of the owner and of the company. For example, in my company I am the main decision maker. But, if you came into this office wanting to know about our WiFi needs, if you wanted to sell us something or even matters having to do with our lease in our building, that actually would not go through me. Those are the more day-to-day tasks that would be dealt with by our operations manager. 

So when you are wanting to offer your janitorial services to a business, it is really important that you make sure you are talking to the right person. A big mistake a lot of people make is they just immediately ask for the owner. In reality, a lot of times you need to be asking for the second or even third in command. This could be a general manager or operations manager. It varies from business to business. 

So make sure that you do your research beforehand and if from the business’ website or social media you can gather who the best person to talk to might be, make sure you ask for them. If you can’t quite decipher who they might be based on your research, then once you get to their business just make sure you ask for a decision maker whose job it is to handle matters such as janitorial bids. 



The second thing you are going to have to do is figure out what the businesses problem is; the problem could be that their current cleaners don’t always take out the garbages or they don’t do the best job at dusting. Or, the problem could be that they do not currently have a janitorial company cleaning for them at all. There is a long list of problems they could have, and you need to identify them. 

You can identify their problem by asking specific questions such as “Do you currently have a janitorial company cleaning for you? Are you satisfied with the service that your cleaners are providing? What are some things that you would change about the current service you are receiving?” Ask as many questions as you need to in order to figure out what their current problem is. Once you find the problem, you can then tailor your services to fit whatever their reasons or problems are. 

You also want to identify the problem without offending the decision maker, meaning that you do not want to bash their current cleaning company. The decision maker could easily be the person who hired the company in the first place, and you do not want to make it sound like you are questioning their decision making abilities. 



Next, you will want to prove how you can actually solve the problem at hand. You do not want to just identify the problem, deliver the price and explain how your company is different from others. You want to show how that difference can benefit the client. 

So now that you know what the problem is, you will want to dig a little deeper. Let’s say the problem is that their current cleaners have some days unaccounted for where it looks like they did not come in to clean. You will want to tie your services to that issue to show how you can solve it; maybe you use an app or program that tells you exactly when employees clock in, clock out and when they do an inspection. So that would guarantee that the customer will never have to worry about the cleaners missing cleans. If they’re late, you’ll get a notification and follow up with them. 

So you need to solve the problem, and once you solve the problem for them it should all be pretty clear and evident. You should then double check and ask “does that solve your problem?” If yes, then you are almost there! 



The one thing about the janitorial industry is that we need to work with these customers typically at least once a week. If you are cleaning for a building once a week or up to seven days a week, you are always going to be in some kind of contact with these businesses. When that is the case, you really need to ask yourself if you are someone that people could see themselves working with long term. Are you actively solving their problems? Do they have the wherewithal to afford your services? The both of you need to decide if this is something that could be a long term business relationship. 



In our industry, people often have the attitude of “the price is the price and that’s that”, where there is little to no wiggle room for price changes or flexibility. Well, you need to remember that most businesses all determine their budgets for things like janitorial services ahead of time, and if you don’t fit into that or aren’t willing to adjust your price to accommodate them, then they are just not going to go with you. You want to make sure that you are able to fall within their yearly budget while delivering all of the services that they want and need. 

This may require some degree of negotiation. If their budget isn’t quite enough for your services, then you can always negotiate the amount of days per week or per month that you’re coming in to do the cleans. 

After you have had a lot of discussion about all their wants and their needs, you should be able to deliver a price that you can both agree upon. You will also want to make it known that your intention is to move forward with this relationship. 



In order to win a bid, you have to have this information. If you are missing some of these steps, what is going to end up happening is it will just take longer to win the bid. And, you might not even win it because you are trying to solve the wrong problem or you’re speaking to the wrong person. 

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