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6 Costly Mistakes

Mistake No. 1

Mistake No. 2

Mistake No. 3

Mistake No. 4

Mistake No. 5

Mistake No. 6

How to avoid costly mistakes and ripped off!

Mistake No. 1

Failing to Clearly Communicate Your Cleaning Specifications and Expectations

The first and most important jigsaw to you sourcing a good company must start with you. You need to prepare your company’s cleaning specification before getting a quote. Determine the cleaning needs of your business premises. This makes it easier for you to avoid confusion and unnecessary misunderstanding with your future cleaning supplier but helps for you to clearly communicate your needs and expectations at the outset of request for quote.

In setting out on a better footing, your need to determine how big is the space you want to be cleaned? How often do you want cleaning to be done? What’s your budget? When do you want the cleaning to start? Some cleaning providers can begin immediately while others may need longer time to recruit and train their staff. What hours will you want the cleaners to be in your premises? If you set up this way, then you know the quotes you will receive are all based on the same needs and requirements you have clearly stated and this should make it easier to compare their offers.

Another aspect of this mistake is the clarity of your requirement. Quite often you get a prospect stating they want their facility’s “floors cleaned Weekly”. Tons of information are left out of this statement and therefore opened to interpretation by the cleaner provider that might not mean exactly what you want. For example, does this “floor cleaning weekly” mean Mopping? Sweeping? Vacuuming? Strip and seal? What kinds of surfaces are involved? Marble? Wood? Concrete? Vinyl or Linoleum?

You see, failing to communicate your needs and expectations will leave your potential cleaning provider guessing about the actual scope of your clean requirements. If you are not sure you have the knowledge and experience to adequately detail all aspects of the service requirements, let your prospective vendor know and provide much details as you can. This will enable the prospective provider to point out the various options their company provide and to propose a range of possible solutions – at various price points – to meet your underlying goals and budget. If you have a limited budget, be sure to distinguish “must have” services from “wishful” services. We suggest to our clients they use a three-tiered system – in which they designate areas as ‘High priority’, ‘normal priority’ and ‘low priority’. Of course, you should note your company’s future requirements. You may need a window or carpet cleaning service or even a hard floor maintenance programme. Therefore, it makes sound financial sense to consider a company that can provide these additional services rather than having to hire three separate companies.

The bottom line is to work closely with your potential vendor throughout the process so that you can discuss any ambiguities or question. It will serve you all in future for unnecessary mismatch service.

Check Out a Sample Cleaning Specification or Checklist:


  • All cleaning is carried out outside of normal office hours (after 6.30pm or before 9:00am Mon – Fri)
  • The cleaner is issued with a security proximity fob and alarm codes of which they are responsible at all times.
  • The premises will be fully secured upon leaving unless there is an a member of staff present.
  • Cleaning to commence on _____________________________________
  • An induction of the premises and full instruction on the alarm system will take place before this date.

Toilet areas

From a hygiene point of view toilet areas are a priority and our cleaning would include:

  • Toilet bowls and urinals should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitised as would toilet seats. Particular attention should be given to toilet seat hinge areas to prevent any build up of deposit.
  • Wash basins would be thoroughly cleaned and sanitised with particular attention being given to the areas around taps, waste and overflow outlets. All bright work would be polished to a shine.
  • Ceramic tiled walls, cubicle partitions and mirrors would be washed and buffed to a shine.
  • Hard floor surfaces would be thoroughly cleaned and sanitised. Particular attention would be given to the areas around and behind toilet bowl and into edges and corners.
  • Waste bins would be emptied and washed. Waste would be removed to a designated disposal point.
  • All pipe work, sills, ledges and other fixtures and fittings would be damp wiped/dusted.
  • Consumable items would be replenished from your own stocks (which we can supply if required for an additional charge).

Reception, offices, meeting and training rooms

  • Our cleaning of carpeted areas and entrance matting would entail thorough vacuum sweeping with particular attention being given to edges, corners and other areas of difficult access.
  • Vinyl floors would be vacuum swept and washed with a neutral detergent solution.
  • Finger marks would be removed from all entrance door glazing and glass partitions.
  • All furniture, fixtures and fittings, ledges, sills and picture frames would be damp wiped/dusted/polished as required. (Please note: Our cleaning of computers and other office equipment would be confined to the dusting of flat surfaces away from control panels and other sensitive areas).
  • All telephone handsets would be sanitized.
  • Waste bins and ashtrays would be emptied and waste removed to a designated disposal point. Bin liners would be replaced from your own stocks (these can be supplied, if required for an additional charge).

All of the above work would be undertaken on each visit.

Mistake No. 2

Choosing a Provider Solely on Phone and Email Contact

The mistake most businesses make while sourcing a cleaning provider is to pick up the phone or email couple of these cleaning businesses and get quotes over the phone. We do get a lot of these calls from businesses. This is so wrong you could end up regretting your actions. Don’t call a cleaning company and ask them for an immediate quote. You won’t get any real idea of the company, its services or its staff via telephone or email. Any business can hire a smooth-talking salesperson to handle phone and email enquiries with the aid of a script and some panache. So, how do you discern the real deal from the too good to be true smooth-talkers? Carefully source out couple of online ( good reviewed ) or local cleaning providers together. Invite their representative to visit your premises and assess your cleaning requirements. As we will see further down this ebook, you will be able to ask questions and confirm your cleaning specifications with them.

The process of inviting several cleaning companies to bid for your cleaning contract – walking each company through your company’s specific cleaning requirements can be tedious and you may be tempted to rush the decision. Don’t!! Don’t let your excitement over making this decision off your to do list cause you to skip ahead to signing on the dotted line without having ever met your provider face to face. Instead, Make sure each cleaning company sales representative sees every room or space on the premises so he or she can provide you with a detailed quotation.

Mistake No. 3

Choosing a Cleaning Company Solely on Price

Essentially, the competition in the cleaning industry has developed into a no-win situation for both the clients and the cleaning companies. For years now, the PRICES have been driven down simply because it is so common to compete on a low-cost basis only. While price is undoubtedly an important part of your decision making process, it should not be the only factor to which you base your choice.

In the highly competitive world of Contract Cleaning it is tempting for a supplier to offer you a 'loaded' cleaning specification for very little charge. The service will normally start well and will deteriorate after a few months as the supplier looks for ways to make savings. There are two ways that a company like this can succeed..........they can either ask their staff to do some of the work for nothing, or they can miss a few things out and hope that you don't notice. "It is unwise to pay too much, but it is worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing that you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot - it cannot be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder it is well to add something for the risk you run. If you do that, you will have enough money to pay for something better"..........John Ruskin 1819 - 1900

The old adage, “you get what you pay for” really apply to this industry. When reviewing these quotes, critical questions must be asked. All other things being equal, which company offer the better value for my money? A considerably lower bid than the average for provision the same services should throw a red flag. It is not safe to assume that the price difference is the result of efficiency and slimmer profit margins. Find out how the lower bidder achieves such lower prices. Here’s the thing: with cost of living , salaries, cleaning chemicals, equipment, machinery and overheads constantly RISING while competition necessitates LOWERING the cost of cleaning, the end results is that something’s got to give. And that “something” has become the QUALITY of cleaning.

Quality in the form of:

  • Skimping on Staff Training
  • Using Lower quality cleaning products
  • Cutting back on work supervision and customer- support services
  • Take out certain aspect of your specification hoping you don’t notice.

Does this mean you should always pick the highest bidder? Of course not! An exceptionally high bid could be the result of inefficiently delivering services, charging you for extras you don’t need or to recoup a premium associated with being part of a national franchise.

At Roboclean we take the honest approach to a fair price. We take the view that every cleaning operation has a time value attached to it and therefore must contain an element of cost. As long as you agree with this concept we can design a cleaning service to fit your budget and the service will remain constant throughout the period of the contract. Of course, It’s impossible for a company to provide an outstanding service experience if they can’t afford quality employees, equipment, and training.

And this leads us to the 4th Mistake businesses make in sourcing cleaners for their premises.

Mistake No. 4

Overlooking the Cleaning Company’s Systems for Delivering on Its Promises

At this time you might have received your quotes with almost every one of the cleaning service provider promising excellent service and good customer support. But hey, you’re right in pondering about how they are going to deliver on this promise. It is indeed right at this time to know and don’t make the mistake of ignoring the company’s structure and systems they employ to deliver on their promises.

The size and structure of every cleaning company you choose greatly influence its flexibility, reliability and overall ability to deliver on its promises of outstanding services. For example, a small husband and wife operation might offer great rates and personable services, but lack the resources or manpower to ensure your account is not neglected under extenuating circumstances. Don’t get me wrong, such model may have its use with super small cleaning requirements. However, when it comes to big contracts, will they have back-up personnel to cover in a situation where one or more of their regular cleaner calls in sick or with personal emergency? In the case where you need extra cleaning at your facility due to emergency, can your prospective cleaning provider be able to manage the crisis in a timely manner? Will their resources cope?

On the contrary, do your cleaning requirement calls for a large national cleaning service chain? Typically, when you sign contract with the big players, they intern signs your contract to a third party franchisee in your area. These franchisees are normally individuals or small groups of individuals who pay a fee to obtain accounts through the national chain. While they do receive training, the national chains generally skimp on the supervision required to ensure that quality standards are being consistently met. Indeed, National chains may be a good choice for similarly large chain businesses with multiple facilities in multiple geographic regions. Aside from convenience of dealing with a centralized headquarters to service multiple facilities spread across the country, the account size of these businesses help ensure that their needs are prioritized and satisfied. This may leave geographically localised businesses with smaller account size influence to suffer.

To be able to ensure your prospective cleaning company can deliver on their promises, here are questions you should be asking:

  • Are you insured? (Ask to see the copy of the company’s insurance certificate. The best office cleaning companies should offer to show you all their insurance information before you sign anything.)
  • Who are the staff members that will actually be servicing my facility? Are they direct employees of the company? Sub-contractors? Franchisees?
  • Do you vet your employees? (Remember, the cleaning company’s staff will often be alone in your premises and responsible for locking up when they leave. It is therefore of paramount importance that all such employees are properly vetted and DBS checked before they are allowed into your premises.)
  • What kind of supervision or training, if any, is provided on site to staff members servicing your facility or to ensure that quality service promised is being delivered?
  • Does the company have contingency plans/staff available in the event of emergency to ensure that the services being provided is not interrupted?
  • If there is an emergency or problem that arises at your business, such as the need for an emergency carpet cleaning, are they equipped with the systems and staff to timely respond?
  • Do you have references? (Check at least three references.)
  • Do you clean any other buildings in my area? How long have you been in business?
  • What sets you apart from your competition?
  • Who Supplies the equipment and the cleaning products?
  • What other services do you provide besides regular office cleaning services?
  • Will you provide me with the same cleaning team?
  • What kind of quality assurance programme do you have?
  • How often will your management team visit?
  • How quickly will you resolve issues if there are any? (Top companies usually resolve issues with 24 hours and then follow up by phone or email in order to ensure you are satisfied with the final result.)

Frankly, if you know the attributes of a top professional cleaning company you will never make a mistake in picking up your best fit cleaning company for your premises. Your prospective cleaning provider possesses these attributes:

  • Insurance Cover
  • Excellent References from other companies
  • A range of services
  • Flexibility
  • Offer guarantees and cancellation clauses
  • Regular performance reviews
  • Proximity to your business
  • Reliability
  • Contract Support
  • Excellent Communication

Mistake No. 5

Neglecting to Ask for (or Follow Up) References

Just as you wouldn’t hire a new employee without first asking for and checking their references, you similarly shouldn’t hire a professional cleaning service provider without doing the same. Ask the cleaning company for references and then call those people. Any decent cleaning company out there should be able to name at least two or three relevant references from properties of similar size, value or in a similar industry. Don’t just accept the references at face value. Invest a little time to contact each reference provided to find out if they have had any issues with the prospective company in the past. If they did have any issues, how quickly were they resolved?

You may also ask the provided reference these questions

  • Were you satisfied with the service received from prospective company?
  • Did the provider deliver what they promised in terms of frequency and quality?
  • Have they had any complaints about the provider?
  • If they have had any complaint, were they satisfied with the janitorial company’s response in terms of timeliness and overall result?
  • Do they have any reservations in recommending the company to you?

Asking the right questions should alert you of any issues with the company’s performance, follow-through, integrity, and professional outlook.

Mistake No. 6

Failing to Closely Review the Final Contract Before Signing

Now that you have done all the due diligence, don’t make the mistake many businesses do – failing to closely check the final contract before the put pen to paper. As with any contract you enter into on your company’s behalf, don’t assume that the specific details of the service arrangement you have carefully negotiated are accurately reflected in the final agreement before signing. As with many contracts, service contracts are often standard boilerplate agreements with certain key terms modified on a customer on a customer-by-customer basis to reflect specific agreed upon details.

This may seem obvious but not everyone read contracts before signing them – an oversight they inevitably come to regret. Don’t make the same mistake! Take the time to read through the agreement. Have at least one person not involved in the negotiation process review the contract. Fresh eyes have a better chance at catching mistakes, inconsistencies and ambiguities than someone close to the process may miss. Moreover, the goal here is to avoid numerous potential headaches and ensure a successful partnership.

Your cleaning contract or agreement should include the following:

Length of service.

How long is the contract for? We look at a minimum of 12 months

Details of the cleaning service

What services will the cleaning company provide? When will these services be performed? How will it provide be performed? Detail the specific areas that must be cleaned.

The Cost.

A Cleaning company should be able to provide a clear outline of the costs involved. This is all part of the quoting procedure. The pricing structure needs to be very clear. Make sure both parties know what cleaning services are included in the quoted price and what services are considered ‘extra’.

Frequency of the cleaning

You will need to specify the time and days you would like your premises to be cleaned that will be convenient and serves your need. When we provide this information for our clients, we say something like these “We will have two operatives working two hours a day from 5pm until 7 pm, Monday to Friday” so the client knows they will receive four hours of cleaning a day every weekday. In addition, we provide detailed cleaning specification of the areas that are going to be cleaned on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

Who will supply the cleaning materials?

Most cleaning companies supply all their own cleaning supplies but it is still worth putting this detail into the contract to avoid the possibility of costly misunderstandings or disputes.

What will happen in case of disputes?

Specify in the contract what will happen if there’s any disagreement between you and the cleaning company. Ask for a 30-day cancellation clause to be included in the contract so that if you’re in any way dissatisfied with the service, you can cancel the contract without penalty.

The communication channels that will be used by you and the cleaning company.

How will you communicate? How often do you want to receive a cleaning evaluation from the cleaning company: weekly, monthly, or once every three months? Don’t leave this to chance, put it in writing.

And finally… The GUARANTEE!

Your provider should be able to offer you an iron clad guarantee of satisfaction. We do and if you are not completely satisfied with our service and we are not able to carry out a free re-clean, I personally guarantee not to charge you a penny! It is a bold way of conducting business and our clients love us for it.


  • Communicate your needs and expectations:
    Specify the cleaning service you require for your premises in as much detail as possible while you ask or Request for Quotes. Keep communication lines open to ensure any ambiguities are resolved and questions answered before providers begin submitting tenders.
  • Insist on an In-Person Meeting and a Walk-through your Premise:
    Preferably meet with someone with the day-to-day responsibility in the prospective cleaning company and not just sales staff. This is especially true if you are looking for services for an older building or building with unique features or needs.
  • Value is a more Important Metric than Price in the Final Decision:
    Scrutinise both very low and high bidders to ensure against measures taken to cut-cost which could harm the results delivered, or inefficiencies and unnecessary add-ons that could be inflating prices.
  • Systems and Structure for Delivering as Promised:
    A cleaning service company’s claims for superior services are only as good as its ability to deliver. To have confidence that you will receive what’s been promised, take time to investigate how they are structured, and what systems they use to deliver on their promises.
  • Don’t Take References at Face Value:
    Contact each reference and ask lots of questions. Good providers will be able to provide at least 2-3 references for facilities of similar size, industry or type as yours.
  • Review the Contract for Consistency, Clarity and Full-Disclosure:
    Careful review of the final proposed contract is essential to ensure that all terms specifically negotiated are included, that there are no inconsistent boilerplate terms, that there are no hidden fees or policies not previously discussed and that the expectations of both parties are spelled out clearly and unambiguously. Enlist an outside party to review with fresh eyes.


Choosing an office cleaning company isn't easy! It can be a daunting task as you diligently choose the right company that’s going to clean your premises to your expected standard. Why? With hundreds of different cleaning suppliers offering a puzzling array of services and products, deciding what type of cleaning support you need, can be confusing. In addition, as pressure is applied downward on pricing, it can be difficult to understand who and what represents the best value for your business.

From super-low prices and high-pressure sales to unqualified technicians and near-worthless information, how do you ever find a qualified, competent, professional Office cleaning Provider? You start by reading this "Consumer's Guide To Office Cleaning: 6 Costly Mistakes You MUST Avoid". In this fact filled guide, you'll discover how to avoid the six mistakes when choosing a contract Cleaning Provider as well as:

  • How to recognise the attributes of a professional cleaning company
  • Why you shouldn’t get a quote by phone
  • To consider the decision process
  • Why you shouldn’t judge cleaning companies solely on price
  • How to prepare your company’s cleaning specifications before getting a quote
  • What questions to ask
  • Why you must check references
  • Why you should consider your company’s future requirements
  • To do your research before signing anything
  • What your cleaning contract should cover
  • How to check the contract/agreement before signing it
  • How to review the results
  • Why you need a guarantee

This guide is specifically designed to help businesses who:

  • Aren’t looking for the cheapest in the market
  • Understand that their environment is important to their employees
  • Use their premises to sell
  • Are looking to make an informed decision
  • Are looking to hire the right company, not just any company
  • Looking to ensure reliable support

Our aim is to help you better understand your tasks here so that you can spot and hire the very best cleaning company for your premises. Therefore avoiding mistakes that can be costly to you and the business you represent. Now with this information, you can make an informed, intelligent decision. And if you have any questions about your tasks, you're invited to call our expert hotline 01344238000. We've dedicated our business to educating consumers and we'll be happy to help you in every way!

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