A Subcontractor’s Guide to Getting Their Own Janitorial Contracts

A Subcontractor’s Guide to Getting Their Own Janitorial Contracts

It’s not unusual for cleaning companies to subcontract for prime contractors (i.e. companies that hold the contract).  While that approach can help you get more jobs, why not earn 25-50% more by owning the contract?  Why wait for a prime contractor to send business your way? This guide provides some helpful tips if you want to start bidding on janitorial contracts yourself.

Subcontractors know more about bidding than they think:

When you subcontract, you already have a good idea of how primes bid jobs (and what you could charge for those jobs). Primes have to make money on the contract, so they will usually mark up their price by 25-50% over what they pay you to do the job.  So, why not go after those contracts and earn more than you are now?

Subcontractors know cleaning:

If you’ve been subcontracting for a while, you are pretty familiar with production rates, i.e. how long it takes to do certain jobs.  You know how to keep costs down in order to turn a profit.  You probably know more about the technical aspects of cleaning than many prime contractors do.

You’ll need experience bidding yourself:

To bid on and close cleaning contracts yourself, you’ll need some practice.  Listen to what the prospect is saying when you start doing walkthroughs.  You’re there to solve their problems.  You have to find out why they’re changing companies and explain why you’re a better choice than other cleaning services, i.e. what differentiates you from other companies in your area.

Writing proposals is easier today: 

When you start bidding on jobs you’ll need to write an effective proposal.  There are inexpensive software programs available to help you do that.  It’s not as complicated as you think.  Proposal templates are available that can be modified to fit your needs.

 Learn from your bidding mistakes:

When you start bidding on jobs, you’re bound to make mistakes.  You may not close the majority of the cleaning contracts you bid on.   When you don’t win a job, try to find out why.

Developing a rapport with the decision maker can help (they will sometimes tell you why you didn’t get the job if you ask).  Knowing the reason you didn’t win the contract will improve your bidding (and sales) skills.

Price matching can help:

If you are having trouble closing accounts, you can offer to match your competitor’s price for “comparable services.” Ask to see proof of your competitor’s bid when you price match (seeing your competitor’s proposal is another benefit to this approach).

If you can’t match the price, it gives you an opportunity to explain why your price is higher. It might be better to walk away from a job that is priced too low.

When you’ve closed a contract by matching price, you often find that you can turn a reasonable profit at the lower price. However, not all price matches work out (that’s the downside to this approach). In either case, you’ll learn more about the bidding process and will get better at it going forward.

Pipeline sales:

Just because you didn’t win the contract, doesn’t mean that you’ve lost the job forever.  Keep records of your quotes and develop an email marketing (or calling) campaign to stay in touch with those businesses. Remember, there’s a lot of turnover in the cleaning industry and the account you failed to close today could become your customer tomorrow.

Go after the same contracts the primes are bidding on: 

When you start going after contracts yourself, you’ll need a reliable source of qualified leads to bid on jobs. While many cleaning companies rely on outbound strategies like cold calling and appointment setting to generate leads, that approach often provides less qualified leads that are more difficult to close.  Inbound marketing strategies like SEO and PPC can deliver a steady stream of qualified leads.

You will need to make an investment in online marketing to see results. Look for a company that has experience in janitorial marketing.

Qualified leads generated from Internet marketing want to hire you now:

Leads generated through online marketing strategies such as SEO are easier to close.  Decision makers contact you when they’re ready to hire. Start bidding on contracts as they become available in your area. Get your own cleaning contracts. Call Local Jani today for a free consultation.