How to get commercial cleaning contracts
Gaining new customers for your commercial cleaning company is crucial to the success of your commercial cleaning business, as is making sure you’re legally and financially secure. This includes janitorial, housekeeping, a pressure washing operation, or any other cleaning service.
Let’s take a look at how you can attract new customers, obtain the right business licenses, and see what kinds of insurance you’ll need.
What is a commercial cleaning contract?
A contract for commercial cleaning services is a document that outlines the parties involved, the services you’ll provide, when you’ll provide them, and how and when you’ll be paid.
Contracts are much preferable to handshake deals, as a contract spells out what both sides expect of each other and reduces the chance of a disagreement.
It’s also a good idea to review your contracts on occasion and to update them if your scope of services changes. If clients want you to clean their offices more frequently, you’ll need to make sure this is reflected in a new or amended office cleaning contract.
A cleaning contract might include:
- The dates and times of when you or your staff will be on the premises
- The types of cleaning jobs to be done, and any exclusions (windows, floors, dishes, etc.)
- The number of people who will perform the cleaning
- How long the contract or agreement will be valid for
- Payment terms, including the amount and timing of payment and any late fees if payment is not received on time
- Contact information for both parties
How do I find clients for my cleaning business?
Finding new clients for your cleaning business might seem like a daunting task, but with the right marketing strategy, you can establish an online presence and build connections with local businesses faster than you might expect.
Here are a few ways you can find clients and grow your business:
Create a website
Having your own website is a must for any commercial business owner who wants to be taken seriously. Fortunately, tools like WordPress make it easy to accomplish. You might consider asking a technology savvy friend or family member to help or hiring your own developer to get you started. If someone looks for your business online, having your own website can make it easy for search engines to find you.
Use social media
Facebook and other platforms offer a free and easy way to establish a presence online and use targeted advertising to reach potential clients in your area, and it’s a lot easier than cold calling.
Pursue online reviews
Yelp, Facebook, and Angi (formerly Angie’s List) are just three examples of websites where companies can post information about themselves and solicit reviews. Asking your satisfied customers to post testimonials can provide a significant boost to your new cleaning business.
Even in the technology age, a word-of-mouth campaign is still an effective way to promote your business. If it seems awkward to ask your customers, family, and friends for referrals, you might consider giving them a few business cards and ask them to keep you in mind if they know of anyone who might need your services.
Network with related businesses
Connect with realtors and managers
If a home, office, or apartment is being sold or leased it could present a new opportunity for your business, so getting to know people in your local real estate community could be a huge asset.
If you perform house cleaning, a residential realtor might promote your services to home buyers and sellers, including Airbnb property owners. If your janitorial services include office cleaning services and commercial businesses, then property managers and office managers might help you acquire new janitorial contracts.
Join local groups
Your local chamber of commerce will likely offer networking opportunities where you can spread the word about your business. Attending these and other networking events in your area can be a great way to gain customers.
How do I obtain more contracts for my cleaning business?
There are several things you can do to increase your chances of getting more contracts. Let's take a look at some strategies:
Do your research
If you want to attract new customers and succeed in the cleaning industry, you might start by scoping out the competition. You should research things like:
- What are the other cleaning services in your area like?
- What services do they provide, and how well do they perform?
- What’s their online presence like, and do they have favorable reviews?
- What kind of prices do they charge?
- What are their service contracts like?
- How do they promote themselves? Social media? Facebook or Google ads?
The Internet can be a huge source for this information, as well as any potential client. You might ask prospective customers what their cleaning needs are, how they’re being met, and if they might consider hiring you instead.
Your friends, family, and business contacts might be willing to help you with this. A friend might ask her employer about what kind of cleaning services the employer uses, what they charge, and to offer your company as an alternative.
Create a marketing plan
You should also create your own marketing plan. This doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal. It could be as simple as an outline of what you offer, the types of clients you want to attract, and the best way to reach them.
Some key things to consider are what your specialty is and what sets you apart from the competition. Do you use only environmentally friendly cleaning products? Do you specialize in cleaning homes, offices, or certain types of spills?
Business cards and flyers can be an effective marketing tool, especially if you can convince your customers to help promote your business. You might offer a discount to an existing customer, such as a free day of cleaning, if one of their referrals results in a new contract for your business.
Prepare an elevator speech
Have an “elevator speech” ready that highlights what your business has to offer. It should be succinct and to the point so you could deliver it to someone in a short elevator ride. Make sure you practice this, so it seems like a natural conversation, instead of a sales pitch. You might ask friends, family, or your existing customers to give you feedback on your approach.
What licensing do you need to get cleaning contracts?
When you start a cleaning business, you’ll likely need a business license or two.
Many states require a cleaning business license, a certificate of registration, a vendor’s license, or a seller’s permit. Regardless of what it’s called in your state, such licenses allow you to sell taxable goods and services in your state.
If your company name is something other than your legal name, you’ll likely need a Doing Business As license. Even if not required, a DBA license has many benefits for you, including:
- Opening bank accounts under your DBA name
- Signing contracts and accept payments using your DBA name
- Prohibiting others from using the same business name
- Letting potential customers know that you’re a legitimate business
You might also need a business license from your local government, so check with your municipal or county clerk’s office on what the requirements are.
What types of insurance and bonding do I need for my cleaning business?
You may need to show proof of insurance and bonding to gain customers for your cleaning business.
Janitorial/surety bonds may be required to secure contracts, especially with larger clients. A janitorial or surety bond is a type of financial contract between your business, your customer, and the insurance company that issued the bond. The bond stipulates that the insurance company will reimburse the client if you fail to deliver on a contract for services.
You’ll also need business insurance for cleaning companies. Let's take a look at the different options:
General liability insurance
General liability insurance insures you against common business risks like customer injuries, customer property damage, and advertising injury. It’s often the first insurance policy bought by small business owners.
Commercial property insurance
Commercial property insurance pays to repair or replace stolen, lost, or damaged business property. It covers your business’s physical location and other assets, like equipment.
Business owner's policy (BOP)
A business owner’s policy (BOP) bundles your general liability insurance and commercial property insurance. It typically costs less than if the policies were bought separately.
Workers' compensation insurance
Workers’ compensation insurance is required in most states for businesses with employees. It covers the medical costs and lost wages for yourself and your employees for work-related accidents and illnesses, which your personal health insurance is unlikely to cover.
Commercial auto insurance
Commercial auto insurance covers your legal bills, medical expenses, and property damage if one of your business-owned vehicles is in an accident.
Hired and non-owned auto insurance
Hired and non-owned auto insurance covers your personal, leased, or rented vehicles when used for work purposes. If you’re in an accident while visiting client office buildings or picking up cleaning supplies, your personal auto insurance is unlikely to cover you for a work-related mishap.
Commercial umbrella insurance
Compare cleaning business insurance quotes from trusted carriers with Insureon
Complete Insureon’s easy online application today to compare insurance quotes from top-rated U.S. carriers. You can also consult with an insurance agent on your business insurance needs. Once you find the right types of coverage for your small business, you can begin coverage in less than 24 hours.