How to get commercial cleaning contracts: 5 tips to secure new clients

How to get commercial cleaning contracts: 5 tips to secure new clients

Kim Mercado
By Kim Mercado
Oct 13, 2023
8 min read

If you run a cleaning business, you want to learn how to get commercial cleaning contracts to bolster your client list. It’s a competitive landscape, and customers move quickly if they’re not satisfied. But if your small cleaning business can demonstrate professionalism, you’ll be in a position to attract and retain more clients.

In this guide we’ll cover:

Licensing and insurance requirements for a commercial cleaning business

Starting a commercial cleaning business is fairly simple compared to other businesses that need large equipment or a commercial space. To take on cleaning jobs, you’ll need licensing and insurance.

Get your business license

To get office cleaning contracts or other types of contracts, make sure your cleaning service has a business license so you can operate legally.

Each state has different license requirements to conduct business, but most states will require a vendor’s license and a “doing business as” (DBA) license. Check with your state’s department of revenue or taxation authority. You should also check with your local city or country licensing board.

Operating without a license can result in step fines or even jail time. Getting your license and providing it to customers shows that you are a proper professional.

Carry adequate insurance

Every business has risk. A commercial cleaning company runs the risk of a customer slip and fall or employee property damage while cleaning. Cleaning business insurance gives potential clients reassurance that your business is financially responsible and trustworthy.

Most cleaners can benefit from liability insurance such as:

What is a commercial cleaning contract?

A contract is an agreement between the cleaning business and the customer outlining the services provided. It will typically include (but is not limited to):

  • Contact information: The names of the parties involved with contact information
  • Scope of services: Work schedules and cleaning duties
  • Employment information: Duration, renewals and termination of employment
  • Payment details: Payment terms, due dates, payment methods and more

Additionally, the contract should include other details, such as how to handle supplies. For example, will the customer provide trash bin liners or will your company have to supply these? Or if the customer provides cleaning products on-site, who do you contact when supplies run low?

The benefits and challenges of cleaning service contracts

While contracts for commercial cleaning can be lucrative and good for longer-term work, it’s wise to know what you’re getting yourself into before signing a contract.

Benefits to commercial cleaning contracts:

  • A steady, reliable stream of income.
  • The ability to upsell more services to existing clients.
  • They act as a reference and marketing tool to help secure contracts with new clients.

Challenges of commercial cleaning contracts:

  • Lots of competition for the same customers.
  • Many customers don’t want to commit to a long-term service contract until they’ve had experience with your service.
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5 tips to bid (and win) more commercial cleaning contracts

These tips can help you to build a name and get clients for your cleaning business:

1. Find your target customer

Small businesses, offices, factories, industrial shops, schools, hospitals and more all need cleaning services. They all have specific cleaning needs that could require specialized products. Or, they may have to meet specific Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) codes.

Develop a niche and market to that specific needs. Set yourself up as an “expert” in those needs and requirements to differentiate your business from competitors.

2. Research your competition

Make sure you know who your competitors are and what they offer commercial business. National franchises such as Jani-King, Servicemaster, Molly Maid etc. have a lot of financial resources and staff.

To compete effectively against them, you will need to convince a business owner that your products and services are better. Are you more experienced in their industry or the type of cleaning they need? Do you use eco-friendly products? Do you have better customer service? Look for ways to make your business stand out.

3. Develop an online presence

Think about the last time you made a purchase, booked travel or made a dinner reservation. Did you do a little research online or read some reviews? Chances are, you did; and so are your potential clients. They’re searching for a cleaning service provider and/or evaluating your business.

Create a digital presence so people can find your business via search or social media.

Some marketing strategies to consider:

  • Build a website where you can market your services to your specific audience.
  • Post positive customer testimonials on social media and your website as social proof.
  • Encourage happy clients to review your business on review sites like Yelp.
  • Create a blog, FAQ page or answer common questions on social pages.

4. Network everywhere

Winning commercial contracts is often about networking and getting your name out there in your town. Potential clients are all over the place; they just don’t know you yet.

Depending on your specific niche, you can start cold-calling or asking to meet with business owners, facilities supervisors or office managers. While they may not need work at the moment, they may know of someone who does.

You could also try to partner with other local businesses to help build your network. For instance, local real estate offices have contacts with other commercial spaces. And apartment complexes can help you gain referrals.

If you do have a meeting, make sure to write down as many details as you can and ask questions about the job so you fully understand what’s expected. That way, when you put together your bid for the job, you can feel confident that you’re tailoring your services to the customer.

5. Join a professional trade association

Join a national trade association to prove your professionalism and build client trust. The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association (ISSA) or International Janitorial Cleaning Services Association (IJCSA) offer cleaning businesses connection with other professionals and some job leads.

Additionally, an association offers insight and information from other businesses in the same industry. It can help you stay abreast of industry news. And it can offer your business discounts on business supplies and services. To further bolster your professionalism, some also offer training and certification for businesses and employees.

How NEXT helps you grow your commercial cleaning business

NEXT helps cleaning businesses ensure they’re only paying for the cleaning insurance they need.

Here’s how we keep business insurance easy to manage: Get a quote, customize your insurance package and get a certificate of insurance in less than 10 minutes. The certificate is accessible 24/7, so you can show it to potential clients anytime you need to.

If you need any help, our U.S.-based, licensed insurance professionals are standing by.

Start a free quote with NEXT.

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