A bid is a request for proposals from businesses that can meet the needs of the employer.
It may be for a one-time job, a cleaning maintenance contract, or an annual janitorial contract. When you put in a bid, you have the chance to show the engineer or property manager that you have the skills and expertise to meet their needs at a price they can afford.
A solid janitorial business is always looking for new clients. The key to keeping your schedule full is to seek out opportunities to place bids on the most desirable jobs. One way to achieve this is by setting up a system to help you quickly bid and win new janitorial contracts.
Bid on Government Contracts
While bidding on business and private janitorial contracts is a great way to build your business, many small janitorial businesses overlook government contracts.
Learning how to bid on government contracts may seem intimidating because there is generally more paperwork involved. It helps to have a D-U-N-S number before you place your first bid. You can register at no cost and get your number on the Dun & Bradstreet website.
You can find government bid opportunities online. Official government sites end in .mil or .gov. You can search janitorial contracts up for bid by geographical location, job type, and posting date.
The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) program also helps small businesses grow by landing government contracts. You can register your janitorial business for free in just a few minutes.
How to Choose the Right Projects
Property managers that want a specific set of tasks completed on a timeline may be replacing a previous service.
If their job description is detailed, you'll know right away if you can handle the work and offer them a competitive price. Others may be more relaxed in their written requirements. This could mean that they'd like to see what's out there and are interested in how your business could uniquely meet their needs.
Janitorial cleaning bids vary greatly, so it's crucial to consider them carefully and give them individual attention.
Evaluate the Job Site
During your scheduled walk-through, ask about job site permits or any associated fees that you may need to include in your bid. Take careful notes about any potential costs that you should figure into the finished janitorial bid. Janitorial bids should include details about the job site to make it clear that you've taken their needs into consideration. If possible, take measurements and photograph the area. Note any potential problems or hazards that may need special attention.
Make sure you have the time, equipment, and staff to complete the work on time. Resist the urge to promise more than you can deliver to increase your chances of getting the work.
If the person taking you on the walk-through is knowledgeable, ask a few questions about the job. Are they seeking a replacement for a former contractor? What kind of timeline do they want? Is there a specific time of day that they prefer that you work? You can learn a lot about a job just by asking some friendly questions. The knowledge you gain could help you develop a bid that sets you apart from the competition and wins you the bid.
List Your Benefits to Get the Job
Offer a Competitive Price
You may need to do a bit of research to learn how much your competition charges for similar services, but it's worth your time to avoid being one of the highest bidders. Unless you offer a specific and sought-after service that others can't provide, it's better to fall in the middle to the low end of the bids when it comes to offering a competitive price.
When decision-makers place janitorial contracts up for bid, they want the job done right by someone they can trust. They want more than the lowest price. Make sure you include a clear justification for your price. If you charge more for certain services, offer details about how your clients benefit from the "extras" you provide.
Make Sure it's Worth Your Time
Take a close look at your current client list.
Identify the customers that are most profitable. What types of customers give referrals? Which are easiest (or most difficult) to work with? After you've put in a number of bids for janitorial services, you'll start to see patterns. Use your experience to identify your target market. Then, concentrate on expanding your business to include more of your most desired customer type.
When you are new and don't have a lot of janitorial contracts, it may be tempting to reduce your rates to win the bid. Be careful with this approach. There's no benefit to your business if the job pays so little that it's not worth your time.
Spend a small amount of time figuring out your "break-even" price. Add a percentage that you are comfortable with and call that your bottom dollar. Do not accept jobs that pay below that rate. If you start working for free, you'll burn out quickly. Keeping your janitorial business afloat means consistently making a profit.
Communicate Through Your Bid
When you bid on janitorial contracts, highlight your experience, recommendations, and include your business insurance information.
Remember, the people evaluating janitorial bids are looking for the thing that makes you stand out. While it could be an ultra-low rate, it's more likely that your experience, references, or dedication to perfection will put yours on their short-list. Think about what makes your janitorial business different than others, and focus on those attributes.
Janitorial cleaning bids should adhere to the job creator's requests completely. Show your future clients that you pay attention to the little things and are capable of delivering to their specifications by presenting an impeccable bid that answers every question.
Be sure to include your janitorial insurance Certificate of Insurance with your bid, so the decision-makers know you are covered with general liability insurance.