Opportunity for your cleaning company to thrive
If you’ve been running a cleaning business for a while, or even if you’re just starting out, you might have thought about cleaning tenders as a way to win more work and grow your business. Whether your core business is commercial cleaning, office cleaning, car cleaning, window cleaning or graffiti removal, a fantastic way to expand your business is by winning a cleaning tender. Cleaning is a service that is regularly outsourced, for example by schools, councils, hospitals, offices, fleet management companies, universities and housing organisations to name a few. This provides a regular stream of opportunities for cleaning tenders and therefore significant prospects for business growth.
So how do you make the most of these opportunities?
In most cases, your experience will be in management and provision of cleaning services, not in procurement or writing tender responses; so how do you make sure that the bid you submit is as good as it can be? There are several key areas to consider when it comes to winning a cleaning tender; this blog will take you through them step by step to help you to write a winning response.
What does the buyer want?
For all cleaning tenders you will need a thorough understanding of what exactly the buyer is looking for. Read all the documentation associated with the tender. Check floor plans or surface areas (e.g. of windows) if applicable. Is any specialist cleaning required? Understand whether the cleaning must take place during certain hours (e.g. before school/after office hours). Check whether any security clearances are necessary, or staff background checks. If the buyer has a current service, is it provided by an in-house team or is it already outsourced to another contractor? Are they having problems with that service and if so, what are they? Think about how you can address those problems. Wherever possible arrange a site visit so you can gain a full understanding of the premises to be cleaned and talk to staff on the ground about what works well/what isn’t working. The cleaning tender process will also enable you to ask questions for clarification, use this opportunity to ensure the service you provide covers every requirement.
A high quality service
Whatever the buyer’s requirements are, they will want a high quality service delivery for their cleaning tenders. They don’t want to waste time and effort dealing with problems and complaints and poor quality cleaning. You will need to demonstrate to the buyer that not only is your cleaning service of high quality, but that you can maintain this consistently over the course of the contract. Think about what processes you have in place for monitoring your service and your team. What audits do you perform? Can you explain how you ensure a full complement of staff turn up to work each shift and how you ensure they clean to a high standard in the time allowed? Do you need to improve anything (e.g. introduce new technology) before tendering for work? If there is a problem, do you have consistent, well understood processes in place to deal with it? E.g. if a buyer finds some unsatisfactory work, what do they do to report it and how will you resolve it? What do you do if a staff member doesn’t turn up to work? Do you have relevant industry accreditations such as British Institute of Cleaning Science, Federation of Window Cleaners, CHAS, SafeContractor, ISO9001, ISO 14001 etc to demonstrate that you are low risk?
Linked with quality of service, you will need to demonstrate that your staff are fully trained in their roles, follow all your policies and procedures and have any necessary qualifications where applicable. Do you have specific induction training for staff who join the company? Is any mandatory training repeated annually? How do you ensure staff know what to do on a new site? If you don’t maintain a staff training matrix showing training completed and due dates of future training, consider creating one and ensure it is regularly maintained.
Health and safety
By its very nature, cleaning is a service with risks associated with it. You’ll need to demonstrate robust Health and Safety processes and procedures, including risk assessments and method statements for all tasks undertaken, COSHH procedures and compliance with RIDDOR. The buyer will want to be sure that the cleaning service will be carried out with minimum risk to both your employees and their employees, along with anyone else on site and the general public. This may cover, for example, working at height, working in confined spaces, lone working, protecting the public, manual handling, asbestos awareness or accidents and emergencies. This may also involve working around children and vulnerable adults (e.g. schools) or patients in care (e.g. hospitals, care homes), which requires suppliers to have specific processes like Safeguarding in place. Make sure your Health and Safety policy is up to date, that you have other appropriate policies in place, and they are all reviewed regularly.
Any buyer will want assurances that the cleaning company they use has a robust environmental awareness and operates sustainably. You will probably need to supply your environmental policy and procedures. Can you describe all the ways your business operates with the environment in mind? Think about water usage, environmentally friendly consumables, recycling, chemical-free solutions, staff training in proper product usage, electricity usage, and operating a ‘greener’ fleet (e.g. electric vehicles, regular servicing and maintenance, route management). Providing real figures regarding environmental impact will help your tender e.g. how much water do you use/save by following your procedures? What’s your carbon footprint? How much has your new dosing system reduced the use of cleaning fluids?
Evidence is key to winning cleaning tenders. You need to support all your responses with as much evidence as you can, particularly if you’re a small business competing against bigger companies. If you don’t already have some customer testimonials, start collecting them. Use facts and figures from your previous experience to support your bid.