— By Kyle Orlowski —
Top 5 questions retailers should ask when evaluating janitorial vendors.
A spotless facility shows employees and customers that you take pride in your business and are committed to providing an outstanding customer experience. The best janitorial and facilities maintenance companies offer a wide range of services at a competitive price, but those aren’t the only factors to consider.
How do you find the provider that’s the right fit for your business? Here’s a look at the top questions you should ask to determine whether the janitorial and facilities maintenance provider you’re considering is the right fit for your organization.
Question 1: What Services Do You Offer?
Facilities maintenance companies typically offer a mix of janitorial services and scheduled maintenance programs, but offerings can vary widely from company to company. Choosing a single provider with a robust service offering enables you to get everything you need from one vendor. This streamlines accounting and helps you develop an ongoing relationship with your service provider.
A company that has built a relationship with you over time and knows your facilities inside and out is better equipped to serve as a trusted adviser. The right company can anticipate maintenance issues and proactively offer new products and solutions that will save you time and money down the road.
Ask providers if they offer janitorial services like carpet care, power washing, window washing or restroom sanitation. Also, be sure to ask if they provide facilities maintenance services such as painting, building inspections, filter replacement or scheduled maintenance programs.
Question 2: What Is Your Impact on the Environment?
Using service providers that are committed to the environment is a priority for many of today’s environmentally conscious businesses. Some organizations even require that vendors be CIMS Green Building certified. To be CIMS Green Building certified, a product, service or company must meet rigorous Green Seal standards. The certification typically takes 6 months and includes a site inspection.
Always ask what kinds of chemicals and cleaning solutions your facilities maintenance company uses and if it has responsible practices in place for environmental protection and sustainability. Make sure it’s not just a “green policy” and that it actually follows approved Green Seal protocols.
Environmentally conscious companies use Green Seal-certified products and supplies made of recycled materials whenever possible. They also recycle equipment such as batteries and scrubbers. Check to see whether the company uses equipment that is energy-efficient with HEPA technology and whether it has day-to-day programs in place to reduce its overall energy consumption.
Question 3: What Is Your Employee Screening Process?
Facility maintenance staff will have after-hours access to your store or business, so it is critical that they be trustworthy. Ask if the provider you are considering exclusively hires subcontractors or if they hire employees directly. And always inquire about standard background checks and drug screening protocols for employees in the field.
Highly regarded janitorial and facilities maintenance companies conduct pre-employment screening on all employees. If your company’s standards require specialized screening, a reputable provider should have the flexibility and resources to meet your needs.
Question 4: How Often Will Management Visit our Buildings?
It is important that field operations managers visit your site on a regular basis. They will ensure that the job is being done to the highest standard of quality and can address any issues you may have in person.
Ask how often management will visit your facility. You will want a provider that hires seasoned professionals who have the ability to diagnose issues on-site. Inquire about the layers of supervision. How will they ensure that your expectations are met?
When you have a maintenance or janitorial issue that needs to be resolved or an emergency situation that requires immediate attention, who will be your point of contact? Who should you call during and after business hours? Ask if the company you are considering will provide you with a single point of contact. That way, you will not be forced to call all over the country to get in touch with someone or, worse, be handed off to a contact center when you need help.
A single point of contact within your vendor’s organization that is dedicated to your account will help you manage and resolve concerns quickly and without hassle.
Question 5: What Do Customers Say About Your Work and Customer Service?
Integrity is probably the single most important qualification for any janitorial and facilities maintenance company (or any vendor in general, for that matter).
When it comes to choosing the partner that is right for you, honesty is key. Are they upfront about costs? Is the actual amount the same as the estimate you received? Did they do what they said they would do? Independent and family-owned companies take their reputations very seriously because their livelihoods literally depend on it.
When evaluating service providers, ask for references from clients who have worked with the company for a long time. Read online reviews. Pay special attention to reviews from established business customers rather than obscure shops that don’t have their own email server. (A business reviewer with an AOL or Yahoo business email address, for example, is often less trustworthy than one with an address from the company’s own domain.)
When employees and customers come into your facility, they should enjoy a clean, healthy environment that reflects your company’s values. Choosing the right janitorial and facilities maintenance partner helps ensure that you are protecting your brand and delivering an exceptional customer experience.
— Kyle Orlowski is vice president of sales and marketing with Prestige Maintenance USA. He has spent the majority of his more than 14-year professional working career in the retail sector and has a diverse background in information technology, analytics, marketing, account management and sales leadership within the jan/san chemical and labor industries.