Let’s suppose you’re in the market and are looking for bids to have your offices, gym, or commercial office space cleaned. You have been disillusioned over the years after trying several different service providers to find that they start out great then after time the service level drops and you become frustrated to the point where you go out looking for bids. Maybe the next one will be better than the last?

Or let’s suppose your brand new to the idea that it may be time to have a commercial cleaning company service your office and you do not know where to begin. This blog is for you! Choosing the right service provider takes some effort but finding the right one will definitely be worth the effort. let’s start by explaining the different types of commercial cleaning companies that you may encounter during the bidding process. I break them down like this.

National companies (or the mega companies): These are your big boys. these companies will typically service national contracts. they will have many levels of their management staff. They are not afraid to take a loss on some jobs because they will make it up on other jobs. Most are publicly traded. they answer to their shareholders.

PROS: for the large business like high rise buildings, airports, and national contracts these are great. because they can handle the number of employees needed to service that particular contract.
CONS: You will only be dealing with managers which for the most part are not that invested in your happiness or service level. They will have a high turn over rate in their employees and most times you will have a different employee cleaning your office throughout the course of your time. You the customer are just another number. They are defined by the volume of business they have. Most times the response time to a customers dissatisfaction goes unanswered for some time.

Franchise cleaning companies: this became popular for a period of time. they’re selling point is the fact that you will have an “owner” cleaning your business. These franchise cleaning companies sell a business package to their prospective new franchisee. For example, let’s say Tom wants to make 5000 dollars a month. The Franchise will sell them a business at or around 4 times that amount. The franchise will equip them with some equipment and give them a nominal training period. That franchise cleaner can use the franchisers name.

PROS: Sometimes the model works and you will get a heavily invested cleaner because there is a greater risk for that cleaner to lose his or hers hefty investment.
CONS: What the franchise company doesn’t tell you is that legally in Washington State that franchise company can have no span of control over that cleaner/owner. The Department of Labor and Industries in the State of Washington several years back did a big sweep on these franchise companies fining them for getting around L&I payments. Another con is most times these franchise cleaners don’t speak English very well (that is why they pay someone else to find their business) and communicating with them can be difficult at best! Another downfall to this model is the cleaner that cleans your office or commercial space if they get sick or injured the franchise company cant put anyone in your office to replace them because that cleaner “owns” that contract. I am not a big fan of this model primarily because I have seen it abused in egregious ways. Here is what they will do. Remember our example of Tom investing 20 thousand dollars to make 5 thousand a month in business? So what they will tell you the customer is if you are not happy with your service all you have do is write them a letter requesting a new franchise cleaner. they will take that job right out from under that cleaner and turn around and sell it to someone else. Well, I don’t know about you but 20 thousand dollars to me is a lot of money and for most of these cleaners it is their lifelong savings invested.

owner- operator: these cleaning companies can range from a few customers to several hundred. they can also range from the owner cleaning, one employee or up to 50 or 60 employees. The owners are typically hands on. They may do the sales or have a few salespeople. It really depends on how well the owner-operator model is run and who is running it. this is the model that Cleanstart has. Both owners are heavily invested. We train, do the sales, and communicate with our valued customers. We always start out a new customer with both owners at the night or day of the start date and we make sure your office is detailed to the highest level. Once this is done our highly trained employees maintain your space and you will always deal with an owner when or if an issue occurs. Our motto is call, email, or text and we will get in touch with you as soon as we receive your correspondence. If you decide to have an owner-operator based cleaning company bid on your space ask some questions during the bidding process to find out the character and quality of that sales associate or the owner doing the sales. Really it comes down to your “gut” on who you choose. You want to be asking questions to get a feel for what type of person they are and what kind of business they run. The character is the cornerstone of any business.

Give us a call, send us an email or fill out the online contact form for a FREE quote today! (253) 921-2593  


ma & Pa cleaning company: Much like an owner-operator business model with a few exceptions. Typically these companies are run by an individual or husband and wife team. Usually very small with only a few customers. I have been on bids before where the potential customer showed me what the previous companies “business” card was. A napkin with their name and phone number written on it.

Pros: you will be dealing with an owner. Most times the owner is accessible. Primarily cheaper than the competition.

Cons: their knowledge base is low. Many of these companies could not refinish your floors or have your carpets cleaned you would be forced to find another service provider to do that for you. Many times these “ma & pas” don’t have much experience bidding so you may get a low bid but in time they find out it’s not making them a profit and the service level decreases. If the owner is injured or sick they most likely don’t have anybody to replace them and you are stuck with either missed cleans or having to look for another service provider. Most times for these companies it is supplemental income and they are not looking for ways to grow or improve upon techniques or industry trends.

To conclude as I mentioned before ask these service providers questions during the bidding process. Get to know something about them. Connect on a deeper level and go with what feels right in your “gut”. Don’t always opt for the lowest price but find a number that works within your budget. Usually out of 3 to 4 bids somewhere in the middle regarding pricing is a safe bet. Finding the right commercial cleaning company for your space has a lot to do with the ability to develop a good relationship with the company you decide upon. I hope this helps in your quest for finding a great service provider for you.

Article was written by Caleb Ferling- coowner of cleanstartcferling@thecleanstart.com

Give us a call, send us an email or fill out the online contact form for a FREE quote today! (253) 921-2593  

Cleanstart has over 20 years of experience providing PNW commercial cleaning services for a variety of industries and businesses of all types and our highly knowledgeable staff has the expertise needed to do the job right!

Our full range of commercial floor cleaning and restorationoffice cleaning & maintenancewindow cleaning; final clean servicespressure washing; and overall building cleaning services are competitively priced, fully insured, and come with quick response times! We service the following PNW areas: Auburn, Bellevue, Bremerton, Factoria, Fife, Gig Harbor, Lakewood, Olympia, Puyallup, Renton, Seattle, Tacoma, Tukwila, King County, Kitsap County, Pierce County, and Thurston County.

5009 Pacific Hwy E unit 17 Fife, WA 98424 • Phone: 253.921.2593 • Email: cferling(@)thecleanstart.com