Q. What do you think about sub-contracting cleaning work from a large cleaning corporation?
A. It can be ok when you first start and actually need cleaning experience, but it does have its drawbacks. Here are some actual stories from my past. About 20 years ago I helped set up my first contractor in the business; serving as their consultant. Eventually the owner was doing so well he no longer needed my services. Later, I had seen a report that he had expanded to several million a year. A couple of years later I phoned him just to see how he was doing. He was working an hourly job and had lost his two big box accounts. One had gone out of business and the other was fickle (little or no loyalty to its contractors). Since he had put all of his eggs into two baskets; when his accounts went south, so did his entire business. Here is a guideline for all cleaning contractors: It can be unwise to allow one account to provide more than 30% of your income.
About six years ago a contractor out of L.A. called me to see if I would clean (subcontract) the carpet cleaning in about 5 Hollywood Video stores. I asked them what they were paying. They said 6 cents a square foot. I said, “Did you mean 16 cents?” which was the national average then. I politely declined by telling them that back in 1974, I was charging 8 cents a sq. ft. for commercial. The moral: always follow your own pricing models by knowing your break-even point and required profit on every potential job.
And finally, about 25 years ago, I agreed to sub- contract the floor and carpet care for a large New York Contractor. It included servicing several Dallas mall stores. About a month later several pails of floor finish and stripper showed up on my porch. It was payment for doing the labor. What a nice surprise. The moral: watch out who you take on as your partner. A solid marketing plan to canvas your trade area can land your own accounts. Then you can keep 100% of the gross. If you are looking for training materials, check out our JanBid Estimating Solutions and Janitorial Success marketing manual.
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