|THE 7 SIMPLE QUESTIONS TO ASK
CLEANING SERVICE CONS AND RIP-OFFS
Con and Rip-Off #1
Companies claiming they cleaned your carpet with the hot water extraction method, sometimes referred to as “steam cleaning”
which involves the use of a water extraction unit mounted in a van or a portable hot water extraction unit. This is the preferred
and recommended method from major carpet mills such as Shaw Industries and carpet fiber producers such as DuPont when
having it down once a year. Bonnet and encapsulation cleaning is a low moisture maintenance and interim maintenance
cleaning. It is an ideal recommended cleaning method for interim carpet maintenance. There is a big difference in prices for
these services. Bonnet and encapsulation is almost half the price of hot water extraction. It has been known in the cleaning
industry that many companies will tell the customer they did a carpet clean. But really did a encapsulation or bonnet cleaning
and charged the customer the price of Hot water extraction.
Con and Rip-Off #2
Unscrupulous companies charging for complete restorative stripping and refinishing services to hard floor areas and not really
performing the service correctly. It is a largely guarded secret in the cleaning industry that if the floor to be cleaned is in fairly
good condition it can be “scrubbed” and waxed rather than “stripped” and waxed.
What is the difference between “stripping” and “scrubbing”?
Plenty!! half the time and cost. First of all stripping a floor is a very labor intensive task with usually very expensive floor
equipment and chemicals being used. All of the floor finish is completely removed from the floor with these machines and
chemicals, rinsed and then speed dried. Then one coat of sealer is laid, and a minimum of 3 to 4 coats of floor finish is laid in
layers on the floor. It usually takes about 30 minutes for dry time between each coat. As you can tell this is no quick job. On
the other hand a scrub and wax is much different. There is usually only one piece of equipment needed and it is very quick.
The floor is simply scrubbed with a neutral floor cleaning solution, such as the solution used for regular daily mopping, then it
is allowed to dry and the floor finish is applied. Usually about 1 to 2 coats of finish are necessary because the scrubbing and
cleaning only removes the top layer of soil and dirty floor finish. The only labor intensive item involved in a scrub and wax is
waiting on the floor finish to dry!
However, in certain circumstances a scrub and wax can be recommended. These circumstances could be a quick fix for a
facility that is expecting guests and does not have time for a complete strip and wax. The important thing to remember here is
that you should know what you are paying for and what you are getting. If a contractor is honest they will tell you if you can get
by with a scrub and wax. This is very important considering a strip and wax is normally 2 times the price of a scrub and wax.
Simple questions you want to ask a prospective Janitorial Cleaning Service provider before handing over those keys to your
1. Does your company have employees?
Reason: If the company does not have any employees and they get ill or have an accident, and we all know eventually
everyone does get sick occasionally. If this was to happen, and it will happen, you will be left without a cleaner on the spot
without notice. If they were to have a car accident or break a leg and where to be out long term, it could be weeks till you get
another company to take over.
2. How long has your company been in business?
Reason: You want someone that has an established business for at least 5 years, who have been through most of the trial
and error period. You definitely do not want your building becoming an experiment field for someone to practice cleaning and
using chemicals. It’s good to see new companies open and succeed. But unfortunately one of the bad things in the cleaning
industry is there is no license requirements and it is a low cost start up business. So you have many people trying to start a
janitorial company that are not qualified or even close to being capable of managing a business. In the cleaning industry over
90% fail within the first 5 years, then in the second 5 years 90% of that 10% fail.
3. Does your company have liability insurance, bonded and carry workers compensation and can you provide
us with a certificate of all insurance?
Reason: Most business owners would agree that liability insurance is one of the basic costs of doing business. As responsible
business owners, they have budgeted for the appropriate coverage as a precautionary measure in the event of a loss—
especially a catastrophic loss. However, there are a few optimistic souls who think of business insurance as an option. Workers
compensation for employees who are injured on the job have an absolute right to medical care for any injury, and in many
cases monetary payments to compensate for resulting temporary or permanent disabilities. The last thing you want is a
cleaning company who has employees that are not covered under workers compensation to get hurt in your building. If a law
suit was to come about from an injury, attorneys are well known for going after the one with the deepest pockets. If a person
does not care about their company and employees by having accurate insurance, they definitely are not going to care about
their customers either.
4. What type of training is provided to your cleaning personnel? Can your company demonstrate a training
manual used in training the cleaners?
Reason: Training employees is very important in getting a quality job done in a safe manner. Quality is produced by
employees who have been well trained. At RJ Cleaning Service Inc our employees go through a two week vigorous training
process, our custodian training manual is seventy pages long. We want to make sure our cleaners are not just cleaners, but
professional custodians who take pride in taking care of our client’s buildings and deliver quality that produces value to our
customers. So it is important that you not only ask them about their training, but have them show proof of their training
5. What type of safety training is provided to your cleaning personnel? Can your company show us your safety
manual used in safety procedures?
Reason: The importance of safety in the work place can’t be over exemplified. Adaptation of safety measures not only ensures
safety of the life of the janitorial workers but also to the client’s personnel and their family dependents. A safety training
program gives the employees the knowledge they need to complete their jobs while remaining safe at all times. The knowledge
an employee gains from a safety training program is the key to a safe workplace. Also insurance claims are liable to rejections
if safety requirements are not being complied with. At RJ Cleaning Service we take safety seriously. Our safety program
manual is 86 pages long and is written specifically for the cleaning industrial’s front line cleaners. So it is important that you not
only ask them about their safety training, but have them show proof of their training program.
6. Can your company provide 3 to 4 references of other companies in our area of same size or larger whom you
held as a customer for at least four to five years
Reason: References is a very important issue, you will hear from others in your area how well they have maintained their
facilities. References of long term customer also shows they been in business for a time, and to hold customers long term
shows there is customer satisfaction. But you will need to call the references; all it takes is a phone call.
7. Does your company conduct MSDS and right to know training?
I personally recommend doing business with a company that keeps constant training and education on the chemicals being
used. The management team and cleaning technicians should be highly trained, be able to answer most of your questions and
last but not least the cleaning agents used in your facility should be biodegradable, not have a health risk associated with it,
contain no harsh odor and the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) must be in a folder in the janitors closet and readily
Once you ask these types of questions sit back and wait for an answer. Notice if the person seems nervous or has trouble
answering your requests. If they answer “no” to any of these questions, you will know they do not qualify as a business you
want taking care of your cleaning needs. Once you are satisfied that you are working with an honest, competent professional,
invite them into your office and ask for a specific quotation in writing. A written quotation gives you the assurance that you
know exactly what the job will cost you with no surprises.