Protect Your Workplace From Low Quality Cleaning Companies That Can Damage Your Property And Lead To Lawsuits
Hiring a new commercial cleaner can be a quick and easy process. Avoid shady operators and minimise the risk to your company by asking these straight-forward questions. We’ve put together this guide to help you through the process of choosing a new commercial cleaner. By asking these questions at the start of the selection process, you can save a lot of headaches and legal issues down the road.
Mistake 1: Choosing a Cleaner That Is Under-Insured or Has Policy Restrictions
Picture this: You come in to your office early on a Monday morning. You caught the early Transperth bus to work and you’re the first to arrive. Hoping to get a head start on the day, you sit down at your desk but instantly notice something is missing…
In fact, most of the computers in the office are gone… and so is that jar of coins from your top drawer (a collection you had been slowly building from daily coffee runs.)
It turns out the cleaners forgot to lock up after they cleaned on Friday night and the office has been robbed over the weekend.
So, what happens next?
First, you’ll have to replace all that office equipment; involving re-ordering, installing and hours on the phone with IT trying to set it all up.
That’s not too bad. Mistakes happen, we get that.
But secondly, if your office cleaners don’t carry the correct insurance coverage or if they are under-insured with the minimum coverage – you might be footing the bill (even though the cleaners were entirely at fault).
Of course, this story is rare. But it does happen. And it DID happen. Unfortunately, it’s a true story that happened to one of our customers in Subiaco with a previous cleaning company, before they switched over to Intrepid Cleaning.
Protect yourself and your company by making sure your commercial cleaner has the following insurance coverage:
- Product AND Public Liability Insurance — Make sure they have $20 million coverage, avoid operators with $1-5 million coverage as these policies are usually the bare basic and come with a long list of exclusions and restrictions.
- Full Coverage — Make sure any additional services such as carpet cleaning or window cleaning are covered in their policy. Not all insurance policies cover carpet cleaning and windows. These activities have the highest chances of something going wrong. Most insurance providers charge more to cover these services so check that any auxiliary services are captured by their policy.
- Workers Compensation Insurance — This is required by State Legislation in Western Australia. Whether your cleaner is using employees or subcontractors, are franchised or owner-operated — Workers Comp Insurance is required by WorkCover WA under state law.
- Key Loss Extension Policy — In the event the keys to your property are misplaced or become compromised, a key loss insurance policy will cover re-securing the entire building. Of course, all cleaners should follow secure key storage and management, but an explicit policy that extends to key loss can create peace of mind.
Always ask to see the ‘Certificate of Currency’ including lists of exclusions for each of the above insurance policies before choosing your next commercial cleaner.
Mistake 2: Not Asking About Quality Control
Every commercial cleaning company likes to say they are high quality, but does it show in every aspect when dealing with them?
- When you ask for a quote, are they quick to answer your call or email?
- Does the cleaner offer a same-day site visit and quote?
- Are they friendly when you speak to them? Are they pleasant to deal with and happy to accommodate your specific needs or tasks?
All these things point to a high-quality cleaning company with a focus on customer service. Exceptional customer service usually extends to exceptional cleaning.
Don’t take chances, make sure your commercial cleaner has processes in place to maintain high quality cleaning – ask the below questions:
- “Can I see an example checklist that the cleaners will be following?”
- “How often will there be a supervisor on site to check the work and ensure there is no drop in quality over time?”
- “What methods do you use to ensure customer satisfaction?”
- “What training do you provide your cleaners, is there an initial site induction and supervision?”
As the saying goes: Talk is cheap
It’s better that a cleaning company can demonstrate their high quality through existing processes and controls. Instead of just claiming it.
Find out how they check to ensure cleaners complete all scheduled tasks. Ask how communication will happen – do they provide you with a 24 hour number to call?
Ask to see an example checklist, how frequent the inspections happen, and what level of support is provided throughout the service.
Mistake 3: Choosing a Cleaning Contractor That Is Heavily Reliant on Temporary Staff
There are many ways to staff a cleaning company:
BAD: Some rely on a temporary pool of students / short-term visa holders / subcontractors
GOOD: Others (like us) only use a permanent team – we do this to avoid one of the most common complaints in our industry: the feeling that your instructions are getting lost with every staff change
A Permanent Team For Your Protection
At Intrepid Cleaning, a permanent team means we can give you the same great cleaning service every time. It helps us maintain a high standard.
Every commercial property is different and there are always a few nuances or special requests for each site. A permanent cleaning team is the best way to address this. It means you see the same friendly faces each service and the cleaners really get to know the ins and outs of your space.
The benefits for you:
- Consistently high standard of cleaning
- Same friendly faces every service
- Greater safety and peace of mind
- Never feel your instructions are getting lost
You don’t want to see new faces each time the cleaners arrive. Your work place shouldn’t turn into a revolving door of new faces. This increases the risk you’re exposed to and can sometimes be a safety concern.
Fully vetted staff
Make sure you ask about WHO will be your cleaners. Did they pass a strict on-boarding process? Background checks? Police clearance? Ask to see copies for your own piece of mind.
Mistake 4: Entering a fixed-term contract with your new commercial cleaner
It’s amazing, but there are still cleaners in Perth that try and lock you into a 12-month or fixed term cleaning contract.
Let’s be clear about this: You should never be locked into a contract.
A cleaning company that locks you into a contract does not believe in their own service. They are telling you “we know you won’t be happy with our service, and we need to protect ourselves”
Your cleaning company should be trying to prove themselves every service. Winning your custom with every clean completed.
As a general rule, stay away from fixed-term contracts.
Mistake 5: References and Testimonials
Ask any potential cleaning company for references. You want to know if they are cleaning similar Perth properties to a high standard. Make sure they don’t promise the world and then under-deliver on quality and customer service.
Make sure you ask for the phone numbers of current Perth customers, and complete some quick Google searches on your own to verify they are a real company.
If the references aren’t raving about the cleaning or the level of service, you might need to rethink your choice.
Every commercial cleaning company should list their current customers on their website. Also check for testimonials, but make sure they are from real people — look for real names, positions and headshots of the people giving each testimonial or review.
With every new commercial cleaning quote, Intrepid Cleaning provides references with phone numbers (mobile and direct) of real customers that your suburb that we clean for.
Ask for references from existing clients and check their website for testimonials from real people.
Mistake 6: Certifications and Australian Approvals
How do you know a commercial cleaning company knows what they’re doing?
Check for third party certifications and memberships to professional cleaning associations. These associations make sure that their members follow industry best practices and often offer training courses to their members. Your hard floor is less likely to be damaged by a company that has been certified by a professional cleaning association.
In Australia, the main industry bodies are Cleaning Association of Australia and BSCAA (Building Services Contractors Association of Australia) who operate in Western Australia under the Cleaning Council of WA.
Cleaning companies must also meet health and safety standards in order to operate legally in Western Australia. Ask to see their Safe Work Plan as well as their processes for reporting site incidents at your property.
In terms of cleaning products used, find out if their products are certified. Are their cleaning chemicals safe? What about their impact on the environment?
You do not want a situation where products used in your workplace cause harm to either humans or have knock-on environmental effects. Today many people prefer eco-friendly or green cleaning in their workplace. You can look for the GECA certification symbol on the products a commercial cleaner uses.
Look for industry memberships and certifications
Mistake 7: Using A Franchise
One of the biggest mistakes when hiring a new commercial cleaner is going with a franchise company.
It’s unfortunate that some of the largest commercial cleaning companies in Perth operate under a franchise model. These companies don’t employ cleaners, but instead they require their cleaners to purchase a ‘franchise’ so they can avoid paying their cleaners a fair wage and don’t have to worry about the quality of the cleaning after selling your business off to one of the franchisees.
We feel this type of business model is unethical and is particularly unfair on the franchisee who is often promised an opportunity to run their own business but left working at below award wages at the mercy of the franchiser company.
In this situation, the person you deal with in the quoting process will be different to who you work with day-to-day. After securing the job, you are forgotten about and left with a franchisee cleaner. The cleaner is often given a very short time frame to complete the job leading to quality issues.
We’ve seen it time and time again, make sure you ask the question: “Are you a franchise model?”