1) Do you have proper general liability and bonding insurance coverage certificates? (Are they current?)
This may be an obvious must but you would be surprised how often it’s overlooked. You will want to see up-to-date coverage of at least $1,000,000 aggregate for liability coverage and $25,000 for the bonding policy.
2) Are you locally owned and operated?
It is good to support local business. In addition, you’ll know right away if they can respond quickly and consistently to your needs and how far they will have to travel to your site.
3) Do you hire employees or subcontractors?
This is an important one. Employers that hire employees have complete control. They can train their employees to their specific set of guidelines, have them wear a company uniform, set their expectations, and carry out the mission of their company by seeing to it that their employees are consistently executing these details to meet or exceed the clients needs.
They are also fulfilling their duties as required by the IRS by paying state and federal unemployment tax, workers compensation and disability, and social security taxes. Companies that hire subcontractors are not required to make any of these payments and subcontractors are responsible for their own taxes and insurance policies.
Another thing to be aware of is that subcontractors often hire other subcontractors, which can be a breach of security, as you may regularly find multiple groups of workers in and out of your building(s) that you’ve never seen before. Were background checks conducted on them too?
4) What happens if the regular cleaner can’t make it, how will you handle this?
Commercial cleaning, like any business, is a people business. For one reason or another people will be absent with little advanced notice. An employer’s backup plan is important and you definitely want to understand this part of their operation.
5) Who specifically will be checking the building(s) and how often?
Asking this question point blank will almost immediately let you know if they are well organized and are an efficiently run company. Do they have someone appointed to stay on top of the work being performed? Does the owner take stock in his/her own company and physically visit the building(s) on a somewhat regular basis?
6) How will I know all of the cleaning tasks are being performed?
A commercial cleaning company that is well run will have a list of cleaning specifications presented in their proposal. Not only for their employees, but for your use as well, as you will see what tasks are to be completed. This will help you know the cleaning company is upholding their end of the agreement.
7) Do you guarantee your work?
A commercial cleaning company that does great work has no problem stating that they stand behind their work. If you have to sign a contract, make sure you get it in writing.
8) Do you have references?
Almost everyone will ask for references, however, many don’t call them. A simple call can make all the difference.
9) Do you perform background checks on your employees?
Background checks reveal a lot about who the potential employee is and what has happened in their past. It is important hiring criteria.