The janitorial RFP process is the most thrilling part of your job. Each time the janitorial services comes up for bid, you are giddy inside, thrilled to be a part of this exciting and dynamic process once again.
Okay, okay – I know, you’d rather sit in the culture class and do the team building exercises that corporate makes you do every year, but, you have bigger fish to fry. When it comes time to send out the RFP, it’s time to send out the RFP. So go ahead and send the best RFP there has ever been.
So as some guidance, see below for some quick Do’s and Don’ts to make this RFP process the best yet!
Don’t send a super detailed Scope of Work.
We have received RFP’s outlining details to the most minute intricate crevice. “Wipe windowsill from left to right, collecting dust at end of windowsill and dispose of collected dust at the end of the windowsill into the garbage pail sat below end of windowsill.”
Janitorial companies understand that you want the dust wiped off your windowsills. They also know how to do it. Simply saying “clean offices on second floor” is sufficient information enough.
This might seem obvious, but many RFPs explain too much in too much detail. Writing long RFP’s with intricate scopes of work is time consuming. And time consuming tasks that aren’t the most important, like janitorial vendor RFPs, take away valuable time from other tasks you could be doing!
Don’t ask vendors to include consumables.
One thing that asking a vendor to include consumables will do is muddy the water. And asking a potential vendor to do so is going to cause you more problems than you would have wanted. So be prepared for a longer bid meeting than you had anticipated – because vendors are going to have a lot of questions.
“How many people do you have in your facility that use bathroom 274 on floor 6?”
“What type of hand towels do you use?”
“What type of soap dispensers do you have? Do you like those soap dispensers? My cousin Jerry is a soap dispenser salesman and can get you good prices on install.”
So – unless you have all the answers to all the questions concerning the use of consumables inside your facility, it is going to be better to just leave this item off of the RFP. Once you pick your vendor, then you can allow your vendor to bill your separately for consumables.
Additionally, if you want to keep this as part of the RFP, for whatever reason (some schools do it like this to keep the price all in one lump sum), then be prepared for the bids to come in high. The reason for the bids being high is that vendors won’t know the answers to a lot of their questions concerning consumables. For instance, they might bid the job a X, but X incorporated the toilet paper that you could read the newspaper through! Once enough complaints reach you about the terrible toilet paper, and you ask the vendor to change, they’re not going to want to start purchasing toilet paper more expensive than what they had originally bid. Therefore, you’ll be stuck with thin toilet paper until the next RFP.
To save this from happening, vendors will bid the job with a considerable mark-up on consumables in case they have to change anything to a more costly item. Thus bringing the price of the whole bid up.
Simply exclude the consumables from the bid and agree to organize an arrangement for consumables after you’ve chosen your vendor. This will save you time and money.
There are a couple of items that might save you time on your next adventure with the janitorial RFP.
Include Times of Day.
This is one of the biggest factors and one many customers leave off. The time(s) of day a facility needs to be cleaned is crucial to organizing the man hours for the bid. For instance, third shift labor is normally more expensive than first shift labor. If you need a porter to work during third shift cleaning the restrooms and breakrooms, a potential vendor needs to know this prior to the bid.
Include How Many People Are In Your Facility.
Often, a janitorial company will base a bid on what your facility is like in comparison to another customer of a similar scope, size, and amount of people. The problem is many potential customers leave off how many people are in the facility daily. By keeping this detail, it would help the potential vendor produce a proposal bid at a fair market price.
Include Square Footage and Number of Restrooms.
If you gather this information and present it to the potential vendors, this will save you time as you walk through the facility with a potential vendor who is constantly measuring the size of each room.
We know that your next RFP process is going to be a thriller. We know you’re excited! But all good things must come to an end, so to save you precious time in the next process, use the tips above to get those proposals back and choose the best vendor!