Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Five musts for a winning business proposal that will help you clean up

September 19, 2010
It is no secret that having a winning proposal is the best way to land new clients.

Your cleaning proposal speaks volumes about your company.

It is the single most important marketing tool you have and it is one area in which you should invest your time and money.

In some cases, you get to present your proposal to the decision-maker.

That’s the best-case scenario, as you have an advantage by getting in front of the client, putting on a dog-and-pony show and answering and asking questions.

Other times, you just have a sealed bid and you never get the opportunity to sell yourself to the client.

In that case, your proposal does all the talking for you.

I have seen some of the most dynamic bid packets from national and regional companies that would knock your socks off.

Of course, having a proposal with all the bells and whistles is something we all want.

That might not be an option in a company without a big marketing budget.

How can you accomplish getting a quality proposal and still stay within budget?

It involves a strategic plan and researching good graphic designers and printers who can make your proposal into a dynamic bid packet.

When it comes to making a decision on which janitorial company to hire, there are three main components a client considers:
  1. Price
  2. Experience to perform quality cleaning
  3. The level of professionalism the company exhibits.
The decision makers are the ones who hold your proposal in their hands with typically at least two or three other bids.

Each bid will have its own unique look and feel as it is reviewed, dissected and discussed with the potential client.

How can you make sure that your proposal stands out as one that has come from a professional company and not a fly-by-night operation?

Of course, some of us are not as creative as others and don’t even know where to start on developing a proposal.

Your first plan of attack is to get bid packets and presentation folders from the competition.

How can you get your hands on these items? Trade shows, clients that have bid packets from previous bid walks, etc.

You may be surprised at how easily you can get your hands on these items just by being assertive.

Keep in mind, you are not looking to plagiarize, you are just looking for creative ideas on how to make your proposal more dynamic than the competition.

As a starter, here are the five more important things you should have to form a winning proposal:
  1. High-quality paper, folder, presentation look and feel
  2. Established experience, credibility, references and company mission statement
  3. Testimonials, photos of employees in uniforms, photos of sparkling restrooms and floors
  4. A presentation that includes a quality control program with employee supervision and inspections
  5. OSHA compliance.
Here are five things you should not include in a proposal:
  1. Typos and grammatical errors
  2. Negative comments about the competition
  3. Promises you cannot keep
  4. A breakdown of your internal costs
  5. An hourly fee, unless it is requested.

Laura Dellutri, known as “The Healthy Housekeeper,” is a successful building service contractor, public speaker and cleaning consultant. She is the author of fours books including her latest, White Couch With Kids?! Dellutri also has appeared numerous times on HGTV, The Discovery Channel and other major television networks. She welcomes feedback via e-mail at or Visit her website,