Selecting the Best Service Provider

Three tips to help narrow down your choices

Selecting the Best Service Provider

Fierce competition has commoditized many aspects of the cleaning industry. Service providers often have to back their service into a price and hope they are able to keep the facility clean and healthy while maintaining a profit margin.

Facility managers are constantly asking their service providers to sharpen their pencils. Translation: Keep the price low (without compromising service or quality). However, sometimes it’s important to evaluate what makes a supplier great outside of pricing

Below are three tips to help you identity what to look for in a service provider for your organization and how to select the best from the bunch.

1. Check for Certification

Look for an organization that has achieved accredited certification, such as ISSA’s Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CMIS), which offers certification for the management of a cleaning operation, be it a BSC or an in-house service provider. Those organizations that have attained accredited certification have already set themselves apart from the rest of the cleaning service world by committing themselves to a particular level of standards.

Be sure to ask for a copy of the company’s training syllabus. Hopefully, your service representative is in your office so you can see his/her expression when you ask for this.

2. Do Your Homework and Vet

Look for a service provider that is familiar with your facility, or at least facilities that are similar to yours. Check references and ask your contact to open the books to show you how he/she came up with a service price.

3. Be Wary of Benchmarking

While there are many similarities among facilities, there are also unique nuances to every facility. Even bank branches that are built identically have differences in the people that work and bank there. There are differences in the type of foot traffic inside and outside, differences in the construction going on in the area, and differences in how the building has been serviced since it opened. Benchmarking, when used as a guide, is perfectly fine. Benchmarking that you view as the Holy Grail may not produce the desired outcome on its own.

Making the Decision

In the current marketplace, suppliers should identify ways to make doing business easier by serving as a resource for you, your organization, and your customers. If not, do they really deserve your business? But if they do, don’t they deserve your loyalty? In the end, it’s up to you, but hopefully the tips here can help to serve as a guide.


Posted On March 10, 2017

Bill McGarvey

Master Trainer, Cleaning Management Institute

Bill McGarvey is a master trainer for the Cleaning Management Institute’s (CMI) Custodial Technician Certification Program. He is the director of training and sustainability for the Philip Rosenau Co., a janitorial and sanitary maintenance distributor. Bill has more than 35 years of experience in the cleaning industry, and has numerous training and standardization certifications from ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association. Contact him at

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