You’ve Lost the Bid; Is it Your Fault?

You’ve Lost the Bid; Is it Your Fault?

Janitorial contractors have different methods for pricing their bids. The most common is to base their bid on square footage, cost analysis, and profit margins. Alternatively, they may personalize. For instance, a contractor may already clean a facility that is similar in size and shape to one they are bidding on. In that case, they may decide to base their proposal on what they charge their current customer, even though there may be differences in the number of employees required for the job, the type of work they do, or the types of people working in the facilities.

Regardless of how they calculate the final price, many cleaning contractors still assume a job will automatically go to the lowest bidder. However, that’s not necessarily the case. If a contractor loses a bid to a low bidder, it’s probably their fault.

The problem is not the low bidder; there will always be low bidders. The reason so many contractors fail to get their proposals accepted is because they were unable to convince the customer of all the features and benefits their company brings to the table.

To better understand this, let’s examine some items frequently found in cleaning proposals:

  • How long the contractor has been in business . This can be a plus or a minus. Some facility managers are looking for cleaning contractor “newbies” because they believe the new contractor will work harder to win the job – or even more important – keep the client.
  • We are a family business.  This can be viewed as a plus or minus, depending on the customer.
  • We offer excellent service.  This comment means nothing to most facility managers and is typically ignored in a proposal.
  • We pride ourselves in this, that, and the other.  These comments are consistently ignored.
  • We have prompt, reliable service, and friendly staff.  This does not stand out to facility managers.
  • We have affordable price.  A comment made just for the trash can.

If all the bids received by a customer have these same remarks, then the customer will likely select the lowest one. There is little reason not to do this, unless their references or some other issues disqualify them.

However, there are certain stand-out features and benefits that add real value and distinguish one cleaning contractor from its competitors (see sidebar) – e ven when the bid is higher than the others.

The bottom line is this: If everything your proposal offers is the same as everyone else’s, tha n the customer’s decision will likely be based solely on price. However, if you can distinguish your bid from the others by providing features and benefits not found in your competitors’ bids, your proposal will more likely be the winner.



Posted On May 10, 2019

Ron Segura

President of Segura Associates

Ron Segura is president of Segura Associates. His company works with large organizations to streamline their cleaning and building operations as well as promote sustainability and healthier cleaning strategies. He can be reached at

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You’ve Lost the Bid; Is it Your Fault?
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