Small business owners often adopt a “do it yourself” attitude early on — and with good reason. Launching a business of your own is no easy feat, and comes with a hefty price tag and time commitment. So when you’re just starting out, it’s understandable that tasks like bookkeeping, hiring and cleaning your facility would all be things that you’d take care of yourself.

But once things start to take off, is scrubbing toilets really the best use of your time? Should you be hiring a company that can get the job done efficiently, so that you can focus on other tasks? How do you even go about finding a reputable company that you can trust? Here are a few tips to help you figure out whether it’s time to outsource cleaning duties, plus a few ways to spot a cleaning company that’s reliable.

THE RIGHT TIME TO CONTRACT
When figuring out the right time to pass cleaning duties on to a company, Joe Battisto, founder of Haven Environmental recommends that small business owners ask themselves four essential questions to help guide the process. “Pick a random corner of a room and look from ceiling to floor, see any cobwebs?” he asks. “Look at your desk phone, pick it up, is there dust under it?  Has everyone that works for you declined to pick up a few extra bucks keeping the place clean? Have you or any of your employees had a bad bathroom break recently: no soap, no toilet paper, no toilets clean enough to risk using?” In Battisto’s experience of working with small business owners who are looking to bid for cleaning contract work, these are the things that typically top the list of pain points.

“As a business owner, you wouldn’t consider putting your janitor in the accounts receivables department to fill in for a vacancy or vacation,” he explains.  “What’s a small business owner to do if someone is assigned the task or volunteers for the task and can’t keep up?” he asks. “If their core responsibilities are sales, admin, accounting, operations management or other areas, they certainly couldn’t be let go or otherwise punished because the other (and more important in most eyes) business functions would suffer.” If this scenario sounds familiar, Battisto says it’s time to consider contracting a cleaning company.

THE PROS OF HIRING A CLEANING COMPANY
Aside from the fact that both you and your employees will be happy to be absolved of cleaning duties, there are a few other pros to be aware of when deciding whether or not to hire a company to take on these tasks for you. As Galin Kolev, marketing manager of Join Fantastic explains, hiring cleaning pros means you’re getting cleaners with expertise in the field — rather than going at your studio with a bottle of Lysol hoping for the best. “Professional companies are skilled in cleaning and sanitizing,” he says. “They are equipped with the right tools, products, and supplies like paper towels and toilet paper. To put it simply, no one can do the job better than the experts.”

Also, having regular, proper cleaning means a healthier environment for your studio. “In a properly maintained office your employees are less likely to get sick,” Kolev points out. Which means less absentee employees and less absent class members due to illness.

FINDING REPUTABLE CLEANERS
Giving a company access to your business shouldn’t be taken lightly. You’ll want to make sure that the cleaning company you choose to use is trustworthy, reliable and will be able to get the job done as well as if it were their own business. Thanks to the Internet, bad experiences typically don’t stay a secret for long. Dmitri Kara, supervisor at Fantastic Cleaners says that doing your homework and digging into company reviews is a valuable tool for deciding which cleaning company to go with. “Make sure to always, always, always take your time and research before you choose your cleaning company,” he says. “Reviews, insurance and guarantees are what set reputable providers apart. Carefully read what companies say for themselves and compare to what clients have on their end. Make sure to look for social media reviews and forum threads. Although there are a ton of fake reviews (both positive and negative), it is still possible to see who’s conscientious and who isn’t.”

To get a competitive rate on your cleaning company contract, Go Cleaners supervisor Harriet Jones recommends gathering information from local companies for a comparison. “Collect quotes from the companies operating in the region where your business is located,” she says. “They will come on-site to estimate the work and give you a price. Once you’ve received yours, ask what services do they perform. In most cases, they can do the vacuuming, mopping, cleaning, sanitizing the bathrooms, and dusting surfaces. Ask whether carpet cleaning is included in the price, or will it be charged separately.” While you’re vetting companies, be sure to find out whether or not each company has insurance, and ask them to provide proof. “The company has to have insurance because if an accident with the cleaners occurs, you wouldn’t be liable but the cleaning company,” says Jones.

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