Should I accept Subcontract Cleaning Work?


You’re going to find when you start calling offices and retail locations, that some of these businesses do not hire out local contractors. Instead, they have a single provider that is responsible for servicing all locations nationally.  When I first started calling potential customers, I was also calling larger box stores like Best Buy, Sears and clothing chains. I kept getting the same response:

 “Our janitorial contracts are handled out of our corporate office.”

And upon following up with these corporate offices, I learned that a single contract is put out to bid that includes all store locations nationally. This is a big selling point for cleaning franchises looking for franchisees. National franchises often deal in national contracts, and when they sell to someone covering new territory, the Best Buys, Sears, Dicks Sporting Goods, etc. come with the franchise agreement.

          So how do these locations get serviced when there are no national franchises providing coverage in these territories? Glad you asked. They outsource the work. In other words, the work gets subcontracted.

          Now, not every company that bids on a national contract is a franchise cleaning company. There are companies that specialize in subcontracting multiple locations to a list of vendors in their network. This is where I first got started.

     subcontract cleaning at the mall     When you establish your business, it’s important to take time and leave a digital footprint anywhere you can. Because I submitted my contact information to any free directory (yelp, Facebook, Google local, etc.), it was very easy to find me by searching for cleaning services within 30 miles of me. Almost a year after I started my company, I was contacted by one of these national vendor networks asking if my company would be interested in subcontract cleaning work. I hadn’t heard of this before, but told them that I would be happy to look at any opportunities.

I was sent a list of businesses in my area, services requested and payout amount for these locations. I was surprised to see that many of the businesses were at the local mall, and the payout amounts were the same, or higher, than what I charge. So, I agreed to the work and submitted my vendor information to the company, completed the work orders and was paid within 30 days. Now that I was in the company’s network of janitorial service providers, any work orders that came up after this were automatically sent to me to be completed.

I’ll give some specifics on the payout amounts and the types of services that were requested:

  • Window cleaning for a national clothing business

4 large window panes (approx. 4’x8’) both sides + door took 10 minutes = $30             hourly rate: $180/hour

  • Window cleaning for a national eyewear business

6 large window panes (approx. 4’x10’) both sides + door took 15 minutes = $40          hourly rate: $160/hour

  • Window cleaning for a national clothing business

8 large window panes (approx. 4’x10’) both sides + door + dusting canopy took 20 minutes = $50    hourly rate: $150/hour

  • Window cleaning for a national skin care company

4 large window panes (approx. 3’x8’) took 15 minutes = $30  hourly rate: $120/hour

These examples are for one monthly visit to the local mall. I would clean all the windows in one morning. This usually took me about an hour, and I would make $150! The work orders would come every month, so the income became reliable, and I extended my coverage area after a couple months. I drove as far as a couple of hours away, and took care of work orders in batches. Even with the drive-time, I made out with a VERY healthy hourly rate.

 I think subcontract cleaning when you first start off is an excellent idea. It helps build revenue quickly and can lead to more opportunities. You also don’t need to wait for a national janitorial management company to call you. Do a search on Google for “janitorial management services”, and you’ll find pages and pages of companies looking for vendors to service their accounts.

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