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How to Get Cleaning Contracts and Grow Your Business

April 26, 2024 11 min. read
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Cleaning contracts keep your schedule filled with predictable work, making them a surefire way to improve cash flow and expand your cleaning business.

But where do you find clients who are ready to sign new cleaning contracts? And when you do find them, how do you submit a bid and win the work?

Learning how to get cleaning contracts doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. Let’s map out the process, help you sign your first contract, and start growing your business.

1. Establish a strong brand

When you launch your company, start with professional branding. Apply your cleaning company name and logo to everything your clients will see—uniforms, business cards, and vehicles.

It’s also a good idea to start building your online presence. This makes it easy for clients to learn more about your business when they search the web. You can start with an easy-to-use cleaning website or social media accounts like Facebook and Instagram.

2. Identify your ideal customer or market

To start attracting business, you’ll need to pinpoint who and where you want to serve. Gain clarity in this step by asking questions like:

  • Do I have an ideal type of contract (residential or commercial)?
  • How far am I willing to travel to serve cleaning clients?
  • Do I want to secure quick, one-time jobs or lengthier contract agreements?

Once you’ve set some customer and job parameters, decide which types of cleaning services you’ll offer. 

For example, you can specialize in residential cleaning services if you live in a town with highly populated neighborhoods. Alternatively, you could offer move-out cleaning services in places with high tenant turnover.

Lastly, think about what sets you apart from other cleaning companies. What perks and benefits will attract your ideal client? This will be the  unique selling point you use in your future marketing efforts.

3. Market your cleaning services to prospective clients

Try these tips to promote your cleaning business and market your services to businesses or homeowners that need to contract cleaners:

  • Encourage word of mouth referrals, and ask your immediate friends and family to help spread the word about your new business. Then, network with local real estate agents, property managers, office managers, and other business owners in your community. One of them might be a prospective customer, so get ready to give your elevator pitch.
  • Use lead generation home service websites (such as Angi or Yelp) to gather contact information from potential leads. These sites help connect you with prospective customers actively looking for cleaners in their areas.
  • Set up a Facebook Business page for your cleaning service. If you’re not comfortable launching a full-scale website, Facebook gets you in the door. Ask your network to like and follow for updates, and include contact information to help customers reach you.
  • Consider running a few advertising campaigns to raise awareness for your business. There are many options available based on your comfort level and budget, including print, digital, social media, and even local radio ads.
  • Ask happy clients for testimonials and positive reviews. You should also create a loyalty program that rewards client referrals with a discount or other incentive.

Pro Tip: Not sure how to get clients for your cleaning business? Start small by building relationships with local businesses, then work your way up to the bigger clients over time. The more value you offer, the more good buzz you’ll get.

4. Set transparent cleaning contract pricing

Before future customers sign a contract with your company, they’ll expect an honest and realistic look at your service costs. Save time during the contract signing phase by having a general idea of what you charge and how your estimating process works.

If you’re new to pricing, here are a few steps to help you set prices easily:

  • Walkthroughs. Schedule a time with the client when you can inspect the space together and talk about needs and expectations. Ask questions that will help you plan your schedule and services, like when you’ll visit, special focus areas, and budget.
  • Calculate the cleaning area. Square footage pricing is the most common way to calculate commercial cleaning, but flat rate might be better for residential spaces. 
  • Calculate price per job. Pick your rate, then multiply it by the cleaning area’s square footage to get your price per cleaning job. For example, the standard rate for commercial contract pricing is roughly $0.07–0.15 per square foot.
  • Price the contract term. Multiply the price per job by the number of times you’ll provide services during the contract term. For example, if you’ll be cleaning twice a week for a year, multiply your two weekly visits by 52 weeks. This will be the final quoted amount for the contract. (To see your weekly or monthly fee, just divide the final amount by the number of weeks or months in the term.)
  • Decide on special incentives. It’s optional, but you might want to offer discount pricing or other incentives to reward your client for signing a longer term contract.

Remember, this is just your basic pricing structure. Every cleaning job is different, so adjust based on what pricing method you’re using and what services each client needs.

READ MORE: What to do when customers say your price is too high

5. Create professional quotes

Now that you have all the general pricing information you need, create an official quote using cleaning business quoting software. Your quote tells clients what your services will cost, and it should include:

  • Business name and contact information for yourself and your client
  • Quote number and send date
  • Service line items with their associated costs
  • Your payment terms and conditions (including deposit amount, start date, payment timelines, and any other important details that could affect service)

Here’s an example of what your cleaning quote might look like:

Commercial cleaning invoice example made with Jobber template

6. Provide exceptional service to clients

Once your new cleaning contract is signed and active, it’s time to start working. Approach each cleaning job with a non-negotiable commitment to customer service in order to keep your clients happy. 

To help stay organized on the job, you can use professional house cleaning checklists. These templates can prevent you from missing any steps in your process. 

Site Visit Checklists
Cleaning checklist in Jobber

Service checklists are also helpful when you employ other cleaners, as the list ensures that everyone maintains high quality standards on the job.

7. Offer contract extensions and renewals

One way to keep new contracts coming is to offer extensions and renewals. This way, you’re eliminating the time you’d otherwise spend replacing a client or prospecting for more leads. Renewals can be a win-win for both you and your clients.

  • Keep tabs on when signed contracts are expiring, so that you can offer renewals with plenty of time for your client to consider.
  • Offer a special discount or incentive for renewing an existing contract.
  • Briefly go over the past contract terms, making sure the services still match the client’s expectations. If they seem open, upsell your services by letting the client know about extra options or add-ons that they might enjoy. 

How to get different types of cleaning contracts

You can get cleaning contracts with several types of residential or commercial clients. This includes residents, tenants, offices, and apartments. Here’s how to get cleaning business contracts with each type of client:

How to get residential cleaning contracts

Residential cleaning contracts are usually designed for single-family homes, apartments, or residences. You’ll often win these types of contracts because the family or homeowner wants to save time or avoid the hassle of maintaining different areas of their living space.

Here’s how to get housekeeping cleaning contracts and residential cleaning jobs for your small business:

  • Approach your one-off or repeat cleaning clients about signing a contract with you
  • Offer a signing bonus or incentive, like a discount or service upgrade
  • Make the contract term shorter (like 6–24 months) so the client isn’t locked in for life 
  • Change the contract terms later on if you raise your prices, or if the client wants add-on services for your effort and time

If you serve a densely populated residential area, consider how a customer referral program can help you gain more residential contracts without investing as much in marketing or outreach.

How to get cleaning contracts with offices

To get office cleaning contracts, first identify an office or a commercial building in your service area that you’re interested in cleaning.

Then call or email the office, ask to speak with the property manager or office manager, and book a time to discuss the cleaning duties that could be included in your office cleaning service.

How to get commercial cleaning contracts

Commercial cleaning jobs are similar to cleaning office spaces. However, in the commercial scenario, you might be able to book for larger industrial or construction spaces. 

While you might be notified about these opportunities through your network, they’re also often listed on request for proposal (RFP) sites like Merx.

Because commercial clients often hire for longer term roles at their organization, they’re more likely to narrow their search to well-established cleaning brands. Prepare yourself for these opportunities by polishing up your branding, having an effective sales process, and adding premium services to your list.

READ MORE:Successful cleaning business stories

How to get AirBNB cleaning contracts

AirBNB and other short-term rental properties often have very demanding cleaning needs. Turnover is high—residents stay for a short window, and then the property needs to be flipped quickly for the next guess.

The good news is that this high turnover presents lucrative business opportunities for cleaners who are willing to move fast and work diligently. There are two ways to reach out for these contracts:

  • Get in touch with the AirBNB host or property owner directly
  • Reach out to the property management team or company who oversees the property (or even a group of properties) 

Many AirBNB cleaning fees are upwards of $200 per job. When you reach out to the property owner, share about your business and pitch a competitive service package and rate. The more you can differentiate your AirBNB cleaning service from competitors, the better chance you have to win the work.

READ MORE: How to get clients for a cleaning business

Frequently asked questions

What is a commercial cleaning contract?

A cleaning contract is an ongoing agreement to provide commercial cleaning services for a client. These clients can be offices, banks, schools, apartment buildings, or any other space that’s part of a business’s operations.

Here’s an example of what a business or office cleaning service contract looks like:

commercial cleaning contract example

What should a cleaning contract include?

Your commercial cleaning contract should include all the terms and conditions of your working relationship with a client, like:

  • Contract start date and end date
  • Contracted services (e.g., office cleaning, janitorial service, deep cleaning, carpet cleaning, window cleaning)
  • Service area (address, building floor/unit)
  • Payment amount, frequency, and method
  • Contract termination requirements
  • Type of working relationship (e.g., employee, contractor, partner)
  • Any rules about safety or confidentiality

The client might have a contract for you to sign, or you might have to draft your own. Either way, work with a lawyer to make sure the contract will protect everyone involved.

Pro Tip: Read up on any terms you don’t understand. For example, be aware of (and negotiate) payment due date terms like “net 60.” This means you won’t be paid for service until 60 days after you provided it—and that can hurt your cash flow.

What is bidding for contracts?

Bidding is like throwing your hat in the ring. When you’re bidding on a new cleaning contract, you’re often competing with other cleaning companies for publicly posted opportunities. 

An “open bid” means that the potential client posted the opportunity and is taking proposals from any service provider who wants to submit one. The client then decides after speaking to the people who bid or offered pricing for services.

A “closed bid” could mean that you’re directly with a single individual or business. In this scenario, your chances of selection are higher. You’re going directly after one client and persuading them to sign based on your pricing, services, and brand.

Pro Tip: Sometimes the lowest price will win the bid, but don’t cut into your profit margin to make a sale. If you make your business stand out, you’ll still be a contender, even if your price is a little higher.

How do I bid on cleaning contracts?

Here’s how to bid on cleaning contracts:

Step 1: Create a cleaning contract proposal

Your pricing is set, and you’re ready to write a proposal. Your proposal is a document you send to a potential client that outlines what you have to offer as a commercial cleaning business.

How do you write a proposal for a cleaning contract? Write a detailed document with this information:

  • Company overview and history
  • Relevant team bios and experience
  • List of commercial cleaning services and tasks
  • What sets you apart from competitors (e.g., products, experience)
  • Cleaning schedule and completion time

You can attach your completed quote to this proposal as well.

The client may want to see other information in your proposal, especially if they posted an RFP for the contract. Read through their requirements carefully to ensure you’ve included everything.

Step 2: Send your cleaning contract bid for client review

Always send a bid within 48 hours of doing the walkthrough (or by the RFP closing date). This shows the client that you’re serious about the partnership and eager to start work.

It’s appropriate to send a polite quote follow-up email if the client doesn’t get back to you within a week, or after the RFP decision date has passed.

Step 3: Sign the contract to begin work

Once the quote is approved and the contract is signed, you’re all set to start cleaning!

Pro Tip: If the client didn’t choose your bid, send a nice email asking for feedback on your proposal. They might be able to tell you what you could do differently next time.

That’s it! Now that you know how to find cleaning contracts, you’re ready to bid on regular work, improve cash flow, and grow your cleaning business.

Originally published March 2022. Last updated on April 26, 2024.

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