Should You Do ‘Sub Contract’ Work for a National Cleaning Management Outfit?

I got a call one day – it went something like this…

Yes, this is Steve with a management firm out here in California.

We’ve just picked up a big company and one of their support buildings is out there -near you in Ohio.

The cleaning is six times per week now, but I think you might be keep it looking good in five.

Anyway, the thing is we’re looking at $2,200, maybe $2,300 – interested?

Yeah, that’s the pitch…. basically, they’ve got $2,200 or $2,300 available for some cleaning – would you like it?

Well, of course, the answer should be – it DEPENDS.  That’s right, it depends on LITTLE things (sarcasm intended) like…

Where is the account?

What time can it be cleaned?

How big is the building?

What do they need done? (specs)

Can I see the building so I can figure out how long it should take to clean?

How’s THAT for starters?

So, to start to find out this information…

I say, ‘Well, Steve, I don’t know, can you tell me a little bit about who you are, the company, the building and the cleaning they’re looking for?’

He then quickly, and I mean quickly, whips through how he thinks they (and who are they? …well, the old cleaning company… yeah, the one’s who are getting replaced/fired because they weren’t putting in enough time to keep the place clean!) – yeah, he thinks, THEY were putting in about 4 hours or so Monday – Friday.

Oooops, wait a second, NOW he that he thinks about it, there may be two of them, -yep, now, he thinks there could be two cleaners each night, so we should probably plan on 40 hrs.

Huh? – What? Are you kidding me???

I say ‘You’re talking per week?”

He mumbles “uh, yeah.”,

I say, ‘But, I thought they cleaned it six times per week. He says, “Yeah, but like I said, I think you’ll be able to do it in…um… five.’

He continues..

‘Anyway, like I said, I haven’t really actually seen the building, but, I’ll see if I can get someone there to show you -but, like I said, we’re talking $2,200 maybe $2,300 or so…”

Excuse me… but ‘What in the world is he talking about? I can’t seem to get a straight answer.’

That’s right, I’m thinking, I wish Mr. Slick here, would quit throwing out numbers, like everything’s no big deal.

There’s a big difference in:

-whether one person or two is needed

-whether each put’s in four vs. five hours a night, and –whether they do it five or six times per week!

In fact, the answers to these questions will determine whether or not the “deal” will work.

But, instead, this guy just keep telling me over and over how “We’re looking at $2,200 or $2,300”, hoping the details won’t make any difference, and that I’ll be so excited and grateful, I’ll won’t ask any questions!

Are you kidding me?!

Bottom line – after finally getting the details – we respectfully passed.

Now, for once, he’s finally quiet. “Uh, ok”…

Yeah, it’s all fun and games as long – as you don’t ask any questions.

But you need to. You need to know what you’re getting into.

I’ve heard horror stories about cleaning contractors doing sub-contracted work for a large national cleaning companies, including not getting paid on time or at all etc..

I’m sure someone can just as easily point to where a subcontracted situation did work out well for the sub…

All I can say is – Tony and I didn’t like the sub jobs – they never seemed to have any profit in them when we looked into the details.

Again, maybe, MAYBE there are sub contract situations where the building tenants are happy, the facility looks good, the cleaner has enough time to clean properly, the national cleaning company gets their cut… and their still enough money left for small, subcontractor at the end to make a fair profit.

We’ve just not seem much of it.

Tony and I preferred to hold the cleaning contract directly with the building owner – we didn’t want or need a middleman involved.

It’s up to you how you handle offers of being a sub contractor for a large, national maintenance management outfit – but, whatever you do, please remember this…

Go in with your eyes wide open – and to do that, you’ll need to ask plenty of questions, and not stop asking them – until you get solid answers.

Discover the Guru in You,



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