How to Write a Winning Janitorial Business Proposal

You know your business inside and out, and you know your clients and what they need from you. So writing a business proposal to sell your janitorial or cleaning services doesn’t have to be a difficult task.

There are plenty of resources available to show you how to introduce yourself, highlight your services, present your costs and help your clients understand you are the right person to trust for the job. Using pre-designed templates and samples along with some automation software can help you write your proposal quickly and efficiently.

Writing a business proposal for janitorial services is pretty straightforward (including niche specialties such as maid services, carpet cleaning services, corporate event cleanup, window washers, crime scene cleanup, smoke and water damage cleanup, commercial facility cleaning, special needs cleaning such as restaurants and gyms, and so on).

All of these situations are examples of businesses selling a service; so these proposals will all fall under the general category of business proposals offering services.

Most proposals offering services, regardless of the type of business, follow a similar structure: introductions, then a summary of the client’s needs, followed by descriptions of the services and costs and information about the service provider and their credentials and capabilities.

The average proposal is five to ten pages long, depending on the size and special needs of the client and the type of janitorial or cleaning business. A very short quote or bid can be as short as a two-page Work Order and Price List.

If the janitorial proposal is for a large account such as a commercial business, you will also usually need to include detailed information pertaining to the specific client. For cleaning jobs that are smaller and narrowly defined, you can usually create a few variations on your proposal. For example, have one standard proposal for residential jobs, another for small commercial jobs and another for any specialized services you cater to.

If you are new to proposal writing, one thing to note is that a price list is not a substitute for a proposal. A proposal is a sales document meant to help persuade your potential clients to give you their business. To do that, you must instill trust that you can deliver the services that clients need. It’s not all about just giving them a price quote, especially if you have competition to deal with.

Before you start creating a tailored proposal for your more important clients, you should gather enough information about the client to present a proposal that is truly tailored to that client’s needs, as opposed to just sending every client an identical sales letter (which you can usually get away with for small, well-defined jobs). A tailored proposal stands a much better chance of being accepted by the client.

So, following the general order described above, you should start out with a Cover Letter and Title Page to introduce yourself. The Cover Letter should be a brief message that shows your company contact information and delivers a personal introduction. You should print your Cover Letter on your company letterhead. The Title Page should introduce your proposal and name the specific job you are discussing.

Next, add some topics that show that you understand the needs of your client. Depending on how large a job you are presenting a plan for, you may or may not need to include a detailed summary. For a complex job that needs a summary, this proposal section is normally called an Executive Summary for corporate clients, or a Client Summary for a less formal project. This is where you talk about your specific prospective client and show your understanding of their requirements as well as their needs and concerns (such as security, liability and hazardous materials handling). This is not yet the place where you talk about your company. Put the client first.

Follow the introductions and client information with your Services Provided, Products, Price List, Benefits, Services Cost Summary, Warranty, Guarantee and Contract & Terms pages, as well as any other topics you need to discuss that describe exactly what you are providing and how much it will cost.

Many types of janitorial or cleaning proposals may also require specialized topics. These are used when you need to address specific concerns such as your employees’ training; that they wear readily identifiable uniforms and carry identification and have passed background checks; that they have specialized training in hazardous waste handling, etc. This is where you would add pages with pertinent details, such as descriptions of your Insurance, Equipment, Security, Safety Plan, Training Plan, Quality Control, Certifications, Personnel, Environmental issues, and so on.

A janitorial company may have to deal with many different topics at once, such as selling both services and products as well as servicing multiple locations for a client, along with all the associated equipment and logistical needs.

A cleaning company with a very well defined niche such as a mobile carpet cleaning service will have a much shorter proposal with fewer topics.

A highly specialized niche cleaning company such as an accident or crime scene cleanup crew will have very specialized topics they need to discuss related to hazardous or biological waste handling and environmental issues.

A janitorial company performing higher risk jobs will need an extra focus on equipment, staff training, safety, liability, and security concerns.

The final information sections you should provide in your proposal are your company details. This is where you would put your About Us / Company History, Qualifications, Capabilities, Our Clients, Testimonials or References, Policies and Customer Service pages. This information comes last in the proposal, and your goal is to convince your client that you can be trusted to deliver the services they need.

After you have all the information written for your proposal outline and chapters, you should focus on making your proposal visually appealing. Add some color and graphics by incorporating your company logo, using colored borders, and selecting custom bullet points and fonts that match your business’s style.

Once you feel your proposal is complete, make sure to carefully proofread and spell-check all the pages. Have someone who is unfamiliar with your proposal proof it as well. It’s very common to quickly scan your own work and miss mistakes.

Finally, you can save your proposal as a PDF file or print it on paper and then deliver it to your potential client. Your delivery method will depend on your business and your relationship with your potential client. Emailing PDF files to clients is very common; however, there are times when a printed, signed and hand-delivered proposal can carry more weight. It shows you value that client enough to put in the extra personal effort. The more valuable the job is and the tighter the competition is, the more personal effort you should put into the proposal and delivery.

As you can see, a “janitorial” proposal can mean something different to everyone who needs to write one, and everyone’s needs for what to include will be different.

The good news is that all janitorial proposals follow a similar format and structure, and you can find all the templates and samples mentioned in this article in Proposal Pack. And you will also find sample proposals already written that can help you get started right away.

A Marketing Plan For Small Business That Targets Your Customer Base

I believe everyone would agree that repeat customers define that delicate balance between a company that thrives and company that just gets by? How do you design a marketing plan for small business to work for the business? All too often small businesses look for ways to increase customer volume by looking at the traditional ways of advertising or marketing their business. In the context of promoting your business it is imperative that, as a business owner, that you think outside of box.

There has been a huge paradigm shift in the way businesses market to the masses to attract customers. With the advent of smart phones and the popularity of texting, a strategic marketing plan for small business can inflict about the same impact as a corporation with a large marketing budget. The difference is that businesses now are able target customers with pin-point laser accuracy with mobile marketing instead of blasting a message to the masses through some other form of media.

Mobile marketing is relatively new to the advertising scene, but it already has proven itself as an effective, viable low-cost marketing plan for small business. The potential of this medium is basically still in its infancy; however, the proven statistics it has already produced has made it one of the fastest growing industries in recent years. The applications that can be applied using this platform are almost limitless and is only limited by the person who uses it.

This is a fact… of the 97% of the texts that people receive on their phones, 83% of those are opened within one hour. Imagine the potential for a business that can harness this kind of exposure. For example, and I’ll use round numbers for simplicity…If you have a customer base of 1000, and historically Wednesdays are a slow day for your business, inside of a few minutes you can text a special promotion for a Wednesday to your customer base and within one hour nearly 845 of your existing customers will have read that promotion. No other marketing plan for small business advertising platform can perform that quickly when YOU want it too.

I know there are some business owners reading this right now trying calculate in their head what this type of targeted advertising will cost and affect their bottom line. When you implement this marketing plan for small business you can eliminate those mass-mailing coupons, flyers and other promotional activities that “nickel and dime” your business’ bottom line to death. 100% of those materials end up in the landfill anyways. Nationwide, businesses are utilizing this marketing plan for small business that target their customer base with laser accuracy for a lot less than what you would pay for a tank of gas per month.

Purchasing a Business – The Final Inspection

You have come a long way in the business buying process if you get to the final business inspection stage which occurs just prior to you taking possession of the business. However, be warned, this is not the time to be complacent or let your excitement blind you.

Case in point – Lynn – a first time buyer who purchased a business herself earlier this year only to find after the possession date that not everything was as it had been presented to her. Lynn’s experience should be viewed as a lesson learned and not as an opportunity for criticism. In fact, her experience is a common experience for many entrepreneurs buying a business who do not have representation, or as it was in Lynn’s case – not having “competent” representation.

I have therefore taken the liberty to outline what you must do during the Final Inspection of the business. This list is not to be used as an alternative to hiring a savvy business broker but is provided as a means to help you understand why these particular items are important. These are not the only items that need to be covered in a final inspection but are certainly 5 things you must do regardless of the type of business you are purchasing.

5 things you MUST do during the final inspection:

1. Inspect every square inch of the business yourself!

Take the time to inspect the entire business – inside and out. Look for anything that stands out as being unusual or of concern, such as bare electrical cables sticking out of the wall, mold, missing lights, large cracks or water damage in the structure and animal feces to name just a few.

2. Check that there is no missing equipment that should have been included in the sale of the business.

A list of equipment included in the sale should have been included as part of the Offer to Purchase. Print this list out and visually check that each piece of equipment listed is present and accounted for.

3. Check the operation of the equipment, that it has an operating manual and that it is in a good state of repair.

While checking that all the equipment is present, be sure to check it is operating normally, for example computers, printers, ovens, fridges and freezers to name just a few. Any equipment not operating normally should be repaired at the sellers expense unless otherwise agreed upon.

4. Count all the inventory included in the sale.

As with the equipment a list of the inventory should have been included as part of the Offer to Purchase. Again print this list off and check each inventory item. For large inventory based businesses this might mean you need to hire a inventory company to come in and count the inventory.

It is important to note that for many businesses, inventory is a fluid dynamic so when it comes to inventory, there may be a need for a financial adjustment to be made in favor of the buyer or the seller.

5. Have the seller confirm in writing that they have paid all supplier accounts to date in full.

The reason we mention this is sometimes there is the assumption that the lawyer will take care of such matters. That may be so but consider the following. As an example assume for a moment that you are taking over an existing account, say the Point of Sale system at a retail location. If the seller has not paid the bill to date, then the vendor of the Point of Sale system may deactivate the account until the outstanding balance gets paid. This immediately effects the operation of your business and intern turns the excitement of business ownership into a high stress, mission critical, situation.

From what I understand of Lynn’s situation, problems started when the person who was brokering the sale did not turn up to the final inspection. Lynn was therefore left to handle a situation without experience or representation – by representation I mean someone impartial to the sale, ensuring that the best interests of the buyer are met.

Upon taking possession of the business, Lynn found out that the computer system was constantly crashing, the toilet was not working and cupboards had to be replaced due to damage from animal feces. A key supplier account had not been paid that effected the operation of Lynn’s business.

Lynn was fortunate to have the financial means to replace computers, cupboards and complete the necessary repairs to the business however it came at a considerable cost that amounted to thousands of dollars. The key is to identify and address such issues before you take possession of a business. This, we believe, only comes from experience.

Even if you want to handle the purchase of a business yourself hiring a business broker as a consultant can literally save you tens of thousands of dollars. Certainly for us being hired to provide a buyer with a second opinion is an opportunity to share our knowledge with the buyer, support the buyer and share in their excitement of purchasing a business.

How to Move From Being the IT Guy to a Trusted Business Advisor

For years, a typical IT company has made a living from installing software, selling hardware and fixing computers.

With the advent of the Cloud and the decrease in the complexity of deploying and managing IT, the world is changing for IT providers and making a living from technical knowledge alone is becoming more and more difficult.

Change is hard, and if you’re making a good living from the status quo of installing and maintaining servers then it’s tough to consider a world where you don’t do this.

But many progressive IT companies and Managed Service Providers are already looking to expand their scope beyond support and maintenance to offering expertise in areas such as Sharepoint and CRM customisation – specialities where business owners will understand and value the help you can offer them.

Although there are still a lot of IT Solution Providers who think the Cloud and services like Microsoft Office 365 are the worst thing ever to affect their business, I’ve been encouraged by the number of conversations I’ve had with IT Solution Providers who are not only open to the idea of changing their business models away from pure monitoring and maintenance contracts, but now really believe that they can be more than the “IT Guy” to their clients – that that they can grow into true “Trusted Business Advisors”.

For MSP’s and other IT Solution Providers, I think there are a number of techniques you can begin to use to start the transition away from the “IT Guy” to “Trusted Business Advisor”.

Raise the bar of professionalism internally

Think about the type of company you’d like to do business with. Everything from how they answer the telephone, to how they dress and carry themselves, to how they keep the lines of communication open internally and externally. Set standards, create systems internally to support this vision, and start being that type of company. People (including your clients) will notice and you’ll be surprised to find your clients approach you for more than just Technical advice, but much more besides.

Quarterly Business Reviews

Meet with your clients to talk about their business. Not technology. Not licensing. Not projects. Simply a chat about their business and the challenges they face. You should be doing this a minimum of every quarter, but the best companies realise the value of regularly dropping by for a cup of tea and a chat. Doing so will surprisingly uncover a lot of opportunities for you, but more importantly helps your client understand that you’re interested in the success of their business and are therefore someone who can support their progress.

Use a PSA Tool

If you’re not already using a Professional Services Automation (PSA) tool such as Autotask or ConnectWise, start thinking about doing so tomorrow. Using such a tool, which is designed specifically for IT Solution Providers, forces you to clearly understand the necessary business processes required to support your own businesses growth. You’ll then begin to look at your clients businesses in a different light and understand how you can help them to become more efficient too. Which leads me on to…

Sell CRM

A PSA tool such as Autotask is designed specifically for IT Solution Providers. For most other industries, including those of your clients, such a dedicated tool doesn’t exist – but your clients have a need for such a tool anyway. This is where you come in. Simply selling your clients a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software package is one thing, but offering them your expertise to configure that CRM package to support their specific business requirements is a real value add that enables you to deeply understand your clients business inside and out.

Conclusion

This stuff works. I know because I’ve helped some of my clients focus on making these changes this year and I’ve seen the subtle difference in the way they now carry themselves with more confidence, the improved relationships they subsequently have with their clients, and the increase in the amount of money they earn as a result.

Start using any one of these techniques, and whilst you’ll notice changes, you’ll quickly begin to realise the other techniques go hand in hand. They all support one another in your goal to grow your business to cope with the changing market.

Start using all of the techniques, even at their most basic level, and your clients and prospective clients will begin to perceive you less as the “IT Guy” and more as their “Trusted Business Advisor”