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Finding cleaning contracts can turn into a bit of a minefield if you don’t know where to look. There are thousands of websites posting new cleaning contracts, in the form of tendering opportunities, daily across the UK.
Buyers procuring cleaning contracts can in sectors from education, local authorities, SMEs, public spaces, leisure centres, supermarkets and more. They can have varied budgets ranging from £5,000 to multi-million-pound frameworks.
If you’ve never tendered before, you may have some questions. This blog will provide answers to your cleaning contract FAQs as well as some top tips on winning the bids.
So, let’s start off with an easy one…
You may be wondering if you can just buy cleaning contracts, and you are not alone. However, the answer to your question is short and simple – no.
The cleaning business has always been a highly competitive marketplace. This is true now more than ever. COVID-19 has led to a steep increase in both the public and private sectors putting out increased cleaning contracts. Unfortunately, you can’t just go out and buy cleaning contracts. So, here’s how to go about it instead.
Let’s start off with a simple question – what is tendering? Cleaning contracts are primarily procured through tendering. This is when a business requires a good or a service that they can’t do themselves. Or, if the business contract exceeds the public sector threshold, they will then be put out to tender. Then, any potential suppliers can respond to this call with their tender response.
A number of businesses may want to procure cleaning services, and the cleaning sector itself is vast. It covers areas such as:
However, don’t despair. This blog will tell you how to secure a cleaning tender instead as you’re unable to buy cleaning contracts.
Making sure you are tendering for the right opportunities for your businesses is vital. This ensures consistent growth and development which could lead to expansion. In order to do this, you need to know where to find the right opportunities for your business.
This can be done via tendering portals. We host live cleaning contract opportunities on our Facilities Tenders portal. You can filter the live results via keyword, budget, location and more on one site. This saves you countless hours that would otherwise be spent trawling hundreds of websites daily.
ATD Specialist Cleaning 2021
Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency- Eastern- Budget: £60,000
Cleaning – Dynamic Purchasing System
Advantage South West- South West- Budget: Undisclosed
Hall Green School – Cleaning Tender
Hall Green School- West Midlands- Budget: £435,000
Mobile Cleaning Operative
Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council- West Midlands- Budget: £5,000
Provision of Cleaning Services
Leicester City Council- East Midlands- Budget: Undisclosed
We track opportunities for the following sub-sectors:
Book a free live demo today to learn how we can grow your business!
Once you have sourced what you think is the right opportunity for your business, you should ask yourself:
If you can answer yes to all of the above, then you should proceed onto the PQQ or SQ stage.
A pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) or a selection questionnaire (SQ) are used to establish the minimum eligibility criteria of a business. You may be asked to submit evidence of past contracts your business has carried out, or your businesses financial standing.
An ITT stands for an invitation to tender. This is the next step of the tendering process if your company is shortlisted from the PQQ or SQ stage. An ITT is a formal document that’s issued by the buyer outlining the scope of the project. This invites a business to submit a formal tender for work.
An ITT is different from a PQQ or SQ because it outlines how you will commit to the project delivery. It often includes quality questions. They’ll ask how you carry out certain processes, what equipment you use, or what policies you have in place.
An ITT is often evaluated using the MEAT.
The most economically advantageous tender (MEAT) method means that the buyer is looking at more than just the price. They are putting a certain percentage on price but are also looking at the quality of your response, too. A combined score from these two weightings will establish a final score. The organisation with the best overall score is then awarded the contract.
You want to ensure when applying for opportunities in the public sector that you have thought about social value. There is now a mandatory 10% weighting on social value within a quality response. In some cases, it can hold a weight of up to 30%. You should take into consideration the social, economic and environmental aspects of the contract.
The buyer wants to know the commitments you’re making and ones you can keep. This new social value model came into use within the UK in January 2021. Perhaps you use eco-friendly products and are passionate about waste reduction.
Within your response, you could note:
Up to three case studies may be required when submitting a tender response. It’s standard across public sector tendering for the buyer to ask for at least three past contracts of work. The case studies typically need to have been completed within the last five years.
It’s best to match your case studies to work of a similar scope that you have carried out. Testimonials from happy clients are always a plus. This demonstrates to the buyer that you are able to carry out the contract.
You need to make sure your cases studies are:
For example, imagine there is a contract that is looking to procure cleaning services of a primary school in Cheshire. You could include case studies of cleaning services you’ve carried out in a primary school of a similar location. Or, you could showcase the work you have carried out in other educational institutions.
It is vital that you showcase your understanding of the specification in your response. Your response should demonstrate that you can provide the service that the buyer is looking for. The tender documentation for cleaning contracts will often include a specification of the exact requirements for the cleaning task needed. It’s imperative that you reference this in your method statement. This proves that you are aware of the buyer’s requirements and you are capable of delivering them.
For example, a buyer requires a certain room cleaning within an office using a specific piece of equipment. Make sure you replicate this scenario in your response. If you ignore it, you imply that you haven’t read the documentation properly. This will be greatly off-putting to buyers.
If you’re new to tendering, a framework agreement may be a good place to start. They can help you build up experience if you don’t already have it.
Frameworks are multi-supplier agreements, meaning there are often more places available. They typically run over longer terms ranging from 2 – 10 years. If you secure a place on a public sector framework, it can be a very lucrative opportunity for your business. This is because it is a guaranteed form of income, which can bring you peace of mind.
As you cannot buy cleaning contracts, applying for a framework agreement is a great opportunity that’s not to be missed. Buyers release a framework opportunity and then places are awarded to the best suppliers. Goods and services on frameworks are often divided into ‘Lots’. This means your business doesn’t have to fulfil the whole contract – only the chosen section.
You may find it useful to contact your local council to request to be considered for framework agreements. You should ask if they have any open as a subcontractor. This will allow you to build your company’s experience and is a great place to start if you’re an SME.
DPS’ are similar to framework agreements in that there are multiple suppliers on one system. They can run for years at a time and your business is able to join at any point while it’s open.
If you still need help with writing a cleaning contract response – we can help. Here at Hudson, we are experts in Bid Writing. Our sister company, Hudson Succeed, have an 87% success rate and over 40-years bidding experience across multiple industries.
We offer four Bid Writing services to help you secure your next contract:
So, instead of wondering if you can buy cleaning contracts, you now know how to apply through the tendering process.
Now you know that you can’t buy cleaning contracts, you may be wondering what is required from them. Cleaning contracts can cover a multitude of services. For example, janitorial, commercial, school cleaning, window cleaning, toilet blocks, specialist cleans and more.
Commercial cleaning contracts are often used to procure cleaning services for commercial buildings. Buyers can be in either the public or private sector. If you are unsure on whether you should be tendering for commercial cleaning contracts, the following advantages may help.
Tendering for work can have many advantages, particularly when tendering in the public sector. The procurement process has been updated by the government in order to level the playing field for SMEs. The government are actively looking to spend £1 in £3 with SMEs. This means there has never been a better time to tender for work as a smaller business. Other advantages for commercial cleaning contracts include:
When doing business with public sector organisation, they are legally obligated to pay you upon winning a contract. The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) goes one step further and must pay its suppliers within 60-days of invoicing. This is to comply with the Prompt Payment Code. This creates a great piece of mind when tendering for work, particularly if you’re a first-time supplier.
Commercial cleaning contracts can enable you to gain experience. Such experience is crucial when tendering for work, as mentioned above. Buyers will require case studies and the more contracts you fulfil, the more experience you will have. This can then lead your business to apply for bigger contracts, helping your business grow.
Tendering for commercial cleaning contracts can help secure a pipeline of work for your business. Winning a place on a long-term contract, DPS or framework can create a sustainable future for your business. Our Bid Writers have helped our clients to secure upwards of four years of income from one win. This is no doubt one of the biggest advantages of tendering, and an attractive prospect to any business.
When carrying out a commercial cleaning contract, you will be forming new business relationships. This will help you work with more buyers as you will be making contracts. When tendering for future commercial cleaning contracts, you’ll be able to demonstrate that you’ve had previous happy clients.
Every business owner knows that without contacts, you’re in danger of your business plateauing. Building a base of contacts and connections can present your business with new opportunities. These opportunities may then lead to collaborations and inter-trading.
These advantages should convince you that there has never been a better time to tender. Your cleaning business should seriously consider tendering as a viable strategy for business growth.
Janitorial cleaning bids can cover a range of services across a range of buildings, homes, and public facilities. At Facilities Tenders we source tenders for public and private sector janitorial work, including:
See a service your company provides? Great. If not, this is just a small selection of available opportunities for cleaning services – we source hundreds! Book a free live demo to view which live tenders are currently available near you.
Cleaning & Janitorial Services 2020
ITSLIGO- International- Budget: Undisclosed
Cleaning and Janitorial Materials and Washroom Services
National Procurement Service (Welsh Government)- Wales- Budget: £12,000,000
Cleaning and Janitorial Supplies
North Western Universities Purchasing Consortium Limited- North West- Budget: £12,000,000
GB-Leicester: COVID 19 Related PPE and Janitorial
University of Leicester- East Midlands- Budget: £100,000
Provision of Cleaning and Janitorial Services at the British High Commission Islamabad & British Deputy High Commissions at Karachi and Lahore
Foreign & Commonwealth Office- London- Budget: Undisclosed
Tendering isn’t just for large companies – solo service providers and small to medium enterprise (SMEs) can benefit too! Our bid writing division, Hudson Succeed, have worked closely with a range of cleaning businesses to win janitorial cleaning bids. There’s potential for huge business growth through tendering, and there are always contracts out there to bid for. The Opportunity Trackers at our tender tracking branch, Facilities Tenders, source new public sector janitorial opportunities every day!
What are the implications for the cleaning industry after a year like 2020? Firstly – cleaning service providers deserve national praise for the exceptionally important role they’ve played throughout the pandemic in 2020! Many cleaning and hygiene key workers have been on the frontline, fighting the virus, throughout the year. In 2020, cleanliness is more crucial than ever. Delia Cannings, representative of the Association of Healthcare Cleaning Professionals (AHCP) said:
Cleaning operatives in the healthcare sector played a key role during the pandemic and have done an incredible job. Many have gone above and beyond, working longer hours, taking on extra responsibilities and adopting new standards and practices to prevent COVID-19 contamination.
There’s no doubt it’s been a trying time for the industry. Service providers have been forced to react and adapt. Lauren Kyle, representing the Business Services Association (BSA), discussed the shift in demand for cleaning bids in the cleaning industry:
Our members operate in a wide range of sectors, some of which – such as sports and leisure, transport, and retail – have seen a downturn, while others – such as schools, and hospitals – have seen heightened demand for cleaning and disinfection.
In light of shifting trends, can your cleaning service adapt to meet new demands? For instance, can you seek experience in a healthcare setting to strengthen your case studies when tendering for in-demand services? Are you qualified to provide janitorial cleaning work in schools?
Using a sector-specific tendering portal which allows for keyword filtering will help you find relevant work, quickly and easily. We’ve seen a surge in public sector work on our Facilities Tender portal recently. There is always a steady stream of janitorial cleaning opportunities, particularly for schools and healthcare. Get in touch for more information on our portal and start finding live tenders available near you!
Janitorial cleaning bids can be tricky. There are some things you should consider in advance to make sure you’re not wasting your time. Ensure your company is prepared to tender. For instance, a few areas of documentation worth considering before you even begin tendering are:
Do you have the relevant accreditations for janitorial cleaning bids? Tender specifications will often require that your company has a specific set of accreditations. There are also government requirements you must comply with for trading, including relevant insurance. You should prepare your company for tendering by ensuring you comply with all the requirements for your sector. This may include:
Is your turnover good enough for the job? Buyers may set a turnover threshold in the specification to ensure your company is capable of taking on a job. This is particularly likely for large contracts. As a general rule, we never advise bidding for a contract that is more than half your annual turnover. For example, if you turn over £100k, we advise bidding for tenders with a maximum budget of £50k.
You may need to attach your most recent audited/unaudited accounts as proof of turnover. This is usually required early on in the process of a tender, i.e. the PQQor SQ. It should therefore be made clear whether your company’s turnover meets the threshold early on. This is always worth double-checking before going any further and wasting time with a tender.
Does your business have the relevant corporate literature, ready to submit in a tender response? Is it well-designed and easy to read?
At Hudson, we can fully prepare you for tendering. We’ll create high-quality and company-branded content for you through our Tender Ready service. We’ll first create a checklist to determine what is needed to succeed with any janitorial cleaning bids. Then, we’ll work in collaboration with your team to produce detailed, precise, and concise documents, ready to tender!
Another area you should ensure you’re prepared for when tendering for janitorial cleaning bids is demonstrable past experience. Do you have past experience in similar jobs that will prove you’re the best candidate? Are you certain this experience is relevant? How many previous contract examples does the specification request? Make sure you fit the bill here.
If you do have the credentials, you’ll need to provide evidence to back-up each claim. This will often be done through case studies. Our free Tender VLE masterclass walks you through how to set out your case studies effectively in a tender response.
Usually, it can be expected that you’ll to be asked to provide at least three relevant case studies. This applies to each service you provide. Make sure you describe and evaluate your experience in a way that that demonstrates why you’re the most qualified provider. Keep the information as relevant and fitted to the bid as you can! There’s no room for any irrelevant information on a past job, even if the overall experience itself is relevant. Every word counts!
The scope of work is an important element of any bid. Janitorial cleaning bids, especially, have a lot of elements to consider. You will need to consider every aspect of the job to accurately generate a price and timescale. You should read and digest the full tender specification and supporting documents before you begin your tender response. To ensure the job is worth tendering for, you must be confident you’re the best service provider for the job!
Read carefully. You don’t want to miss an important element of the tender that disqualifies you. Neither should you ignore any aspects of the tender that may be out of reach for your services.
For example, the buyer might require cleaning services for 100+ schools across multiple counties. Are you certain you have the workforce and resources to deliver a job of this scope? And if so, do you have the experience to back this up and prove yourself on paper? Always be realistic and responsible in your tender responses. Only bid for work you know you have a solid chance of winning.
Ask for as much information as possible on the building or facilities which are to be cleaned. Is something not specified in the tender, such as floor type? If you feel this would be helpful in judging the scope of work, ask for clarification!
Can you arrange a site visit with the buyer where you can visit the facility and assess it first-hand? If so – great! You’ll be in a much better bidding position. Site visits can be a very useful tool while tendering for janitorial cleaning bids.
As we’ve just mentioned, the more information you have before bidding, the better. Physically seeing the floor types, for instance, gives you a clearer view of the scope of the work. There’s only so much you can envisage from the black and white words of a tender specification. In a site visit, you can physically assess all parts of the building(s) where the job will take place. In doing so, you may want to consider:
A first-hand assessment of the site allows you to create a much more meaningful proposal. You can note the difficulty levels of different areas and better prepare for how the job will unfold, for instance. This helps you to finetune your timescale and workforce, to be as accurate as possible.
Remember to follow all necessary safety precautions during site visits, such as wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing.
At its heart, the tendering process is designed to help buyers find the Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT). While the process offers suppliers a fair chance of winning, your pricing will always be compared to your competitors. Pricing is always an important aspect of a bid.
Check the weighting of how your bid will be evaluated in the award criteria of the tender specification. The bulk of the weighting will often be split between cost and quality. For example, janitorial cleaning may be assessed by 60% price and 40% quality, or vice versa. Some bids may even be based 100% on price.
Regardless of its weighting, you should always calculate your price accurately and competitively.
Consider the direct costs of the work (i.e. wages, supplies, equipment) and quote a price that allows you to make a profit. There are two don’ts to remember here:
There’s a lot to consider in janitorial cleaning bids. However, you should never skimp on the quality of the writing and presentation of a bid. The proof is in the prose! A well-written, precise and easy to read proposal can be essential to the success of a bid.
Don’t worry if you don’t have natural writing prowess. Our bid writers at Hudson Succeed can provide you with a range of tender support. Our experts have an 87% success rate and are experienced with janitorial cleaning bids. Through our Tender Writing service, our Bid Writers will:
School maintenance contracts often involve maintaining and updating an inventory of equipment and building fixtures within a school premises. These duties require service contracts as educational institutions often look to outsourcing the works or services.
School maintenance contracts can cover a wide range of services. These could include:
Tendering for school maintenance contracts generally follows a standard process. You will often need to complete a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) or a selection questionnaire (SQ). This is a preliminary stage that establishes if you meet the necessary minimum eligibility criteria. It’s usually a box-ticking exercise that generally asks for the following information:
Once you have passed this initial stage, you’ll be shortlisted and sent an invitation to tender (ITT). This is called a closed tender. This stage requires you to write your tender responses to the buyer’s questions. The tender documents will contain information such as:
Framework agreements are often used as a tendering procedure for school maintenance contracts within the public sector. A framework agreement is a multi-supplier agreement that can run for months or several years. A framework agreement for school maintenance contracts could look something like this:
So, if your business specialises in janitorial cleaning, you need only apply to lot 5. Some framework agreements may allow suppliers to apply for multiple lots, although this is often capped at three. When applying to multiple lots, you will need to supply the buyer with evidential proof of your capability. You will need to demonstrate that you have the necessary resources, money, experience and ability to deliver all three.
Methods of measurement
There are often multiple methods of measurement for school maintenance contracts. These could include, but aren’t limited to the following:
Each aspect can be assessed either individually or as a mix. A buyer is looking for those tenders that score highly across the board. The weightings for the evaluation of school maintenance contracts vary depending on the buyer’s needs.
A private buyer is not restricted by the same policies and processes as a public buyer is. They are able to choose the cheapest bid if they want. However, a public buyer must award the bid to the most economically advantageous tender. This is because a public buyer must demonstrate the most value for money when spending taxpayer’s money.
Social value and sustainability
Schools routinely purchase products and services and it’s up to them if they purchase sustainable consumer goods. With many wanting to head towards more sustainable procurement of products and services, they may wish to purchase:
When tendering in the public sector, there’s now a mandatory minimum weighting on 10% on social value. A supplier will need to assess the relevant economic, environmental and social aspects while carrying out the contract. These could include the following examples:
Now you have read the complete guide to cleaning contracts. You should have a better idea of what to expect when tendering for contracts. However, if you’re still struggling with your response we can help.
One cleaning service provider we saw success with is APM Cleaning. We worked closely with them to secure work on multiple lots on a framework agreement. They provided the following feedback on our services:
The Hudson Team were very reactive in their ways of working and handled all communications very effectively and efficiently. This partnership is credit to the recent win for the Prosper DPS for Facilities Management, which we were successful on all LOTs applied. We would recommend Hudson to any company who require bid support of any kind!”
– Samantha Reid, Director, APM Cleaning.
Our bid writers also produce successful bids across a range of sectors, helping clients see results such as:
Tendering for cleaning contracts is an excellent way to grow your business. The best way to see success is to ensure you are well-prepared and well-supported for the tendering process! We offer a range of support to carry you through, from finding the tender to becoming the successful bidder.
If you follow our tips and considerations, you’ll be well on your way to securing future cleaning contracts.
Get in touch to find out how we can help your cleaning business grow.
Upgrading to Discover Elite allows you to identify tendering opportunities even when you’re busy. Our two upgraded packages can improve your competitor awareness and bidding success rate. Each can help save you even more time when searching for school maintenance contract tenders.
The Ultimate Time Saver package offers your business:
The Become a Pre-Bid Master package also includes:
Contact us to find out how we can help your business grow.