If you have just started a cleaning business or are wanting more regular work to make your business more secure, this article may be useful.
Now that you have a business and you have all the equipment needed to get busy and start work, you will need to take a look at securing some contracts for your new business.
Although you may feel like your business will be fine to work on a per job and per client basis (which is possible); to become a real leader in the field within your area, you will want to secure cleaning contracts with several clients. Securing contracts offers financial security of permanent clients no matter how quiet your casual clients become. Not only does this give you peace of mind, you’ll also be building a brand for yourself as a dependable and reliable service to potential clients.
Securing contracts may seem like a daunting task, but it needn’t be. There are a few simple things you can put into place to introduce and promote your services to your potential market. Clients will at first need awareness that your business exists and your range of services. Clients are less likely to engage your services on a permanent basis if they’ve never heard of you. By working on your marketing, you’ll be able to build a brand for yourself and this will in turn make your business appear more professional.
One of the questions that you may think of when getting into your business is whether you need to have a written contract. Is it necessary? The answer depends on the type of business you’ll be focusing on. It must be noted that this advice does not replace the need for a solicitor or lawyer to assist you, it is only a guide as any business regardless of its size should always seek professional legal advice.
If you are mostly focused on house cleans and are looking to pick up casual jobs every so often, you may not require a written contract. A verbal contract and a handshake is often all that is needed for this kind of work. In fact, a verbal agreement can hold up in court just as much as a written contract, but a written agreement is much easier to prove. Verbal agreements work well for these clients as they are not “locked in” to your services should their personal circumstances change. A verbal agreement will also work well for you in this case if the client tends to be a little troublesome and things don’t work out well in your relationship with them. A verbal agreement is best when providing jobs that will cost under $150.
However, if you’re looking to provide services on a regular basis to a commercial property, a written contract will be best. This is especially true if you’ll be accessing the property outside of normal working hours or you require access via a different entrance to normal staff and clients. Commercial clients tend to prefer organising your services once a year, usually around the beginning of the financial year. In this case, a written contract will be best to help cover both parties. A written contract should outline the costs, hours you will be working, when you will be accessing the building and what services you are providing such as the cleaning scope and additional charges for any ad-hoc requests.
There may be some clients who will want you to provide your services to them on a regular basis without a written contract. In this situation, offer the client a mutual contract and take them through the details to demonstrate what is involved and what is covered and what isn’t. It may be a case of them not having an understanding of a standard contract you provide them and they may just require a little bit of explanation. It is good to openly discuss the client’s issues as it gives them a chance to build confidence in your professionalism and the contract at hand.
You don’t need to involve a lawyer or solicitor to draw up a contract, you can easily draft one yourself and use a solicitor or lawyer to read it over to ensure you haven’t missed any important features. There are some basic items you should definitely start considering.
There are a few things you can do to determine your pricing and to ensure you don’t work yourself into debt. You need to ensure you’re charging clients a rate that covers all of the running of your equipment, the purchase of any additional cleaning solvents and materials, your travel expenses and additional staff if required. Some handy ways to work out your pricing are listed below:
As a general guide, here is a template for a contract that you can use for your own business needs however it is vital that you get professional legal advice before using it in your business.
Contract for cleaning services
This contract is made between ……………….. (client) and ……………….. (contractor) for the period between ……………….. (starting date) and ……………….. (concluding date).
This contract is binding for the duration of the contract as stated above. This contract allows for a fourteen (14) day cooling off period to allow either parties to terminate the contract without any consequences.
If either party wish to cancel the contract within the time frame specified, written notice will be required at least fourteen (14) days before the proposed cancellation date and a cancellation fee of ……………….. will be required to be paid to the other party.
The contractor will be performing the following services for the client throughout the duration of the contract.
Any other items that require maintenance or cleaned will be charged accordingly, but not prior to approval of the client.
The contractor will be providing all tools and equipment, as well as solvents and cleaners to perform their role as states above. Access to power and water will need to be provided by the client.
The contractor will be providing the above services at a rate of ……………….. per hour. Billing will occur ………………..(duration) and will be due within fourteen (14) days of invoice generated.
This rate includes:
In the event of a breakage or damage to the client’s property or belongings due to fault of the contractor, the contractor agrees to either repair or replace the item/s. This will be completed within one (1) month of damage or breakage occurring (unless the part or item cannot be fixed or replaced within this time in an event outside of the contractor’s control).
Payment for services will be required to be made within fourteen (14) days of invoice generated, which will be completed on the last day of each month. Payment can be made via direct deposit.
If payment fails to be received within the time frame specified, services may be suspended until payment is received. A late charge of ……………….. (charge) may also apply to the next invoice.
(Client Signature 1)
(Client Signature 2 if applicable)