Home' Inclean : INCLEAN May-Jun 2016 Contents 44 INCLEAN May/June 2016
By Ron Segura*
Many cleaning contractors are a
bit in the dark on how building
administrators accept and then
evaluate cleaning proposals. Years
ago, most building service contractors
(BSCs) just returned a bid by mail or
submitted it in person, asking to review
it with their office contact if possible.
However, very often the contact just
accepted the bid package and thanked
the contractor for coming by. The
contractor then waited by the phone for it to ring.
That process is fast disappearing. Very large organisations were
the first to do away with this process and now smaller businesses are
eliminating it as well. These organisations found that the bidding
process took a lot of time. They also found that inviting a BSC
to participate in the bid process just because it had sent literature
or asked to be put on the bid list resulted in many unqualified
And, if an unqualified contractor happened to submit the lowest
bid, it was commonly awarded the contract... invariably resulting in
the customer having to repeat the whole process a year later when
the work being done was not up to standard.
One of the key things now required is a formal presentation. More
and more organisations want cleaning contractors -- and many
of their other vendors -- to make a well-crafted presentation in a
building conference room. Having a group of no more than 10
cleaning contractors make presentations is now how many of today's
organisations preselect BSCs that will participate in the final stages
of the bidding process.
The customer will provide the subjects to be addressed in the
presentation. And remember, this is not a sales presentation.
In order to better understand the way many organisations take bids
today, and what goes on behind closed doors during the bidding review
process, let's create an imaginary company. Because our imaginary BSC
is based in Sydney, Australia, we'll call it East Coast Maintenance.
The bidding process
Intent: East Coast Maintenance is one of 10 contractors receiving an
invitation to make a presentation. As we will discuss later, this will
determine if they will receive a request for proposal (RFP) to provide
services. For its 30-minute presentation, it will be asked to address
four topics. The contractor will be evaluated and given a score based
on its answers. The top five BSCs will participate in the next stage of
Presentation: We will discuss the actual presentation in more detail
later, but we should clarify that those still in the running will actually
be making two presentations: 1.The 30-minute presentation, just
mentioned, and 2. A one-hour presentation by those five companies
selected to participate.
At this stage of the process, don't be surprised if there are
competitors being passed on the way in or on the way out. Often
these presentations are scheduled consecutively on the same day.
Adjustments: Building administrators may make changes or
highlight items that have been an ongoing concern. Usually these
concerns, which will be listed as part of the scope of work, are very
important and may in fact be one reason they sent out the RFP in the
first place. The administrators don't want these issues repeated -- so
pay very close attention to them.
The RFP Package
The RFP package has now been prepared and delivered to the remaining
finalists. When the RFP response is received, the customer will:
1. Check to see if all information was returned in the correct format
(electronic or hard copy).
2. Seek out any sales/marketing material, which is not appropriate at
3. Check pricing.
4. Identify if it was submitted within the time window allowed.
5. Note if it was completely filled out.
Another thing many administrators are looking for, or now expect,
is that a responsible bidder should go beyond the requirements
listed in the RFP. For instance, suggest ways to improve cleaning
efficiencies, offer cost reduction strategies, or address green and
sustainability initiatives. These can result in a 'green flag' assigned to
a proposal -- something a BSC definitely wants.
While there are likely to be a few more steps in the decision-
The tender process: A BSC's request for
proposal can make all the difference
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