Beware The Cowboy Cleaning Companies

So, you’ve set your heart on looking for a new cleaner and you’re now online taking a look at what’s what in the Edinburgh office cleaning marketplace. It’s highly likely that you will be looking for a high quality, reliable service all delivered at a fair market price. That’s a fair assumption I’m sure you’d agree – but how important is price going to be in your decision making process? Is it at the top of your list of priorities or are there other factors that will play a bigger part influencing your decision? The reason we feel compelled to come right out and ask these questions is that we know you’ll find exactly what you want as you work your way through the companies that present themselves to you over this process – but the bigger question is this – will you ultimately get what you really need?

At first glance we all look pretty similar, all with a similar list of services on offer, all making similar promises and all trying to present ourselves in a way that might just make us stand out that bit more than the rest. If you’ve read through the copy on our website (About us section) you’ll see that we’ve already attempted to highlight the areas where we think we’re quite a bit different to the other cleaning companies working in Edinburgh. We’re not going to go back over these points here but it is interesting to see and hear about what’s going on in the marketplace and as a potential buyer of office cleaning services in Edinburgh we felt it might be useful for you to know some of the following points which might help make the decision making process a little clearer, if not easier all the way round.

Okay, we used the headline “Beware the Cowboys” to bring you to this point so, it’s important that you know how to spot a cowboy company from the genuine article. Often you can’t spot this just by looking at their website (that would be too easy) although some of the signs will be there. Just because a company rank highly on google doesn’t mean they should necessarily be considered as a suitable partner to support your business. In business we know that people buy people. Ultimately more than money we know that it’s trust that makes the world go around – however, some folks are a sucker for a cheap deal and we all know that cheap isn’t always best. In this case we know that cheap isn’t always legal. And we all know that cheap just never ever has a habit of working out alright in the end.

When you go cheaply you know there are corners being cut. You don’t know where, you may not even ask – but if you did what would you find? Here’s an idea of you may or may not expect to find if dealing with a cowboy company:

  • On their website do they have a landline phone number and contact address? If it’s just a mobile number chances are you’ll never be able to speak to them when you really really need to.
  • When you phone them do you always get an answer? Are you leaving a message on the machine of a company or that of a one-man-band? This may or may not be an issue to you but how important is the guarantee of knowing the company is big enough to cope with whatever it is that you’ll be asking of them?
  • Are they based in the area where you are? If not how strong a presence do their senior managers have in your area? We know it’s not all about where a company is based that determines the quality of service they offer but having senior managers on your account and being around often certainly does.
  • The big question (or should we say questions) relates to how they work with their staff:
  1. Are their staff employed by them with a proper contract of employment?
  2. Are their staff paid the minimum wage or a living wage?
  3. Do their staff get paid holidays and sick pay?
  4. Do their staff have a pension plan they pay into?
  5. Are their staff trained in all areas of health and safety?
  6. Do they have risk assessments and method statements in place for cleaning your place of business?
  7. Do they have all the necessary insurances in place and can they prove that they do?
  8. How do they ask to be paid after they’ve worked with you? Cash?

These are just some of the questions you should be asking when looking to appoint a new cleaning contractor for your office. Getting it wrong could be costly. We know that a large number of cleaning companies use self-employed labour that they pay in cash. These cleaners have no contract, no holiday pay and may not even be getting paid the minimum wage. These cleaners most likely aren’t even insured in your premises if this is the case. Taking a chance on a company like that is like driving your car without an MOT or road tax. Why take that sort of risk?

Also, staff working for a company like that almost certainly don’t feel valued and will most certainly be looking for another job. Where does that leave you and your cleaning contract? We know. What it means is you’ll constantly be getting introduced to new cleaners into your business. None of them will stay long with a company that treats them like that. Even if your cleaner comes in out of hours and you never meet them you’ll still know when it’s a different cleaner doing the work. The standards won’t be the same. It’ll feel all different – but not in a good way. You’ll be left wondering what’s going on but not really getting the answers you want and need. So, to get round this we recommend you only deal with companies that can satisfy you with the answers that you want (maybe even need) to hear relating to the questions we’ve already highlighted that you need to ask.

Once you’ve done all of the above you’ve only got 2 questions left to ask – this time of yourself.

  1. Do you know exactly what you want and possibly what you don’t want of a cleaning partner?
  2. When do you want to meet us?

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Most weeks we’ll receive calls from companies making enquiries to see if we are able to provide cleaning cover whilst their own cleaners are off