With the recent mass deep cleaning of thousands of medical facilities and schools following the coronavirus pandemic in the UK, the staff working for commercial cleaning services providers have really proven themselves to be some of Britain’s key workers.
But there’s something important for every business owner to consider about the longer-term consequences of the pandemic. This once-in-a-lifetime event is going to change people’s perceptions of the businesses they buy from for a long time. Cleanliness and hygiene within premises will be expected by employees, staff, and visitors. In fact, having a clean business will be a strong competitive advantage.
So how much does commercial cleaning cost? It varies between region and on the tasks performed but you should expect to pay between £100 and £200 an hour plus VAT and materials for a team to provide a quality service.
If you’ve never worked with a commercial cleaning company before, we’ve prepared this short guide on what you need to consider and the questions you need to ask, including:
- What is input-driven and output-driven contract cleaning and which is better for you?
- Negotiating a fair deal with contract cleaners,
- What types of business commercial cleaning services are on offer?
- Important questions you should ask any contract cleaner you’re considering using, and
- How to find competitive quotes from commercial cleaning companies in your area
Don’t want to do the searching yourself? We work with hundreds of vetted commercial cleaning companies across the UK matching them with the businesses they perform the very best work for. And by using our service, you may save up to 20%.
Simply use the form at the top of the page to send us information about your premises and we’ll arrange 3-4 well-priced quotes for you to consider. Our service is free of charge and you’re under no obligation to accept any quote you’re given.
Input- versus output-driven contract cleaning
There are types of standard cleaning contract – input-driven and output-driven.
With an input-driven contract, you give your cleaning company an exact list of the tasks that need to be performed meaning that, when completed, you would consider the job done.
With an output-driven contract, you give the cleaning contractor an idea of what you want the end result to be like and then your cleaning contractor does just enough work necessary to deliver that result. With these contracts, it’s the subjective judgement of the contractor about whether the work has been completed that counts and not yours.
Pros and cons of commercial cleaning contracts
There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches.
With an input-driven contract, you may end up specifying too many tasks. For example, you may require your bins to be emptied every day although they may only need emptying every second or third day. And remember that each action you specify will make the job of cleaning longer meaning that you’ll pay more in hourly charges.
With an output-driven contract, you and your cleaning contractor might disagree about the standard of work. There are also more opportunities for your cleaning contractor to cut costs by doing the minimum amount of work possible so long as the quality of the cleaning meets their subjective judgement as being high enough.
What’s the best way forward? This is something you should deal with when you’re negotiating with your cleaning contractor. But, first, let’s look at the type of cleaning that your commercial premises might need.
Types of business commercial cleaning services
You may associate commercial cleaning with just offices but it’s more complicated than you might think. In this section, we’ll look at some of the different types of commercial cleaning services offered.
Office cleaning services
There are thousands of office cleaning companies in the UK – within a 20m radius of your office, you’ll likely have between 20 and 30 specialists to choose from. Office cleaning companies not only clean offices – they clean the office sections contained within the premises occupied by manufacturing, wholesaling, and other types of companies.
The role of office cleaners is to perform general cleaning activities within an office and its facility areas – vacuuming, sweeping, dusting, mopping, and the cleaning of ceiling vents. They’re also responsible for stocking and maintain supply rooms, emptying waste baskets and putting those baskets in the outside bin, letting management know about any required repairs needed, routine inspections, and much more.
Most commercial cleaners offer occasional heavy cleaning services and other special cleaning projects normally in addition to your standard fee.
Industrial cleaning companies perform most of the same functions as office cleaning companies but with a few specialist extras.
In industrial settings, hazards and accidents are more common than in standard offices and cleaners are often tasked with being the eyes and ears of management in reporting potential health and safety issues.
And because these workplaces are more dangerous, the standard of cleaning required is often much higher. Unlike with office cleaners, industrial cleaners are also responsible for cleaning the outside of buildings and the removal of graffiti.
Pub and restaurant cleaning
Pub and restaurant cleaning is split into four sections – front of house (where the public sits), back of house (where the public are barred from entering), lavatorial (cleaning of toilets in public areas and in staff only area), and external (cleaning beer gardens, smoking areas, and so on).
Commercial kitchen cleaning is part of the back of house cleaning tasks. It involves the sanitisation of all food preparation surfaces and areas, cleaning of equipment, washing of floor mats, the cleaning out of grease traps and walk-in refrigerators, and more.
Front of house cleaning involves window, canopy, and façade cleaning, cleaning of standing and sitting areas, cleaning of air-conditioning units, waste disposal, jet washing, patio cleaning, and more.
Child setting cleaning
Any parent knows that children are magnets for illness and all sorts of other pathogens so, in premises where children gather (like nurseries, schools, or soft play centres), the general cleaning of areas and fixtures & fittings is often focused equally on hygiene and infection prevention.
Parents are particularly careful about the environments they’ll take their children to so you’ll find that you will need to invest in deep cleans much more often and keep on top of the appearance of fixtures and fittings.
You’ll need to assure yourself before taking on a commercial cleaning contractor that they can perform to Section 3 of The Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Statutory Framework.
Healthcare and medical cleaning
If you own or run a healthcare business or establishment, especially one which is visited by customers for treatment, the expectations of hygiene, cleanliness, and infection control among both patients and regulators is much higher. You’ll likely need to employ a specialist firm to do this.
Private healthcare and medical businesses are expected to, in the minds of patients, meet and exceed the minimum levels of hygiene, cleanliness, and infection control specified in the Health Act 2006.
Commercial deep cleaning
In the wake of the 2020 pandemic, the cleanliness of your premises will be a deciding factor on whether people buy from your business and whether they want to work for your business.
In addition to standard regular cleaning, customers and staff will expect regular deep cleaning of your premises. This will be a service offered by your contractor for an additional charge to your regular agreement.
With a deep clean, normally performed when your office or premises are shut, an additional basic clean is performed on the areas most regularly cleaned this time with a focus on hygiene and the removal of longer-standing grime, dirt, and other matter which may contain pathogens capable of infecting your staff and visitors.
Business window cleaning
Nearly all commercial cleaning companies also offer internal business window cleaning services as part of their regular schedule of work for you.
A few offer external window cleaning although you will more likely than not have to work with a separate contractor for the outsides of your window.
The amount you pay will vary depending on the number of windows, the size of those windows, and how accessible your windows are (for example, will the cleaner need ladders or a cherry picker to reach certain windows?).
Blinds and drapery cleaning
Blinds and drapery within commercial premises quickly become overwhelmed by soil, smells, pollen, dust, and other materials. If not thoroughly cleaned, blinds and drapery can become a source of airborne infection within your offices.
Commercial blinds and drapery cleaning is normally offered by most standard business cleaning contractors however at an additional charge. You should expect to pay between £40 and £100 per item washed depending on size and condition.
Landlord/tenant cleaning services
Did you know that there are over 2 million landlords in the UK? With landlords required to offer no more than six months’ residence, it’s not surprising that a significant minority tenants are on the move so often because of how poorly they look after the place they live in.
Being a landlord is a competitive business and, when a tenant does move out, it’s in the landlord’s commercial interests to let their property out again as soon as possible. One of the best ways to do that is to make sure that, when the property hits the market, it’s as clean as it possibly could be and that there’s no obvious trace of the people who lived there before.
Many commercial and domestic cleaning contractors offer deep cleans of residential property using many of the same techniques used in commercial deep cleans.
The amount you’ll pay will depend on the size of the property but you should expect to pay £100 for a studio flat up to £300 for a four-bedroom property. If you want your carpets deep-cleaned, that’s likely to be an additional charge.
HVAC duct cleaning
A good heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is important in creating a fresh atmosphere within any office, commercial premises, or retail store. However, the longer you leave it between deep cleans of your HVAC system, the more likely it is that the quality of air that staff and customers breathe will get worse. In addition, your HVAC system will be working overtime meaning higher running costs.
The amount you pay will vary between £400 and £1,400 for a standard size premises and it will be based on the configuration of the ducting, the amount of dust and debris which needs clearing, and the size of the building.
Specialist cleaning services
Depending on your premises, you may need to employ specialist cleaners for the following types of work:
- graffiti removal
- escalator cleaning
- high-level cleaning
- clinical cleans
- builders’ cleans
- bin store cleaning
- drain maintenance
- food production facility cleaning
- industrial spills and damage cleaning
- smoke damage and fire clean ups
- silo cleaning
- cleaning of refuse chutes
Agreeing a price and agreement length for contract cleaning
There are four main factors determining how much you’ll pay on a contract for commercial cleaning:
- how often
- the time of day
- what duties your cleaner will perform
- what supplies they need to do the job
As with all types of business negotiation, it’s better for you to get the lowest price and to be committed to use a supplier for the shortest length of time possible. However, you should expect that the more work you put to a commercial cleaner and the longer you agree to be serviced by them, the cheaper the price you pay per hour of the cleaner’s time.
The biggest cost your cleaning contractor has is wages. Many contractors will charge you based upon what they pay their cleaner, a management fee (of around 10% of the cleaner’s wages normally), travelling costs, and the cost of materials used.
Because their biggest cost is wages, there isn’t often that much room for negotiation with the management fee being the focus of a price reduction so you shouldn’t expect massive discounts, even if you commit for a year.
For smaller premises, you’re more likely to be charged a flat rate plus materials. These types of contract are more likely to be the output contracts we mentioned earlier in this article.
For larger premises, you may be charged per square foot plus materials. To protect yourself and to make sure you get the best possible work done, you should draw up an agreement which can be reviewed periodically on the tasks that you expect to be carried out (like the input contracts mentioned earlier).
Questions to ask commercial cleaning services
Before you commit to any company, make sure you ask the right questions to give yourself the peace of mind that you can trust this company.
Are they members of recognised trade bodies?
You might want to check if your potential supplier is a member of one, some, or all of the following trade associations:
- British Cleaning Council
- British Cleaners Association
- Cleaning & Support Services Association
- Federation of Master Cleaners
Do they have experience cleaning out your type of premises?
As we’ve seen, some commercial cleaning services require special equipment and trained personnel. This is your business they’re cleaning and you’ve got to be sure that any company quoting you for work can actually do what they say they can do.
Ask for proof that they have experience in performing the type of cleaning your business needs – before & after pictures and customer testimonials from companies in your sector is one way of doing this.
Ask about any poor reviews online
One way to find out about how good a cleaning contractor is is to check out their online reviews. However, bear in mind that, according to some estimates, up to one third of reviews are fakes.
Be sure to ask a potential cleaning contractor about any bad reviews you’ve read about them online because there are two sides to every story. For further peace of mind, you might want to ask your potential supplier to let you speak with one of their existing customers.
Are they insured?
Accidents do happen – telephone systems do occasionally get unplugged so that a cleaner can plug the hoover in. Unfortunately, that might mean that your company’s phones will be down for the day making your job and your colleagues’ jobs harder.
Your cleaning contractor should be insured against damages and for company property which may be misplaced or lost during cleaning. Ask to see their insurance policy’s terms and conditions to satisfy yourself about what eventualities your company will be covered for.
Get competitive commercial cleaning quotes
Let us find a competitive, qualified, and experienced cleaning contractor for you. Simply fill in the form at the top of the page and we’ll put you in touch with 3-4 companies in your area. There’s no charge for our service and you don’t have to accept any quote provided to you by our partner cleaning firms.