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Evaluating an RFP for Custodial Services

Request For Proposals (RFPs) are commonly used to solicit bids and proposals from vendors in order to find the best option for a particular project. However, it can be difficult to evaluate the responses and select the right vendor. When it comes to custodial services, there are many different things to consider.

Request for Proposal

Service Level Agreement

One of the most important factors to consider when evaluating RFP responses for custodial services is the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The SLA outlines how often and when cleaning services will occur, as well as how frequently equipment and supplies need to be restocked. It also includes details about how quickly problems should be addressed and who is responsible for repairs. Make sure that the SLA offered by each vendor meets your expectations in terms of frequency, quality, and cost.

Eight Hour FTE

Evaluating a company's labor could make or break the success of your business. Companies that take on fewer than 8 hours per FTE may be boasting about cost savings, but this can have significant implications for employee benefits and organizational capacity. Additionally, you should pay close attention to how many service days are proposed by prospective companies - if they propose less than 200 or even 240, there is likely not enough time allotted for deep cleaning tasks such as high dusting windows and carpet care.

Losing Money

Many big-name nationwide commercial cleaning companies submit competitive bids by accepting the potential of losing money in their first year or two. This could mean one of two things for you - either they may bill extra fees and attempt to pass on additional costs, or alternatively cut back labor, use cheaper equipment and supplies with cost reduction being an overriding focus when providing service so as to make up for lost profits during these formative years.


Events are an important part of the school year and ensuring there is enough staffing to help it run smoothly. Are you confident that your contracted janitorial services have sufficient labor available so that each event can be adequately staffed, without draining resources from other areas? How will billing for events work – on an hourly basis or with a larger fee structure across the whole contract period? This is important to know prior to your contract’s start date so that additional costs will not come up as a surprise as the school year goes on.

On-site Management

Big-name companies may be looking to reduce costs by sharing resources between multiple sites, resulting in less frequent onsite supervision. Without a dedicated manager present can you expect the same level of excellence with part-time assistance? Investing in consistent and quality oversight is key for success - what do you think needs to happen to ensure your business runs smoothly?

Experience & References

Another factor to consider is experience and references. Be sure to ask each vendor about their experience with similar projects, as well as any references they can provide. Ask questions such as “What was your biggest success?” or “What challenges have you faced?” This will help you get an accurate picture of a company's capabilities and ensure that they are up to the task at hand.


Environmental Practices & Certifications

Finally, it is important to consider a company's environmental practices and certifications. Many companies are now making an effort to reduce their environmental footprint by using green cleaning products or implementing energy-efficient practices. Additionally, look for certifications such as LEED or Green Seal that demonstrate a commitment to sustainable practices. This will help ensure that you select a vendor who is committed to protecting both human health and the environment.

There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration when evaluating RFP responses for custodial services, including service level agreements, eight-hour FTE, intent to lose money, events, on-site management, experience & references, and environmental practices & certifications. Understanding these factors can help you make an informed decision about which vendor is best suited for your needs. Ultimately, selecting the right custodial service provider can help you save time, money, and energy in the long run – so take your time evaluating all of your options!

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