You know your business inside and out, and you know your clients and what they need from you. So writing a business proposal to sell your janitorial or cleaning services doesn't have to be a difficult task.
There are plenty of resources available to show you how to introduce yourself, highlight your services, present your costs and help your clients understand you are the right person to trust for the job. Using pre-designed templates and samples along with some automation software can help you write your proposal quickly and efficiently.
Writing a business proposal for janitorial services is pretty straightforward (including niche specialties such as maid services, carpet cleaning services, corporate event cleanup, window washers, pressure washing, crime scene cleanup, smoke and water damage cleanup, commercial facility cleaning, special needs cleaning such as restaurants and gyms, and so on).
All of these situations are examples of businesses selling a service; so these proposals will all fall under the general category of business proposals offering services.
Most proposals offering services, regardless of the type of business, follow a similar structure: introductions, then a summary of the client's needs, followed by descriptions of the services and costs and information about the service provider and their credentials and capabilities.
The average proposal is five to ten pages long, depending on the size and special needs of the client and the type of janitorial or cleaning business. A very short quote or bid can be as short as a two-page Work Order and Price List.
If the janitorial proposal is for a large account such as a commercial business, you will also usually need to include detailed information pertaining to the specific client. For cleaning jobs that are smaller and narrowly defined, you can usually create a few variations on your proposal. For example, have one standard proposal for residential jobs, another for small commercial jobs and another for any specialized services you cater to.
If you are new to proposal writing, one thing to note is that a price list is not a substitute for a proposal. A proposal is a sales document meant to help persuade your potential clients to give you their business. To do that, you must instill trust that you can deliver the services that clients need. It's not all about just giving them a price quote, especially if you have competition to deal with.
Before you start creating a tailored proposal for your more important clients, you should gather enough information about the client to present a proposal that is truly tailored to that client's needs, as opposed to just sending every client an identical sales letter (which you can usually get away with for small, well-defined jobs). A tailored proposal stands a much better chance of being accepted by the client.
So, following the general order described above, you should start out with a Cover Letter and Title Page to introduce yourself. The Cover Letter should be a brief message that shows your company contact information and delivers a personal introduction. You should print your Cover Letter on your company letterhead. The Title Page should introduce your proposal and name the specific job you are discussing.
Next, add some topics that show that you understand the needs of your client. Depending on how large a job you are presenting a plan for, you may or may not need to include a detailed summary. For a complex job that needs a summary, this proposal section is normally called an Executive Summary for corporate clients, or a Client Summary for a less formal project. This is where you talk about your specific prospective client and show your understanding of their requirements as well as their needs and concerns (such as security, liability and hazardous materials handling). This is not yet the place where you talk about your company. Put the client first.
Follow the introductions and client information with your Services Provided, Products, Price List, Benefits, Services Cost Summary, Warranty, Guarantee and Contract & Terms pages, as well as any other topics you need to discuss that describe exactly what you are providing and how much it will cost.
Many types of janitorial or cleaning proposals may also require specialized topics. These are used when you need to address specific concerns such as your employees' training; that they wear readily identifiable uniforms and carry identification and have passed background checks; that they have specialized training in hazardous waste handling, etc. This is where you would add pages with pertinent details, such as descriptions of your Insurance, Equipment, Security, Safety Plan, Training Plan, Quality Control, Certifications, Personnel, Environmental issues, and so on.
A janitorial company may have to deal with many different topics at once, such as selling both services and products as well as servicing multiple locations for a client, along with all the associated equipment and logistical needs.
A cleaning company with a very well defined niche such as a mobile carpet cleaning service will have a much shorter proposal with fewer topics.
A highly specialized niche cleaning company such as an accident or crime scene cleanup crew will have very specialized topics they need to discuss related to hazardous or biological waste handling and environmental issues.
A janitorial company performing higher risk jobs will need an extra focus on equipment, staff training, safety, liability, and security concerns.
The final information sections you should provide in your proposal are your company details. This is where you would put your About Us / Company History, Qualifications, Capabilities, Our Clients, Testimonials or References, Policies and Customer Service pages. This information comes last in the proposal, and your goal is to convince your client that you can be trusted to deliver the services they need.
After you have all the information written for your proposal outline and chapters, you should focus on making your proposal visually appealing. Add some color and graphics by incorporating your company logo, using colored borders, and selecting custom bullet points and fonts that match your business's style. Learn how to effectively select colors for a winning business proposal.
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Once you feel your proposal is complete, make sure to carefully proofread and spell-check all the pages. Have someone who is unfamiliar with your proposal proof it as well. It's very common to quickly scan your own work and miss mistakes.
Finally, you can save your proposal as a PDF file or print it on paper and then deliver it to your potential client. Your delivery method will depend on your business and your relationship with your potential client. Emailing PDF files to clients is very common; however, there are times when a printed, signed and hand-delivered proposal can carry more weight. It shows you value that client enough to put in the extra personal effort. The more valuable the job is and the tighter the competition is, the more personal effort you should put into the proposal and delivery.
As you can see, a “janitorial” proposal can mean something different to everyone who needs to write one, and everyone’s needs for what to include will be different.
The good news is that all janitorial proposals follow a similar format and structure, and you can find all the templates and samples mentioned in this article in Proposal Pack. And you will also find sample proposals already written that can help you get started right away.