If the walkthrough involves several cleaning contractors, get there early. This may give you an opportunity to get to know the client and for them to get to know you.
• Be careful asking “personal” questions. For instance, it is really not your business who is currently cleaning the facility now, so don’t ask. Also, unless they volunteer their cleaning budget, most clients would prefer you do not ask them how much they have budgeted for cleaning.
• Do not criticize the current cleaning service.
• If the client is taking bids, it is fair to ask why they are taking bids. Is it to cut costs? Are they unhappy with the current service? Is the current service provider leaving? Are they just comparison shopping? These questions can help you better understand what you are walking into should you win the account.
• Pay close attention to the age of the facility and whether you would consider it a Class A, B, or C building. Older facilities, especially those showing their age, tend to take more time to clean and maintain.
• Make sure you have the resources—financial, personnel, equipment, and time—to take on the new client if you win the account.
• Find out whether the client has the resources to afford you. Contractors usually do not ask for financial records from a client so during the walkthrough and any follow-up meetings, try to get a feel for the wherewithal of the client.
• Are there security issues related to where the facility is located? You may have to entice some workers with higher pay to work in less-then-desirable areas of a city.
• As you walk through the facility, ask yourself how much you would like to win this account. Taking on an account you really do not want is typically the beginning of a downward spiral.
• Finally, offer some suggestions during the walkthrough or when you present your bid. These are suggestions that can help the client operate their facility in a cleaner or more efficient manner. These suggestions help the client remember you—and may even help you win the contract.