How To Get Commercial Cleaning Contracts With Schools

How To Get Janitorial Contracts With Schools

This is a great presentation on how to get cleaning contracts with schools. Most schools are dealing with labor problems just like all businesses nowadays. This can make them a great target for commercial cleaning, carpet, tile and janitorial services.

First question is the school public government run school or private, charter school. This question is specific to your area. Most public schools have in house union employees for daily janitorial services.

But, some areas of the country do contract that out. If they do have in house cleaners then the focus would be in specialty cleaning services. Including carpet, hard tile, disinfecting, furniture and floor care.

Private schools are hit and miss. They can contract out everything, one service or multiple services. Best tactic is to first qualify what they hire out for and then rotate services.

What Marketing Tactics Work Best?

how to get cleaning contracts with schools

First is what doesn’t work. With tightened security, door to door sales doesn’t work for schools. SEO marketing generally is a waste also. The chances of a decision maker searching a specific keyword and finding your company is a very low probability.


What Does Work?

  1. Visiting the school website and signing up as a vendor for bidding alerts.
  2. Email marketing the decision maker, not just any person or school randomly though.
  3. Telemarketing, this tactic we can qualify who the decision maker is and what services they contract out. Then we can start some of the other programs.
  4. Direct Mail is very effective for schools after you have qualified the manager.
  5. LinkedIn Marketing, with LinkedIn you can search by schools and search by titles. Some titles can be purchasing department, maintenance manager, facility manager and facility director or buildings and grounds.

How Many Schools Are Private?

Next, I am going to share a couple stories, the first one on charter schools and then show the physical tool to actually do it. This can apply to commercial cleaning services, janitorial, carpet cleaning, floor cleaning or any specialty cleaning service.

What we are trying to do here is jump ahead of the competition, think about macro events, trends in your local market like political, social, economy and start planting the seed before anyone else even thinks of it.

One of the biggest drivers of long term growth can be starting to build a relationship with a company, school when they are first starting out and as they grow we grow with them organically. This is amazing for return on investment because it doesn’t really cost anything budget wise.

With this tool what we are trying to do is think about what the future holds, what is the local market going to be like in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years and then jump ahead of the game.

How? By reading the local newspaper business page, attending public chamber of commerce events, reading business journals like Business First. This way we get a read on what is going on in the local business community.

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Example For Schools

  • Political- maybe your public school is going to contract out certain cleaning services
  • Economic- could be your school system has money problems and are open for ways to improve a service or do it cheaper with us.
  • Social- can be connecting with decision makers in social media
  • Technology- could be running digital google ads just to these specific decision makers (99.9% of cleaners don’t know how to do that)

Real Life Example Charter Schools

In this case the PEST tool was Political and the topic was charter schools and their future growth. In the early 2000’s our state opened up the laws to allow charter schools to compete with public schools for students.  I was following the story casually but not for political reasons but I figured charter schools were private and would need commercial cleaning services, janitorial or maybe even just carpet/VCT.

See after the school opens every cleaner in the world is going to start calling on them and it’s going to become hyper-competitive. Well, we don’t really want that, we want to jump ahead and start talking to them BEFORE our competitors are and start a relationship.

I would just read the newspaper and whenever I saw a story about a new school opening, which would usually be 6 months or year in advance, then track down their office. Sometimes they didn’t even have a building leased yet so I really had to do some detective work and track down an office.

In one instance a board member was a local accountant so I contacted her directly at her office to find out where the school was keeping their short term office.

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After the school chose a building we would offer to help them move in, build desks, cost out paper supplies, etc., we would become a resource to the principal because most had no experience with the private sector and hiring cleaning contractors.

This strategy ended up being a big homerun and at one point we had contracts with 6 charter schools, these principals network same as we do and one would lead to the next one like domino’s.

The point is I read a political change happening locally and started thinking how we could apply this to our business and most importantly started doing this well before any competitors even saw this coming.

A great idea is to create a card and every week, month, quarter, think about any opportunities that might exist in your market and start planting the seed now well before your competitors ever think of it. 

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