Contents Corner: Find New Profits in Contents & Structure Cleaning
A much over-looked resource for contents cleaning jobs is sub-work for another contractor. In some cases the other contractor you want to do work for may also do contents cleaning work within their own company. But maybe they are too busy to take a particular job and yet they don’t want to say no to an adjuster with whom they have a good relationship.
In other situations, a contractor may do all of the restoration work except the actually cleaning of a structure and/or contents themselves. Therefore, they need a good, solid relationship with someone who can do this part of the restoration job for them while they remain the main contractor.
There are also specialty cleaning situations that not all restoration contractors can or want to handle within their company such as a hoarder or forensic cleaning scenario. These can be a great opportunity for any contents or structure cleaning restoration contractor to step in and save the day while adding high profit margin work to their bottom line.
Some contractors can be hesitant to hire a sub to do their cleaning work out of fear. Not unlike a homeowner who may fear signing a work/payment authorization with you, it is important you address the contractor’s fears and remove them from the equation.
Some of the common fears for them may be competition, quality of work, reliability and timeline concerns. Let’s talk about each one and go over how to reduce or remove these concerns entirely.
Quality of Work
It goes without saying that as cleaning contractors, we need to set the bar for our standards and quality or workmanship higher than average. In order to do this, we need to have systems and quality control checks in place in our company that are strictly followed by all.
Having a supervisor on every job is a big key to keeping your company standards upheld. In our company for instance, we have a triple check system that ensures each item passes an inspection for odor, contamination and prior damages before being final packed. The supervisor that is assigned on each job is responsible for the final inspection step in this process. Show the other contractor the quality check system you have in place to help ensure the utmost quality and consistency.
Another great way to ensure anyone signing with your company is confident in your standards is to collect video and written testimonials from all for your clients. Social proof is huge in this regard. The best way to show your professional high quality work is to let your prior clients speak for you by telling anyone who is considering hiring your services just how amazing your company truly is.
Competitor or Ally
A big concern for a contractor hiring a sub to come in and clean for them may be a fear that they will lose business or get cut out, so to speak. This is especially a concern if your company also does the reconstruction part of restoration jobs, but may still be a concern even if you only do cleaning within your company.
You can overcome this fear quite quickly by making sure you communicate with your contractor often throughout the job, keeping them in the loop so they do not feel left out or in the dark so to speak. It’s important to remember if you need to talk with the adjuster on the claim that you let them know you are working on the job with “XYZ Company” that hired you. Otherwise, you could confuse the situation as the adjuster probably already has an AOB (assignment of benefits) or a work/payment authorization form from their insured for the other company.
Have a special work/contract in place in your company that the contractor will need to sign to hire you. This outlines your role and theirs, and clearly states who is responsible for what and who will be paying your bill. This will not only show the contractor that you are professional and committed to working under their company, it will protect you if things for some reason go awry, and when it comes to getting paid.
Reliability and Timeline
It is extremely important you establish good, open, consistent communication with your contractor and set up one person from your company and one go-to person from the contractor’s company to communicate on each job from start to finish. In our company, we have the cleaning supervisor who is running the cleaning part of the job communicate directly with the project manager from the general contracting company that is running the reconstruction part of the job. If everything flows through these two people, we can minimize any miscommunication or contradictions on the job.
Not unlike any other client you need to “under promise and over deliver” on every job to gain their trust. Be upfront about what you and your team can handle and do not bite off more than you can chew just because you want the work. If you are busy and cannot get a job started until “X” then be honest. Don’t say you can start on Tuesday and then show up on Wednesday.
A correct timeline is very important as well when you are cleaning for another contractor. Remember they are scheduling their own crew to come in once you have the contents packed out and/or the structure cleaned to start demo, remediation and reconstruction work. They may also have other sub-contractors to schedule to handle other aspects of the job like duct cleaning, carpet cleaning, electrician, plumber, etc.
If you miss a deadline or become unreliable, the contractor who hired you becomes unreliable and untrustworthy in the eyes of the client who hired them. Remember: you are a direct reflection of their company as well once they hire you. This is a big concern for contractors when hiring an outside company to assist on a job. Again, having a video or written testimonial you can show them from past contractors you have done work for will go a long way to relieve any concerns that may come up.
Know When to Say No
I want to point out that not all contractors are your right-fit client and you may not want to work for someone just because they want to hire you. They need to be willing to stay out of the areas where you and your crew are working until your work is finished. Otherwise, this could compromise the quality of work and timeline. If they aren’t willing to do this, you may not want to work for them.
Just as your work reflects on them, their work can reflect on your company as well. We are very picky about what companies we work for and we have chosen not to do work with contractors that do not have the same level of professionalism, quality and commitment to their clients that we do.
However with some due diligence on your part and a good system in place in your cleaning business, a contractor can be a great source for high profit cleaning jobs.