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How to Write Your Next Janitorial Services Request for Proposals

Lessons Learned and Best Practices

Whether writing or responding to a Request for Proposal (RFP), the task can feel daunting. In this article, we’ve provided some lessons learned over our more than 40-year history responding to janitorial services RFPs. We hope these suggestions for best practices offer you a new perspective on how to write an RFP in a way that allows janitorial service providers to respond with clarity and organization.


Many companies have an RFP template they start from, but one of the most common pitfalls is not updating all of the project information and allowing old information to appear in your RFPs, causing confusion and submission errors. With this in mind, our first tip is to UPDATE your template with current facility information. In fact, instead of starting from your last project RFP, prepare an RFP template that includes clear indicators of what is common template language and what must be customized for each project. Your background, goals, and evaluation criteria might be the same for every project, but make sure you include custom text for the following sections of your RFP:

  • Property Description

  • Bidder Instructions

  • Property Abstract

  • Scope of Work and Specifications

  • Client Service Agreement

  • Bid Worksheet

Property Description

The name and facility description are not only ways to identify your proposal, but they also give potential proposers key information that might not immediately seem obvious. Information to provide includes:

  • Property Name, Address, City, State, Zip

  • Type of Property (Office, Medical, School, House of Worship, etc.)

  • Total Property Square Feet/Square Footage by Individual Buildings

  • Vacancies and/or Non-Cleanable Areas

Bidder Instructions

Providing specific bidder instructions helps ensure that each bidder follows the same process and outline for their proposal submission. Information to provide includes:

  • Point of Contact for RFP

  • Property Tour Information

  • Q&A Instructions (Due Dates, How to Submit Questions, etc.)

  • Submission Requirements (Due Date, Due Time, Method of Submission)

  • Required Format for Proposal

  • “Proposal Review Process” (Point System, Short-Lists, Presentations, etc.)

Property Abstract

Providing specific information about the properties included in the RFP helps ensure that each bidder prepares their pricing in a consistent format to allow easy comparison of proposals. Information to provide includes:

  • Normal Hours of Operation

  • Population Count

  • Number of Restrooms (with Fixture Counts and Dispenser Types)

  • Number of Elevators, Stairwells and Janitorial Closets

  • Floor Finishes (Percentage of Carpeting, VCT, Ceramic Tile, etc.)

  • Amenities (Cafe, Fitness Center, Conference Centers, etc.)

  • Waste and Recycling Programs

  • Sustainability Requirements (LEED Designation)

  • Stacking Plans and Floor Plans (if Available)

Scope of Work and Specifications

The Scope of Work (SOW) outlines your expectations and requirements for performing the work. The Specifications should detail the tasks and frequency of the tasks. Having a clearly defined SOW and Specifications helps ensure that bid submissions comply with your expectations and contract requirements. Below are a few key components to include for each.

Scope of Work

  • Evening Janitorial Services (Service Days, Service Times, etc.)

  • Day Janitorial Services (for Tenants/Areas that Must Be Cleaned during the Day)

  • Day Porter Services (Service Days, Number of Porters, Work Shift Coverage)

  • SOW Inclusions/Exclusions (Chemicals, Supplies, Consumables, Equipment)

  • Definition of “Consumables” to be Included in Bid Price (typically, toilet tissue, restroom hand towels, restroom hand soap, restroom seat liners, feminine hygiene wax bag liners, and trashcan liners, while consumables like hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, kitchen products and fitness center products are traditionally billed separately each month based on usage, usually resulting in lower monthly expense for the client)

  • Definition of Restorative Floor Work Expectations (e.g., Strip and Wax; Scrub and Recoat; Hone and Polish; Carpet Cleaning)

  • Special Background/Security Clearances Required

  • Uniform Requirements


The order of the Specifications should follow this hierarchy/outline:

  • Define Area (Lobby, Hallways, Offices, Restrooms, etc.)

  • Define Fixture/Item (Door, Desk, Sink, Floor, etc.)

  • Define Task (Dust, Wet Wipe, Disinfect, Mop, Vacuum, Buff, etc.)

  • Define Service Frequency of Task (Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, etc.)

  • Avoid Vague Task Language (e.g., “As Needed,” “As Required,” “Spot Clean”)

Service Agreement

Include a sample copy of your standard Janitorial Service Agreement so bidders can review all of your Terms, Conditions, Insurance Requirements, etc.

Bid Worksheet

Provide a bid worksheet (in Excel format) in the RFP package to help ensure a comprehensive analysis of all proposals. The bid worksheet should include cost breakdown items noted below that encompass the Total Proposed Monthly Janitorial Price.

  • Staffing Breakdown (Title, Daily Work Hours, Number of Days Per Week, Wage Rate)

  • Payroll Taxes, Fringe Benefits and Any Applicable Union Benefits

  • Cost Breakdown for Supplies, Chemicals, Consumables and Equipment

  • Direct Site Costs for Communication Devices, Background Checks, Uniforms

  • Area Management Costs

  • Overhead and Profit Costs

  • Per-Square-Foot Monthly Vacancy Credit Rate

  • Sales Tax (if Applicable)

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