Battling the Jan/San Companies

I have had an issue with converting people that are currently having their windows cleaned by Janitorial companies to using a window cleaner. Not that I have anything against Jan/San but its not what we offer. What are you saying to those prospects that say we already have our janitorial service cleaning the windows?

A couple of things to add to the equation:

  1. Here in my area, most janitorial services sub out the window cleaning.

  2. If they don’t sub out, they do it themselves and it looks like total crap.

Aside from imposing on them and doing a sample of your work, how do you persuade the prospect to give you a shot instead of the janitorial service?

here is some advice you wont like- instead of wasting your time trying to beat the unbeatable, go find jobs you [U]can[/U] get. You will never beat an all in one unless you offer something comparable and more appealing.

Are there places you have better success with? concentrate on those.

If you can’t beat 'em, join 'em. Offer all the services and sub out the ones you don’t do, just like they would sub the windows out to you.

Residential Cleaning Services … unless one hires a maid service, such as Merry Maids, it is pretty easy to find someone to clean for you, cheaply! With the economy as it is, people are cutting back on this help too, and … new people offering these services are popping up like crazy!

Janitorial, other than those that also do building maintenance, do large area floors such as buffing, etc, there is nothing more to to doing janitorial than being a regular cleaning service. In fact, it is much easier if you are doing offices and small businesses, than it is to do residential cleaning. Many janitorial services these days, do contract out their floor work and windows to those that specialize in that only. Often the only difference generally between a janitorial service and a cleaning lady, is the money.

Regardless … employees for such services, generally both get paid barely above minimum wage, regardless of how much the employer takes in. Finding employees at this time, should be easy as so many are in desparate need of work. Hopefully the desparation, would also keep them on their toes to keep the job and do a great job. If you decide to add these services to your business, I would recommend that eventually you do not contract out the work to another service, other than floor buffing etc. The more you can do within your own service, the more profit you can keep. A good janitorial service that leaves a good reflection upon you, are not cheap either, nor do you want them to turn around and bid you out of that job. Make sure there is a good strong contract to prevent them from doing so.

Best Wishes!
Joie - N. CA

I agree Mike. Why not go meet these Jan/San people and ask them for some work. We have several Janitorial Companies we sub-contract for. Oddly enough when we went and talked to them they needed someone to do this for them. Go talk to them they may very well need what it is you provide.

This was an idea that was already in the works for me. I have a list of companies to start talking with soon.

I do NOT want to be a Janitorial service. I don’t want to do floors, vacuuming, dusting, bathrooms, bed laundry, etc. My wife cleaned houses/offices under my company name and did quite well before we got pregnant. But that is not what we specialize in. And, much of the office work was at night. I already have a night job at the Fire Station. I certainly not looking for another. I just don’t want to lean my business in that particular direction. We are primarily exterior cleaning service, even though we do small interior stuff.

I just want to offer commercial prospects a better product than what is being offered in my area by Janitorial Crews that clean glass too.

To me, it’s like they do it just to get the account. Then they either sub it out, or do it themselves–not caring about quality.

Just trying to break into an area that needs our attention. I refer back to the original question:

Aside from imposing on them and doing a sample of your work, how do you persuade the prospect to give you a shot instead of the janitorial service?

One thing is to try and convince them to break this service apart and compare prices. If you think about it lets say I am the Jan San and I sub you for the work. You give me your price and I take it to the customer probably about 20% higher than you quoted.

If they will break it out you will probably be able to show a savings and not have to decrease your price to do it.

I will tell you one way that I got a large group of banks subbed from a Jan/San. This is extremely aggresive so be warned.

I went in they said we have company do our cleaning and windows is included. I say will you break it out to compare they said get me a bid. So I get my bid together and I call the company and tell them of the situation. I say in good faith I am going to send the bid to you and if I am saving you money you let me know by Friday otherwise this bid goes to the bank. hired us the following week.

When you approach jan/san firms, stress the advantages you offer over them doing it themselves. You’ll do a far better job, you are specially equiped to do it, you are experienced in ladder/high work so less likely to get in an accident or damage property, you have the right insurance, and it’s likely they would be glad to get rid of the hassle.

About half of my business is subcontracted from jan. firms. Go thru the phone book and send them marketing material! I’ll bet you’ll get some kind of response.

Matt, Thats a great idea. I was wondering how in the wordl I would get mailings out to all the businesses in the area…but it might be smarter to send mailings to the Jan/San companies first…they most likely already have thier foot in the door in those businesses anyway. Thanks for the idea!

I have found out through my own personal experience that janitorial companies sometimes have a few window cleaning companies lined up to run quotes for them (butting heads if you will) . They always went with the lowest guy (not me). This has happened to me on several occassions with several different companies. Kinda like CFP mentioned- I like having my OWN accounts for this reason. The work is out there. Get it yourself- makes your company more of an asset when they are your own accounts. Just my .02


I’ve been subbing the windows from the local Merry Maids since May last year. It brings me a new customer base and I don’t have to bid anything or advertise to them. Plus the agreement lets me pitch add on services that I get 100% profit on.

NIce Tony,

I just started yesterday calling the Maid services in my area.

BTW Nice web site.

Thanks Bert! Hope it goes well for you.

Hey Bert, let us know how it goes. I’d like to give it a shot, who knows.

Tony, when you said that “you don’t have to bid” that means that you charge them (maids) a flat fee or an hourly rate? how’s that working for you ?

I get a percentage of the job. I sat down w/ the salesman when we did the contract and went over their pricing. We tweaked them so I was comfortable w/ what I would end up w/ and went from there. I don’t have to go do an estimate and I get a client base that I didn’t have to market to. So it works out well. You do have to wait for your money but I made sure in the contract that I get paid w/in 14 days.

That’s cool. If they ever kick the Maids you can grab that costumer just for you, if not stated otherwise on a contract, I guess.