Category Archives: Cleaning tenders

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Evaluation of Cleaning Tenders

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FM Contract Solutions provides organisations with expert evaluation of cleaning tenders.

Procurement of cleaning services is not as straightforward as it looks and making the wrong choice may expose organisations to unacceptable risk.  Organisations can limit risks by employing expert evaluators to participate in and advise on evaluations of tender responses and interviews with short-listed contractors.

The Australian commercial cleaning industry has a chequered history in compliance with employment laws and obligations under the FairWork Act (2009).  In 2016, the FairWork ombudsman conducted random audits of the cleaning industry and found that 33% of commercial cleaning companies were not paying their employees correctly.  Whilst most companies are compliant, the use of sub-contract and labour-hire business models by those who attempt to flout employment law exposes their clients to significant risk and the Client may be liable to legal action and recovery of unpaid and under-paid wages under the Accessorial Liability provisions of the FairWork Act.

Even large organisations can find their reputation tarnished when their contractors break employment laws.  FairWork Australia conducted a enquiry into the procurement of cleaners for Tasmanian Supermarkets which established widespread and significant underpayments to over 90% of cleaners in Woolworth Tasmanian Supermarkets.   In  2018, the Australian Senate published a report into the Australian Cleaning industry entitled ‘Wage theft? What wage theft‘.  Chapter 3 of this report, entitled ‘The exploitation of cleaners in Woolworths’ supply chain‘, noted that ‘ The FWO report ultimately concluded that Woolworths’ approach to procurement and the oversight of its cleaning contracts contributed to this culture of non-compliance.2′.

Cleaning contractors who utilise business models that maximise profits by underpaying workers have become expert at hiding them from potential and existing clients.   The Senate report noted that ‘there will always be rogue, exploitative operators who choose to function outside of the legal, and most certainly voluntary, compliance frameworks.’

FM Contract Solutions cleaning contract evaluators know the cleaning industry back-to-front.  They understand labour allocations, the relevant awards, contract costings, contract sustainability and the technical and operational aspects of cleaning and can uncover the hidden side of a contractor’s offer.

Don’t risk the reputation of your organisation.  Contact FM Contract Solutions now for an obligation free discussion before you go to contract.

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Risk Management for Cleaning Contracts – Avoid Corporate and Brand Damage

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It is critical that Corporations and Organisations develop strict criteria for Risk Management for cleaning contracts, whether they are existing or new contract arrangements.  FM Contract Solutions can help mitigate risk with expert consultancy in all areas of cleaning contract development, evaluation and PerformRisk management for Cleaning Contractsance management.

The Australian Cleaning Industry is largely unregulated and procurement of cleaning services can expose reputable organisations to significant Corporate risk and Brand damage.  The major risk is sham contracting arrangements that attempt to bypass employee entitlements, workers compensation insurances and state Payroll taxes in order to undercut competitors and to maximise profits.  When these arrangements are exposed both the cleaning company and, by implication, their customer can be named and shamed in the press and in Union and Fair Work Commission actions.  Companies that procure cleaning are procuring labour. Labour costs are regulated by the Fair Work Australia and the Modern Award.

A recent press report  highlights the risk.  Another recent case created negative publicity for a major Retail organisation.   in 2015, Fair Work Australia reported that ‘1212 employees – including young workers, overseas workers and students – were found to have been short-changed almost $763,000.’  In 2016, an Audit of 54 Cleaning Service providers by Fair Work Australia found that 33 per cent of cleaning businesses were paying their workers incorrectly.

This is only the tip of the iceberg.  Reports in the media indicate that illegal sub-contracting is rife in Victorian Government schools with ‘Thirty-two Percent (of Cleaners..sic) are not being paid for their work and nearly one in five workers were working at schools and denied basic entitlements such as sick leave, annual leave and superannuation.’  As declared wages and entitlements form the basis for State Payroll tax then the unwritten implications are that Victorian Government may also be missing out on significant tax income in the form of State payroll tax, which is levied at 4.85% on businesses with combined Australian wages over $575,000 (YE June 2017).  This situation could have been avoided if Governments followed their own procurement guidelines and introduced stringent specifications into cleaning contracts and applied Performance Management principles to managing contract compliance and measuring and obtaining Value for Money.

Companies and Organisations that procure cleaning are procuring labour.  Labour costs are regulated by the Fair Work Australia and the Modern Award. The award rate for a Part Time Cleaner working between 6 pm and 6 am on a weekday is $24.57 per hour. When you add on Employee overheads including Holiday pay, sick pay, Long Service leave, Superannuation, Insurances, payroll tax, Operational Expenses and profit, the minimum cost for cleaning services is around $42 per hour plus GST.  If your organisation is paying less than this for outsourced after-hours cleaning services then there is cause for concern.

Contact FM Contract Solutions for expert assistance in procuring and Performance Management of Contract Cleaning Services.


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Alwayt choose an Independent Contract Procurement Consultant are owned by Contract Cleaners

Important Information regarding Contract Procurement Consultants

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FM Contract Solutions are an Independent Contract Procurement Consultant Company specialising in Contract Engineering, Contract Performance Management and Consultancy for Soft Service Contracts including Cleaning, Waste Services, Security, Laundry and Housekeeping.  Our team have been providing leading edge professional procurement consultancy in the Facility Management Industry for over 16 years.

There are Companies operating in the procurement consultancy sphere that are owned, funded and/or managed by Facility Service providers that are advertising similar services for Facility Managers.  With these direct or indirect tie-ins to Service providers there is a potential conflict of interest, especially in the preparation and evaluation of Public or Private Sector Tenders.

FM Contract Solutions recommends that prospective clients ask these questions of all procurement consultants before engaging consultants to provide these services.

  1. Is the prospective Supplier of Procurement Services owned or partly owned by a company providing contracted Cleaning, Waste, Security or Sanitary Services?
  2. Are any Consultants employed or engaged by the prospective consultancy provider current employees, owners, in a management role or major shareholders of companies that provide contracted Cleaning, Waste, Security or Sanitary Services?
  3. Are any of the investors, Directors, shareholders or partners in the prospective consultancy provider current employees, owners, in a management role or major shareholders of companies that provide contracted Cleaning, Waste, Security or Sanitary Services?
  4. Does the prospective consultancy provider receive a commission, incentive or payment of any sort for the handover of contract leads or recommendation of companies that provide contracted Cleaning, Waste, Security or Sanitary Services?

It is also recommended that customers seek independent confirmation of a consultant’s employment status and background experience in these industries through client references and Social Media such as LinkedIn to confirm the experience, business status and independence of a Contract Procurement Consultant and Partners Agencies prior to considering engagement.

For more information contact Brian Clark CEO FM contract Solutions using our Client Contact form.

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The case for Performance Management of Cleaning

Performance Management of cleaning contracts and other building service cRisk by Paul Cross 400ontracts is essential to  minimise the risks associated with illegal subcontracting. Illegal subcontracting or ‘labour hire’ is rife in the building service industry and it is critical that companies that participate in this practice are identified and eliminated in the tender process.

Performance Management and Illegal Subcontracting

The recent case where Myer terminated the contracts of its cleaning service provider after a Fairwork Australia investigation uncovered under award payments has yet again shone a negative spotlight on Australia’s cleaning Industry.

Illegal Subcontracting has caused, and continues to cause, significant damage to the reputation of cleaning industry. Building owners and building managers are responsible for the health, safety and working conditions of building occupants including contractors.  Cleaning Service providers who use ABNs to evade the payment of correct wages and entitlements, workers compensation and payroll tax expose not only their business but also their customers to significant risks and liabilities.  This risk has never been greater with ongoing crackdowns by Fair Work Australia,  the Australian Tax Office and State and Federal agencies.

Corporate Australia and Government is becoming increasingly frustrated and disillusioned with the cleaning industry and is taking a tough stance against suppliers generally whose actions may expose them to risk and damage to their brand. Risk mitigation has fuelled a need for accountability and transparency of building service contracts and facility managers are now demanding to know what actually goes on in cleaning operations.

FM Contract Solutions has developed and introduced comprehensive contract performance management systems and software for cleaning contracts and building service contracts that allows Facility Managers to ensure and monitor that contractors adequately address OH&S, risk management, environmental impact and sustainable work practices in line with sustainable purchasing guidelines.

Performance management of Cleaning Contracts incorporates the introduction of exacting specifications for cleaning coupled with key performance measures (KPMs) for tasks, equipment, environmental performance, safety and training which, in turn, are audited to provide measurement through key performance indicators (KPIs).  This ensures that there is a framework in place that accurately describes the work to be performed and how outcomes will be measured and quantified.

The outcome of Performance Managed Cleaning Contracts is better value for money, improved service standards and minimal risk.

For more information, contact Brian Clark 0448 341 935 or by email.

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Performance Management of Government Cleaning Contracts

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conditions-680x400Performance Management of Government cleaning contracts is essential for Government Departments who have a legal obligation to obtain best value for money from their contracts.  This is especially true with soft service contracts and in particular, Government facility cleaning contracts. Cleaning is a key factor in building maintenance as cleaning, or the lack thereof, can have a massive impact on asset life cycle, the Health and safety of building occupants and users and the productivity of building workers.

The standard of cleaning in Government buildings is critical to protect public assets and  public health. The implementation of Contract Performance Management for Government Cleaning contracts will bring about measurable outcomes and high standards  of service delivery.

Guides to Contract Performance Management

The Queensland government Department of Housing & Public Works Procurement Transformation Division has published an excellent guide on managing & monitoring supplier performance.  The document is intended to serve as a guide to Queensland government procurement officers.  However, it is a handy guide to had to any government or business seeking to procure goods or services.  It addresses the need for contract-specific auditing to identify risks associated with supplier engagement and to take action to mitigate those risks.

The guide also recommends regular contract specific audits to monitor performance and identify and manage risks. FM Contract Solutions specialises in development of sustainable soft Service Contracts for cleaning, waste and grounds maintenance services.  FM Contract Solutions also supplies Audit Services including Cleaning Audits, Grounds Maintenance Audits and contract compliance audits.

The Queensland Government guide also recommends that contractors provide ‘written reports on performance as one of the contract deliverables, for example, consultancies‘ as an additional mechanism for monitoring and managing the supplier’s performance.  FM Contract Solutions recommend the implementation of CiMAS Contract Performance Management Software for monitoring and report generation.  CiMAS offers a configurable reporting dashboard that enables viewing of contract performance in real time combined with powerful Data filters which enable users to drill down on data and deliver meaningful comprehensive performance reports quickly and easily.

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) also publish a handy guide to developing contracts and contract performance management.

All Government Departments and Organisations have a legal obligation to obtain value for money from their contracts.  Contact FM Contract Solutions now for more information on how we can assist in developing and implementing Contract Performance Management strategies to make cleaning and other soft service contract activities transparent and accountable.

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Customer Service in the Cleaning Industry

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restroom audit cropFM Contract Solutions help Facility Managers develop sustainable service contracts that enable positive outcomes and long term contractual arrangements and high standards of customer service from cleaning service providers. The reader may notice that we prefer to refer to cleaning contractors as ‘Cleaning Service Providers’. As Contract Performance Management specialists, we believe that a proactive approach to customer service provides a massive advantage for contractors.

Good Customer Service provides a critical Point of Difference in winning and maintaining contracts for Cleaning Service Providers. A online article by Ron Kaufman highlights the importance of leadership in developing a customer service focus and emphasises that ‘A strong service culture leads to sustained improvements to customer experience, and a sustainable competitive advantage for organisations.’

Unfortunately, many cleaning service providers have a slap dash approach to customer service and regard customer complaints as an annoyance, rather than as an opportunity to improve their business and add value to the relationships with their customers.   Furthermore,  there seems to be a reluctance from some cleaning contractor management teams to understand customer service and place more emphasis on this critical part of doing business.

Over the last 30 years, the team at FM Contract Solutions have seen many contractors lose tenders and customers through poor customer service.

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10 Tips for writing Tender Submissions

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10 Tips for writing Tender Submissions

FM Contract Solutions offers specialist consultancy services in the development, engineering, evaluation and performance management of soft service contracts in the facility management and healthcare sectors. One of our areas of expertise is the preparation and evaluation of cleaning tenders.

Writing stand out tender submissions is a key requirement for success as a service business.

Statistics suggest that approximately 60% of submissions for service tenders are incomplete or marked as non-compliant because the respondents had not fully complied with the customer’s requirements. This is an astounding statistic when you consider how much time and money is involved in costing and preparing tenders. Many contractors for cleaning tenders are left wondering why they consistently don’t make the short list or win tenders for which they have the capacity and capability to win, yet will make same mistakes time and time again.

Here are 10 basic tips to make your tender stand out from the rest.

1. Read the documents thoroughly and highlight areas of importance and areas where you need to do some research or extra work. Most importantly ensure that you understand the customer’s needs, the criteria and the timelines that the customer is looking for.

2. Answer all the questions. It is surprising how many otherwise good submissions are disqualified or marked down simply because they didn’t answer the questions or provide enough information. The questions are there because purchaser wants to understand aspects about your company, your service or your product that are important to them and they also need to ensure that you comply with their procurement rules. Above all avoid answering questions with waffle or smart comments or criticisms of the question or the rationale behind the question and never patronise or question the customer’s integrity or intelligence.

3. Be careful with cut and pastes. Tenders often ask for detailed information. To save time, a natural tendency is to cut paste from previous documents and, while there is no problem with that, sloppy cutting and pasting from previous tenders or other documents will damage your submission and your credibility with examiners. Sloppy cuts and pastes often include names of other organisations or past contract submissions. Frequently they introduce errors in spelling and grammar and make the document difficult to read.

4. It’s all about the customer. When a customer calls a tender they have already identified the need for a particular product and service. What you need to do is convince them that you are the right provider and have the solution they need. It is important that you make your submission relevant to the customer and the customer’s needs and expectations. Most of all, your submission must negate all risks involved if they are to select your proposal.

5. Ask questions through the specified channels. Don’t be afraid to ask questions but make sure that you go through the correct channels. Going direct to the customer or to stakeholders outside the official tender channels will disqualify your company and your submission. Ask questions that are clear and succinct and don’t be afraid to ask for qualification if the answer is not clear. All questions and answers to those questions are generally made available to all tenderers in order to provide a level playing field but the person or the company asking the questions is not identified.

6. Don’t be afraid to point out errors in the tender or to question specifications that may not comply with legislation or standards. Procurement is about avoiding and minimising risk for the customer. Sometimes customers make mistakes or miss vital considerations in the specifications. Companies that draw attention to errors that may expose the customer to risk show their expertise and enhance their credibility. In a recent case a submission from a supplier pointing out that a laundry equipment tender specification was illegal and offering a solution resulted in all offers being declared null and void and the tender was awarded to that supplier.

7. Offer real and relevant Innovation and outline how it will benefit the customer and provide value for money. This is where you can change the rules. Tenders are not about price but your customer needs to understand the value for money that you offer with your proposition and how that will benefit them if your company is awarded the tender. Many companies, and most frequently big companies, see this as an opportunity to tell the customer how good they are and the wonderful things they have done elsewhere but fail to offer innovation that is relevant to the customer or establish a real point of difference from their competitors.

8. Make your submission easy to read and understand. Answer all questions in the required format and in the correct order and make it easy for examiners to read. Avoid handwritten submissions and ensure that your spelling and grammar is correct and that your writing style is fluid and easy to understand. Tenders generally have requirements for the order and placement of attachments, brochures and extra information. Tender submissions that are difficult to read and where attachments are out of order, in the wrong place or completely omitted are often marked as non-compliant or put aside by examiners.

9. Don’t leave it till the last minute. Rushed submissions are inevitably sloppy and it is obvious to the tender examiner that significant effort or research into the customer’s needs and requirements has not been properly conducted. Above all, ensure that your tender is submitted or uploaded with a submission receipt before the published deadline. Tenders received after deadlines are inevitably declared non-compliant, regardless of the quality of the content and the preparation.

10. Do not offer inducements or approach stakeholders with offers or enticements at any stage in the tender process. Corruption is a serious issue and you will find yourself disqualified from current and future tenders and even facing criminal charges.