Bargain basement pricing. Irresistible upfront savings. A deal too good to refuse. When commercial cleaning companies promise the moon for pennies, it’s tempting to pinch your nose and take the plunge. But how often do those tantalizing low bids actually deliver? Hint: you’ll be plunging all right…straight into money pits of poor quality, bad service, hidden fees, safety issues and sometimes even legal trouble.

Cheap cleaning crews stay cheap for a reason. Corners get cut to trim costs, and clients end up paying the price through dirt and debris left behind, haphazard staffing, budget equipment and lack of accountability. Promises of 100% satisfaction and sparkling spaces quickly ring hollow, revealed as mere bait to hook your business. Before signing on the dotted line, think beyond the bargain and consider what professional services with proven quality, reliability and transparency are really worth to you. If keeping your business spotless is critical, reputable companies and long-term partnerships are the smarter, safer investments.

In the high stakes game of commercial cleaning services, the odds always favor the house when chasing rock-bottom rates. Don’t get soaked by cheap cleaners claiming more than they can deliver. Do your homework, avoid unpleasant surprises, and choose a trustworthy team dedicated to your needs for the long run. Your business, staff, customers and budget will thank you for passing up “deals” that only leave a nasty mess behind. 

Here are some major issues that can arise when choosing the low bidder:

Poor quality of service

Low bid cleaning companies often cut corners on the quality of service they provide in order to keep their costs down. This could result in a less thorough cleaning and lots of complaints.

Customers frequently report finding dirt and debris left behind after low bid cleaners have come through, including cobwebs, dust, grime and even food crumbs. Important areas like restrooms, high-traffic lobbies and kitchenettes tend to receive only a cursory wipe down instead of the deep cleaning they require. Floors may be mopped or vacuumed in a haphazard manner, leaving streaks, dirt tracks and missed spots everywhere.

To minimize costs, low bid cleaning companies typically keep crews small, provide little oversight or training, and push for speed over quality. This leads to sloppy, unfinished work as cleaners race from area to area without proper care and consideration. They are more focused on completing the work as fast as possible to move on to the next job, rather than achieving a high standard of cleanliness.

Complaints from unhappy customers are common, yet rarely addressed effectively due to lack of accountability. Management has an incentive to simply move on to the next low bid contract rather than fix any issues or ensure high quality for existing clients paying their rates. Repeat customers often end up leaving for a reputable company once they experience the poor results of cost-cutting measures.

Unreliable service

Low bid cleaning companies may not be able to afford to provide reliable service. They frequently lack the resources and competence to properly train staff, ensure adequate scheduling, and supply the necessary equipment and supplies to do the job right.

Cleaners are often poorly trained, leading to mistakes, safety issues, and lack of proper protocols. Things like chemical dilution rates, equipment usage procedures, and company policies are rarely reviewed, resulting in haphazard, inconsistent practices. Valuable on-the-job experience takes the place of formal training for low bid janitorial staff.

Scheduling challenges result in uncertainty and last minute changes. School schedules, event calendars, weather impacts and staff availability issues can disrupt service with little notice. Customers may find their regular cleaners changed or cleaning days/times shifted around, reflecting the struggles of managing a budget crew.

Equipment and supplies are usually the lowest cost options, resulting in lower quality tools that require more time and effort to operate or that break down more easily. Chemicals may be diluted to substandard levels, brushes/mops/vacuums may not be properly designed for the required tasks, and PPE like gloves/masks may be inadequate. All of these factors diminish safety, increase frustrations and reduce effectiveness.

Unreliability pervades every aspect of service for low bid cleaning companies focused so strongly on minimizing costs that quality and competence start to suffer. From poorly-trained, inconsistent staff to lack of proper tools and resources, every aspect of service provision is balanced on a shaky knife’s edge that leaves room for constant mistakes, gaffes and an unprofessional finish. Reliability starts to disappear entirely under the weight of budget constraints.


Hidden costs

While low bid cleaning companies may offer an appealing price upfront, they frequently fail to disclose the full costs of service. Additional charges for essential supplies and overtime hours worked are common, yet rarely anticipated in their initial quote. These surprise fees quickly eat away at any savings and keep clients continuously paying more.

Budget cleaning crews typically lack proper equipment and supplies, forcing them to rely on the client to provide many basics like mops, vacuums, dusters, cleaning chemicals, dustpans/brooms, gloves, etc. Any supplies a customer does not already have on hand end up being charged back to them at a premium, and in inferior quality. The costs of constantly providing and replacing equipment add up significantly over time.

Demanding work schedules mean crews often require extra hours or overtime to complete the job, yet the low bid only accounts for the minimum. When long hours are needed to catch up on typical work or address complaints/issues, extra charges for time and a half or double time quickly outweigh any budget benefits. Customers have no choice but to pay outrageous rates for necessities when a proper quote should have included everything upfront.

Lack of transparency is prevalent, as companies have more incentive to confront clients with unexpected fees and charges than provide full budget disclosure upfront. The initial “low price” is meant simply to win the business, with far more costs to come once work has commenced. All too often, key details like price increases, additional supplies fees, overtime rates, and scheduling constraints remain unmentioned until a contract is already signed.


Clear Scope of work

Without definitive scope and schedules, objectives quickly become murky. Cleaning staff are left guessing at priorities, priorities shift frequently, and important areas get neglected as a result. Essential deep cleans, high-traffic spaces, and safety-critical zones suffer the consequences of an unclear set of expectations.

Congested, unmanaged schedules mean valuable time is wasted traveling between job sites, dealing with last minute changes, or addressing unforeseen issues. Efficient routing goes out the window, as does impressive productivity or cost-effective practices. Hours pile up without the benefits, inflating fees in unreasonable fashion.

Essential communication suffers, as it becomes nearly impossible to hold staff or company accountable when no concrete objectives and key performance metrics have been established. Feedback loops go silent, quality control falls through the cracks, and poor results escape scrutiny. Issues and inefficiencies grow stealthily until clients raise complaints or notice poor quality. By then, corrective action may come at far too high a cost.

Policies, procedures and best practices get overlooked or insufficiently addressed. Proper training on things like safety standards, chemical usage, equipment handling, or company protocols could be lacking or inconsistent. Each new client and worksite presents a fresh opportunity for mistakes to surface, compliance to slip, or hazards to emerge – all due to lack of strong guidelines and oversight.


So, what can you do to avoid these risks? First, do your research and choose a reputable cleaning company with a track record of providing high-quality service. Don’t be swayed by the lowest price – remember that you get what you pay for. Second, communicate with your cleaning company and make sure they are responsive to your needs and concerns. Finally, invest in a long-term relationship with your cleaning company to ensure consistency and quality over time.

In conclusion, going with the lowest bidder when it comes to commercial cleaning and janitorial services can be risky. Lack of care, not following up on issues, and lack of consistency are all potential issues that can arise. By choosing a reputable cleaning company and investing in a long-term relationship, you can avoid these risks and enjoy a clean and well-maintained business.