When we launched Managed by Q in 2014, we set out to create a way for companies to effortlessly manage their offices, with the reliability of online software. But to start, we knew we needed to be able to deliver consistent cleaning services––an office necessity that was surprisingly hard to find in Manhattan office buildings at the time. After speaking with the office managers and teams in these spaces, we quickly realized that the problem was not specific to cleaning. Rather, the issues stemmed from the relationship with their service providers.
The office managers we interviewed told us that working with vendors for office services such as cleaning and maintenance was one of the most difficult parts of their job. They had little-to-no way to deliver feedback to their service provider, and when something went wrong, had limited power to ensure it wouldn’t be repeated.
To change this, we knew we had to improve the communication between office teams and service providers. To get it right, we first built our own cleaning and maintenance service company, Q Services.
After working with (and cleaning) thousands of offices, we developed best practices for onboarding and working with service providers. This is now a critical part of our onboarding process for all service providers on Q’s platform, and one of the reasons we are able to ensure consistent, high-quality service.
If you’re setting up a new service for your office or switching providers, such as for daytime or nighttime cleaning, here’s what you need to know to ensure a successful relationship that can adapt as your company needs change.
Before service starts
Begin with clear communication so your service provider can understand your space, requirements, goals, and priorities. Work with your provider to do the following before your service begins:
- Schedule a walkthrough: At Managed by Q we require a walkthrough of every client’s office before starting cleaning services to be sure we understand their space.
- Clarify your priorities: Identify key areas of the space that need extra attention or ask for recommendations for your particular space.
- Agree on a task list: Make it clear what work you expect to be completed during your service sessions and get a written copy of your agreed upon task list. Adding tasks last minute can increase the time needed to clean your space, and can negatively impact quality.
- Set a final schedule: Let your service provider know in advance what days and times will enable them to work most effectively in your space. Be flexible, but consider employee hours, trash pick-up days, and weekend hours.
- Set a time to check in: There is often a 2-week ramp up period as a service provider gets to know your space. Check-in after this period so you can make any adjustments to the schedule or task list.
After service begins
To continue to have a strong relationship with your service provider, be sure to provide feedback about any issues or areas for improvement as they arise. Your service provider should be focused on ensuring you're getting what you need, so the more you communicate with them, the better they will be able to adjust and accommodate.
- Communicate changes in advance: Let your service provider know about anything that will impact their schedule or task list, such as events, office renovations or moves, and office closures as soon as possible. Adjusting your task list may impact the cost of service, so be sure you confirm all changes to the task list and hours/budget in advance.
- If something goes wrong, communicate as early and clearly as possible: Be specific as possible about the problem and provide photos to clearly illustrate the issue.
For special projects
Specialty cleaning, such as carpet shampooing, upholstery cleaning, or outdoor window washing, may require an additional walkthrough and should be scheduled separately from your regular cleaning. When you are planning for these services, keep these points in mind:
- Provide an accurate scope of work: Communicate all the details to your service provider and ensure you are not underestimating the task.
- Schedule as far in advance as possible: Service providers are not always instantly available.
We developed these standards for our clients to empower office managers and open lines of feedback so they can be confident they are receiving the level of service required to create a great environment for their team.
For our Q Services clients, that began by building a custom task list for each office, creating a Supervisor role to check in on accounts regularly, and assigning a dedicated Account Manager to each office team. Each of these elements of our service still exist today––four years later.
To support that, we built a dashboard to book and manage services, as well as systems to easily leave feedback––innovations that are now offered to all service providers on our platform.
Employee expectations for their office experience have grown, and office management teams need to make sure they meet them. Clear communication with service providers can ensure office managers are supported in delivering on a great workplace experience.
To learn how to develop a successful cleaning schedule for your office needs, read our complete guide to a clean office.