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What is a Scope of Work?

So you have done your research, found a few janitorial companies you like and are looking to get quotes from them. Cool right? In most quote processes, you will probably hear a business throw out the words “scope of work” or SOW. What does that have to do with getting a quote you wonder.

A scope of work is key to get what you want and to hold everyone accountable to ensuring that the work you want done is getting done. It helps both you as a client as well as the janitorial service – clear expectations and designated schedules for items that are not done on a typical daily clean. If we were in your shoes as a client, here are a few things I would have handy in order to get the most out of your quotes and when you choose a company, to make sure you are getting the service you requested.

I would start here:

  1. Go through your space and put together a list of items that are of top priority to you


    1. Most professional janitorial companies have standard cleaning procedures. This may include items such as taking out trash, wiping cleared horizontal spaces, top to bottom clean of bathrooms, stocking of paper products, etc. But you know your space best. Think of items that may need more cleaning than other areas or things. Does your space have “funky” or not ordinary spaces that may not be in every building? What are your top priorities for you in terms of cleaning?
  2. Narrow your focus.
    1. The more time it takes to clean a space, the costlier it will be right? (Check out our post on square footage if you need a fuller picture on pricing). Think of items that either are time consuming, are items that maybe your staff could easily do (a prime example being filling/emptying the dishwasher), or spaces that may not need to be cleaned as often or as detailed as other spaces. This will not only save you money but it is VERY appreciated when it comes to cleaning.
  3. Number of Cleans
    1. Okay so you have a good idea of priorities and funky things and you have a good idea of what duties you want handed off. Now you need to think of how dirty on a daily basis your space gets. Do you have a ton of foot traffic? Are you in an area (like Montana) that seasonally can get really dirty with items like rock salt or mud. All these (and more) can affect how many times a week your space should be serviced.
      1. Side note – once or twice a month cleans set a janitorial company up for failure. Those are so easy to be forgotten even with the best of companies.
  4. Periodic Services
    1. If you need speciality items like waxing, carpet cleaning, etc. think of how often your space may need those. Waxed floors with high traffic need to be buffed regularly and waxed every so often. Carpets do attract stains so see if you should add spot cleaning or full regular carpet cleaning to the scopes.

Well now that you have all this information, what should you do with it?


When getting quotes, use this information for your benefit. Will it narrow down your list of potential companies if they do not offer special periodic services? Ask questions about their experience in your type of space (medical, general office etc). Do they have a standard scope they will not deviate from or are they able to customize it? Not only will this help you get what your space needs, narrow down prospects and save you a headache – it’s going to help make sure your space’s wants and needs are met.

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