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Published Date: 27-03-2024
Author: Ciaran Brass
Category: Tender Writing & Bid Management
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Central and local government authorities will be looking for suppliers to provide a range of cleaning services in different environments. This provides the ideal opportunity for companies to acquire cleaning contracts and expand their business through the competitive tender process.

Informed by nearly 15 years’ experience supporting clients to win cleaning contracts, we share our thoughts and best practices on sourcing appropriate opportunities, common quality topics within a tender submission and how to differentiate your tender from other bidders.

Finding cleaning contracts and deciding to bid

All public sector organisations are required to advertise contracts over a certain value threshold on two websites – Contracts Finder, which publishes notices for all contracts with a value exceeding £12,000, and Find a Tender, for contracts of a higher value.

Once you have found a suitable cleaning contract you are interested in bidding for, it is crucial to undertake an informed ‘bid/no-bid’ decision. Consider if your business can provide the following:

  • Sufficient experience and minimum mandatory requirements in order to submit a compliant tender, ensuring you can evidence your capacity and capability to deliver the service
  • Service delivery to all aspects of the contract regardless of cleaning service or geographic area, or if you can subcontract this element out to a trusted partner
  • Adequate staffing and resources to provide services against the scope of works and contract specification.

As a facilities management service, cleaning contracts may also be tied to other workstreams, such as grounds maintenance, as part of a framework agreement or package of services. Check whether an opportunity is ‘lotted’ or split into different disciplines, or alternatively if you are able to fulfil additional services using in-house or subcontracted resource.

If you are confident in your ability to fulfil the contract to a high-quality standard, you can then begin the tender process. At this point, it can be helpful to make a list of key ‘win themes’ or differentiators to personalise your tender. This could be experience which aligns with the particular contract, or an innovative piece of technology which could benefit the contracting authority or other stakeholders, such as residents.

Common quality questions for cleaning contracts tenders

As part of the tender process, cleaning contracts will be evaluated on a ‘price/quality’ split, often containing a series of forward-facing quality questions on how you propose to deliver the service. Some examples of common questions and topics for cleaning tenders include:

  • Mobilisation: The buyer will want to ensure a smooth, seamless transition into service delivery from the contract ‘go-live’ date. In addition to addressing all aspects of the question, you should also include measures to provide personnel with familiarity and confidence in delivering against the scope of works – for example, this could include pre-start site visits so operatives are award of site-specific conditions or challenges.
  • Staffing and resourcing: Cleaning contracts often involve multiple sites and buildings as part of the tender, requiring a flexible, mobile and coordinated service. In addition to outlining the number of personnel available, you could also include contingency measures for short- and long-term absences, assuring the contract authority of a sustainable service.
  • Training and qualifications: Authorities will want to be assured your contract-specific personnel will have the relevant skills, qualifications and experience to deliver a high-quality service. When approaching this response, you could also include measures to drive continuous professional development for operatives, ensuring they can provide a range of tasks.
  • Added value or value for money: For cleaning contracts, contracting authorities will place value on how you can provide direct cost savings or add value outside of the contract’s scope of works. To illustrate, this could involve using your own resources to provide bulky waste collection for a communal cleaning contract.

Tips for improving your cleaning tender submission

Competition for cleaning contracts is high, particularly in the public sector, where the appointment of suppliers must follow strict guidelines in accordance with legislation. When writing a tender, every mark counts – the difference between a winning and losing submission is often only a couple of points.

Adhering to the following key points can add those all-important marks to your tender, putting you in a better position to win the contract and enable your submission to stand out from other bidders.

Write persuasively and emphasise the benefits

A key feature our team of bid and tender writers incorporate into responses is going beyond pure description and including the ‘why’ within a response. If you are describing how personnel and cleaning operatives will conduct pre-start site visits during mobilisation, explaining how this will ensure they are aware of access arrangements will persuade the authorities of your understanding of different sites and requirements.

A persuasive approach will ensure evaluators cannot miss the key differentiators you have included within a submission, ensuring a high-scoring and competitive response.

Tailor your content to the contract in question

Generic descriptions and ‘copy-and-paste’ content describing your service model, staffing or customer care procedures may score an acceptable mark, but this is unlikely to secure the contract. Read the specification and associated tender documents in full, and target any areas that may be a priority or concern for the authority.

For example, you could tailor a response around accessing sites to include reference of making alternative arrangements for vulnerable or elderly residents, or communicating with residents whose first language is not English.

Incorporate KPIs and statistics

Where appropriate, evidencing your capacity and capability based on KPI performance and statistics from previous contracts can provide further assurances to the evaluator around your competency to deliver cleaning services. For instance, when responding to a question around quality assurance measures, you could include statistics from a contract of a similar size, scope and geographic area around customer satisfaction and ‘first-time’ delivery will provide evaluators with qualitative, evidence-based content to mark the response.

Supporting your business to win cleaning contracts

Since our inception in 2009, Executive Compass have supported with hundreds of cleaning SQ, PQQ and ITT submissions, supporting clients to secure key contract wins and expand their business. The scope of our support includes:

  • Bid writing services, where one of our experienced bid writers responds to the quality section of the tender based on the level of information you can provide
  • Bid review service involving a senior member of the completing a line-by-line review of a tender submission written by your in-house team, suggesting enhancements and improvements to quality responses
  • Bid writing training tailored to your organisation and experience in tendering, teaching your delegates how to effectively break down questions, write persuasively and improve win rates.

To find out more today on how we can support your organisation to secure cleaning contracts, contact a member of our sales and marketing team at or 0800 612 5563.

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