Marsden Services | Janitorial Service Contracts

  • Common Challenges
  • The Sourcing Alliance Program
  • Why Marsden?
  • Procurement Process
  • Tools & Tips
  • Getting Started

Public sector entities typically follow the “lowest and best” standard or similar guideline in awarding purchase agreements to suppliers, which works well when sourcing and procuring commodities. However, when this standard is applied to the acquisition of services, choosing the cheapest provider often compromises the quality of the services received. And that’s how “lowest and best” can easily become “cheapest and worst”.

In our experience with public sector purchasing, there is no better example of where “cheapest and worst” occurs than with janitorial contracts. The quality and consistency of cleans typically suffers when service providers cut corners to lower costs, and dealing with poor cleaning is time-consuming and painful…cleaners not showing up, high turnover, incomplete and inconsistent cleans, complaints from employees, bad impressions for visitors, reporting problems to the vendor, securing quick and effective resolutions, and health issues and sickness due to unclean buildings, just to name a few of the problems. If you have ever experienced low quality cleaning services from the lowest cost provider, you know exactly what we’re talking about.

Given these realities, Sourcing Alliance rallied our group purchasing organization together to add a janitorial contract to our portfolio of cooperative purchasing agreements.

Sourcing Alliance Developed a Better Alternative for our Members

We partnered with the Cuyahoga County Public Library (the top-ranked library system in the country serving at least 500,000 residents) to develop our Janitorial Services Program. Our objective was to develop a cooperative contract that would not only meet CCPL’s specific requirements, but could also be leveraged by Sourcing Alliance members across the country with a wide range of needs and requirements.

Sourcing Alliance engaged with both members and suppliers within the janitorial services industry throughout the development of our RFP specifications to design a program that would balance cost and quality to provide the lowest Total Cost of Ownership for our members. We required the winning supplier to provide:

  • Transparent Pricing – a clear and detailed breakdown of hours, wages, management time, other costs, and profit margin.
  • Low Employee Turnover – lower than industry average turnover.
  • Management Tools – the ability to track cleaning activities, inspections and results, and work orders in real time, with full customer visibility.
  • Effective Quality Control – a proven and effective quality control process that achieves better cleans consistently and quickly resolves customer issues when they arise.
  • A Proven Track Record – a demonstrated history of high-quality service delivery, worker retention, performance, and customer satisfaction, with explicit service level agreements to match.
  • A Complete Line of Standard Janitorial Services & Custom Capabilities – a breadth and depth of services to meet the unique needs of all types of members.
  • National Coverage – the ability to service Sourcing Alliance members across the country.
  • Cleaning Industry Management Standards (CIMS) Certifications – a certified service provider who meets and exceeds industry standards.

Download the Program brochure

Why Did Sourcing Alliance Select Marsden Services as our Janitorial Services Supplier?

Following an extensive public sector procurement process that included more than a dozen service providers, Sourcing Alliance selected Marsden Services as the supplier most capable of meeting our program specifications. Marsden offers:

  • A Full Disclosure Pricing Model – line item pricing and detailed listing of services provided for the cost, so members know exactly what they are paying and the specific services they are receiving for the price. This transparency provides members with the ability to balance competing budget limitations and desired cleaning quality.
  • Contract & Staffing Flexibility – union, living wage, and/or non-union staffing as required.
  • Consistency – a proven process to identify, hire, train, onboard, and manage the right employees to achieve consistent service delivery and low turnover. Marsden’s turnover rate is 80% below the industry average, and Marsden delivers higher quality, more consistent cleans as a result.
  • Account Management – a strict and detailed process to manage customer accounts, from planning and initial implementation to regular reviews and ongoing communication.
  • Innovative & Effective Quality Controls – custom-designed software technology to track and manage cleans, inspections, and problem resolution. Customers have full access to these tools and can therefore monitor cleaning services in real time.
  • Proven Implementation Process – dedicated team of implementation specialists and a commitment to retain existing cleaners as requested by the customer.
  • Complete Line of Janitorial & Related Services – office and general cleaning, carpet and hard floor maintenance, preventive maintenance and cleaning, special services such as pressure washing and event cleanup, recycling, tile and grout restoration, window cleaning, lab and medical cleaning, and more.
  • National Coverage with Local Presence – a nationwide footprint through its family of 25 local, regional, and multi-state operating companies.
  • Performance Metrics – Marsden measures its performance using five key metrics: Safety, Quality, Cost, Delivery, and Morale (SQCDM).

Download the Procurement Process

Why did Sourcing Alliance Develop the Janitorial Services Program?

Sourcing Alliance partnered with the Cuyahoga County Public Library (the “Library”) to develop a program for janitorial cleaning services (the “Program”) to meet the Library’s specific needs and serve as an already-procured contract that can be extended to all current and future Sourcing Alliance members (the “Members”).

Janitorial services are high touch and high visibility.  The quality of the services provided are critical important for both employees and constituents/customers/stakeholders, and poor performance is unacceptable.  The cleaning industry often experiences high turnover, and the quality of a service provider’s hiring process, initial training, and ongoing management are critical success factors.  The bottom line is that, while price is always an important consideration, selecting a janitorial services provider based on price alone is a crucial mistake that has longstanding and often highly disruptive consequences for the customer.

Our objectives in developing the Janitorial Services Program were to:

  • Provide a complete line of janitorial and related services, including:
o Micro cleaning services o Hard surface floors o Interior & exterior surfaces
o Carpet and fabric o Construction & remodeling o Emergency cleaning services
o Related services and capabilities that provide additional value to our Members;
  • Educate members about the latest developments and advances in cleaning methods and technology;
  • Utilize technology tools to track cleaning activities, inspections and results, and work orders in real time and with full visibility;
  • Select an industry certified (CIMS) supplier with a proven track record of high quality service delivery, worker retention, performance, and customer satisfaction, with explicit Service Level Agreements to match;
  • Provide Members with the option of selecting the cleaning supplies and equipment that will be utilized in their buildings; and,
  • Ensure that Members of all sizes (from small to large), type (from schools to cities to counties to universities and libraries, etc.), and number of locations (from one location to multiple buildings in a campus setting to multiple locations) would have access to customized services and capabilities to meet their unique requirements and needs.

The Procurement Process

Sourcing Alliance and the Library worked closely to develop the request for proposal (“RFP”) specifications.  The assembled team had deep experience and expertise in defining detailed janitorial services specifications, vendor evaluation and selection, and direct management of janitorial services providers.

We identified and proactively contacted more than a dozen potential suppliers to learn about the breadth of their offerings and their service capabilities, and to secure their input into the RFP specifications.  We developed a comprehensive RFP, proactively distributed it to each of the potential suppliers, and published the RFP in accordance with public sector purchasing guidelines.  In all, more than twenty (20) potential suppliers participated in the process.

Our proposal review team scored the proposals received on both a qualitative (“Technical”) and quantitative (“Cost”) basis as required by public sector procurement guidelines.  We selected three finalists and conducted multiple interviews with senior leadership of each company.  We performed numerous reference checks with customers of various sizes and unique requirements to verify the quality of service and effectiveness in customer communication.  We carefully evaluated the pricing proposals to ensure that we were comparing pricing on an apples-to-apples basis.

Ultimately, Sourcing Alliance awarded the contract to Scioto Services (“Scioto”) and its sister operating companies as the lowest responsive and responsible bidder.

Why did Sourcing Alliance Select Scioto Services & Its Sister Operating Companies as our Supplier Partner?

Sourcing Alliance selected Scioto over the other respondents for a number of reasons.  Scioto and its sister operating companies:

  • Offers a full line of services as required in the RFP (micro cleaning, carpet and fabric, hard surface floors, interior and exterior surfaces, construction and remodel, etc.);
  • Also offers:
    1. Security Services (Level 1, 2, and 3 guard and patrol, technology, threat identification/training, and protocol development;
    2. Mechanical Services (on-site maintenance, HVAC design-build, and calibration);
    3. Emergency Events (24×7 response to natural and manmade disasters, flood and fire clean-up and restoration, and blood-borne pathogen and biohazard clean-up);
  • Is CIMS certified, has LEED certified personnel on staff, and utilizes Green Seal and Greenguard certified cleaning products;
  • Has a nationwide footprint to serve Sourcing Alliance Members from coast-to-coast;
  • Establishes and executes ongoing communication plans with customers to ensure regular dialogue and identify/resolve issues before they become significant problems;
  • Customizes its solutions to meet the unique needs of individual Members;
  • Deploys dedicated, experienced teams to implement services with new customers;
  • Is flexible and can provide union, living wage, and/or non-union staff as required;
  • Leverages a wide range of software and technology tools to manage employee attendance and performance, inspections, quality, and work orders in real-time and with full customer visibility;
  • Operates a 24×7 customer care center, staffed by Scioto employees;
  • Utilizes rigorous Service Level Agreements that address worker retention, on-time closure of work orders, inspections, training, sustainability, and lost days;
  • Employs a rigorous hiring, background screening, and training regimen to ensure that the best available individuals are hired and prepared to perform services for each Member;
  • Follows a strict process and structure for account management, including quarterly reviews and ongoing communication;
  • Is flexible and can provide requested cleaning materials and equipment or utilize materials and equipment provided by the Member; and,
  • Received rave reviews from current customers of all types and sizes for their quality, communication, diligence, and strength of relationship they develop and maintain with their customers.

Scioto’s pricing is both aggressive and competitive; the company utilizes a “full disclosure” pricing format, so there are no surprises and no hidden costs.  More importantly, Scioto’s qualitative score on the Technical Proposal is the highest technical score of any supplier in any program that Sourcing Alliance has established.

Cuyahoga County Public Library’s experience with Scioto has been excellent and validates the high qualitative score Scioto earned during the proposal review process.  The team is highly professional, well-trained, and experienced.

One of our key objectives in developing this Program was to provide our members with the ability to leverage the procurement work that we have completed on their behalf, with a significant investment of time, money, and expertise, without each Member having to conduct its own time-consuming and expensive bid/RFP process for Janitorial Services.  We have completed all that work at the highest level of quality so that you do not have to duplicate it.  Public sector entities can simply join Sourcing Alliance as a Member (there are no costs, dues, or obligations) to begin working with Scioto and its sister operating companies.

Transitioning From In-House Cleaning Staff

Migrating the provision of janitorial services from in-house W2 employees to a third-party service provider for the first time can be a challenge. This process needs to be planned carefully, communicated to the stakeholders clearly, and executed seamlessly. The program participant may choose to manage the migration from the following options: 1) all at once; 2) through attrition, or 3) all participant employees become Marsden employees. Properly managing the transition is a significant concern for Sourcing Alliance members who don’t currently use third-party janitorial services providers. Marsden management invests the time and resources to get this transition right – something many service providers do not do. 

Transitioning From Another Service Provider To Marsden

Marsden’s senior management works behind the scenes with its dedicated teams to plan and execute transitions from another provider to Marsden. It takes great care to ensure participants’ needs are considered and incorporated in the transition plan. Marsden takes the time to learn about each Sourcing Alliance member and builds its team and solutions around them. So participants get everything they need in a cleaning company…and nothing they don’t.

Software Tools & Visibility

Marsden employees use Marsden’s proprietary smartphone-based task- and time-tracking tools. These tools allow Marsden to manage real-time attendance, inspection, reporting, problem identification and resolution, and communication processes. Marsden’s use of these systems is the basis for Marsden’s exceptional delivery of higher quality services than its competitors. Marsden provides its clients real-time access to these tools to ensure full transparency. Clients report Marsden’s management tools and transparency are highly effective and addictive.

Consistency & Security

Employee turnover is a huge issue in the janitorial services industry. Marsden goes to great lengths to hire the best people and then trains them thoroughly in the Marsden program, with the aim of a) delivering service that exceeds participants’ expectations, and b) reducing turnover. And it works! Marsden’s turnover is approximately 80% lower than the national industry average. In addition to lower staff turnover, 85% to 90% of Marsden’s staff are employed as full-time associates. The result? Marsden delivers improved service levels (i.e., lower absenteeism) and better consistency of services with cleaners who get to know your building better. Lower employee turnover also equals better overall security for your facility because there are fewer people with access to your facilities.

To get started, schedule a time with us to discuss how high quality janitorial services can improve your employees’ productivity, health, and safety. We offer a no obligation walk through of your facility and would be happy to schedule one for you with our Marsden representative.

To learn more about this program or request a walk through of your facility at no cost to you, call or email Sourcing Alliance today at 844.289.6728 or info@sourcingalliance.org.

Experience the benefits of working with Sourcing Alliance