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Cleaning It’s a dirty job...


Does keeping the communal areas in your block clean and tidy feel like a gamble? If so, here are some simple guidelines from Richard Shelton to help you find the right contractor


If you are thinking of appointing a cleaning or cleaning and maintenance company, how do you find a contractor that will meet your needs and not leave you feeling short-changed? The basic process is quite straight forward. If you have a managing agent linked to your block, they will probably appoint a company on your behalf. This is done by means of a competitive tendering process, usually by obtaining at least three quotations, perhaps coupled with the recommendation of contractors whom they already use and trust. However, if you represent a group of residents and are responsible


for recommending a contractor for your site, the choice available can be bewildering. So where do you start? The best source of information today is of course the internet, perhaps utilising some of the well known on-line directories. These have the advantage of being able to provide details of likely services relatively easily. Having decided on your shortlist, you should ask each company for a list of current clients who could provide a reference on the standard of their work. You could also check their websites to see if such testimonials are readily available. Having put together a list of local companies that look as if they


offer the services you need, the next step is to contact each of them to arrange a site survey, followed by a quotation to supply the services you require. In order to achieve this, you will need to advise them of the following points:


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• What is the work required, ie, what do you expect to get for the money you will have to pay? Go into as much detail as possible and bear in mind that if you are looking for a maintenance company to carry out running repairs and gardening as well as cleaning, the specification will be much more intense for the summer than for winter months. So, from April to October you may require fortnightly visits to mow lawns, trim hedges and shrubs, carry out weed control and litter pick. In winter, perhaps a monthly lower maintenance visit will be all that is needed. This again may include litter picking, edging lawns and some shrub maintenance.


• What is the frequency of the work required? With communal area cleaning for instance, this is usually fortnightly. Window cleaning can vary from monthly to quarterly.


• What is your budget? As well as establishing a price for the work you need to have


done, other aspects of potential contractors to consider are the things you can ascertain from the appearance of their staff and vehicles. If they are professionally branded this can tell you a lot


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