The Journey of a Contract

Incentive QAS takes us through why outsourcing your needs could be a more efficient solution.

The UK cleaning industry contributes £55.5bn to the economy yearly, employing over 957,000 people. If we also factor in other jobs that involve some degree of cleaning (i.e. hospitality) that number rises to over 1.6 million, 5% of the UK’s total workforce.

Nearly 66,420 businesses operate in the UK cleaning market, with the majority concentrated around London and the southeast of England. A well-debated topic in the FM world is whether it’s better to have an in-house cleaning operation or contract out the cleaning service.

Incentive QAS is the contract cleaning arm of the Incentive FM Group, with annual sales in excess of £20m and employing over 900 staff nationwide. They work with organisations to create a service that meets their individual site and budget requirements.

The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) estimates that in-house cleaning is, on average, 23% more expensive than contract cleaning services. As well as the cost advantages of outsourcing cleaning services, there are many efficiency advantages. Hiring and maintaining an in- house cleaning team is time consuming and staff issues are sometimes difficult to manage. Instructing a service provider instead allows clients to focus on business-critical issues.

Angela Collins, Sales & Marketing Manager at Incentive QAS, said: “Increasingly, organisations are looking for a single contract to manage their buildings' requirements, provided by just one facility management provider. Cleaning companies can provide a variety of speciality services that may not be available with an in-house cleaning team without investment in costly equipment such as carpet cleaning or graffiti removal.

“We can provide a range of Facility Management support services rather than just internal office cleaning and external cleaning of windows and signage. For example, in addition to our cleaning services, solutions for waste management and pest control could also be included in the contract.”

When competing for a corporate cleaning contract, Incentive invests a great deal of time prior to the bid process in order to establish the opportunity and build rapport with the client.

Collins continued: “At Incentive QAS, we engage with the relevant decision makers and attempt to make a good impression and create a relationship before the prospect goes to tender. Being aware of the tender prior to release enables us to plan our bid strategy and put together the best possible response which encompasses the client’s needs”


By the bid stage, Incentive has a good understanding of the client and their objectives. Incentive insists on a site visit for every tender before submitting a proposal or presenting to the client. If successful, mobilising the contract will involve input from nearly every part of the business.

Collins added: “The TUPE process can sometimes be complicated, and mobilisation can require a recruitment process to fill any staffing requirements. We have an extensive, time-consuming training programme but it’s all part of building a relationship of trust and support for our new staff.”

Incentive QAS is aware that it’s crucial to understand the complexities of each contract. The management team will spend time learning the individual requirements and will then pass the information on to the operating team.

Collins concluded: “Together, we sit down during mobilisation with the client to review objectives and set out a plan of how to achieve them. This then forms part of the monthly review meetings and they evolve over the course of the contract.

“Only by investing time in the contract do we become aware of the bespoke requirements of each client and their building, we then dedicate time and effort to overcoming complexities or inefficiencies to provide the best service possible to our clients. Inevitably every contract has an end date but we must not think about that: we must operate as though the contract will never end to ensure that the standard of service delivered never drops.”

Incentive QAS’ partnership approach has led to many clients renewing contracts with them, resulting in many longstanding relationships.

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