Bidding on Supplies

Often with large customers, you may be asked to include all the paper products for the location in your bid. This included paper towels, toilet seat covers, toilet paper, trash liners, and paper cups. Adding these items to your bid can be like stabbing in the dark! You will never really know how much this will cost until the supply bills start coming in. You may ask the customer if they could tell how much this has cost in the past but as expected, they usually do not know or have an inkling.

The property manager for a very large bank in California taught me to estimate the cost of office supplies at $1.75 per person per month. So, if the bank branch had 20 full-time people, the monthly cost for supplies would be about $35. Sounds easy. Not always! I have found that locations with mostly female employees use just about all paper supplies much faster and in greater quantity than a location with a more even mixture of men and women. Also, one branch can use a case of paper towels in one month and another branch up the street, with the same number of people can use two. You just never know.

When you get yourself in a situation like this, you must keep a log of all of your receipts for purchases. After 30 days, or as soon as you believe there may be a problem, present the dilemma to the manager or facility manager. Unfortunately, they are not always as accommodating as you might expect. Often they will ask you to give it more time, which costs you money. Sometimes they take a very ironclad approach and say they cannot make adjustments. But usually, they will work with you, especially if you have the receipts to prove your point.

To avoid this situation altogether, suggest that you purchase supplies for the facility and pass on the cost directly. Do not charge them for purchasing supplies but offer it as a courtesy. Offer to contact various supply houses for the best price on supplies. If it is a large customer, negotiate with the supply houses on a contract basis for all the supplies. Have the supply company deliver directly to the location and, if possible, bill the client directly. This way the distributor can often pass on volume discounts and the funds do not need to filter through your office.

More Cleaning Tips


Information provided in these cleaning tips is of a general nature and may not be appropriate in all situations. Consequently the author makes no representation of warranty as to the completeness, correctness, or utility of the information contained in the cleaning tips as it may apply to a specific situation. Therefore, readers are encouraged to consult with ProSTAR industries for specific information and guidance.