Church Cleaning: BEWARE!

Published: 25th September 2006
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Church Cleaning: BEWARE!

Now, before you 'blow a gasket' over the title, let me say that

this is NOT an attack against the church or people of faith. As

a Christian, and volunteer pastor, I love the church and its


However, the truth must be told, which is... cleaning a church

is a very, very difficult job to do. I know of one company that

refuses to even bid on church jobs, because he doesn't want the

headaches. Not because of the facility, per se, but because of

the people.

Let me explain.

One reason Church cleaning is difficult is because of money.

Although we, the janitorial company, are a 'for profit'

business, many times we agree to charge a lesser price. It could

be because we want to charge less, or because we're asked by one

of the members to consider lowering our price...since it's for

the church.

BEWARE! In either case, you're setting yourself up for trouble.

Remember, you are in the janitorial business to make money, not

give it away. If you want to help the church, give a donation

from your profits! When you lower the price without lowering the

expectations, that difference has to be recouped somewhere ...

from someone! If it's from the janitor, then the cleaning WILL

suffer. If it's from you, the owner, then eventually you'll lose

interest in keeping this account.

Lowering your price for anyone if usually a bad idea, but

especially for a church. Why for the church? That brings me to

reason number two...

Churches are ministries, not businesses. If you lower your price

for a business, the business owner or contact person should

expect to give up some service. (To be safe, your should always

document, in writing, what services are being withheld for said


However, I have found that many churches want a lower price,

without lowering the level of service.

BEWARE! If you are a cleaning professional who knows how to bid

correctly, then you know what it takes to get and keep this

facility cleaning. You know the what you're going to have to pay

someone to do a job that adequately represents your company's

name. You know what's a fair profit margin for you to make so as

to remain interested in keeping this account. As a ministry,

most churches do not understand or at least appreciate your 'for

profit' mentality, especially when it comes to their ministry,

a.k.a. church.

Churches are not, or at least should not, be in the habit of

making money. They receive donations from their membership, and

use these funds to pay their bills, help the less fortunate and

do the work of the Lord. When your janitorial company wants to

make a 'profit' from cleaning their facility, well, quite

frankly, this flies in the face of Who They Are, and What They


However, the janitorial industry is NOT a ministry. It is a

business... a for profit business. If you don't make money, you

go out of business.

Bringing the tow mindsets of Ministry and Business together is

not an easy task. And, as I shared earlier, some owners simply

choose not to even try. Thus they don't bid on church business.

Right or wrong, many churches do not appreciate the fact that we

have to make money from their account if were going to stay in


Another reason to be careful regarding church cleaning is

because their are too many chiefs. Unlike the typical account

where you have one contact person, churches usually have

multiple members.... 'supervising' the custodial contact. That's

another way of saying making sure their house of worship is

cleaned to their standards.

Now, I can appreciate someone who serves on the Facility and

Grounds committee, and volunteers to inspect the quality of my

work. But, this person should at least be up to speed on what

the church is paying for, and what they're not.

I remember one trustee who served on this committee once told me

that we should strip and wax their fellowship hall before an

upcoming wedding. I told him that we could to this, but there

would be an extra charge, since stripping and waxing was not

including in the monthly price.

He went on to tell me that the woman getting married was the

daughter of a prominent member. I thought to myself, 'So what?

It's still going to be extra!' In his mind, since we are

janitors and since the work needed to be done, and since they

are paying us to clean, then I should go ahead and give them the

service ... at no cost.

As you know, stripping and waxing is costly. Sure, I could have

rolled over and given away this service. But, would I do it for

a doctor's office? An attorney? A call center? Absolutely not!

Then why given it away to a church?

Again, if you want to give a donation to a church, go there

Sunday morning and put it in the offering plate. But, don't give

away janitorial services, unless you're prepared to keeping

doing it... until Jesus comes!

David is the Sr. Area Developer of Alliance Maintenance. Alliance has offices in 4 states, and continues to expand throughout the US.

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