We come across this major issue at least once a month when working with prospective clients. They're current service is terrible. They can't get issues addressed, and there is a lack of response from the current cleaner's management team. The service relationship has become toxic, and they're absolutely ready to change. There's one large problem...They're locked into an adhesive, one might argue, predatory service agreement.
If you're a small business thinking about working with a cleaning service provider, make sure to examine your service agreement carefully. All agreements are not created equal.
Service Agreements with Franchise Companies
Franchise service agreements tend to be particularly notorious for being adversarial and placing a heaving burden on the client to execute cancellation. Buried in the fine print are often limitations about the client's ability to extricate themselves from their vendor.
The contract often only allows the client to switch franchisees but not get rid of the actual contract and parent vendor. This means that you can force the parent company to remove the franchisee for poor performance, but you're still stuck with the franchisor and whoever they place next.
Franchised outfits have a dual loyalty to you as a client and also to creating more franchisees. They create revenue by making it difficult to get out of service agreement to help create room for new franchisees to take over if necessary.
Evergreen Clauses with a Limited Time Window
Agreements will often give a brief time window for swapping out vendors - ie "you have a 10 day window, 30 days before contract renewal to terminate this agreement." That means if you miss the window, the contract auto-renews, and you're saddled with poor performance and unresponsiveness for the next 12 months. There can be heavy penalties imposed for cancelling outside of the time window or cancellation can be completely restricted altogether.
Limiting Reasons for Cancellation
Still other agreements only allow cancellation through certain processes and for certain delinquencies - ie "client is allowed to terminate vendor if, and only if, management fails to redress deficiencies in a timely manner." So as long as the vendor fixes the complaint in a "timely manner," it does not become a valid reason for cancellation, even if there's a new complaint every single day.
This locks you into a relationship where you're forced to complain every single day and hope that issues don't addressed to make a change. As long as the vendor, makes a half-hearted on that particular issue, it's going to be hard to void the agreement.
Why Summit Building Services is Different
We're a trusted, local source for 80+ facilities in the Cleveland, Akron, Canton, and Youngstown areas because our entire organization is structured around our "Service First" mission. This includes how our service agreements are constructed.
We don't want to trick you into servicing your account. We don't feel that it's the way, healthy, long-term relationships should work. We want you to feel confident choosing us based on the merit of our services.
As a result, our service agreements give our clients the option to cancel for any or no reason at any time. We want to go out and make a difference for our clients, day in and day out. We're locally owned and operated with direct ownership involvement at all of our accounts. We take every single contract seriously, and we're personally vested in seeing our clients do well because we know that as a byproduct, we'll do well also.
Schedule a meeting to learn more about how we structure our service agreements and how we run operationally. See for yourself how Summit can make a difference at your facility and all the ways we put "Service First!"