Should I Include Cleaning Supplies in my RFP

Should I Include Cleaning Supplies in My janitorial services rfp?

When going through the detailed process of creating your RFP (request for proposal) you will come to the question of whether to include supplies within the RFP.  In this article, we address the top 3 factors you need to consider.

1) Size and complexity of your facility

  • Is your facility or building large?
  • Do you have multiple locations?

These are often the biggest factors in deciding whether to include the ordering and managing of supplies. No matter how large a facility is, I have never seen adequate planning for the storage for cleaning related items.

I have seen many large and beautiful buildings with barely a thought for how the design allows for the maintenance of the building.

  • Limited space for the equipment necessary to do a complete and professional job.
  • Minimal storage of the everyday supplies required to complete the work.
  • No room to house the staff required to complete the work.

This being the case, often the storage of the supplies to stock washrooms and lunch or staff rooms are scattered instead of being placed in a central location.  If the facility is large, the logistics may require the supply items be stored close to the washrooms or areas that require servicing.  Effective time management may also dictate the closeness of supplies making central storage infeasible.

When supplies are stored throughout the facility, it is more difficult to get a good idea of what your supply inventory is and when to order.  Since janitorial supplies are usually of a critical nature, you do not want to run out of them. Just imagine a washroom with no soap or toilet paper!

This means it may be a management necessity to include the responsibility for ordering and maintaining the supplies in the janitorial services RFP.  When you include supplies in your RFP, ask the potential suppliers to demonstrate their respective inventory and supply management policy and procedures.

2) Workload

Regardless of the size of your facility the other primary factor in determining whether to include the supply ordering and maintenance in your RFP is the need to lessen the workload for you or the people responsible for purchasing.

Again and again I read the importance of focusing on core business.  What is it that drives your bottom line? Finding ways to streamline your workday so that all your activities are related to bringing in revenue and profit for your business is good for everyone.

This is why companies outsource to begin with; they want to keep the focus on the business at hand. Including the janitorial supply responsibility is right in line with the core business for your outsourced janitorial company so it stands to reason they would be better at it.

3) Volume and purchasing powerpurchasing cleaning supplies in bulk

Unless your facility or building is very large, you may not have the purchasing power in the area of janitorial supplies to ensure your costs are as low as they can be.  The janitorial supplies industry, like most industries, can be a very competitive business and is subject to some volatility in commodity prices for paper and plastics.

If you are not spending thousands per month, you may not be getting the best pricing.  By including the supplies in your RFP, you are getting the benefit of the janitorial companies overall purchasing power.

If your facility is large, you may be spending large volumes of money with suppliers. In a 100,000 square foot building a company might spend as much as $15,000 or more in initial equipment purchases.  In light of that kind of purchasing power, your janitorial supplier can be in a good position to press for aggressive pricing for supplies, benefitting your business with cost savings.


To sum up, there are certain circumstances where it is necessary from a management point of view to outsource the supply ordering and management, as well as the general cleaning service.  Additionally, from a business point of view, outsourcing supply management may help your business focus on what is important.

One final reason that it may be better to outsource the supplies is that it can also help your outsourced company manage your account better.  In most cases, storage for supplies is limited.

Having your outsourced company manage and deliver supplies on an ongoing basis allows for them to have more eyes on your building.  In most cases, the front line cleaners are not bringing the supplies it is a supervisor and having any supervisor in your facility more can only lead to better results for you and your building.

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