Whenever I perform a building walkthrough the question I hear most is, "what are we paying them for?", in reference to the soon to be former cleaning company. And 9/10 times it is due to a company salesperson overpromising in order to win the account.
The reason for this is quite simple. A salesperson has one job and one job only; get new accounts. Cleaning those accounts is usually someone elses responsibility. And since many companies large and small employ the use of contracts, these accounts can secure 12-36 months of guaranteed revenue, even if the client is unhappy.
But this isn't necessarily the fault of the salesperson, or even the crew that cleans that contract. The problem lies in the fact that the person estimating the job has likely never cleaned an account before and has absolutely no idea how long it will really take. Most of these companies use software programs that estimate using canned production rates that are nearly impossible to meet with any degree of quality.
You can't just plug square footage and overhead into a calculator and expect it to return the perfect bid.
So what happens when an experienced cleaning crew comes into a facility that was bid at 1.5 hours that they know will actually take closer to 2.5? That account gets what I affectionately call a "trash and dash". The cleaning crew has to cut corners in order to meet the time the salesperson bid or else the company will lose money.
There is a direct correlation between the quality of work and the amount of time spent in a building. The more time that is allowed, the cleaner the facility. This is why companies that say they will beat any price by (insert percentage here) are completely clueless. Can they beat your price? Maybe. Can they beat your price with the same level of quality? No.
The best way to avoid overpromising and underdelivering is to have your estimates prepared by someone who has actually done the work. This is what my company does, and we know how to find the right balance between quality, consistency, and price.