Barton adds that contract sweeper also should take advantage of property sales to correct any pricing mistakes they might have made.
"When a property is sold - and all properties sell over a period of time -- we fix the price in the new contract," he says.
"Pricing your work low out of ignorance is something you learn from; pricing it low to obtain work or to keep work from somebody else is just not good business," he says.
Pricing work too low not only affects one company on that one contract, it helps establish a sweeping price in a market when property managers compare notes. But worse than that, a low price for sweeping becomes part of the cost structure of the property and it will be very difficult to raise that price where it needs to be in the future.
"Property managers are creatures of budgets and next year's budget is based on this year's budget, which was based on last year's budget," Barton says. "So if a sweeper goes in with a low-ball price and the property manager buys the service at that price, that's the number he's going to be working from in the next budget and it's very difficult to get him to increase that line item."