When it comes to changing your commercial cleaning provider there are often a lot of questions you may not know the answer to. This guide is designed to outline the main steps in the process, what to look for in a new provider, and, to help you gain a better understanding of the laws surrounding the TUPE regulations.

Making the decision to change cleaning provider

There are many reasons why a business may decide to change their commercial cleaning provider. They may feel they are not receiving the level of service they expected, or, they are not happy with one of the cleaning operatives. Some businesses wish to lower their costs. Whatever the reason it is helpful to understand the steps in the process to ensure you are able to make a fully informed decision.

Finding a commercial cleaning company

Searching for a cleaning supplier can often be a daunting task. The commercial cleaning sector is an extremely competitive market and there are hundreds of providers out there.

An excellent starting place for your search would be the directory on the British Institute of Cleaning Science website, here. The BICSc is the largest independent, professional body within the cleaning industry. Members of the BICSc have proven they are able to provide a clean and safe environment and promote best practice in the industry. It is highly recommended that you select providers who are members of the BICSc.

It is essential that you research any commercial cleaning companies that you do find; not all are as good as the next. Research any accreditations or awards they may have; most reputable companies will have acquired numerous accreditations. Some to look out for are ISO 9001, ISO 14001, CHAS, Construction Line and BICSc.

Site survey and cleaning audit

Once you have identified your cleaning company or companies the next step would be to invite them to perform a site survey. Some companies will opt to provide you a quote without visiting your site, basing their price based on the specification that the existing provider uses. It is not recommended to choose a supplier who does this. It is essential that a complete site survey and cleaning audit is performed in order to fully understand the cleaning requirements of the building. A professional company will use this opportunity to identify any cleaning service improvements that can be made.

Once you have received the quote, or quotes, and decide to change supplier the TUPE process will begin.

What is TUPE?

TUPE refers to the “Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations”. The regulations were brought in to preserve employees’ terms and conditions when a business or undertaking, or part of one, is transferred to a new employer. The TUPE regulations also cover changes in service provision thereby providing protection to employees who are assigned to a contract that is being transferred or even being brought back in house. Under these regulations employees of the of the previous company will automatically become employees of the new company when the contract changes hands.

The regulations were originally introduced in 1981 and were subsequently replaced by TUPE 2006 on April 6th 2006 and then updated again in 2014. This change widened the scope of TUPE regulations to include cases where services are outsourced, insourced, or assigned to a contractor.

More information on the TUPE regulations can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/transfers-takeovers/overview

The handover

One of the first steps in the handover process will be the provision of TUPE information from the existing commercial cleaning supplier to the new one, they must do this at least 28 days before the transfer is completed.

The new supplier will use the weeks before the handover to perform a number of tasks to ensure the changeover is smooth and that all parties are happy. Ultimately, the handover should be seamless; you should expect little to no disruption in your cleaning service.

Improving the cleaning standards

One of the common concerns of buyers is that they are concerned about the ability to change or improve their cleaning standards because of the TUPE legislation. For example, they may  not be happy with one or more of the cleaners and they are not sure whether it is worth the effort moving to a new commercial cleaning company because the cleaners will have to transfer anyway.

One of the main key elements in adding value to the cleaning staff is evaluating the training requirements of the employees. Through proper evaluation and a well produced training programme the supplier can improve the ability of the cleaning operatives, increasing their confidence in their role and, their performance.  Proper training, motivation and evaluation is crucial to achieving the cleaning standards that you expect. The incoming provider must be able to add value to the existing cleaning staff in order to raise the cleaning standards.

This should be an on-going process. Regular reviews of the cleaning operatives are essential to maintaining high standards of cleaning on any site. Reward schemes are an excellent way to further incentivise employee performance and to provide recognition to the staff.


To summarise, there are many factors to consider when changing your commercial cleaning provider. It is important to understand the reasons why you wish to change. Significant improvements only occur where proper training, as well as thorough performance reviews and management is implemented, and it is essential to consider this when choosing your new provider. Hopefully, this guide has provided you with the information to know what to look for when choosing a new cleaning company and will help you make an informed decision when you decide to do so.


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