Do you do contracts, Ken?
I do not. I am a cleaning company that operates as a professional corporation, but operates "solo". I don't have employees to clean houses and I have my older kids on the payroll for office cleaning. Solo cleaning companies that are fully legit with taxes, insurance, and certifications LIKE MINE are unique. The owner (me) is the cleaner and the cleaner is the owner. Here are 3 reasons that I've opted NOT to do contracts.
Do you see the advantages of hiring a solo operating cleaning service that is professional? You get the same cleaner every time. It's the owner and they don't do contracts. However, I would not be honest if I didn't cover the rest of my industry. Solo cleaners represent about 30% of the "professional house cleaners". The other 70% are building teams and large companies to serve the communities in which they live. I am personally invested in the lives of over 25 such cleaning service owners nationally. They cannot possibly grow a large business with 300+ houses without systems to ensure reliability, repeatability, quality, and safety. They do their best to find and retain great people, but sometimes things happen and lawsuits arise in this highly litigious society. Thus, contracts are NEEDED to protect the interests of the cleaning company and the homeowner. They are NOT required. In the office cleaning or janitorial world, a similar dynamic occurs. I'd estimate that 20% of all office cleaning is done by small, solo-operating companies. Many of these (like myself) do not use contracts. The other 80% are larger, team-cleaning janitorial companies. They ALL use contracts to protect both parties involved.
I have one closing comment. I fully answered this question for myself and other companies. But I never said that I don't do "documentation". I have written proof of every customer journey from first inquiry to the phone call, estimate, and emailed formal proposal. My emailed proposals contain the proposed prices, schedule, and my terms & conditions. There is no signature required, so it's NOT a contract. However, it is a document that both the client and I can revisit at any point to clear up differences. This is vital. I don't recommend you EVER hire a company without documentation!
Ken Carfagno is a presentation cleaning specialist serving the Indian Valley, PA.