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Chicago, IL Many building service contractors receive requests for proposals (RFPs). While some RFPs are very clear, others may be confusing and even ambiguous. This can be a very serious problem because the goal of a RFP's is to ensure all bidders are provided the same specs. If something is vague this goal may not be achieved, potentially resulting in cleaning contractors not winning the contract simply because they were not completely sure what they were bidding on. This month's Business of the Business from Tornado Industries, a leading manufacturer of professional cleaning equipment, addresses RFPs. Step One:Read the entire RFP before preparing your bid. Note any services not included. For listed services, make sure it is clear whether or not the charges for these services are included or charged separately. Step Two:Make sure the RFP clearly states: insurance requirements; restrictions and/or requirements regarding the use of subcontractors; training or certifications required; if the contractor must provide a financial statement. Step Three:Is it clear what spaces are to be cleaned and which are not? Is unrented space to be maintained and if so, how frequently? Is the total "cleanable" square footage included? Are there areas of the facility not to be cleaned? Step Four:Does the RFP indicate how billing is to be handled and when payments can be expected? This is crucial to clarify before service begins. Additionally, is the contract for a set period? Is it renewable? How is termination handled and if the customer wishes to terminate due to service complaints, does the contractor have a time period in which to rectify problems? "If you have any questions on these or any other items in the RFP, be sure to bring them up with the property manager before submitting your proposal," says Jolynn Kennedy, marketing director for Tornado. "This can also be a way of getting to know the manager and them to know you, which often can help in the bidding process."