Ask the Building Maintenance Experts
Solutions for Your Toughest Problems

ICAN  Q & A  Home

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Question

Iím bidding on several Caseyís stores with two different estimates. One is for stripping and refinishing with chemicals provided at 40 cents a sq. ft. and the other for scrubbing and refinishing at 30 cents a sq. ft. with chemicals provided, also. There will be at least ten stores, and a one-way driving distance of about an hour. Is this too high? With fuel costs, chemicals, and labor, I feel Iím average.


Answer

Welcome to the weird world of retail, home of the low priced commercial floor job. Personally, I donít think your prices are out of line even with the chemicals supplied. Quality floor work takes time and effort. And you are talking about serious travel time along with the difficulty of working around long store hours or busy personnel.
However, the wisdom behind your pricing is not the determining factor when entering this market. Work of this sort is typically low end. Larger spaces and lower prices. You will be bidding against people who may not have any idea of what they must do, but are living close to the operation and are very hungry. Or, you will be competing against some who are very experienced in high production store floor work and equipped to do it. Either will underprice you readily and you will be out of the running.
My advice is to price your work as you see the need and forget trying to beat othersí prices. If you get the work, you can do a good job and secure your contract. If you donít, you will save yourself a lot of grief and losses.
Branching out of carpet cleaning into this retail market will demand training, special equipment, and stamina. Unless these are very small stores, you will need more equipment and help to keep up with them. That is a lot to invest in work that usually has a low return. You may be better off working as hard on your nearby carpet market. The returns there will probably be more encouraging.

Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Editor
lekrafft@juno.com