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Tuesday, September 16, 2014


I am being asked to bid on a 20,000 sq. ft. grocery store. The floors need to be swept, mopped and buffed nightly. I figure that, with two people, this will take about 6 hours per night. My question is, if I am paying my employees $14 an hour each + overhead costs (mops, buckets, solutions, buffer machine, etc.) would charging 85.00 per hour be too low? In my area, the average per hour rate is very difficult to find.


Average hourly rates may be deceptive in any case. So much depends on what you are using for equipment and how skilled your people are.
Let’s look at some numbers using the ISSA 540 Cleaning Times as a guide.
You are proposing to spend 12 man-hours a night in there. Your production rate is about 1666 sq. ft. per hour at that rate. (20,000/12)
Use a 48” treated dustmop to sweep – .8 hrs
Use 16 oz. mop and bucket to mop - 4.8 hrs.
Use a 20” 1500 rpm machine to buff – 2.2 hrs.
Total time 7.8 man-hours, which is 4.2 hours under your estimate.

New numbers
Use 72” dustmop to do an aisle in one pass - .4 hrs
Use a 20” autoscrubber to clean tile – 2.16 hrs.
Use 2000 rpm 24” rotary electric burnisher – 1.6 hrs.
Total time 4.16 man-hours which is 7.84 hours under your initial time.

First, I would conclude that you can do this job faster than you have projected.
Second, I would suggest that the excess time will kill your chances of getting the work faster than the hourly rate. At $85 an hour, your nightly charge will be $1020 for the 12 hour session. If you could drop your time to 5 man-hours, that would change to $425 a night and you might be in the range of affordability.
I do suspect that $85 per man hour for supermarket floor work is actually higher than whatever average there may be out there. What do you base it on?

Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Editor