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Thursday, April 17, 2014


I am new to the world of commercial cleaning. My business partner and I are bidding a job for a company near us. They have about 3,000 sq. ft. and need vacuuming, dusting, windows and bathrooms cleaned, mopping, and a kitchen area cleaned 3 times a week. I estimated that the job would take the two of us about 2 hrs. a day. I am trying to figure out how to bid the job. (This is the formula I used. I am not sure if this is too high or if I am doing it correctly.) These are my figures per week: Labor and Materials: $168.00 ($12.00 per hr. per cleaner and 5% for supplies) Overhead: (35%) $58.80 (The book said overhead should be between 20-50%) Net Profit: (20%) $45.36 (The book said net profit should be between 10-28%) Total would be: $267.96 a week This makes the average cost $.09 per sq. ft. per week. Am I doing this correctly? (I used the formulas from How to Start a Cleaning Service -


Your figures are in the ballpark, but may need some tweaking. First off, it is difficult to give exact answers without knowing your experience level, training, general speed, and a host of challenges on the worksite. I like to classify the challenges as Cleaning Variables that are unique to each building. With that in mind, here are a few observations.
Your cleaning time of two people for two hours would put you at a cleaning production rate of 750 sq. ft. per hour. That rate is usually reserved for even smaller accounts that are almost uncleanable, and only cleaned once or twice a month.
We expect to see a much higher production rate for buildings over 2,500 sq. ft., cleaned 3 times a week. Even if you were down to 1,500 sq. ft. per hour, that job would only take one person 2 hours. Your hourly rate is ok, depending upon your location. The overhead is quite high, especially if you don't have an office. The markup is low for a small, 3 times a week account, but overall the two will average each other out.
So, your price of $89 a time could be too high for two hours of work - depending again on the cost of living in your local area. If you cut the labor by say, 40%, that could bring your bid into the competitive winnerís ring (we hope).

Gary Clipperton
National Pro Clean Corp.
(719) 598-5112