Ask the Building Maintenance Experts
Solutions for Your Toughest Problems

ICAN  Q & A  Home

Monday, November 24, 2014

Question

I have to submit a bid on a city school that is 72,549 sq. ft. This is my first time doing a final cleaning bid, and I don't know where to start. I want to do all interior windows and exterior windows that do not exceed 12 ft. high, carpet cleaning, vacuuming, and buffing the floors. I have all of the blueprints, but I don't know how to read them so I can break down my cost, nor do I know how many man hours it takes for a crew of 2. How do I get an estimated number to submit this bid??


Answer

You are about to bite off more than you can chew.
You must start with an awareness of how fast you can work to do what has to be done in this building.
Blueprints are worthless in the sense that they will not tell you the initial condition of the structure. Are the floors a mess? Are the carpets filled with drywall compound dust? Is there paint on the tile? Are the windows over-painted?
Once you see the conditions you must remedy, use the blueprints or an on-sight measurement to determine how much tile and carpet you have. Usual sq. ft. production times may not apply depending on the degree of soiling.
Next, you can assign a production rate dependent on your skills and capability. 200 sq. ft. per man-hour or what ever.
Calculate your overhead, labor, profit and put together a number.
Be careful or you will lose big on a job this size.
Without the experience to put together a sound proposal, I would walk away rather than chance losing money and reputation.

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