Ask the Building Maintenance Experts
Solutions for Your Toughest Problems

ICAN  Q & A  Home

Sunday, October 04, 2015


I and my partner had to turn in a bid in our area (Garden City, Michigan) to a chain of smaller retail stores. The manager that is in charge of the chain wanted us to bid on just one store to see how competitive to his current cleaner we would be. Here are the details; 7000 sq/ft total area, 7 isles, floors not in the greatest shape, 600 sq/ft taken off for the sq/ft of the racks. Basically one big open area! 400 sq/ft is slip resistant tile, the rest is VCT tile. They want one time a week spray buffing and 2 times a year complete strip and refinish. Our estimate came in at .08 per sq/ft ($549.44) for the weekly buffing, and .17 per sq/ft ($1156.95) for each time we strip and refinish the facility. I am just curious to know about the average sq/ft pricing in our area, and if you feel that this was a decent proposal.


A decent proposal is one with which you can do the work well and make a profit on it to sustain the business. Only you can know that in your operation.
If that sounds as if I am not going to give you a hard answer to your question, you read it correctly. However, I will give you something to think about that may help you reach a valid conclusion.
Up front, there is your statement, “floors not in the greatest shape”. How competitive do you want to be to the current cleaner whose floors look really bad? If what he/she is doing now cannot keep the floors in good shape, how are you going to improve on that given the same obviously inadequate schedule?
Here are the basic problems with all these low price retail operations.
1) The job goes to the lowest bidder. You can witness the results of that move.
2) You have no, as in zero, control of the maintenance between your weekly visits. If the local employees get around to grit removal, fine, but the chances are that they will not do much or do it very well. Every week you get to go in and try to restore a finish to a badly damaged floor.
3) You have no scrub and recoat options. Every spray buff removes some finish to restore the shine. Every day that grit is allowed to remain on the finish some of it is destroyed by foot traffic. How much finish do you envision remaining on the floor after weekday neglect and spray buffing 26 weeks in a row? Not much! When you get to that strip part, there won’t be much left to remove.
4) The strip and refinish frequency the retailer set according to total ignorance about quality floor maintenance is ridiculous. It is probably based on how much they don’t want to spend rather than what is needed to keep a protective coat on the tile.
Your prices may be good, I don’t know. However, the above issues override price considerations.
I would approach the retailer with the suggestion that the maintenance program needs an overhaul due to what you see on the floors right now. If he is not responsive, walk quickly to the nearest door.

Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Editor