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Monday, November 30, 2015


I am bidding a small school district with a 3 building complex, high school, elementary school, and an annex building, totaling 126,268 sq. ft. School handles all supplies and has 1 day porter. I am responsible for cleaning 5x's/wk and a day porter. Day porter pay has been figured at $10.65/hr and comes to around $22, 000/yr. Bid is by sq ft. I have never bid on cleaning/labor only (no supplies). Previous bid was $102,026, but for a different sq. ft. amount, so not accurate for comparison. Question...what price per sq foot is acceptable? Same district has 2nd bid for gymnasium complex of 31,000 sq ft. Again, they provide all supplies.


Forget the previous bid price since you donít know if they made money or lost it with what was charged. You need to bid so as to cover your labor costs and make a profit on the job.
No matter how you figure your pricing, in order to break it down per sq. ft. per month or per year, you must have an accurate measurement of the facilities.
Here is where it gets tricky. Is that 126,268 sq. ft. figure accurate? Is it the net cleanable area or the gross?
You need to measure the project, each building and cleanable space within. A lot of work? You bet, but you need to know so you can project your production times and figure manpower. The day man is easy, but how many cleaners will you need each week night to do the work? How much is carpet and how much tile that will need finish and restoration?
Again, if the district has no accurate numbers then you will need to get them. Until you know what you have to do in how much space and how fast you can do it, you canít provide anything but a guess.
As an example only, suppose you can clean at a rate of 3200 sq. ft. per man-hour. You will need about 40 man-hours a night, which equals 5 full time custodians just for basic cleaning at that rate. No time for carpet cleaning or floor refinishing.
At $10.65/ hr., each week will run up a $2130 base payroll. Add a 20% labor burden and it climbs to $2556 or $110,760 for a 10 month school year. Add that to the day man cost and you are around $133,000 for the year.
Divide that by the presumed area you give and your annual charge per sq. ft. is about $1.05. That looks low to me, but I have no idea if you are supplying just a basic cleaning or a lot of project work. However that may be, you get the idea of what you must do to bring this proposal in line with reality.

Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Editor