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Friday, September 19, 2014


How much should I charge per square foot to do vacuuming of an apartment building? Also, I am considering doing it myself as the owner of a start up cleaning company, but if I do get some help, what would be an appropriate hourly wage to offer?


That all depends on what you are using to vacuum. A 12” upright will take about 27 minutes to cover 1000 sq. ft. while a backpack with a 16” carpet tool on the wand can do the same in about 8 minutes. What are you going to put on the job?
As far as wages, you probably need to pay $8 to $9 an hour to attract anyone to the work.
1) Measure the carpeted area. (10,000)
2) Figure your sq. ft. coverage per hour for your machine. (60 / 8 = 7.5 x 10 = 7500)
3) Divide the total area by the hourly production rate to determine hours needed. (1.33)
4) Multiply the hours required for job by your labor rate. (1.33 x $9 = $11.97)
5) Add in your labor burden. ($11.97 x 20% = $2.39 + 11.97 = $14.36)
6) Add your desired take-home to this. ($14.36 + $35.64= $50)
7) Divide this by the area to determine the sq. ft. cost to the customer. ($50 / 10,000 = $.005 per sq. ft.
This is only given for an example to show you the numbers. If you were to charge $.01 (one cent) a sq. ft. the charge will be $100 ($.01 x 10000) per vacuuming and you probably won’t get the job. However, you are supplying the $450 vac and bags, so don’t short yourself on the take-home, which is the vital profit for the self-employed.
The key to making some money here instead of pricing yourself out of the market is to get a truly productive vacuum and train someone to use it effectively. Then, make certain that that person is legally employed with the entire labor burden calculated and the proper reports and withholdings sent to the government agencies involved.
Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Editor