Ask the Building Maintenance Experts
Solutions for Your Toughest Problems

ICAN  Q & A  Home

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


A public school in South MS is bidding out its summer strip/refinish work. The school is about 200,000 sq. ft. We are very capable of completing the work, but do not want to under bid. The bid is for labor and equipment only. The chemicals would be provided by the school district. We would move/replace all furniture, strip and apply 5 coats. Our bid estimates are about .11 cents/ sq. ft. Does anyone know the going rate for a school strip/refinish with the contractor removing/replacing furniture.


School strip/recoat projects can be lucrative, but only if you get the bid, which, as you mention, will probably be competitive. I trust that you have a feel for the prevailing wages in your area for the type of work you will be doing. Take into consideration the local minimum wage as a baseline, if you have nothing else.
Most important will be the efficiency of your team in getting the work done. You'll have to be organized as never before in planning out the process.
First, pulling and replacing the furniture is critical in time management. Consider making a furniture arrangement chart on the blackboard of each classroom, since most teachers are very fussy about having their chairs replaced in a certain pattern. Count tiles to remember where the teacher's desk is, or where the rows start, etc.
If there's room, you could take all furniture out into the hall. Another option is to pull all desks onto one side of the room, then push back to the other side after stripping/ recoating is dry (Saves time and energy on moving furniture).
Have one man/woman go ahead to lay solution on the floor, next the floor machine operator comes to scrub with a wet vac operator close on his heels. The person laying solution can double back to rinse.
Figure out the plan based on your team, and who does what task the best and the fastest. Don't worry about complete stripping down to bare tile, since most floors will look just fine after 3 coats of finish, even if only stripped down to the point of leaving a coat or two of sealer still on floor. Be especially wary of old 9" VAT tile, which is still found in many older buildings, since these type floors have a tendency to be very porous, and will take many more coats of sealer and finish to restore to an acceptable shine than conventional VCT, especially if stripped all the way to bare tile. It is better to use a more diluted stripping solution on these older VAT floors.
Think this project through and incorporate all efficiencies in planning. Where will you start? Finish? Get water? Dump water? Use larger floor machines for scrubbing, i.e. 20-24" pads, versus 17". Rent propane-powered stripping machines if you don't own any. The team that is the fastest and most efficient, and works together well, will have the best success on this type of job. Just like a well-trained basketball team, all must be trained to use their individual skills to the betterment of the team.

Glen Franklin
Franklin Floor Care

Editor's note: Once again we cannot give an accurate answer to a question about a "going rate". All projects such as this have variables that make such a reply questionable and even dangerous to the contractor following it.
The only difference between this and other jobs you have done is the supplying of the chemicals. Base your estimate on the labor and burden, plus an acceptable profit and you will, at least, provide an honest bid that will not bankrupt you.