Ask the Building Maintenance Experts
Solutions for Your Toughest Problems

ICAN  Q & A  Home

Wednesday, October 07, 2015


How much can you charge for a detail dusting in a dental office one time per week? The building has mostly wood trim and is a little over 17,000 sq.ft. They also want once a week regular service cleaning with 16 operatories,13 offices, kitchen, training room, carpet throughout, ceramic tile, stairways w/carpet, few restrooms.


The standard comment I have to make here is, you have not provided enough detail for me to give any sort of accurate answer.

Everything in cleaning depends on how much time and material is involved in doing a certain job. You must determine:
How much area (and objects) is cleaned with each differing operation?
How much time for each task required? (production rate)
What is your labor rate and related costs?
What is your overhead?
What personal income do you intend for the job to contribute?
What profit is your goal?

All the above depends, in turn, on:
The layout of the areas. How open or cluttered.
How heavy the occupancy? Traffic and use determines the rate of resoiling.
What you are working with? Back packs are faster than uprights. Autoscrubbers than mops.
How efficient and well trained your custodians are. Fast or slow?
The travel time involved. The closer to your home, the better.
What your insurances cost you.
Other expenses the job needs to contribute toward paying.

My personal observation is that cleaning a dental or medical facility once a week on a weekend is an unsound practice. Unless there are very few patients, the resoil rate will be high and by Wednesday the dust, grit, litter and other cleaning indicators will be very apparent to anyone with decent eyesight. Rest rooms will have been well-used and the paper supplies may have run low or out.
Any spills will have been unattended to for possibly days, and the waiting room floor, in messy weather, will be an eyesore. Soils will have been tracked into the offices and exam rooms from the waiting room collection of grit.
While this schedule may work without much comment in a lumber yard sales area, I donít see it as optimum in a medical care facility.
In addition, you will need far longer to do the work once a week than if things were kept in order by a light pass each day. You may find your production rate dropping to 1500 sq. ft. per hour (12 man-hours) or lower.
Before you take this job, measure the floor coverings, calculate the cleaning times, find out what needs dusting, and any other details about what is expected. What does the place look like now? Is anyone (nurses?) doing any cleaning beyond what the cleaning company is asked to do? What will things look like if they stop?

You really need to know far more about this job than at present.

Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Editor