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Sunday, November 29, 2015


I was recently approached by the Vice President of a local bank to bid a clean up job in a building they had foreclosed on in town. I am unsure of how to bid this because itís both residential and business. The building is 2 story with a full basement. The top floor is 2 small apartments. The main floor is a special small restaurant with another apartment behind it. Itís approximately 4500 square foot. The basement is full of stuff, but another crew will be dealing with the trash removal; my job is to make sure the building is move-in ready. I guess whoever owned this building and restaurant just locked the doors one evening and never returned, so there is food and such left behind. My question is how much should I charge to clean this place and make it move in ready? Itís in pretty bad shape.


I am going to suggest you offer to clean at a fixed rate of $30 per man-hour (or what you feel is fair for what is needed) for whatever time it takes to do the work. Fix a maximum not-to-exceed price if you wish, but let the VP understand that there are too many unknowns to set a fixed price and you donít want to low-price the job and then have to cut corners to make a small profit or just break even.
The restaurant may be greasy and require a lot of hands-on work. Spoiled food is disgusting to work with and requires ventilation (fans so you can breathe) and special handling. Is there a dumpster you can use? You donít want to truck it far.
Are the apartments carpeted and in need of a restoration scrub and rinse extraction? Do they want tile floors scrubbed and refinished? Will they need to be stripped to look good?
A place in poor shape could clean at a rate of 100 sq. ft. per man-hour or less. Prepare the VP for that possibility. Tell him or her that you will do everything to keep the time down, but first and foremost, you will deliver a clean, sanitary building when you are done. Then, do it!

Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Editor