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Friday, November 27, 2015


I have a 12,000 sq.ft. building that the owner wants me to clean. The tenant just moved out and he is going to rent it again. He said it is used for ballrooms, banquet parties, and that it is nothing but floor, no carpet. I haven't seen it yet. I am going to go on Saturday, but want to be able to take the job right there and then, because it is far about 30 miles away from where I live. I don't want to go and just look, so I want a suggestion on how many people I should take with me to finish the job that same day, and how much I should charge him. I believe it has a bar, a men's and women's restroom.


Answer #1:
It is difficult for an ICAN consultant to offer hard numbers on a building that is bid sight-unseen. The largest labor range will be between simply dust mopping and damp mopping the floors, and double mopping and machine scrubbing or buffing them.
If you can simply damp mop and scrub bad spots with a green pad, you should be able to clean the facility in about 15 man-hours. So, if you take two helpers, you should finish it the same day.
However, if there are windows to wash, then figure 1-3 hours extra for that.
In your city, we see around $40 per man hour for make-readys. However, you need to establish your own hourly billing rates. Take these labor numbers, and convert to a sliding scale that accounts for travel time and extra details or difficulties that are unknown at the present time.

Gary Clipperton
National Pro Clean Corp.
(719) 598-5112

Answer #2:
Permit me a little scolding here.
First off, it is impossible for us even to come close to providing a decent estimate for a project with so little information given. And being given only a few days to respond (the project comes up on Saturday) makes us feel terribly frustrated since we know we cannot post the question to the list of consultants, receive an answer, and then post it to the site and to you in a matter of two or three days!
Please don't ask us to:
1) Estimate jobs with unknown or minimal details, and
2) Give us a three day notice to get you information you need immediately.
Many of our participating consultants refuse to offer guidance under such circumstances and I can understand their reluctance to do so. (Thank you, Gary) When they don't respond, you will get my standard "I don't know" feedback.
Secondly, what are you doing offering to take a job 30 miles from your home that you have not seen, surveyed, or for which you have not prepared a calculated cost proposal? I realize the savings you wish to achieve, but a habit of pricing work, sight unseen, is not one you wish to acquire. It is unprofessional and dangerous to your bottom line. What if you drive there with two others on your payroll and get turned down by the owner?
I think you will find that it is best to take the time to do a measured survey, determine exactly what needs to be done, see if you have access when and where you need it, find water and adequate power on site, and then get a signed agreement as to what will be done and how much will be invoiced when to job is completed.
Doing this will keep you from getting stiffed, or taking on unknown work that can cause financial loss. And you will be acting as professional and not like a guy standing by the roadside with a sign reading, "Will take any work you offer!"

Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Editor