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Tuesday's Ask the Experts: Bidding & estimating

October 19, 2010
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Tuesday''s Ask the Experts question from a cleaning professional on the International Custodial Advisors Network (ICAN) "Ask the Experts" page: I have been asked to give a bid to clean a 14,000 sq. ft. office building. The building is a few years old and has been vacant for one year. Our client wants a top-to-bottom cleaning, including removing adhesive lettering from several doors and cleaning bugs out of light fixtures. There are six restrooms, two kitchen/break areas. With the exception of the restrooms and kitchen floors, everything is carpet. We are doing entranceway windows only and basic sweeping and vacuuming. How should I bid this job to provide quality work and make a profit? I bid it at $45 per hour, estimating 91.5 hours. If I am way off I have a couple of weeks to change.
The answer:
It is challenging to assist with time estimates without seeing the building, but your estimated time of 91.5 hours would average 153 square feet per hour. This would normally be on the high side except in your case where you have to remove lettering, etc. Just cleaning light fixtures can take 2-4 minutes each. At $45 an hour your price would be $4117 or 29 cents a square feet. Overall, 29 cents is usually high for an initial clean, but about right ... — Gary Clipperton, president National Pro Clean Corp
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