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Management And Training

Beginning The Bid Process: Part Two

April 04, 2012
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This is a continuation of last month''s column.

To review: No two buildings are exactly the same; proposals should be customized to meet the specific needs of each potential customer.

A price estimate being prepared for a small office will require simple calculations and a short written proposal and agreement, possibly two to five pages, outlining when and what will be done and how much it will cost.

You should be cautious about using figures from standardized square foot time and task tables or computer programs, as they can calculate special customer services and other variables that can impact the actual cost of doing the work to the customer''s satisfaction.

Always make necessary corrections to your bid and proposal for unique customer and staffing situations.

Variables such as layout, obstacles and the maintenance level desired affect the averages.

Industrial complexes are dirtier and normally get less service than office buildings, which are cleaned more frequently.

Older buildings are more difficult and time-consuming to clean than new or recently remodeled properties.

Projecting Cleaning Production Rates

The only true test of how long a job will take is to actually perform the work with your staff and equipment.

Since that is usually impossible, you must take into consideration all the potential cleaning variables.

Here is a partial list of things that will affect your actual production rates:

  1. Residential versus commercial markets
  2. Upper, middle and lower income level residential markets/Class-A, Class-B or Class-C commercial buildings
  3. Office buildings, industrial complexes, warehouses, food processing, manufacturing
  4. Laboratories and doctors'' offices versus patient care, isolation and intensive care areas
  5. Hazardous waste storage areas, recycle collection, separation and storage
  6. Biohazard laboratories, genetic and specialty research laboratories
  7. Cleanrooms, computer rooms, high-tech manufacturing
  8. Single-story buildings versus skyscrapers
  9. Small offices versus large single-floor tenants
  10. Retail stores versus manufacturing plants
  11. Age and condition of the property
  12. Maintenance provided to the property
  13. Density of staff and furnishings
  14. Skill of your employees and supervisors
  15. Equipment needed and chemicals used
  16. Your overhead costs and profit requirements
  17. Production rate of cleaners
  18. Geographic accessibility and location
  19. Frequency of service
  20. Payment terms.
Crunching The Numbers

With all the cleaning specifications, special demands and variables in mind, you are ready to begin crunching the numbers.

Although there are several ways that experienced contractors calculate bids, perhaps the two most widely used are the price per square foot and the hourly rate.

The price per square foot relies on historical data to verify how similar properties were billed and if the price was competitive and profitable.

The hourly rate requires accurate projections of the nightly and monthly labor total multiplied times the desired hourly billing rate.

There is a lot more to preparing an accurate bid than meets the eye at first glance.

However, with practice and accurate notes about what you''ve previously bid, the process will go faster and become more accurate with less stress.

Keep it cleaning and profitable out there.

Bill Griffin is president of the International Custodial Advisors Network (ICAN) and owner of Cleaning Consultant Services Inc. ICAN is a non-profit association comprised of industry professionals providing free consultation services through the Cleaning Management Institute (CMI). Comments and questions about bidding and estimating are encouraged: (206) 849-0179;

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