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Carpet Care / Encapsulant / Spot/Stain Removal / Equipment / Dyeing/Color Matching / Chemicals

Carpet Cleaning Pricing And Production Rates

March 10, 2014
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On one hand, the pricing of a carpet cleaning job appears to be a simple mathematical calculation.

However, you may realize that there are numerous variables involved that will impact how long the job takes and which processes, chemicals and equipment will obtain the best results.

You also have to consider the condition of the carpet and the customer''s expectations.

In this article, we provide many different price and production rates.

Variables That Impact Time And Cost

Here''s a short list of some variables that should be taken into consideration when pricing a carpet cleaning job:

  • Is the work you are doing residential or commercial?
  • Is it a big job or a small job?
  • Is there anything special, out of the ordinary or unique about the job that will take more time?
  • Are you doing interim cleaning or deep/restorative cleaning?
  • What is the soil level and are spots present?
  • Are pre-vacuuming, pile lifting or pre-spraying and agitation required?
  • Are you hiring employees or using sub/independent contractors?
  • Is it a one-time job or a repeat job you can do several times per year that will likely lead to additional work?

Are There Hidden Profit Opportunities?

What can you do to make the job more profitable than the cleaning itself that may allow you to be more competitive in your pricing?

This includes such things as: Repairs; spot removal; odor removal; furniture moving; topical treatments; disinfection or sanitization; inspection/consulting services; mini blind cleaning; ceiling cleaning; upholstery cleaning; and window cleaning.

Beyond carpet, are there opportunities for hard floor maintenance?

Evaluating Your Costs

Examine your costs for the following:

  • Profit: 20 to 400 percent or more for markup on labor and supplies
  • Overhead: 10 to 40 percent for markup on labor and supplies — 15 to 20 percent is common
  • Labor and staffing: 40 to 75 percent
  • Chemicals: 2 to 5 percent
  • Fuel: 2 to 6 percent
  • Equipment: 2 to 8 percent
  • Supplies: 2 to 3 percent.

Bidding And Estimating Strategies

  • Cost per square foot:
    • Commercial: 4 to 25 cents for wet extraction; 3 to 15 cents for low-moisture interim processes.
    • Note: Larger commercial work is often bid at a cost per square foot that is half or less than rates charged for residential jobs of 1,000 to 1,200 square feet.
  • Time and materials:
    • Set rate per hour and cost of supplies, $20 to $65 or more per hour, $100 minimum.
  • By the hour:
    • $25 to $65 or more per hour.
  • Computerized bidding:
    • Per program or user-definable, commercial and residential programs are available.
  • Difficulty factor approach:
    • A systematic approach to pricing involves tracking the production time for every job. In addition, the following difficulty factors can be assigned a weighted score to arrive at a composite score. With some tweaking, the total score can be totaled and divided by two. This computation then becomes your price per square foot.
  • Soil load
  • Stain removal
  • Furniture to move
  • Color of carpet
  • Total square feet
  • Obstacles to go around
  • Carpet cleaned on a regular schedule
  • Numerous small rooms to clean (congestion level)
  • Pre-vacuum necessary
  • Rake cut pile when finished
  • Setup and put away time
  • Total score (divide by two to arrive at your final price per square foot).

Production Rates

Listed below are average production rates for various systems and processes.

  • Hot-water extraction (using a truckmount with wand): 600 to 1,400 square feet per hour
  • Hot-water extraction (using a truckmount with rotary wand): 800 to 1,500 square feet per hour
  • Hot-water extraction (using a portable/box unit with wand): 600 to 1,200 square feet per hour
  • Hot-water extraction (using a pull back/self-contained unit): 800 to 1,800 square feet per hour
  • Hot-water extraction followed by bonnet cleaning: 400 to 500 square feet per hour
  • High-flow extraction rinse (with auto dump and fill): 1,500 to 2,500 square feet per hour
  • Encapsulation (with an 18- to 20-inch planetary head): 1,500 to 2,000 square feet per hour
  • Encapsulation (with an 18-inch cylindrical brush): 1,000 to 1,250 square feet per hour
  • Encapsulation (dry foam with a 24-inch cylindrical brush and vacuum): up to 12,000 square feet per hour
  • Encapsulation (with walk behind 12- to 15-inch machine with a cylindrical brush): 500 to 1,200 square feet per hour
  • Walk behind extractor: 1,800 to 4,000 square feet per hour
  • Riding extractor: 5,000 to 15,000 square feet per hour
  • Rotary shampoo (with a 17- or 20-inch/175 revolutions per minute (RPM) machine): 1,000 to 1,500 square feet per hour
  • Rotary shampoo and extract (with a 17- or 20-inch/175 RPM machine): 400 to 500 square feet per hour
  • Spin bonnet (with a 17- or 20-inch/175 RPM machine): 1,500 to 2,500 square feet per hour
  • Dry absorbent powder: 750 to 1,500 square feet per hour at 2 to 7 or more cents per square foot for materials.

Vacuuming:

  • 12- to 14-inch upright: 2,000 to 3,000 square feet per hour
  • 16- to 18-inch upright: 3,500 to 4,500 square feet per hour
  • 24-inch upright: 4,000 to 6,000 square feet per hour
  • Backpack: 4,000 to 11,000 square feet per hour
  • Edging: 2,000 to 7,000 square feet per hour.

Wide-area vacuum:

  • 28- to 32-inch: 5,000 to 12,000 or more square feet per hour
  • 48-inch: 10,000 to 15,000 or more square feet per hour.

Pile lifting (16- to 18-inch):

  • 1,500 to 2,500 square feet per hour
  • 3 to 4 cents per square foot.

Repairs And Spot Removal:

  • 1,500 to 2,500 square feet per hour
  • 3 to 4 cents per square foot.
  • Small, medium to large spots: $20 to $250 or more
  • Red stains: $20 to $60
  • Urine: $50 to $1,000 or more
  • Loom oil: $65 to $600
  • Adhesive: $50 to $85
  • Roll crush: $50 to $300
  • Other specialty spot removal: $30 to $250 or more
  • Repairs (re-stretch, seam repair, burns, patch, re-burl, etc.): $45 to $150 or up to $85 or more per hour.

Carpet Dyeing:

  • Spot: $30 to $100 or more per hour
  • Full room: 20 cents to 45 cents per square foot — minimum charge of $100
  • Side match/feather blend correction: $15 to $25 per linear foot — minimum charge of $250.

Topical Chemical Application:

  • Pre-spray (prior to cleaning): 1 to 3 cents per square foot at 4,000 to 6,000 square feet per hour
  • Deodorizer: 10 to 30 cents a square foot
  • Disinfectants and sanitizers: 10 to 20 cents a square foot
  • Anti-stats: 7 to 10 cents a square foot
  • Stain/soil repellant: 12 to 25 cents a square foot
  • Remove carpet: 15 to 30 cents a square foot
  • Sell carpet, cushion and install: Markup of 30 to 40 percent
  • Install carpet: $4 to $6 a square yard
  • Mini blinds: $4 to $10 each
  • Draperies: Check local services rate per pleat, per linear foot or per pound
  • Upholstery: $20 to $220 or more per item; $15 to $45 a linear foot
  • Ceiling cleaning: 10 to 35 cents per foot
  • Window cleaning: $35 to $55 per hour or per unit or job
  • Hard floor maintenance: 5 cents to $1.35 a square foot
  • Tile and grout cleaning/sealing: 75 cents to $2 a square foot
  • Stone polish: $1.50 to $2.50 a square foot
  • Stone restoration: $2.50 to $15 or more per square foot
  • Inspections: $75 to $1,000 or more
  • Consulting: $85 to $250 per hour
  • Specialized cleaning services: $100 to $250 or more per hour or per job.

Specialty Rug Cleaning

Area Rugs:

  • Woven, Oriental, specialty and machine-made: $2 to $3 per square foot
  • Handmade: $2 to $3.50 per square foot
  • Specialty rugs, furs, hides, silk: $4 to $5 per square foot
  • Domestic area/designer rugs: $1.58 per foot
  • Pickup and delivery: $150 within 25 miles
  • Repairs: $40 to $60 per hour.

Sales Commission

For cleaning technicians:

  • Hourly pay rate: $9 to $15 per hour, plus 5 to 7 percent of billable amount as commission
  • Commission only: 15 to 30 percent of billable amount, with company providing and paying for everything, except technician labor.

Sorry, No Magic Answer

There are many factors that enter into determining the final pricing for any job, carpet cleaning in particular.

Things like discounts for a large account, regularly programmed service schedules or traffic lane maintenance versus a one-time job are all factors that need to be taken into consideration when pricing each job.

As a professional, it is also good to discuss with each customer the value and importance of prevention as it relates to cost, re-cleaning and production.

Such things as adequate entry matting, topically-applied protectants, pile lifting, vacuuming, spotting, repairs and the need for a regular maintenance program are things that will benefit the customer and make your work easier the next time you clean the customer''s carpet.


Wm R. Griffin, president of Cleaning Consultant Services Inc., has over 25 years experience in the industry. He is the author of the Comprehensive Custodial Training Manual, How to Sell and Price Contract Cleaning, How to Start and Operate a Successful Cleaning Business and other books and manuals, as well as hundreds of industry-related articles. With years of business experience, Gary Clipperton authored the Contractor Training and Certification Program. With this home study course, National Pro Clean Corporation has helped establish over 300 new cleaning contractors in North America.

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