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Monday's Ask the Experts: Quoting a fitness center

June 04, 2012
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Monday''s Ask the Experts question from a cleaning professional on the International Custodial Advisors Network (ICAN) "Ask the Experts" page: I''m fairly new to the cleaning industry. The owner of a fitness center thinks he''s paying too much for the cleaning service and is considering a new quote. The facility has 21,200 SF. Basic cleaning (restrooms, showers, trash, vacuum, doors and cardio equip.) needs to be performed 7 days a week. It should take one person 2.5 hours a day to complete the job. Being a novice in estimating prices, how much do you think I should charge a month?

The answer:

With limited knowledge of the facility, layout, and cleaning specifications, I can only offer a few suggestions. It would not be humanly possible to offer a complete cleaning of a fitness center and cover the tasks you mentioned in 2.5 nightly labor hours. That would require a production rate of 8480 sq. ft per hour. Instead, to do a thorough clean you would be looking at 2,600 to 3,200 sq. ft. per hour or 6.6 to 8 hours a night. If you were satisfied with a 25% profit and ran industry averages for expenses, you would likely be at $16-$19 an hour in Mass. So, depending upon the strictness of standards, you might be at ... — Gary Clipperton, president of National Pro Clean Corp.

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June 4, 2012
Just an observation- You're not going to get an employee to do this job at minimum wage.... you probably will have to pay someone $10 to $12 per hour. Insurance is needed (i.e. liability, workmans comp, etc)among other things(Profit?) Based on the response given, your business will net $6 to $7 per hour after raw wages are removed, which is simple math to figure how much per hour your business will be left with. After an 7 hour shift, your business will make $42 to $49 per night. Multiply this by 30 days and you get $1260 to $1470 per month. Can you assume this job at 7 days per week, 52 weeks per year for a return of $1300 or $1500 a month for a profit? Remember, you will have employees that just don't show, call in sick, etc. If you, as the business owner have to cover those shifts because you have no other employees or no other employees are availible, you, the business owner, will be working for that small wage. I've been doing this stuff for 20 plus years. I charge a mininum of $35 per hour.And yes, I get passed over alot when bidding on jobs, but the jobs I get are PROFITABLE. I've always been one to adhere to "work smarter, not harder". Also, I've been an advocate of at least earning 30 to 35% on a job. So, my advice is do the math. You know what raw labor is going to be... you can figure out all the overhead costs... give yourself some wiggle room...the "standard" profit margin may be 25% but figure high, you can always come down on price, you can never go up.