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ICAN/ATEX: How can I prudently price commercial cleaning services?

December 4, 2012

Many cleaning professionals visit the International Custodial Advisers Network (ICAN) Ask the Experts page for insight and, every business day, we deliver advice to better help you perform your job.

Tuesday’s Question:ICANATEX Logo

I need some assistance in pricing commercial cleaning services for a car dealership with 5 buildings

We just started cleaning the smaller 3 buildings which equal almost 6800 square feet. We are currently charging $.25/sq. ft. for cleaning 3x/wk (this takes us about 2 1/2-3 hrs each time).

We are about to bid on the remaining 2 larger buildings, and I need some help for quoting a price! The 2 larger buildings total around 20,000 sq. ft. and will need to be cleaned 6x/wk.

Cleaning includes trash removal (we supply the bags), sweeping, mopping (90% is ceramic tile), cleaning multiple stall restrooms in each building, weekly dusting of desks, cleaning breakrooms including appliances (weekly), reception areas (daily), cleaning windows (weekly), and high/low dust monthly. We supply all cleaning products.

Right now it’s just my daughter and me cleaning the smaller buildings as a part-time job, but I will be cleaning full-time (quitting my current full-time job!) if we get the bigger buildings. I am not sure how to quote a price for the bigger buildings. Should I keep the $.25/sq. ft.even though we will be cleaning 3 more times a week on the larger buildings?

I have seen online that typically more square footage equals a lower per sq. ft. price, but if I am cleaning it more frequently, how does that make sense to lower the sq. footage price? The areas are heavy traffic, with the floors being the worst and most time consuming!

We are not really in competition with anyone (the current cleaning crew is terrible), as my husband works at the dealership (my cleaning company), but I don’t want to insult the management with an outrageous quote. Any help would be great!

Tuesday’s Answer:

You don’t say if the 25 cents a sq. ft. is the weekly price, monthly rate, or the annual. Obviously, that will make a difference.
Let me run with what I think you are saying and we can look the numbers.

pricingIf your charge is weekly, you are getting $1700 (.25 x 6800) for the 9 hours a week service. That tallies to $189 an hour!!!.

I can’t believe the dealership would pay that, so let’s use that price as a monthly charge. That gives us a $392 a week payout (1700 x 12 / 52). That figures out to be $44 per hour, unless the phrase “takes us about” means that the two of you spend the 3 hours together for a total man, excuse me, woman hours of 18. (2 x 3 x 3). That would drop the hourly charge to $22 per woman hour.

That is not really high and you have the option … - Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX editor.

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