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The Business of Hard Floor Care

Pricing tips to help boost profits and prevent loss

Hard floor care is one of the most profitable service specialties, and is often an automatic add-on for janitorial and residential cleaning services if they ask for the work.

Sometimes floor care is included in a cleaning contract, but many times, floor care provides an opportunity for additional income and profit. If you have the skills, staff, and equipment needed to provide periodic and restorative maintenance, and if your price is reasonable, chances are you will get the work. If you can’t personally do the work, consider subcontracting with another company to provide the service and add 20 to 40 percent to the cost as your markup for managing the project.

Pricing Hard Floor Care

Common approaches to pricing floor care include charging for time and materials (at a cost-plus rate) or using a fixed rate, which can be calculated by the hour, square foot, or area. For those who need some extra pointers when it comes to pricing hard floor care, here are several tips for you and your business:

  1. Start by bidding on small jobs. You can’t lose too much money on a small job, even if your numbers are wrong. This is the best way to protect yourself from large losses and improve your estimating skills related to labor and supply costs as well as production rates. The risk is greater and your numbers need to be more precise when dealing with large and complicated jobs.
  2. Keep accurate records of all bids. This will help to refine your estimating formula and analysis of costs and profit on each job. Refer to this information when bidding on future accounts that are similar in size and offer similar services.
  3. Develop your own numbers. A number of software programs are available to assist with pricing, scheduling, and cost analysis. However, industry standards, including production rates and costs found in off-the-shelf software programs and manuals, should only be used as a guideline, reference, or starting place. The only accurate numbers are those developed by you for your business. Don’t worry about the completion; focus on your costs, profit, and meeting customers’ needs, and you’ll do just fine.
  4. Test, Test, Test. Unless you have maintained a building for several years, you don’t know what others may have applied to the floor or what it will take to remove it. Certain types of sealers, finishes, nano-coatings, urethanes, and epoxies are difficult, and in some cases impossible, to remove by chemical stripping. Test cleaning and finishing a small area (a maximum of 4 inches by 4 inches) is the only way to determine what it will really take to clean and restore a floor to an acceptable condition. Once you figure out which chemicals to use and how to do the work, expand the test area to 4 feet by 4 feet. Completing this larger test area will help to accurately estimate labor and supply costs for the entire job.

New Technology

Although floor coverings, along with the equipment and chemicals used to maintain them, are evolving quickly, a window of opportunity exists for at least another 5-10 years where traditional floor care will still be used in many types of facilities.

However, over time, emerging trends will eliminate the need for stripping, burnishing, and refinishing new and common floor covering materials. (You can read more about this on page 17.) Microfiber flat mops, green/sustainable chemicals and processes, robotics, nano-coatings, engineered water, and finish-free surfaces are just a few of the advances that will revolutionize the way we clean, maintain, and restore hard floor coverings in the future. With these changes, expect to see higher production and lower cost-per-square-foot rates for the cleaning and maintenance of hard floors.

Keep it clean out there.

William Griffin is the president of Cleaning Consultant Services, Inc. He is an industry consultant , author, and trainer with more than 35 years of experience. Contact him at wgriffin@cleaningconsultants.com or visit www.cleaningconsultants.com.

Posted On March 31, 2015
William R. Griffin

William R. Griffin

President of Cleaning Consultant Services, Inc.

William Griffin is the president of Cleaning Consultant Services, Inc. He is an industry consultant, author, and trainer with more than 35 years of experience. Contact him at wgriffin@cleaningconsultants.com or visit www.cleaningconsultants.com.

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