How should I write up an encapsulation proposal?

The question: Should I specify cleaning method/frequency when bidding commercial contracts?

Jeff’s answer: Normally just focus on frequency which gives you maximum flexibility on HOW you clean the carpets each time.


Hi Jeff,

I know that you are a big fan of encapsulation cleaning. I’m bidding on my first large account and I’m a little confused. I know it’s much faster when I use the Cimex but I also might need to extract periodically. So should I give a separate price when I extract versus when I encap?

Confused in Columbus

Dear Confused,

That’s an excellent question that can present challenges when bidding large jobs. First of all, remember you’re selling “clean carpet” and not a particular method to your prospective customers. Most of your customers probably don’t know the difference (or even care for that matter) between the various methods. What they want is to come into work Monday morning with no returning spots, a completely dry carpet, a competitive price and most of all NO DRAMA! 🙂 (Which just means doing what you say you will when you say you will do it!)

Remember with a Cimex your production rates with likely be 2-3 times faster that when you hot water extract. Often times you can easily encapsulate 2,000-3,000 sq. feet an hour whereas your production rate when extracting might be in the 1,000 sq. foot range per hour. So obviously you can certainly be much more competitive (if you want/need to be) when you’re encapping.

If the carpet is under warranty then you should follow the carpet mills recommendation on cleaning. Most mills recommend that the carpet be extracted after 3 or 4 encapsulation cleanings. I’ve seldom had warranty issues come up so if that’s not an issue, it’s up to your discretion on what you think the carpet needs.

Basically, Confused, I wouldn’t go into details about encapsulation or periodic hot water extraction when submitting your “recommendations”. So normally don’t specify you’ll clean the carpet 3 times a year with encapsulation and then hot water extract once a year.  Instead, simply word it that you’ll clean the carpet on a quarterly basis without mentioning any particular method. This gives you the green light to do what you think is best and adjust your bid accordingly. On the other hand you do need to use caution because if you bid it lower based on strictly encapping and then they insist on hot water extraction you’ll lose money.

Another idea I learned from Steve Toburen is to give them more than one option when you submit your bid. Instead of just giving a quarterly bid you might break it down to different areas and even frequency schedules. This gives them more than one option or price to choose from.

NOTE: Here is another idea from Steve: Don’t present a “contract” for signing. Instead, call it a “Service Agreement”!

I hope this helps and I wish you the best on landing your first big account. Happy cleaning! (And hey, HERE is an entire section on how to get regular commercial cleaning accounts!)


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