How to convert wild guessing into an accurate commercial bid

use a test cleaning to create bidEven after all these years I still feel the dread! My commercial contact would ask, (as they looked out over a sea of carpet, upholstery, tile and grout or all of these!) “So how much will you charge for…”

My challenge? My prospect assumed (incorrectly) that I could immediately come up with an accurate commercial bid! BUT I didn’t have a clue! Sound familiar? So what can you do? Above all else, don’t panic! Instead…

Just offer to do a free “test cleaning” and then “discreetly time” how long it takes you do it!

Make this “test cleaning” large enough to give you an accurate production average. For example, clean a 20′ x 20′ carpet section of carpet or 3 or 4 office chairs. Don’t include your setup time. Instead, multiply your actual production time X the amount of the requested cleaning. For example, let’s examine an “initially overwhelming” upholstery cleaning bid on 544 office chairs…

Offer to do a test cleaning of four of their dirtiest chairs. You discover it takes you 14 minutes of actual production time to clean these four chairs. So since there are 544 office chairs total you divide 544 by 4= 136 x 14:00= 1904 minutes or 31.73 hours will be required to clean all 544 office chairs!

NOTE: This isn’t an exact mathematical formula. I assume (hope?) A) your production speed and efficiency will increase as the job goes on. But then there is B) always “Mr. Murphy” (and simple exhaustion) to factor in! So for me “A” and “B” usually balanced themselves out!

The last part of your formula? Determine your cost per hour to produce the work and (more importantly) your production goal per hour. (Which should include that elusive thing called “PROFIT”!) We’ll assume your company is cleaning with portable units so you set your dollar goal at $75.00 per employee/machine hour. So your calculations are 31.73 actual production plus 10 hours setup/ “fudge factor”= 41.73 hours X $75.00= $3129.75 total price or $5.75 @ chair!

A bigger advantage of your “test cleaning”? The incredible dirty/clean contrast will blow away your commercial prospect! In fact, start tracking your production-per-hour for each completed commercial job on my Production/Pricing Analysis Log and you’ll have even more accurate pricing numbers!

Now is the above a perfect iron-clad pricing system? NO! But it is MUCH better than the fear-filled financial wild pricing guess you’ve been timidly submitting up till now! And remember you NEVER want to give just ONE price!


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