“I need help with a complex commercial cleaning bid!”


Question: How can I come up with a price on a big account?

Steve’s answer: Ask yourself my 7 “Bidding Questions” and use my Pricing Formula and all will be well!

Hi Steve,

I was hoping you could help me. I am putting together a proposed contract for the first time and I’m having trouble calculating the cleaning bid. This assisted living facility wants me to clean 3 separate buildings 4 times/year. Each building is 2440 sq/ft and requires 2 separate takedowns and setups each. I can’t start until the residents are finished with dinner at about 6pm.

The janitors were cleaning them for a little more than eleven cents a foot but they left all kinds of residue in the carpet not to mention they were doing a sub-par job. I have never done a contract or cleaned for a business this often so I’m stuck here.  Please help me!

Overwhelmed in San Diego

I feel your pain, Overwhelmed.  When something like this comes up it is easy to feel exactly as you signed-off … overwhelmed!😲  OR you can view it as a wonderful gift of a major profit opportunity.💖 It is all in your attitude AND the logistics.  Let’s start with the nuts and bolts first …

When facing a complicated proposal I’m reminded of the soldier’s dictum:  “Divide and conquer.”  So let’s break this baby down.  Ask yourself the following 7 (actually 8!) questions:

1. What’s my time to do the job? (TTDJ) How long will it take me including the dual set-up and break down? Is there furniture moving involved?

2. Will I need to hire a helper?

3. Given the 6 PM and later start time do I want to charge a “premium” for my time given I will be away from my family plus possibly trashed the next day thereby affecting my production and other work in my business?

4. Can I do all three buildings at the same time?  Is it possible timewise given my production above?  Do I want to?

5. What will my drive time (DT) be for each job?

6. Can I “mold” any of the contract specs to help me with any of the above answers?

7. Depending upon my answers to the questions above how much do I want to charge per hour (CPH) for my services?

Now once you have those answers (and especially the one on how long it will realistically take you to do each building) your price calculating process becomes a fairly simple multiplication process.  Here it is:

TTDJ + DT x CPH = Amount per building x 3 = Your price per service of the complex.

And then of course one last question that doesn’t fit well into the numerical equation above:

8. “How bad do I want (need) this baby?”🤔

Now you can take the “price per service of the complex” x 4= Total Yearly Cost (TYC) and then divide this by 12 and bill them a set monthly amount!  Many property managers prefer this and frankly it is better for you since you can “blend better into the woodwork” with a monthly billing.  Check out my free Special Report on Commercial Contract Selling for more info on this concept.

Let us know what you come up with.   If I can help you tweak the proposal before you present it I would be happy to do so.  After all, we are all in this together!


P.S.  One more suggestion, Overwhelmed.  This need to know your production-per-hour figure points up the wisdom of keeping a cleaning diary (Download our free SFS Production Pricing Analysis form HERE) where you write down all the data on each commercial job you do in a “log book”.  Over time you will develop a very accurate average production rate for each type of facility/ carpet/ soiling level.

1 thought on ““I need help with a complex commercial cleaning bid!””

  1. Without knowing the answers to the questions Steve asked it’s pretty hard to come up with some hard numbers for this job. But here are 3 other things to consider.

    1. The sq. footage of 2,440 is on the light side for 2 trips. I would definitely try to at least do something in all 3 buildings while you’re there, otherwise this could really eat up some time with several trips.

    2. Assisted living buildings are likely to require extra work setting up walk off mats, fans, complaints from tenants, etc., so I’d figure in the “unexpected” inconveniences you’ll likely have with these jobs that will likely slow you down and cause some frustration

    3. Can it be encapped or are they insisting on Hot Water Extraction? If it can be encapped your set up and breakdown time would be much faster. The report Steve is referring to mentions the advantages of encapsulation in detail.

    For this particular job my guess is you’d have to charge more than .11 a foot to make it worth your while.

    VAST Coordinator

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