Get Started Here
Haven't seen our Intro Video yet? Click HERE to see what we're all about.
Sample Account - Branch Office, Electronic Equipment Manufacturer
There were 4 bidders at this bid-walk. Two were from very large companies, one was a guy I had no idea about, and there was me. One of the bidders asked what problems there were with their current service, and the manager just said she couldn't talk about it -- often when a manager says they can't talk about it, it's usually unrelated to cleaning -- possibly dishonesty on the janitor's part, caught tampering with a computer, etc.
Cleaned 5x per week. Total of 21,134 square feet.
Main office area - 14,880 square feet. 48 desks, 1 long file cabinet for every desk, no dividers or cubicles, it's an open area. Only 3 private offices.
14,880 square feet divided by 48 people = 310 square feet per person, or 3.22 occupants per 1000 square feet. This is called "population density".
I estimated to trash and dust these 48 desks would take 25 minutes (roughly 30 seconds per desk).
I estimated 35 minutes to spot-vacuum the front office every night, which would be 425 square feet per minute. This sounds like a lot of square footage for just one minute of vacuuming, and it is, but these are very clean people.
They have a small lobby, 2 hallways, 2 conference rooms, and 2 showrooms for their products - a total of 5328 square feet. I estimated it would take 30 minutes to empty trash, dust, and vacuum these areas, as it looked like the conference rooms and the showrooms were not used very often.
When you see areas like this is on a bidwalk, itís perfectly okay to ask the building manager just how often those areas really are used. But the trick here is to ask the building manager about that after the bidwalk, when your competition isn't around - why give them any advantage? Most of them will just take the total square footage of the building, multiply that by how much they're charging per-square-foot everywhere else, and out pops their price. But since you're smarter than they are :) you can simply call the building manager the day after the bidwalk, tell him or her you're putting together your bid, and then ask how often those areas are used (I did exactly that, by the way, and the manager said they're used very infrequently). So I kept that in mind when I was figuring my bid.
There's a tip -- always try to think of a good question you can ask the manager the next day -- I do, and they remember you -- it makes you stand out from your competition.
I estimated the 2 restrooms to take about 25 minutes. The women's room has 4 toilets and 3 sinks with a counter and a big mirror. The men's room has 3 toilets, 2 urinals, and 3 sinks with a counter and a big mirror. Most of the people in this building are women, so we'd have to spend an extra couple of minutes the women's room. The restrooms are about 10 feet by 25 feet, and the floors are 2-inch ceramic tile and grout, so there is no waxing of these floors.
The lunchroom is 20 x 30 = 600 square feet. There are 7 tables, 28 chairs, 1 couch, 1 coffee table, and 1 counter with a sink. Counters and sinks take 2 minutes. In most buildings it takes 1 minute to clean a table, wipe off the chairs at that table and set them up off the floor, so I estimated 7 minutes total for the tables and chairs. I estimated 5 minutes for dust-mopping, and another 5 minutes for damp-mopping, so all told, I estimated the lunchroom would take about 20 minutes to clean.
Service area - 1600 square feet and 5 people (these 5 people raised the total to 53 people in the building). This is an area in the back where customers can come in with their electronic equipment for parts and service. They do just very light service here, and all of the major equipment repair is done in another state.
This is a very clean service area, and it even has carpeted floors. I estimated about 10 minutes to trash and dust this area. There are 5 desks, and the rest is worktables, which we were told we would not clean. I estimated 5 minutes to vacuum. There is also a small parts room and a shipping room with a concrete floor that we have to dust mop and damp mop, which takes 5 minutes. Add an extra 5 minutes to damp mop in bad weather. Total estimated time for service and shipping areas = 25 minutes.
Total estimated time to clean building = 160 minutes (2.66 hours). I rounded that up to 3 hours to account for things like taking the trash out to the dumpster, filling the mop bucket, unplugging the vacuum and plugging in at the next outlet, moving from one task to another, etc. Things like this take time, so you need to factor them in. I call this transition time.
21,134 square feet divided by estimated 3 hours = 7044 square feet per hour. I was comfortable with this number.
Now, here's how I came up with my bid price:
I took my average charge for cleaning a square foot per month in all buildings, which was at that time 10 cents. 21,134 square feet x 10 cents = $2113 per month.
(Big Note - the System shows you how to get started with a "cents per square foot" figure that's based on the prevailing wage for cleaners in your area -- so not to worry :)
Then I took my wages and taxes of $16.50 per hour ($15 per hour plus $1.50 in taxes - and yes, that's really high, but this is booming and expensive Seattle, and I also pay my people more than what most others around here pay because it keeps my employees staying with me much longer, and that's very important to me) I took $16.50 x 3 hours per night x 21 nights = $1039 total wage costs per month.
I doubled that $1039 and I got $2079 per month. Doubling is a very common tactic that janitorial bidders use, and I do it too, at least to get a starting number.
I then took the average of what I made to clean up "per person" in all of my buildings, which was at that time $34 per person per month - 53 people x $34 = $1802 per month.
I added my numbers together - $2079 + $2113 + $1802 = $5994. I then divided $5994 by 3 to get an average, and it came out to $1998.
I thought that was a good number, so that's what I bid. I was also pretty sure that at least a couple of the other bidders would come in higher because they, especially the guys from the big companies, were kind of sleepwalkers - come in, look around, take the square footage and multiply it by their "cents per square foot" figure they currently charge, and that's what they bid. So I was pretty sure my price would be competitive.
We got the contract (one reason we got the contract, I think, was because of that phone call I made to the manager to ask about the conference rooms and showrooms, and I'm willing to bet none of the other bidders did -- it let her know I was very interested in her account, I asked a good question, and I think it also gave her the feeling that my bid was going to be better-informed than the others).
Here's how it turned out after we started the account:
Instead of taking my estimated 3 hours per night to clean this building, it takes 2.75 hours per night.
21,134 square feet divided by 2.75 hours = 7685 square feet cleaned per hour.
$1998 divided by 53 people = $37.69 per person of population.
It did turn out that the conference rooms and the showrooms take almost no time to clean. Often it's just a matter of checking the trashcans, which are usually empty, walking around to look at the perfectly clean tables and floors, and walking out and turning out the lights. We do dust and vacuum these areas once a week, even though they rarely need it. This is over 5300 square feet that often takes just a few minutes. On the rare occasion that they do use a room, it takes just a few minutes to clean.
2.75 hours x 21 nights per month = 57.75 hours per month.
$16.50 per hour labor cost x 57.75 hours per month = $952 total labor cost.
$2007 minus $952 = $1046 profit each month.
< This is a 52% profit (take $952 and divide it by $1998) - you can check this on the Calculator Soup website. I use this website all the time and it has dozens of calculators.
$1998 divided by 57.75 hours = $34.58 per hour -- so for every one hour of labor that costs me $16.50, I make $18.08 -- a profit of $1046 per month.
This company is a big name in the high-end printer and copier industry, and everyone recognizes the name right away, so itís a great reference.
< Back To The Bidding Page
Privacy Terms Sitemap