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Cleaning and Maintaining Building Exteriors

When we think of servicing building exteriors, we normally think of dumping trash cans, picking up garbage and cigarette butts and sweeping the sidewalk within 10 ft. of the entrance. Today’s customers have much broader exterior cleaning needs that can include: roof top gardens and parks, interior atriums, landscaping, patios, pet areas, balconies, decks. athletic fields, pools and spas as well as parking garages & lots, streets, sidewalks, walking paths, gazebos, fire pit and barbecue areas, beaches, ponds, lakes, windows, and the actual building façade. Service expectations can range from daily/routine policing and cleaning, to periodic maintenance and restoration. (more…)

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Pricing Paper, Plastic and Soap in Commercial Accounts

Intro

Pricing the cost of paper, plastic and hand soap can be challenging and financially risky if you don’t have a formula or historical basis for accurately estimating past or future use. The safest approaches are to let the customer order and pay for these products or to provide these products as extras or pass through cost with a slight markup cost (2% – 5%) for handling, purchasing and stocking.

If the customer is requiring these items to be included in the cost, bid or square foot price, ask them to provide or allow access to use and costing data from the current suppliers. If they are not forthcoming with this information, you will need to add an error factor (8% – 10 %) into your price to assure that you don’t lose money on providing these products.

As a last resort, your distributor or paper sales person should be able to assist you figuring out which products may fit current dispensers and in calculating pricing and use information. If you can’t use exiting dispensers there will costs associated with swapping out dispensers. An emerging trend in new, remodeled and public and heavy use restroom, is to eliminate paper towels and replace them with electric hand dryers. (more…)

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How to Bid a Facility Using Only Sustainable Product and Procedures

Forward thinking companies and contractors are adopting sustainable cleaning process and products as the only way of doing business and have found this to be a good operational and marketing strategy. Other companies have taken a wait and see approach and have not been willing to make a commitment to change, especially if it means an increase in costs. There is a large segment of the market, primarily the low-price contractors and customers, who don’t know or don’t care about sustainable cleaning and have no interest in changing the way they do business. Early adopters of sustainable cleaning include health care, education and local and federal government agencies. There are also geographic areas, primarily the West and East Coast states that have more interest in sustainability, with Central and Midwestern states having little or no interest in sustainable products or cleaning.

In the early years, sustainable cleaning and products were provided at premium prices, and in many cases, there are still slightly higher costs involved in the purchase and use of sustainable equipment, products and supplies. The difference in costs has continued to shrink and there is often hidden saving to be found during the implantation process. (more…)

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Cleaning Schools, Public and Private K-12

Pricing, Production Rates and Cost per Sq. Ft.

There are a wide variety of production rates, formulas, and industry standards that can be applied to the bidding and estimating of educational facilities. As with other types of cleaning, the only true rates are based on what you can accomplish with your staff, process, equipment and budget. There are no industry production rates that will apply in every situation as there are simply too many variables that must be considered. The safest approach is to break down each building and facility in to micro areas and bid and staff each area or building based on actual, as well as changing needs. Here are some guidelines that may be helpful: (more…)

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Bidding Stadiums, Arenas and Sport Venues

Stadiums arenas and sports venues come in many sizes. It is not a job that can be approached haphazardly, but demands planning, preparation, communication, coordination and the ability to quickly adapt to changing circumstances and requirements. The concepts outlined here are the same regardless of the size of the facility.

Primary factors impacting cleaning:

  • Type of Event
  • Attendance
  • Set-up & Tear Down Requirements
  • Cleaning Shifts
  • Weather

Break down of shifts:

  • Pre-event Cleaning
  • Event Cleaning
  • Post Event Cleaning
  • Next Event Scheduling

 

STAFFING:

Warning: These are only guidelines based on my experience and the information I have been able to collect. The only true and accurate time standards are based on your staff’s performance and experience. (more…)

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Bidding and Estimating – The Impact Technology

When it comes to being competitive in the marketplace. Technology has the potential to be a game changer. There are multiple ways you can apply the impact of technology to reduce costs without a loss of quality. I find that technology and better processes can allow you to reduce costs while improving the quality of the service you provide. Validating the numbers, you see being used in the marketing of technologies impact on cost reduction can be difficult to confirm.

Let’s take a look at some of the areas where technology can impact your ability to increase production rates and reduce costs.

Computerization:

You can’t operate a cost-effective department or business today without taking advantage of the benefits that computers and associated software bring to work place. Tracking of costs, bidding, communications, timekeeping, and quality control are just a starting place when it comes to the aspects of cleaning that are now much easier, faster and more accurate when processes are computerized. Taking it a step further requires that you do as many of these processes on a smart phone, the notebook and desktop machines are quickly becoming old school and far less productive than the phone in your pocket. (more…)

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Bidding Condo and Apartment Markets

Pricing and Production Rates

There are multiple ways to estimate, bid and price multi-family residential cleaning services, the most common are:

Flat Rate

A set fee or flat rate is charged based on the size (number of bed and bathrooms and or square footage, plus any extra services that are requested or needed). Prices range from $125.00 for a studio or one-bedroom unit, to $300.00 + for a 3, 4 or more-bedroom unit. Costs are dependent on the services provide, painting, carpet cleaning, and maintenance repairs are normally an additional cost. Items can have a flat rate also, stove $45.00, Refer $20.00, floors $15.00 for kitchen, $10.00 per bathroom, $10.00 – $25.00 for a shower stall, windows $3.00 – $10.00 each, outside only, 2.5 times the cost to include inside glass, carpeting $40.00 –$65.00 per room. (more…)

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Making the Transition from Worker to Supervisor

One of the biggest challenges we face in the cleaning industry is finding and keeping qualified workers. An even greater challenge is finding and keeping qualified leads, supervisors, and managers. One of the best places to find a new supervisor or lead is to develop and promote an individual from within the ranks of your existing staff.

As an industry consultant, I get to examine the inner workings of hundreds of cleaning businesses and organizations of all types and sizes. One thing I’ve notices is that very few organizations provide upward mobility training that is specifically targeted at helping existing workers successfully make the transition from cleaner to a lead or supervisory position. (more…)

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Bidding and Estimating Heath Care Cleaning

There is opportunity and good profit in the cleaning of health care facilities. This includes Dr., dentist and other professional medical offices and buildings. Other locations that require similar levels of service include labs, pharmacies, dialysis centers, and research, medical and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Larger facilities include hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living and hospice centers. Closely related locations include daycare, child development centers and health clubs.

These facilities require a more precise level of cleaning than basic office buildings, because of issues related to regulation, liability, medical treatment, contamination, and infection control. Other concerns include hazardous chemicals, sharps (needles and glass), plus the collection and disposal of various types of medical waste. Patient confidentiality, noise levels, hospital acquired infection rates (HAI), and patient surveys are important issues in health care facilities. The responsibly and risk inherent in these accounts should not be taken lightly due to the possibly of death, illness and liability if proper procedures are not followed. (more…)

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Cutting Floor Care Costs by 50% or More

Hard floor care is a major cost in most facilities and plays a key role in overall building appearance, health and safety. Floor care costs normally range from as little as sixty cents per square foot to over two dollars per square foot per year and represent 5% to 20% of the cleaning budget in most facilities. Cost reductions of up to 50% or more in floor care cost in any size and type of a facility is a realistic goal that can be achieved when new processes and technology are applied to how floors are maintained.

Making Cost Reduction Work in Your Facility

Reducing costs is not a one size fits all or one step process. True savings come about when all aspects of a floor core program evaluated and changes customized to meet the needs of the facility and its occupants in a way that improves processes, without a loss of service quality. Change and improvement that reduces costs takes time, part of the process involves the tracking, monitoring and adjustment of processes and frequencies based on testing and factual information.

Put together a “can do minded team”, do the needed research, develop a realistic plan and time line and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much can be accomplished over a fairly short period of time. I didn’t say it would be easy or fast, but floor care cost reduction is definitely doable without a loss of quality. (more…)

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