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Selling the Hospitality Market

Regardless of the size of your business or geographic location, the hospitality industry is a large and growing market for building service contractors. Examples of this market segment include hotels, motels, resorts, amusement parks and cruise ships. Some may expand this market segment to include large apartment and condominium complexes, hostels, drilling rigs, and private work camps. In the past this work was and is still primarily done by in house staff; however this is starting to change. A good way to get your foot in the door in this market is to offer specialty services that are costly and difficult for potential customers to do with in house staff because special equipment, skills or training is needed. This includes such services as window cleaning, pressure washing, landscaping, hard floor care, stone (more…)

Bid and Estimating, – Jan 2016

Welcome to the New Year, may 2016 be better for you than 2015.
This month I am going to address several questions from readers:

Q: A client wants me to submit a bid for a new project that they have coming up in early 2016. However, they still have invoices from 2015 that remain unpaid. How should I handle this situation?
Sally in San Diego (more…)

Bidding and Estimating

Where is the Big Money at in Cleaning?
That’s a fairly common question I get from both those just starting and those who have been operating a cleaning business for some time. As a consultant, I have researched, studied and worked with many different types cleaning businesses. I also have attended 100’s of conventions and tradeshows for many different specialty segments of the cleaning industry. So I do have a pretty good idea of who’s making the big bucks when it comes to cleaning.

In general, the higher paying jobs are those that involve a specialty type of service that requires more detailed training, where the risks a higher and where the number of competitors is limited. Other factors that drive up costs and profit include; providing services that are dangerous, hazardous, uncomfortable, offensive, repulsive, and nasty, off hour’s work and those that no one else wants or knows how to do drive up the price and opportunities for higher profit. When you have these factors involved, it’s generally work that pays better than the run of the mill services such as cleaning homes or offices on a daily or weekly basis. (more…)

Bidding and Estimating Column

When I was in Portland OR last month to attend the Cleanmed Show, I noticed that there was a solar energy conference at the same convention center. Being I have an interest in solar energy, I wandered over to see what I could learn. To my surprise there was a presentation on bidding and estimating, so I got a press pass and sat through the presentation. Even though it was targeted to solar energy construction contractors, much of the information and concepts presented apply to cleaning contractors. Here’s an overview of my notes from the presentation by Leslie Shiner, who has a book titled “Turning a Profit as a Contractor”. You can order Leslie’s book at Or contact her via email: Ph: 415-383-6255

Bidding and Estimating Column

Production Rates and Cost per Square Foot
Seldom does a day go by that someone doesn’t ask me about pricing and production rates for the cleaning of commercial buildings. Sometime it’s about a small space or building and other times it’s hundreds of thousands or even millions of square feet and the reality from my perspective doesn’t change.

There is an almost endless list of variables in each building that need or should be taken into consideration when calculating a realistic price or production rate for cleaning services. An even more important and overriding factor is how you go about doing the work. The issue of how you workload the building and what equipment and processes are used, have an equal or greater impact on determining the amount of labor and costs required to get the work done in a way that meets the cleaning specifications.

Bidding and Estimating Hard Floor Care

Every building has a floor and sooner or later it will need more than daily or routine cleaning to remove heavy soil, scratches, scuffs and restore that like new shine. Hard floor care is one of the most profitable service specialties and if you ask for the work, is often an automatic add on for janitorial and residential cleaning services. If you have the skills, staff and equipment needed to provide periodic and restorative maintenance and your price is reasonable, chances are you will get the work. Sometimes floor care is included in the contract, but many times, floor care provides an opportunity for additional income and profit. If you can’t personally do the work, consider subcontracting with another company to provide the service and add 20%-40% to the cost as your markup for managing the project.


Bidding and Estimating

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
The holidays are always a good time for cleaners. Both residential and commercial customers like to tidy things up before the holidays, which often results in requests for carpet cleaning, hard floor care, a little extra service or clean up after a party or event.

For residential cleaners, Thanksgiving and Christmas are the busiest times of the year and then come the middle of January when you might as well close up shop and take a vacation until spring rolls around. In fact many carpet cleaners do just that or find ways to supplement residential work with commercial accounts until things pick up again in the spring.

I’ve got several topics I’d like to talk about this month. I’ll start with the basics and roll on from there.

Bidding & Estimating the Cleaning of Restrooms

Restrooms are an important and sensitive area in any building and must be maintained at high levels of cleanliness, sanitation and safety at all times to avoid complaints, liability and a negative impression on employees, customers and the public.

This emphasis on cleanliness can be used as a valid marketing tools when preparing and submitting proposals for services in all types and sizes of building.

Restrooms are unique in that they are often designed for cleaning, with water and stain resistant surfaces that include vitreous china, chrome, stainless steel, ceramic tile, glass and other relatively easy to clean materials. Water connections, floor drains, ventilation and good lighting can also be part of the design that will facilitate and speed up the cleaning process.

Bidding and Estimating Health Care Cleaning

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

These facilities are more difficult to clean than basic office buildings, because of issues related to medical treatment, contamination and infection control. Other concerns include hazardous chemicals, sharps (needles and glass), and the collection and disposal of bio-medical waste. These issues should not be taken lightly due to the possibly of illness, death, and liability.

Bidding and Estimating Cleaning Services with Bill Griffin

During my 30+ years in the cleaning industry nothing generates more interest than the subject of bidding and estimating the cost of cleaning services. One might think that this only applies to Building Service Contractors who are new to the business and don’t have much experience in calculating costs and submitting bids, but that is not the case. Almost everyone in the cleaning industry is interested in the subject; this includes manufacturers, salespeople, building owners and departmental managers.

I recall teaching a seminar on Bidding and Estimating some 20 years ago and one attendee had over 30 year experience. Being impressed that he’d come to my class, I asked him why he, with all his years of experience would attend the seminar and his response was “I can’t take a chance that one of my competitor’s will know more about bidding and estimating than I do.” That hit home with me as to how important bidding and estimating is to everyone in the industry. (more…)