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Cleaning Schools, Colleges and Universities

Educational facilities are a good and growing market that contractors are targeting and penetrating. This includes day and or evening cleaning in public and private schools of all types and sizes. Each segment of the market has demands that make it unique; colleges, universities, K-12, child development centers, and day care facilities are all slightly different in their approach, needs and expectations. As a service contractor it is your job to identify and meet these needs, even if they change minute to minute. Flexibility is requires on everyone’s part to get the job done and keep the customer happy. In this market everyone is your customer, from students and teachers to parents, administrators, government agencies, and the public.

Educational facilities have special needs and are different than cleaning an office building, factory or hospital. Anytime you have children, parents and the government involved, the work is more complicated and emotionally charged. Expertise, cost savings, staffing and a shifting of liability to a 3rd party vendor behind the growth in this market.

Not every contractor or employee is suited for this market; security, background checks, health and safety, image, appearance, professionalism and team work all play a role in meeting the changing expectations and demands of educational customers.

Area types range from normal office and conference rooms, restrooms, classrooms, shops, labs, kitchens and cafeterias, gyms and locker rooms. In the High Education world, you can find cleanrooms, research labs, lecture halls, animal cages, medical exam rooms, student housing, athletic facilities, stadiums, swimming pools, rock walls and the list goes on.

Tasks vary from daily and routine to periodic and seasonal restorative project work, along with extras such as fire, floods, vandalism or getting a soccer ball off the roof, killing a gopher in the playground to cleaning up vomit and blood, changing light bulbs and unplugging toilets, could all be in a day’s work when you fill role of school custodian.

Some contractors clean part of or the entire facility, while others provide specialty services on regular or on call basis, this includes such things floor and carpet care, window cleaning, pressure washing, disinfection, fire, flood, mold and trauma scene clean up.

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 what you can accomplish with your staff, process, equipment and budget. It is important to realize that 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 the actual, as well as changing needs. Here are some guidelines that may be helpful:

 Production Rates:

8 – 20 minutes per standard classroom (if there is such a thing)

10 – 25 minutes per standard restroom (if there is such a thing)

1000 to 8000 sq. ft. per hour, depending on process, frequency, incentives, and types of areas and facility being cleaned.

Cost Per Sq. Ft.

Prices can range from 7 cents or less to 35 cents or more per sq. ft. depending on what you are cleaning, services provided, competitiveness of the local marketplace and other factors. Hourly employee wage rate, profit, overhead and benefits will/should determine exact billable rate and cost per sq. ft. for each location bid.

Industry standard times for floor care, carpet cleaning, and vacuuming, etc. may apply depending on equipment, condition, frequency and processes used. (See ISSA Cleaning Times Guide and APPA Guidelines. Increase production rates by 12-20% to be competitive) Keep in mind that your competition may not use be aware of or use industry recommended standards or guidelines. Production rates are continuing to increase due to new technology and surfaces, better engineering of the cleaning process and a competitive marketplace.

There you have it in a nut shell. Best of luck, Keep it Clean out there.


Custodial Production Rates Book and Software

Contractor Bidding and Estimating Information