A reader writes: “I don’t have the time to visit a site, count fixtures and measure the areas to be cleaned. I usually trust the specs provided by the customer to save time. Do you agree?”

The short answer is “No” and the long answer is “Heck No!”

First of all, if you claim to not have the time to put together a proposal based on hard data, you are way too busy, my friend. In all kindness, it is very important that you or a staff member conduct one or more site visits to verify the numbers provided by the customer. I have seen specifications that were completely out of date either due to errors or changes in the building over time. Hopefully, the only thing that may not have changed is the outside perimeters but even then, I have seen basements and other areas converted to office space thereby changing the total cleanable square footage.

If you are in such a hurry, I urge you to at least verify some of the areas to see if they match the information provided. An example is to measure the front lobby, first floor hallway(s), rest room square footage and fixture count (toilet, sink, urinal, shower head) on a sampling basis. If these numbers match, then you may be OK but I encourage you to verify every square inch. In your inventory, note whether it is carpet (what type such as plush or flat), hard floor (VCT, VAT, rubber, ceramic, quarry, concrete, terrazzo, wood, etc.). Remember that different floors will require different types of service. For instance, it requires less labor hours to sweep/mop a floor that does not need sealing and floor finish than to have to strip/scrub/recoat/buff/burnish a floor regularly that requires a high gloss shine.

The key to most bids is to count/measure/work load so that you can determine what your true costs are going to be. Remember that usage, traffic/tenant count, age, climate and other factors will play into your final costs.

Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.