A reader writes: "I am just getting started in cleaning and do not know how to bid very well. The veterinary clinic has floor work, dusting, rest rooms and office space. Any help would be appreciated."

Welcome to an exciting industry that so far allows almost anyone to get involved with a minimum investment. You are entering a phase that most of use went through of learning and gaining experience in not only the bidding process but also custodial best practices. This includes proper cleaning techniques, understanding chemicals, pH and also developing a relationship with a supportive distributor. I wish I could give a simple answer like $X.00 per square foot for your area but I would be misleading you. I do suggest you invest some time in market research in your local area so that you know whether you are competitive. Please remember that cleaning a veterinary clinic is different from cleaning a law firm or an auto dealership. Tasks, processes and many other variable will impact your final costs.

Based on our conversation the building has approximately 2,800 square feet to clean with varying floor surfaces including VCT (vinyl composite tile), ceramic tile (with grout in the rest rooms), some wooden floors and a large area with the red commercial pavers. It appears that the incumbent contract simply put finish (wax) on virtually everything. This process has resulted in a very shiny, dirty floor that is a poor reflection on the business. One of the first things you need to do is determine whether the prospect is satisfied with this result or do they want you to restore the floors and maintain them correctly in the future. If so, you will probably have to give them the option of performing an initial clean up (at an additional charge) or phase in the work over six to twelve months to be absorbed in your monthly charge.

We will continue with this discussion in a future article.

Your comments and questions are important. 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