A reader writes: “You refer to various estimators that you use. How can I develop my own estimator that suits my needs?”

Over the years, I have developed spreadsheets that help give me a “RANGE” for a specific opportunity. I learned early on the principle of “garbage in; garbage out” when it comes to estimating.

For instance, I had an opportunity to miserably fail due to over 175,000 square feet being left out by the building service contractor who was responsible for verifying the data. The missing direct labor hours equaled the money they lost in trying to clean a contract that was larger than they were told. The specifications clearly indicated that it was the responsibility of the vendor to verify the square footage and the BSC chose not to waste the time necessary to count and measure. I cannot stress how important it is that you conduct an onsite survey to collect real square footages, fixture counts and other information such as hard floor, carpet, wood, rubber, etc. so that you have accurate data to work with.

If you want to develop your own estimator, I suggest you start with a relatively simple opportunity and load all the required tasks such as pulling trash, dusting, vacuuming, damp mopping, restroom servicing, etc. that are listed. Then determine the number of times per year that each task must be performed. For instance, pulling trash may be 260 x year whereas dusting may be 52 x year. Some time standards allocate a certain number of minutes per fixture for restroom cleaning. A fixture is usually listed as a toilet, sink and urinal, with shower heads counting as two fixtures for the time required for servicing. Once you have added up all the direct labor hours necessary to fulfill the specifications you are on the road to generating a price.

We will look at other factors in a future article. 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.