As we continue our approach to bidding, another process would be to compare this contract to others of similar size and set up (For example, 90 percent carpet/small VCT area) and cleaning two times per week. You need to be very aware of any difference in wages, travel time (since this will be on a route), expectations of the customer so that you do not simply assume the costs are the same.

Since the account is 5,500 square feet, you can always use the tried and not often true productivity method of determining your bid offering. It is very important that you know your crew’s productivity rate before you go in this direction and also make sure you understand that although there are some great studies out there, you need to develop your own time standards for different accounts. Please understand that servicing an office building two times per week is very different than servicing a daycare center five times per week due to the cleaning standards, frequencies and specifications involved.

The following math is an EXAMPLE and may not reflect your time standards at all so beware of accepting this as anything more that helping to explain the math. Divide 5,500 square feet by 2,500 sf/hour = 2.2 DLH (direct labor hours) per visit. This includes the basic custodial duties and assumes one person performing the work. If you had two people then it would be 1.1 hour each, which means that your travel time costs would double but a crew of two could hit more accounts.

Now let’s have a reality check. What if your competition has determined their productivity rate for this type account is 1,800 sf/hour. What would be their labor costs? You do the math.

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