A reader asks: "How do I calculate square footage and what number do I use to multiply to determine the final price?"

Once you have the total square footage of a building or area as well as what type surface you will be cleaning, you also need to do a fixture count for each rest room. A fixture, by definition, is a toilet, sink or urinal with shower heads (if in area) count as two fixtures for your calculations. There are time standards that can provide the suggested minutes/square feet or per fixture for each area based on the type equipment used and tasks that have to be performed. For example, it will take longer to vacuum a carpeted area using an upright vacuum cleaner that if you use a quality back pack system. Of course, the smaller the area, the less this number matters and the larger the area, the more savings you can generate.

As to the "magic number" of $XX.00 per square foot, I can only state that like the Holy Grail, if it does exist I have never seen it. The magic number is really your true costs for labor, equipment, supplies, etc. and is unique to you. There are so called "experts" who can generate a close number or range based on past experience. The problem is that if they are in New Jersey and you are in Alabama your wages and overhead can be radically different.

There are simply too many variables and the closest I can suggest if you are looking for a magic number is to survey your area and average out the highs and lows for a competitive medium. After you have lost a lot of bids and lucked up on a few your experience will guide you from there.

If there is a magic number it will be revealed to you over time, Grass Hopper.

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.