The reality is that many published time standards are based on situations different from yours or mine.  Although published time standards can be a benchmark from which to start, they should not be the end.  Most tend to be between 10 and 30 percent off (usually high) which means that if you rely on them for an important bid, you probably will not get it.  One sanity check is to compare the final DLH (direct labor hours) calculated using the time standards with known productivity rates in the area.  

For instance, if the time standards generate 3,500 SF/Hour and the going productivity rate is 6,500 SF/Hour, one should evaluate what others are not doing that the time standards are assuming should be done.  It is usually related to how often a task is performed and to what degree.  

An example is vacuuming wall to wall daily compared to spot vacuuming nine days and wall to wall vacuuming the tenth.  Spot vacuuming may not even be listed in the time standards but will certainly be a different number than wall to wall vacuuming.

Topics that need to be considered include:

• The density factor (how many occupants and visitors use the space?)

• The type of equipment being utilized (riding vacuum will certainly clean faster than an old fashioned upright system).

• The floor types being serviced.  Carpet, in many cases, is easier to maintain than hard floors that show all soil, scratches, etc.

• The frequency of service being provided.  The less often per week (or month) an area is serviced, the longer it requires to clean per visit.

In a future article, we will identify the steps required to perform a task and evaluate how long it should take versus how long the standards claim it will take.  Your comments and questions are always welcome.  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