In an earlier article, we touched on the basics of data collection to develop an estimator. In this article, we will continue with the general concepts in developing a price based on the data you collected. Once you have at least a range of direct labor hours necessary to provide services for this opportunity, you will then need to determine the following:

How often am I going to provide service (per year)?
What tasks will be performed on each visit?
What about project work such as carpet cleaning, hard floor care, etc?
What are my wages and benefits going to be?
What about supervision hours and wages/benefits?
What are my overhead costs such as office space, copier, electric, etc?
What about training and certification costs to fulfill safety, OSHA, green standards?
What are my worker’s compensation, general liability and other insurance costs?
What are my chemical costs?
What are my supply/tools costs?
What are my equipment costs?
What about vehicle/gas/mileage costs?
What is my profit margin or retained earnings?
Are there any special costs related to this opportunity that need to be included such as:
   Recycling/landfill costs?
   Subcontractor costs such as pest control, window washing?
   What about outside work such as grounds maintenance?
What is my Burdened Labor Rate? (this is usually all of the costs for service broken into an hourly rate)

I certainly do not want to discourage anyone that is developing an estimator but stress that it will require someone who is proficient in a spreadsheet and knowledgeable in custodial operations. Take your time and learn from your mistakes. You may choose to buy one off the shelf instead.

My final comment is that this is my 900th article which is an unbelievable milestone when you calculate 900 articles times an average of 350 words each. I have enjoyed this project especially the interaction with you the reader. I am both amazed and humbled that you continue to read, respond and yes, even disagree with these articles. Thank you for your patience and understanding. May we all be better professionals due to the sharing and lessons learned.

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