A reader writes: “I read one of your very informative articles on CleanLink and I was wondering if you could answer a question for me. When cleaning carpeting in a office area obstructed with cubicles and charging by the square foot what is the industry standard for measurement? Do you measure the whole area including the obstructions and charge for that or do you only measure the exposed carpeting in each cubicle, walkway and charge for that? I am charging 20 cents per square foot. 


Your question requires a multifold answer and I am not sure what system (HWE = Hot Water Extraction, Encapsulation, Dry, etc.) that you are using. Also, are you using portables, truck mounts or other systems? Are you doing the work yourself or have a crew? Day, night, weekends? All of these factors can impact your cost and ultimately your profit. 


That said: 


1. The “going rate” is going to vary based on the area, wage rates, benefits, competition, etc. so be careful of anyone outside your area quoting a going rate that may not fit you.


2. If you are making money at the rate then stick with it but realize there will be others quoting higher and lower for a multitude of reasons.


3. It would be wise to check into the rates quoted by others in your area and you may be surprised at the range due to many factors beyond the market.


4. As to density and square footage you need to determine what works for you and be consistent to avoid confusion. The reason for my suggestion that approach is that if your baseline is predicated on taking into account the total square footage regardless of furniture in the way then continue with that approach. If you factor out square footage that you cannot clean due to obstacles that you do not move then stick with that approach. Of course, if you have to move a piece of furniture (task) and replace if once the carpet is dry (frequency) you should always capture that labor as well.


5. Cubicles can be a challenge since they tend to slow you down based on the type equipment that you are using. 


It is not wise for me to give a hard number with so little information. 


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.