This article is part 3 of a discussion about the difference between scheduling and workloading.

In past articles we differentiated between these two terms and hopefully clarified your concerns at to the need for both in any custodial operation. One of the worst things you can do is quote a job without workloading it first then developing at least a rough schedule to identify any hang ups that might have been missed. I know of more than one contract that stipulated an area had to be cleaned at a certain time each day that simply did not fit the time frames for efficient and effective scheduling. This resulted in loss of credibility since the prospect expected the winning bidder to have read and understood the specifications before giving a quote that turned out to be wrong.

There are commercially prepared time standards produced by various associations that can give you a good idea of how many square feet per hour can be accomplished using either an upright or back pack unit. These are great places to start but it is highly recommended you develop your own time standards over time. Most of these time standards tend to be “fat” and can actually cause you to lose a contract against an experienced competitor who knows his/her numbers and has developed a better feel for their equipment.

For example, if they choose a quality backpack unit in a large carpeted area they can always quote a lower price based on increased productivity. One caution here is to make sure the customer allows you to use the best technology to get the job done. One client had to renegotiate a contract that required “only upright vacuum cleaners” due to their misunderstanding of the benefits of a backpack.

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