Bidding is one of the most important aspects of running a successful custodial business. For the sake of this article, let’s assume you are already cleaning some accounts, so we can hopefully assume that you have set your business structure so that you have some corporate protection for your own assets.

Let’s also assume that you have consulted with legal and accounting so that you have a separate checking account, lines of credit, etc. to fund any new ventures. Remember that oftentimes you may have to fund payroll, benefits, taxes, equipment and supplies for 90 days or more before seeing your first paycheck. Be clear in your contract as to when and how you get paid. Of course, you should have workers compensation, liability, bonding and other required insurance in place so that you are not excluded from a bid.

My advice on how to get better at bidding is the same that I have given before. First of all, understand that there is no magic number that can guarantee you a successful account. Note the focus on “successful” since you can always bid the contract so low that you will get it and be on the curb within six months or less due to cost overruns.

Although there is not a magic number, you can research the market in your area and determine that custodial for a certain type building or account is XX cents per square foot. The price will vary based on many factors including wage rates, benefits, type of account being cleaned and levels of service expected by the customer. You may be surprised to learn that the lowest bid is not always the winning bid.

We will continue these thoughts in a future article. 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