A reader writes: “I use a published time standard for submitting bids and keep coming in high. What am I doing wrong?”

First of all, there are a handful of time standards that are recognized throughout the cleaning industry and the one you mentioned is certainly well regarded. Upon close scrutiny of your process I suggest you NOT select the least productive standard for vacuuming and hard floor care since it does not appear to be the way you clean anyways.

An example is that you utilize the 12” upright vacuum cleaner time standard (close to 14 minutes per 1,000 square feet) whereas I noted that 90% of your vacuum units are back packs which are much more productive (a little under 8 minutes per 1,000 square feet). I also noted that you do not vacuum “wall to wall” each visit but bid the contract that way since most specifications demand thorough vacuuming in hopes that the contractor will either do an adequate job or they will have reason to terminate the contract. I realize that this type negotiations are a “lose/lose” since the other services bidding on the contract agree to the specifications and then reduce their times since they know full well they are not going to fulfill the specs until they are caught and made to comply.

You need to understand that there is a lot of “wiggle room” in these time standards that can cause you to be unrealistically high in your quotes. Please invest some “time” in determining what your real times are for vacuuming, hard floor care, rest rooms, etc. based on the equipment you use. Also take into account how often you deep clean and how often you skip clean while still keeping the customer happy.

The real question to ask is: “What are your time standards?”

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.