After setting the cleaning tasks, BSCs need to figure out how long each one is going to take.

Production rates can be based on ISSA cleaning times; contractors’ own cleaning times; or a combination of both. 

“You’re going to find in most buildings, there are probably 10 to 15 tasks that are 80 percent of your labor,” says Peduto. 

For specialized areas like restrooms, Walker recommends workloading by doing a fixture count. 

“Everything in the restroom is packaged into a fixture count, and includes travel time, restocking paper supply, includes disinfecting fixtures, mopping floor surfaces, etc.,” Walker says.

Of course there are always variables, which affect production rate, such as the age of a building, the climate of the building’s location, or the building’s layout — the list of variables is practically endless.

“That’s why it becomes an art as much as a science,” says Peduto.

Determining staffing needs will help BSCs calculate the workload more efficiently.

Walker recommends using the team cleaning concept, and breaking down the work by tasks instead of area. 

“We found that the best way to not make it so complicated is to workload the tasks and not the areas,” he says. “Task workloading is a lot better than zone workloading; it can get confusing really fast. It’s really the number one way to establish a balanced workload.”

For example, if you have a team member who is responsible for a very specific set of tasks and only those tasks (e.g. someone who only does restrooms, someone else who only vacuums, etc.), then labor allocation will remain balanced. Otherwise, a janitor who is assigned to a specific floor or area may have less of a workload than a colleague assigned to the high-traffic lobby.

To avoid this issue, Walker says it’s important for BSCs to provide job cards to workers, which outline times for areas and tasks.

To now calculate a customized price per square foot, take the overall cost of the cleaning tasks and divide it by the actual square footage being cleaned. 

Of course other factors come into play when determining a cost analysis, such as wage and benefit information, cleaning supplies, uniforms, background checks, mileage, communications expenses, etc.

But workloading is the first step in job costing, says Peduto, as many costs are based on the amount of labor.

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