To be able to submit a bid price, BSCs must have a firm idea of how many man hours it takes their enterprise to clean a certain number of square feet, and determine how accurate they typically are with this calculation, says Curtis McLemore, the CEO of McLemore Building Maintenance in Houston.

“We know that two plus two is four, but is the BSC taking two plus two and getting five based on their process to come up with their hours?” he asks. “BSCs should know their man hours per day to understand how many hours they should budget and bid for a job.”

Using software is one way to accurately calculate man hours and productivity rates. Software packages allow BSCs to be more effective in their bidding process by building templates and entering default values for standard labor, supply and equipment costs.

That data, along with cleaning frequencies, profit margins and the amount of space specific to the job can be entered in the software. It then automatically determines an accurate bid amount and the number of workers needed, as well as a proposal.

BSCs can also plug their marketing materials into the software. It will help create professional-looking proposals and bids, as well as presentation materials and videos that can be used during meetings with the potential client.

The software also allows BSCs to save data, information and bids. This can be used in the future to create new proposals or to internally analyze costs, bids and the proposal process in order to be more efficient, effective and accurate.

For Thomas Wilkinson, president of Advantage Maintenance in Woodbridge, Connecticut, software provides simplicity. He uses it to effectively present and explain bids so as to educate prospective clients.

“If I can give someone information — and they can see on paper how long [it takes] for us to do the job properly, and they understand that good quality cleaning work takes time — then I am going to have a better chance selling the job and justifying labor hours,” he says.

Wilkinson suggests BSCs include workload reports and fully disclose the price of labor, resources and equipment in their bids. This will show prospective clients that those costs are based on industry standards.

Michael Diamond, managing partner and owner of AffinEco, says his Bridgeport, Connecticut-based firm highlights its safety and training programs in bid proposals, along with details of how much labor, supplies and equipment, technical resources and management involvement will go into the job.

“We talk about the factors that go into our pricing and show that we have enough resources to do the job properly,” says Diamond. “We impress upon them that we are in their neighborhood and we give them local references and local knowledge to show we’re in their market.”

When Diamond’s firm bids on buildings that are staffed by organized labor, it includes all the wages, benefits and staffing that the union requires. His firm also compares those figures with suitable industry productivity rates based on the type of facility. Another valuable piece of information that his firm includes in bid proposals is a description of how supervisors who will be responsible for the potential job have been trained.

“The workers, by and large, are going to do what they are trained to do, but it’s how the supervisors follow up with staff, how those supervisors inspect the work and how they insure that janitors are complying with the contract requirements,” he says.

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