Have you ever gone to bid on a commercial cleaning contract, won it, and later figured out that the location’s poor profit margin made it not worth your time. Mastering the bidding process is just as much an art, as it is a science. Each location comes with a unique set of considerations or variables, all of which can vary the cleaning, time, and staff requirements.

    In this blog series, Mastering the Commercial Cleaning Bid, we will explore topics that help you improve your bidding process, profitability, and turn you into a bidding Jedi Master. In part #2 we’ll explore advice from some of the most intuitive experts in the commercial cleaning biz. With the kind of bidding skills that would make you swear they were Jedis. And if you want to dig even deeper into this topic, read our Complete Guide to Bidding.

    For today, let’s tackle the idea of cleaning variables, and explore why unpredictable elements can make it so challenging to bid. And how to get better at understanding these x-factors while expecting the unexpected.

    Each new space you do a walkthrough, and quote, has unique cleaning demands that can take more or less resources to clean. These cleaning variables dramatically impact your cleaning production rate (more on this later).

    Factor 1 – Open VS Cluttered

    Spaces that are an open layout, and have few employees are much faster to clean than office and buildings that accommodate a lot of employees and fixtures. A quick guideline to figuring out your bidding range is calculating the building’s workstation density. High-density locations might result in more waste bins there are to empty, restroom cleanings needed, and potentially more fixtures that will need to be wiped. The simplest way to calculate workplace density is to divide the number of employees by the square footage: 35,000 square feet / 175 employees =  200. The average workplace density is 250, so anything below that is going to require more resources. The opposite is true for locations that are above 250. Remember this is a guideline.

    Factor 2 – Frequency of Cleaning

    Something to consider is cleaning frequency. How often you will be required to clean the space. Interestingly enough, cleaning a space nightly can save you up to 20% in time compared to places that are cleaned every second night.  When you are considering frequency, it’s important to also consider a cleaning standard. A doctor’s office has a different standard than an insurance office. Plus, we as humans have different standards and depending on who you’re client is can swing the bid.

    Factor 3 – Required Skill Sets & Tools

    Another component of the bid is understanding the skills required for the locations. Is a supervisor required? Is special equipment required?

    Every location you quote is a different size and has a different layout and usage. And, it will be on a different cleaning frequency. The art form of creating an accurate bid is about remembering to look for all the variables that can impact the cost. And when a new variable is discovered, it’s about remembering it next time.

    Some of the common variables are:

    • Size (square footage)

    • Frequency of cleaning

    • Building layout

    • Workstation density (number of employees divided by square footage)

    • Cleaning standard required

    • Cleaning frequency

    • Location usage

    • Traffic level

    • Clean staff requirements (i.e. working supervisor)

    Want to see the full webinar with Gary Clipperton? Free, insightful advice from one of our industry’s foremost experts on topics like bidding, walk-throughs, and how to differentiate yourself from the competition? Of course you do! Fill out the form below and watch the full video.  


    Cleaning companies that care about the bottom line, track their production rate—putting them in a better position to manage the workload and be in control of their profits. Historical performance is a great indicator of future performance (not 100% but pretty accurate).

    Special thanks to Gary Clipperton. You can check out his website here.

    As we roll into bidding season we’ll be putting out two more blogs to help you be prepared, be aware, and be confident in winning those big contracts. Look forward to part 2 of our bidding series coming very soon!

    Swept is dedicated to highlighting stories that touch everyone in the janitorial industry. Having started as a commercial cleaning company ourselves, our hearts go well beyond the janitorial software we offer. Learn more about Swept’s cleaning company software here. And to keep up on all the trends in the janitorial services industry, subscribe to our blog!

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