How Should I Bid for a One-Time Cleaning Project?

Business dealOften, clients will ask you to do specific tasks that are not in the cleaning contract and understand you will charge additional fees. Clients generally ask for a bid or proposal to do the job. A general rule-of-thumb in the industry is to bill “X” amount of dollars per square foot. In this every-changing industry and because of the economy, the potential to be outbid is highly likely. Many clients will simply go with the lowest bidder, even if the results of the work are poor. Consider several things to create a perfect proposal for a one-time cleaning project.

Always Do a Walk-Through

When a client requests a bid for a specific cleaning job, always do a walk-through of the area they’re requesting special services for. Investigate the area carefully to understand how difficult the job could be. Ask questions and take notes. Ask the client if you may take pictures so you can review them later before creating a proposal for the job.

To give an example: if a client requests one or all of their flooring areas be stripped and waxed, ask when the last time the job was done. Ask the client if they know what products the previous contractor used. If a previous contractor made any mistakes, such as using too much wax or using the wrong products, it can be your worst nightmare. A heavily waxed floor may require much more work than you expect to remove the wax. Use of the wrong products could also be an issue.

Find Out the Square Footage of the Area or Areas

Bidding based on only the square footage of the area is standard in the commercial cleaning franchise industry. Consider pricing per square foot as a starting point, but it’s critical to consider other factors. Not all jobs are equal based on the square footage of the area. Some floor types require much more extensive work.

Consider Your Time, Products and Employee Costs

Certain types of floors, carpets, windows and other cleaning services may require specific products. Those products may be more costly and bring your profit margin down. After you do the walk-through with the client, research how much each product costs before giving your client the proposed price to do the job. Consider the time it will take you to do the job. In many cases, the job will take more time than you expect. Always add an hour or two to help your profit margin.

Some special projects may require your most skilled employees or even an outside contractor to help. This can also be more costly for the special project. As the saying goes, “time is money”.  Some professionals in specific industries such as carpet cleaning and window washing may help you for decent wages. If it’s a one-time project, consider offering a flat rate, rather than an hourly rate, to your team working with you. Having the right people on the job allows you to accomplish the job quickly with excellent results.

Provide Expertise and Excellent Customer Service

During the walk-through, provide your expertise regarding the special project. Talk to the clients about what products you’ll use, what equipment it requires and how you plan on tackling the job. If you’re driven, you’ll bid on special projects you know very little about. If one of your clients asks you to bid on a task you’re unsure of, find someone in the industry to go with you when you do the walk-through. If the bid is for a client that you don’t clean for, suggest another company that has expertise doing the special projects. Helping out another business or contractor will help you in the long run. They’ll assist you with your clients. Keep a rolodex of individuals that are knowledgeable outside your areas of expertise.

Also provide excellent customer service during the walk-through, even if it’s one of your current clients. Be gracious and thank the client for allowing you to have the opportunity to be considered for the project. For new clients, dress appropriately and provide the same excellent customer service. Show your business by wearing a shirt with your business’s logo on it. If you don’t have any apparel with a logo, dress business casual. Potential clients appreciate a very professional demeanor. It shows the client you’ll do the job with right.

Here’s a quick recap of how to bid on a one-time cleaning project:

  • Always do a walk-through of the client’s facility.
  • Consider the price based on the square footage of the project, but consider everything combined.
  • Research product prices and consider it for the bid. Worldwide Janitor has a large selection of high-quality products and equipment at wholesale prices, even for the toughest jobs.
  • Assemble a qualified team for the project, even if you have to find an outside contractor.
  • Have a professional demeanor and provide excellent customer service to your potential client.

If you follow these simple steps, you’ll come up with a price for your impressed potential client, even if other companies bid lower than you.


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