Understanding Cleaning Production Rates

Steve Hanson

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When bidding a cleaning account, labor is always the biggest expense. In order to determine your labor expense for a cleaning account you'll need to figure out how many hours it will take to get the job done.

In order to determine the number of hours it will take, you'll need to break the job down into production rates by task. Using a cleaning rates production chart will be helpful in figuring this out. A cleaning production rate is not foolproof, but it will give you an average time per task under normal circumstances.

No situation is ever really “normal", so it's helpful to understand different circumstances that could affect a “normal" cleaning production rate.

Square Footage. Perhaps the account you're bidding on has 2500 square feet of vinyl flooring that needs to be mopped. The standard production rate for mopping is 5000 square feet per hour, so that 2500 square feet of floor should take 1/2 hour to mop. However, you need to ask yourself some questions. Is the vinyl flooring all in one large area? Or is it broken up into two floors, with 4 restrooms, a breakroom, copy room, computer room, and utility room? Do you think it will still take 1/2 hour when the floors are scattered throughout the building? This may not be a “normal circumstance" so you need to take that into consideration.

Task Frequency. How often are tasks being performed - once a day, once a week, once a month? Keep in mind that by lowering the frequency of a task, you're not necessarily reducing time and expense for the customer. Emptying trash 2 days a week versus 5 days a week doesn't really save much time and will affect your production rate. If your bid calls for emptying trash in a busy office twice a week, you may find overflowing trash cans, which will slow your workers down.

Number of Occupants. If you're bidding on a small office building with a few employees and very little public traffic, your production rates will probably soar. However if that same sized building has lots of employees crammed into numerous cubicles, and they get a lot of public traffic, then production rates will go down due to more people occupying the building.

Equipment. If you give your employees the wrong equipment, or give them equipment that has frequent breakdowns, then your production rates will be affected. If your building has wide hallways and open areas, they'll get more accomplished with a wide area vacuum, or a backpack vacuum versus a 12" upright vacuum.

Area of the Country. Buildings located in climates that have snowfall or lots of rain will have more maintenance required due to snow, salt, sand and dirt getting tracked into the building. Climates with high humidity can also affect production rates for hard floor care and carpet cleaning, as drying times are much slower.

Customer Standards. One of the most intangible variables in regards to cleaning production rates has to do with customer standards. Is your prospective customer primarily interested in price? Then perhaps the “normal" production rates will be accurate. However, if your customer is dissatisfied with the current cleaning contractor because the quality of service is not there, then your production rates could be affected because you'll want to make sure your employees are spending enough time on each task.

Keeping these circumstances in mind when walking through a building and bidding on a new cleaning account will help you “massage" the numbers the way they should be for this particular bid.

Copyright 2006 The Janitorial Store

Steve Hanson is co-founder of TheJanitorialStore.com , an online community for owners of cleaning companies. Sign up for Trash Talk:Tip of the Week at http://www.TheJanitorialStore.com Read success stories at http://www.cleaning-success.com


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