We have discovered that charging by the hour rather than by the square foot for commercial office building cleanings provide more accurate results. If you want to know how to price office cleaning by the hour, we can show you step by step and why it has worked for us for over 27 years in the professional cleaning industry.
Let’s explore why we charge by the hour for general cleaning offices.
There are many professional janitorial companies that charge by the square foot for office cleaning. We price by the square foot also, but only for deep cleaning floor care and not general cleaning.
General cleaning would consist of dusting and polishing surfaces, disinfecting rest room surfaces, window care, vacuuming carpet, and mopping floors. These basic office cleaning tasks can vary throughout within the same office. Since this is the case, it would not be fair to charge one rate for several different room types. So, we just never did.
Again, this is simply what we preferred.
Look at this example:
Office A, 350 square foot, heavy density with a tiled floor. This may take 15 minutes to clean. Office B, 350 square foot, light density with carpet. This one may only take 8 minutes to clean. Office B would of course take the shortest amount of time because there’s very little furnishings, (light density). Also, consider the floors. Only one pass, vacuuming, is required for Office B because it is carpeted. Office A would need two passes, dust mop and damp mop.
It is understandable that you would charge more for cleaning Office A than cleaning Office B because Office A would take more time to clean. So, for us, we would simply add man hours to clean.
Over time, you will learn how to balance your clean time. Balancing actual clean time is easy once you start cleaning and become familiar with the office space. But, for the purposes of bidding an office cleaning, you would want to charge the maximum rate. Just in case.
Adding estimated man hours to provide general cleaning to office buildings is easier than charging by the square foot because it gives a much more exact price.
If you were to multiply the example above and apply it to an office size of 5,000 square foot, you would get a more accurate price for cleaning. Sure, pricing commercial cleaning jobs by the hour will require a longer initial walk-through, but it is worth it. The bid for general cleaning will be more precise.
Now, let’s discover how to price by the hour for office cleaning.
First, on the initial walk through, collect all information as it pertains to your scope of services.
Do a brief overview of your client’s expectations while collecting measurements and estimating clean time.
Counting man hours for office cleaning seemed like an easier process for us in the long run. Plus it helped having a handy tool like Customer Profile Worksheets for Commercial Office Cleaning Jobs.
Worksheets like these enabled us to jot down the “estimated” hours to clean as we observed on our first walk through. And, we were able to quickly write down the square foot, floor type, and density per area.
Try your FREE copy today>>>
Secondly, once you have walked through and collected all pertinent information, multiply that time by your hourly fee.
Example: If it would take you an estimated 10 hours to perform a general office cleaning, divide that by 2 people. You will get 5 hours per person. 5 hours x $30 per hour, per person. That is $300 per cleaning. (This would be a lot of work for one person. It would be better to have 2 people).
Lastly, factor in the frequency of cleaning to set your final bid amount.
If your customer wants cleaning twice a week, great. Then multiply $300 x 2. So, it would be $600 per week to clean. Multiply that for an annual contract, 52 weeks per year is $31,200. Now bill it monthly, $31,200 divided by 12 months is $2,600 per month.
(Just a little advice, it may be ok to shave off about 5% – 10% to be competitive. Trust me, you will make this up in the labor costs. It usually takes about 2 months to become familiar with an office space. You will learn to move at a better pace.)
We learned how to move at a better pace through an office when we became familiar with the space over time.
I will never forget it. It was the first bid I had to do that required 5 nights of cleaning. (Long before I even met my husband).
I was used to cleaning small offices once or twice a week. So, when I got an opportunity to give an office cleaning proposal for nightly cleaning, I didn’t know what I was in for.
I priced the office cleaning wrong. All wrong. I charged them full price as if I was going to perform all tasks every night. That is not how it works. That is not how it should work.
Well, if I wanted to win the bid, I had to adjust my price. And, I had to adjust it quickly! I had to learn how to bid a commercial cleaning job the right way.
See, when you price commercial cleaning, you have to adjust your prices a little. When you do your walk through, it is wise to write down all cleaning times. Just so that you will have a ball park range of how long it may take you to clean. But, when it comes to the actual (real time) cleaning, this “time” will be much lower. Sometimes as low as 25%.
In thinking of the above scenario of 10 hours to clean, it may only take 8 hours. So, adjust your price accordingly. Just sayin’.
One other thing, consider the geographic location of the office, size, frequency of cleaning, and the type of cleaning you are providing. All of this will play into how much you should charge per hour to clean offices.
The amount per hour is completely up to you.
The national average for commercial cleaning is $20 per hour to $50 per hour according to this article. (U.S., 2018). There is no set price. There is no janitorial pricing chart. Simply, the more you know, learn, and continue to improve on, the more valuable of a contractor you and your company will become. Translated, the more you can charge by the hour for commercial cleaning. In other words, you can make as much as you want from a janitorial cleaning service.
To wrap it up: Charging by the hour gives a more precise commercial cleaning quote than charging by the square foot. Take thorough notes, measurements, and task lists at the initial walk through. Once you have estimated the costs for everything, and I mean everything, adjust your prices appropriately. We learned how to price office cleaning by the hour, using this step by step guide.
We hope this has been beneficial for your business. If so, please share it.
“The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” — Mark Zuckerberg
Until next time,
Creator of A Janitor’s Story®. I started my office cleaning side hustle at 20 years old. Years later, with the partnership of my husband and our amazing staff, my business grew to mid-six figures and fulfilled my wildest dreams! Now, 27 years STRONG, I’ve retired, and I help aspiring entrepreneurs to START and GROW their house and office cleaning service businesses to achieve their biggest dreams. I’d like to help you do the same.
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