ICAN/ATEX: Bidding on a Retirement Home Under Construction

Many cleaning professionals visit the International Custodial Advisors Network (ICAN) Ask the Experts (ATEX) page for insight. They deliver advice to help you perform your job.

Thursday’s QuestionICANATEX Logo

I’m bidding the final clean for a new independent living retirement home. The place is being framed right now, so it will be about a year before it is ready. It’s two stories; around 270,000 square feet; has 117 resident rooms totaling about 87,000 square feet; and includes main dining, a kitchen, an activity room, a craft room, two game rooms, a library, etc. I’ve never bid for a commercial kitchen cleaning, so I’m not sure how to incorporate that.

Based on the plans, it looks like there are 311 first floor windows, 324 second floor windows, and 263 windowed doors. I’m bidding the windows separately. What would you suggest per window, post construction?

Also, how about a square footage price on everything else? Lastly, any idea how many people I would need in order to get this done in a reasonable amount of time? I’m sure I haven’t given you enough information to get an exact estimate, but any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday’s Answer

Wow! Good thing you have a year to put this together!

First, we will tackle the windows: How big are they and how accessible? How easily do the labels come off? If you have a water-fed pole setup, you can do the exteriors in no time. If done with a strip washer and squeegee, you will need a lot longer. Do a similar size and shape, and time the operation.

Do the math to come up with an estimate. For example: minutes spent per window times total windows = total minutes, divided by 60 = total manhours. Multiply the number of man-hours by the hourly wage, and add money for labor burden, your supervision, overhead, and company profit. The breakdown for this may be in the US$3 to $4 range per opening.

Next, let’s talk about the commercial kitchen. No matter what is in there, it is likely to include new stainless steel appliances, needing only a light wipe-down and a few labels removed. Check to see if any of it has been used or is greasy. What do they want done to the flooring there?

There is no way of knowing the square footage price until you break down the tasks you must accomplish and the time needed to do them. How much of the space is carpeted? How long will it take to vacuum? What are you using to vacuum? How much tile is there? Do you need to finish it? How many coats will that take? How dusty will it be when all is said and done?

Manpower: This again depends on what you are doing and how you are accomplishing it. Various tasks take different times. If you can vacuum 9,000 square feet per hour with a backpack, 87,000 square feet will take you close to 10 man-hours. You can use one person for 10 hours, or two workers for five hours. Get together a floor crew, carpet crew, and a detailing crew. They can coordinate their efforts.

Suggestion: Rather than planning to plunge into this full tilt and do the whole building during a weekend with a huge crew, why not see if you can partner with the construction contractor and do each room or section as it becomes available? This could result in the final cleaning of eight to 10 (or more) rooms a day for a three- or four-week period. Floors needing finishing could be scheduled for weekends when no one is in the way. Interior glass can be done as soon as the room is turned over to the final cleanup crew. Exterior glass can be done on any nice day.

Another reason I like this approach is that, if you haven’t worked with this contractor before, you may be able to invoice them as work is done and watch their payout procedure. Explain that you are a small service provider and would really appreciate prompt payment in stages as the work progresses. You may find them quite open to an agreement such as this.

An arrangement like this allows for easier sign-off and simpler punchlist correction. Whatever you agree to, do not allow yourself to be overwhelmed by poorly planned and executed completion schedules that dump everything into your lap at the last minute and expect overnight miracles. Trust us, you don’t want to go there.

Posted On October 14, 2015

Lynn Krafft



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ICAN/ATEX: Bidding on a Retirement Home Under Construction
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