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Wednesday, November 25, 2015


I have been given the opportunity to bid on cleaning a movie theater. The building is 30,000 square feet with 7 theater spaces ranging from 47 seats to 247 seats. We would need to clean those areas, including wiping of chairs, high and low dusting, sweeping/mopping/vacuuming. There is one lobby, one bar area, two sets of bathrooms, a full service kitchen, and a patio area as well. The owner/manager wants us to come in 7 days a week after hours and says that his staff currently gets the building clean in about 2 1/2 to 4 hours depending on business traffic for that particular day. We would like to pay out no more than 60 hours/month for the job in order to keep the overhead under control. The company is providing all cleaning supplies and tools as well as consumable materials like trash bags and toilet paper/paper towels. How should I bid on this job? He has already given me a budget of no more than roughly $2000/month.


Bid very carefully. This is a lot of work, or can be, if the theaters are heavily used. The initial question is, Can you make any money doing this work?
Let's break it down as best we can.
Start by averaging the given hours. 3.25 hours of production means a rate of 9231 sq. ft an hour if "his staff" is one person. But that is unlikely. "Staff" probably means 2 or more, but let's use 2 cleaners for the example. Their 6.5 man-hours means a production rate of 4615 sq. ft. per hour which sounds more reasonable.
Using 6.5 man-hours a night for the 31 nights in most of the months of the year, you spend 201.5 hours each of those months. If your labor rate is $8.50 an hour, your payroll for the month will come to $1712.75. Add 20% for labor burden and you reach (342.55+1712.75) a total for just your labor of $2055.30! You are over your budget and operating at a loss!
60 hours a month means 2 hours a night of cleaning for 30 days. Even the present operation is spending 2.5 hours minimum. How will you do it faster?
Given the information you sent us, I can't see how you can do this work and make any profit on the job. You can cut your labor rate, but will anyone work late nights for minimum wage?
Anyone doing this sort of work and having actual times and costs is invited to respond and help us out.

Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Editor