Ask the Building Maintenance Experts
Solutions for Your Toughest Problems

ICAN  Q & A  Home

Sunday, October 04, 2015


I need to estimate the usage of paper products and hand soap that will be required per month in a medical office that sees approximately 250 patients per day, and has 18 full time workers/providers on staff.


Last year, someone asked about using $3 per person per month and this was my comment which may assist you as well.
$3 per person per month ($39) may be sufficient, but it all depends on the usage, over which you have little control. Sometimes product such as toilet tissue is stored where it can be taken home by thrifty building occupants.
Why not explore providing the building with these products at a slight markup above your cost? When they are about to run out of hand towels, bring in a new box and invoice for the supplies at month's end apart from the janitorial contract.
This way, theft, increased usage, waste and such is covered by the client, giving them more incentive to monitor the usage and placing you on a more secure footing as a product provider.
You should be able to arrange something with a local paper supplier to make this work.
Back in 2009, these other suggestions were offered.
You might try the ISSA website at:
Most product suppliers should have access to similar calculators for different settings and they should be able to answer your questions. Check with your local product supplier to see what resources they have available.
Also, research some manufacturer’s sites.
Keep in mind the disclaimers on all such aids. Things change and these are estimates, not guaranteed numbers.
Avoid using sq. ft. figures for the basic reason that the size of the building will not determine the paper usage. Consumable usage depends on the number of occupants. A warehouse of 100,000 sq. ft. with four around-the-clock workers will use much less toilet tissue and paper towels than an office building of the same size with 200 occupants working just days.

Additionally, a medical office will see far more hand washing than an office building, so stay on the high side of any estimate until you can document for sure the costs. Even more reason to arrange for a cost plus ordering system mentioned above.

Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Editor