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Monday, September 22, 2014

Question

I currently have the opportunity of getting a cleaning contract for a medical office of about 4008 sq. ft. with a waiting area,7 patient rooms and 3 doctor's offices. Daily job is to clean floors, pick up trash, wipe down all counters/desk areas, clean mirrors, service and clean restrooms. Once weekly: dust furniture, clean all glass doors and reception area windows, dust light fixtures, blinds & a/c vents. Once monthly: scrub & strip tile floors, wipe down baseboards, walls and door frames. I really want this first contract, but do not know what to charge...please help.


Answer

If you are in there daily, the place will have little unattended time leading to heavy buildup of dust and litter. A daily service should allow you opportunity to keep up with all the "weekly" things as part of the light-every-night service. How often does obvious dust show up on a light fixture? Just make sure that the ceiling fixtures are clean to start with so you are not facing an unplanned project to clear away years of neglect.
You should be able to clean between 2000 and 2600 sq. ft. per hour in a facility of this nature, but that is only an estimate because there many factors to consider. How many patients go through there each day? How old and beat are the furnishings? How cluttered the areas? What are the floor coverings? How skilled are you? What are you using for equipment?
I would figure a couple of hours a night at a rate high enough to allow you to do a careful job if you have to spend more time, say in bad weather. Aim for $25 to $40 per hour and set a separate price for special services such as floor tile work and wall washing.
Just a word of caution, as usual. Set prices and production times that work for you, not some other outfit. The above are just suggestions to get you thinking of the concerns you must have going into this work.
Another matter to consider is the monthly floor scrub and strip. If you know floor work, you know this frequency is unnecessary for good looking, well-maintained floor tile. Certainly, even an annual strip job is wasteful with today's finishes.
Find out right now why they want that frequent a service. Why do you need to know that?
Because in small, cramped exam rooms refinishing tile is very time-consuming and you will have to charge a high rate to cover your time and fussing. They will not be happy with that and you will begin to hate the too-often service very soon even with good pay.
If the floors are a mess now, find out why, and I can assure you that it is not due to too infrequent stripping and refinishing. The work may not have been done properly to begin with, with too few coats to hold up and allow for maintenance. Who would do that? The last cleaner who was afraid to charge enough to do a quality job!
Or, it could be simple dust mopping and damp mopping neglect.
Or, it could be years of finish build-up on dirt.
No matter, stripping every month is NOT the way to go and do not agree to something so stupid. They are physicians, not floor covering maintenance specialists, so don't expect them or their office staff to guide you. Ask questions and get answers before signing anything.

Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Editor
lekrafft@juno.com