How to Estimate Janitorial Contracts

Prepare your janitorial bid estimates carefully.
Prepare your janitorial bid estimates carefully. (Image: 窓拭き ラクレット image by kelly marken from

A janitorial business requires the ability to accurately bid commercial jobs. Although running a competitive business might require cutthroat prices, you will lose profits if you bid too cheaply, and this could jeopardize your entire operation. Conversely, if you bid your jobs too expensively, you might not win enough bids to remain in business. Staying in business requires you to accurately estimate your costs, and once you learn this basic skill, you can compete successfully.

Add all your single-use items that consist of such things as cloth rags, rubber gloves, bristle sponges, garbage bags, hairnets or toilet bowl dye capsules. You must include this total in your bid, so you can break even on these supplies.

Calculate your consumable costs by dividing the total usage you receive from each container of cleaning agent. For example, if you have a bottle of cleaning agent that costs $7 for 16 ounces, and you can get three usages out of the bottle, your consumable costs equal $2.33 because $7 divided by three equals $2.33.

Add your total wages to your bid. If you pay yourself $25 per hour for labor, and your cleaning job takes two hours, you would need to add $50 to the bid.

Add the employee wages to your bid. For instance, if you have five employees and you pay each employee $10 per hour, and if your total time will take two hours then you would have to add $100 to your bid to cover your employee wages because 10 times five employees equals $50, and $50 multiplied by two hours equals $100.

Add your consumable costs, single-use item costs, employee wages and personal wages. These combined costs represent your break-even total that you must charge to make sure you cover all your costs.

Calculate special fees that take into consideration special cleaning environments such as bodily fluids, molds or rotten food. Hazardous or difficult cleaning environments should carry a surcharge because of the hazards involved and/or the special cleaning agents required.

Calculate mileage costs into your bid at a rate double the current price of gas. Doubling gas costs ensures you cover your costs for mileage and wear and tear on your vehicle.

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