Here at the Clean Up Now system, we teach a 4 pronged approach to pricing office cleaning jobs. It is common practice to fixate on one, sometimes two techniques but typically not all four. I think people tend to think in terms of the best way... how about all of the ways? Yes!
This is can be a first good metric for getting your bearings on the job at hand. It will give you a rough idea of what scale you will be dealing with. Many cleaning pros use only the square footage to set their price. I personally think that is rather lazy and very inaccurate way to go about it. Spend any significant amount of time on a cleaning service forum and complaining about the quote being too low or the job changing in the process is probably the number one gripe. Well, there is a reason for that and blaming the client does little to fix it. You are not being smart enough about your cleaning bids and setting your price. Any of these techniques done by itself would be inadequate. Each approach discloses different information and the more information you have the more accurate your bid will be and the better the job will go.
It is vitally critical that you get this right with your cleaning business.
By doing an in-person visual walkthrough you will notice specifics of the job that will not show up via the other office cleaning pricing techniques. For example, if you spot some office furniture that will need to be moved or will slow you down, that will not show up on a square footage report. There is a ton of data that you will be witness to, that will not show up on a cost calculator either. How messy are the employees? Every office has a culture some are very orderly and tidy some are not!
You should never price jobs for your clients by the hour, but you can calculate an hourly rate privately for you to better check your pricing bidding range. It can be a tool to help you to hone in your office cleaning price. You can learn more about why you should never price cleaning jobs by the hour by signing up for the CleanZine.
There is one specialty niche where hourly cleaning does make sense and that is MoveIn/Move Outs. You can learn more about that exception in the Clean Up Now System pricing & bidding modules.
Cost Calculator (Bidding Form Data)
A cleaning cost calculator is the most inaccurate metric for starting your pricing process, but it has become very popular to put a form on the cleaning service business website with questions like:
This is a pretty lazy way to interact with a potential client.
Notice how the answers to those questions tell you nothing about the break room? How big is it? How messy? How easy is it to access? When is it available to be cleaned?
Another problem with a short cost calculator form is that it does not give you nearly enough insight into the job, but a short form is less annoying for the website visitor. No one really likes filling out a web form, especially on a mobile phone. It is not a pleasant experience for most.
If it is an unusually detailed cost calculator form it may ask:
But a long form is a turn off to your prospective client. Better to have a short form and call them back with more detailed questions. The potential client would much prefer to get a call, so you can call them back and get more detailed information over the phone and enter the data into your form on your end. Better yet, schedule a walkthrough to find out what the space is REALLY like!
For step-by-step instructions on how to use these four tactics and how to give bids, please take a look at the Clean Up Now System.
Further reading:Care.com - Setting cleaning rates