If you haven’t written a post-construction cleaning estimate, you might be surprised by how different it is than the estimates you usually write.
There are commercial cleaning estimates. Then there is a post-construction cleaning estimate. And they are two very different beasts. If you’ve ever been near anything even closely resembling a construction site, you know what an absolute mess they can be.
Think of your most involved cleaning job, then multiply that by 100. On a post-construction janitorial assignment, you’ll still do things like dust, vacuum, mop, and so on. But the layers upon layers of dust, dirt, pieces of broken drywall, random nails, streaks of silicone, scuff marks, and whatever else are nearly endless.
All that dust and dirt also ends up in every imaginable crack and crevice you can imagine. Window frames, the tracks for sliding doors, and all the hidden places get covered in dust. In other words, it’s imperative that you do a very detailed walkthrough before you submit a post-construction cleaning estimate. Here’s what to look for.
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What to expect when you write a post-construction cleaning estimate
Even more so than with a regular commercial cleaning estimate, there are many variables to consider with a post-construction cleaning estimate. That means it’s exceedingly difficult to offer an estimate without a visual inspection.
Most good contractors clean as they go and also do some clean-up before they leave. You might be the commercial cleaning company that gets paid to come in after that and work your magic, or you might get hired to do all of that clean-up work.
In either case, here are some of the things you’ll want to consider.
You can’t necessarily rely on square footage. In terms of post-construction cleaning, there’s a significant difference between a 2,000 square-foot open-plan office and a 2,000 square foot office space that includes a dozen or so individual offices.
Pay attention to wall space. Because construction dust gets everywhere, be sure to include wall space in your post-construction cleaning estimate. Every single wall is going to need a good wipe down at a minimum.
Don’t forget the doors. In addition to your typical checklist, items like cleaning door handles, the front, back, top, bottom, and sides of every door will need cleaning. Yes, that includes the hinges.
Be aware of fixtures. Depending on the space, cleaning fixtures could add considerable labor to the project. Open recessed lighting, for example, can be tough to get into.
Estimate the time and cost of material removal. Depending on the contract, you might be responsible for removing and discarding excess lumber, plaster, drywall, old carpeting, and other construction waste. Be aware, too, that you may need to remove hazardous materials, which may incur additional costs.
Include equipment costs. Because there is so much dust and dirt, make sure your post-construction cleaning estimate consists of the cost of equipment maintenance. For instance, you may need to replace the HEPA filters on your vacuums several times with a larger, messier project. And if you’re responsible for HVAC cleaning, you will undoubtedly need to replace those filters, as well. You may also find it necessary to rent some specialized equipment.
Be aware of the time frame. Construction jobs can be tough to schedule, since there are so many moving parts. Before you bid, determine what kind of timeline you’re working with and find out if there are any hard deadlines. You don’t want to get stuck short-handed and trying to rush through a job.
Writing the estimate
Once you know what you’re looking at, and the extent of the work your team will do, it’s time to write the post-construction cleaning estimate.
Generally, you’re looking at three points within the process where a contractor or facility manager will need your services. The “rough clean-up phase” occurs once the framing, electrical, plumbing, and other big work is done. Then, the second phase of cleaning happens after all the more minor detail work is done. Lastly, you can expect a third cleaning right before the space gets occupied.
Find out if the bid is for just one phase or for all three. You may find it more efficient and more detailed to write your post-construction cleaning estimate in three sections that all get included with the final product.
That helps establish what you’ll do in each phase and can prevent misunderstandings, so you aren’t doing more or less than what is needed.
Aside from that, all the usual best practices for writing an estimate apply here, too. Include a short cover letter with your bid that introduces your commercial cleaning company and lists any certifications or specialties, along with a few referrals or reviews.
Put it all together in a nice package and hand it off to the person accepting bids. And as always, be sure to take this opportunity to show off your excellent customer service skills.
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