How to Bid a Cleaning Job in 2022: 9 Simple Steps

Win more cleaning jobs

Jake Perry | Updated January 29, 2023

With practice, bidding cleaning jobs will start to come naturally to you. By planning and researching when you’re new to this, you’ll know how to bid a cleaning job and put together competitive bids that help you get clients. 

Here are the nine steps to bid commercial cleaning or residential cleaning jobs.

How to Bid on a Cleaning Job

1. Research Competitors in Your Area

Knowing what other businesses are charging for their cleaning services will help you to determine a fair price for your services. You can use online resources, such as industry-specific websites and forums, to find this information.

For example, a cleaning firm in Los Angeles will probably be more expensive than a cleaning firm in rural Ohio. 

You can call your competitors and hypothetically ask for a quote. It’ll give you a good starting point on how they create their bids and at what price point they are. 

2. Define the Scope of Work

The second step to bid on cleaning jobs is clearly defining the scope of work. 

Think about and answer the following questions:

  • What type of property is it? 
  • How many rooms need to be cleaned?
  • Are there any special cleaning requirements?
  • When is the job required to be completed?
  • What exactly will you be responsible for? 
  • Will you be providing all of the cleaning supplies, or will the client be supplying them? 
  • Will you be responsible for deep-cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms or just general dusting and vacuuming?
  • What are your client’s expectations?

3. Know Your Costs

Here is a quick walk-through of your costs:

  • Transportation
  • Supplies
  • Special equipment
  • Staff hours needed
  • Rental overheads including bills (broken down per day is possible)
cleaning costs

Once you have a clear understanding of your costs, you can begin to put together a more concise bid price.

4. Determine Your Unique Selling Point

What makes your business stand out from the competition? Do you offer a green cleaning service? Do you use all-natural products? Do you have experience cleaning high-end homes? 

Whatever it is that makes your business unique, be sure to highlight it in your bid. This will help you to stand out from the competition and win the job.

For example, if you offer an all-natural cleaning service that isn’t harmful to the environment, then this can be your unique selling proposition (USP). 

You can use your UPS as leverage to charge more than your competition.

5. Assess The Opportunity

Here you need to look at what’s included in the job and how big of an opportunity it is. 

If it’s a big opportunity, like getting a long-term cleaning contract with a large company, then you’ll be able to afford to put in a lower bid. 

If it’s a smaller job, like a one-time cleaning gig for a small business, then you’ll need to put in a higher bid to make it worth your while.

Things to look at when looking into the opportunity are:

  • Specialist equipment
  • Frequency
  • Cleaning extent
  • Special request 
  • Specialist knowledge 

6. Determine Time & Staff Requirements

How long the job will take to complete and how many staff members you’ll need to assign to the job is probably the biggest cost factor. Knowing this will help you to determine your labor costs and how much time you’ll need to block out in your schedule too.

Say that you have calculated it will take 3 hours to clean the building for one person alone, and the staff member earns $25 per hour. That would be worked out as the following:

3h x $25 = $75

If it would take two people on $25 per hour, 4 hours to clean, you would calculate it like this:

2 x 4h = 8h

8h x $25 = $200

Once you know your labor costs, then you can build this into your quote, along with supplier and travel costs, then add your markup to make your overall bid total. But first, you need to work out how long it’ll take, and you do that using square footage. 

7. Calculate Cleanable Square Footage

There are a few ways to work this out, but when you are new to the industry, it can be difficult. 

First of all, you should know a rough estimate of how many square feet it takes one person to clean per hour. This number will differ from person to person and how clean the building is.

A general rule of thumb is that one person can clean approximately 1000 square feet in about 1.5 hours.

But before using this, you need to work out the cleanable square footage. To calculate a room’s square footage, measure the length and width of the room in feet. Then multiply those numbers together to get your answer.

For example:

Length = 20ft

Width = 13ft

20ft x 13ft = 260 square ft

It would take roughly 1.5 hours for 1 person to clean 4 rooms of this size or 23 minutes for each room.

8. Put Together Your Bid Price

Now that you know your costs, square footage, and what your competition is charging, you can begin to put together your bid price. 

Be sure to include everything necessary to complete the job, such as supplies, labor costs, and transportation. In addition, be sure to add a profit margin so that you can make a profit on the job. 

9. Make Your Bid Stand Out

Once you have put together your bid price, it’s important to make your bid stand out from the rest. One way to do this is by offering additional services that are not included in the other bids. 

For example, if you offer window cleaning as an additional service, be sure to mention it in your bid so that the client knows that they are getting more for their money if they choose you. 

Pro-Tip: How to Present a Bid

If you want to get noticed and come across as professional, you need a cleaning services proposal template highlighting why someone should choose you. To paraphrase the famous poet Maya Angelou, people don’t remember what you say, but they remember how you make them feel. 

When you present a bid, you want to highlight to the customer how you will make them feel. Features, for the most part, don’t sell, but if you can transition someone into their future life after you’ve done the cleaning for them, this will hit the emotional parts of people and, in turn, bring you more accepted bids.

For example, let’s say you are a family-run business that plans to aim your target market to be middle-aged parents in the domestic housing market. You could position your bid that while you clean, they can be off having fun with their children. For example, your slogan could be along the lines of ‘We Clean so that you can spend quality time with your family’. 

This positions the customer in the mindset of how it’ll make them feel and impact their life personally, rather than throwing features at them like most of the other bids. It makes you stand out. Try to do something like this to position your business’ vision to potential customers.


Is it easy to bid for commercial cleaning jobs?

It takes a bit of time to get used to the process, but once you pick it up and understand your costs, bidding will come naturally to you. 

Do I need a bid template?

You don’t have to use one, but a bid template will save you time when bidding cleaning jobs. 


By following these none simple steps, you can easily put together a competitive bid for a cleaning job. 

Be sure to clearly define the scope of work, research your competition, know your costs, and make your bid stand out from the rest by hitting on people’s emotional side. 

With a little bit of planning and effort, you’ll start winning cleaning bids in no time.

Written by Jake Perry

Jake Perry

Jake Perry is a writer from the United Kingdom. He travels the world while working from his laptop, learning about new business trends from startups around the world.