How to Bid a Commercial Cleaning Job: Janitorial Contracts

How much should you charge for commercial cleaning services?

Nelmie Jane Pardo | Updated April 22, 2023

You want to offer a realistic bid that represents the quality of your services and yields attractive profits. 

The ideal bid should assure your client that you’re the best company for the cleaning job. 

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned business owner, we’re ready to help you price your bid accurately and impress clients.  

How to Bid a Commercial Cleaning Job

1. Measure the Square Footage.

Walking through the property with the client is the first step in estimating your cleaning project. Every business has unique cleaning needs, so an onsite visit is essential to determine how much work needs to be done. 

Doing a walkthrough helps you: 

  • Build a personal connection with the client
  • Discuss the cleaning job in-depth
  • Better understand the client’s needs

You also get to find out if the client actually shared accurate details about the condition of the building. Some clients tend to underestimate the amount of cleaning that needs to be done.

The last thing you want is to give a quote that’s short of the actual cost of the cleaning job. 

It’s a good idea to measure the cleanable square footage of the property, especially if the customer isn’t sure. Determine the number of rooms that needs cleaning, including rooms that require deep cleaning.  

2. Evaluate the Job Site Thoroughly.

Jot down notes about the property’s overall condition, and list the cleaning supplies and equipment you’ll need to clean it thoroughly. These could add to the overall cost of the cleaning job. 

You can use an audit sheet covering the number and types of rooms, flooring, windows, and fixtures throughout the property. 

Pro tips to ensure an accurate bid: 

  • Take note of circumstances that make the cleaning job extra tricky. For example, some clients may ask you to clean high walls and ceilings, requiring the use of ladders and other tools. 
  • Factor in any special requests, like using eco-friendly cleaning solutions. 
  • Discuss the frequency of cleaning tasks
  • Take pictures if necessary with the client’s permission. 

Your notes and photos will help you create an accurate cleaning proposal without underpricing yourself. Create a custom cleaning plan to reduce expenses and maximize profits.

3. Decide How to Price Your Bid.

Your price is a delicate balance between gaining profit and making the job affordable enough to get repeat clients. 

Know how to price commercial cleaning jobs correctly by accounting for these costs: 

Cleaning Supplies and Equipment 

What exactly do you need for the job? Do you have to use particular tools for special client requests? Find out if there are cost-effective options to slash the costs and if the cleaning job requires similar supplies and tools as your other existing and upcoming jobs. 

Labor and Transportation 

You should determine the number of cleaners the job requires and if you need special skills, such as handling chemicals and hazardous wastes in health care facilities or cleaning commercial range hoods in restaurants. 

Compute the approximate number of hours the job will take and if you can get it done more efficiently by hiring more cleaners. Additionally, you have to estimate transportation costs and the number of vehicles you’ll need to accommodate your crew and equipment. 

Insurance, Taxes, and Other Fees 

Operational costs, such as insurance and taxes, are also part of commercial cleaning bids. Factor in around 10 to 20% for overhead costs, including your cleaning service marketing plan such as Facebook ads, direct mail, flyers, etc.

You can charge per hour, per job, per room, or per cleanable square footage. On average, commercial cleaning prices range anywhere from $0.05 to $0.25 per square foot, depending on the facility size and type. 

Add a Markup

Add your preferred markup to make a profit. You can add anywhere from 10% to 28% or higher on top of your overall cleaning cost to achieve your desired profit. 

4. Offer Attractive Deals.

Gain an edge over the competition by offering a loyalty program for repeat clients. You can entice clients with special rates, promotional packages, and cost-saving bundles. However, make sure you still earn enough profit at the end of the day to keep your business growing. 

5. Prepare Your Pitch.

Coming up with an accurate estimate is half the battle; after that, you should prepare your sales pitch for your cleaning business and present your bid professionally to impress potential commercial cleaning clients, including commercial property owners, property managers, office administrators, and small business owners. 

Reassure your client that you’re the best commercial cleaner around with the following information: 

  • A portfolio of your successful commercial cleaning projects featuring clear before-and-after shots and videos 
  • Glowing testimonials from happy customers 
  • Certifications of your professional cleaning team 

Be sure that you fully understand what your client wants and that you meet all bid requirements, including licensing, certifications, and insurance plans. Proper insurance gives your client peace of mind until the job is done. 

A clear and comprehensive bid letter includes:  

  • A brief outline of the cleaning job
  • Your commercial cleaning services and the frequency of each task
  • The cost of each task
  • Your start date 

Beat the Competition and Win Commercial Cleaning Jobs

Now that you know how to bid a commercial cleaning job like a pro, you’ll be able to master the bidding process and successfully get cleaning projects.

Remember that your final bid communicates the quality of your services, so don’t undervalue your cleaning company to win the job. 

The next step is to find out how to get commercial cleaning contracts so your business gets busy year-round.

Written by Nelmie Jane Pardo

Nelmie Jane Pardo

Nelmie Jane Pardo is a senior contributing writer who lends insight into digital marketing methods and business solutions. She regularly writes at BusinessHue to help business owners take their online marketing to the next level.