What do janitor services cost for an office, retail space, manufacturing facility, school, medical office, restaurant, or any type of business, for that matter? For almost any organization, cleaning accounts for 20% to 35% of facility expenses. And of course, janitor labor makes up the largest share of total cleaning costs. And more complicated and thorough cleaning processes during the COVID-19 pandemic have only increased those costs.
Still, business leaders are under tremendous pressure to turn profits. Facility managers and commercial janitor service providers must be prepared to justify the cost of their cleaning processes. To answer the root question, what do janitor services cost, managers need accurate answers to the following questions:
- How long does it take to clean each work area?
- How does changing the cleaning frequency affect janitorial cleaning costs?
- For the time being, how much do COVID-19 cleaning requirements affect costs?
- How will the cleaning results be affected if janitorial service costs are cut?
- How is the cost of janitorial services impacted when square footage is increased or decreased?
- For organizations who hire their own janitorial cleaning services, what would a change in wages do to cleaning costs?
- What is the most effective cleaning plan to ensure good cleaning results while protecting profits?
According to David Frank, CEO of the American Institute for Cleaning Sciences or AICS, many industry experts falsely believe that they can walk into a facility and quickly determine how many hours, people, and products are needed to effectively clean a building. “This guesswork is neither a reliable nor an accurate method for developing a janitorial cleaning plan,” says Frank.
The Importance of Good Data
For janitorial cleaning estimates and budgets to be accurate, they must be driven by good data. Additionally, good data helps identify opportunities to help janitors do their jobs more efficiently.
Frank suggests that before starting the cleaning assessment process, “you must forget everything you know for now.” This includes staffing numbers, labor hours, and current scope of work. These numbers many be useful for comparison after the scoping process, but will otherwise lead to false conclusions
Step 1: Measure Cleanable Space
Calculate the total amount of cleanable space in the facility or building. This is different than square footage. Cleanable space only includes the area that is actually cleaned. This can be done by measuring and categorizing each area, or by looking at the building’s architectural drawings. Keep in mind the latter may be outdated or inaccurate in some other way. The goal is to get the exact square footage for each cleanable surface. Include other cleanable surfaces, such as desks and chairs.
Step 2: Determine Cleaning Tasks and Frequency
There are three main categories of cleaning tasks: daily, detail, and project. Daily cleaning tasks include restrooms, trash removal, and vacuuming. Detail work includes dusting high places and spot cleaning. These are usually scheduled. Project work occurs less frequently and includes deep cleaning such as carpet and upholstery. Stripping floors is another example of project work.
After the tasks have been identified, a cleaning frequency will be assigned to each. The frequency is the number of times the cleaning task needs to be performed in a year. For example, a task that is done five days per week is completed 260 times per year.
Together, your task list and annual frequencies make up the scope of work.
Step 3: Calculate labor hours.
Now you can calculate how many janitorial labor hours are needed to clean each area by assigning a cleaning time to each task. This can be calculated by doing your own time-motion analysis or by consulting resources such as ISSA’s 612 Cleaning Times.) For example, if the task of vacuuming a 7,500-square-foot carpeted area is to be performed 260 times a year and its cleaning time is 10,000 square feet per hour the task time, which is 1.5 hours. Calculate annual time in hours by multiplying the task time by the annual frequency (.75 hours x 260) to get 195 hours per year. Repeat this process for each cleaning task.
Step 4: Determine labor cost.
After calculating the total annual cleaning time, the labor cost will be found by multiplying the total hours by the hourly wage and other payroll costs. Final cost also should include supply costs, equipment depreciation, miscellaneous job costs (background checks, drug testing, mobile phones, uniforms, etc.), overhead, administration, and profit.
If this process seems like a lot, you are correct. It may also be an indication that outsourcing your cleaning to a commercial janitorial service is a better alternative for you. A professional janitorial cleaning service, such as Commercial Building Maintenance, knows how to accurately calculate your janitor services cost and will guarantee the best cleaning result for your business.
Commercial Business Maintenance operates throughout Maryland, Virginia, and DC and specializes in auto dealership cleaning as well as other commercial property maintenance. Let us help you set your auto dealership or business apart from the others with superior commercial and retail cleaning service. Contact us today for a free estimate.
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