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Commercial Cleaning Prices: How Much to Charge

November 10, 2020 7 min. read
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Pricing commercial cleaning jobs can be tricky. Commercial cleaning prices vary considerably between jobs due to building size, special requests, demand, and service types.

It’s also not uncommon for already big and complex commercial cleaning jobs to become even larger and more complicated as the job progresses.

The result? Costs snowball out of control, and profits suffer.

But, you won’t be unprofitable if you learn to master commercial cleaning service pricing.

Commercial cleaning prices: average rates

Average commercial cleaning rates vary from $0.07 to $0.15 a square foot (sq. ft) or $50 to $100 an hour.

In addition to standard cleaning, here’s a commercial cleaning rate chart to give you an idea of what you can charge for specialty commercial cleaning services.

Type of commercial cleaningAverage commercial cleaning rate
Stripping and waxing$.30 to $.50 per sq ft
Buffing and burnishing$.04 to $.12 per sq ft
Ceramic tile cleaning$.12 to $.21 per sq ft
Carpet cleaning$.08 to $.25 per sq ft
Window cleaning$2 to $5 per windowpane

How to price commercial cleaning jobs

Many commercial cleaners mistakenly set prices based on prevailing rates in the area. Some even choose to undercut the competition to win more business.

Don’t make these mistakes.

Instead, price for profit by following these four steps:

Step 1: Get clear on the job details

Consider all the factors listed previously, such as the job location, type of cleaning, and building size. The best way to get all this information is to visit the job site, speak to the client on the phone, or use your CRM to track every job detail.

Step 2: Calculate your labor cost

Follow these three steps to calculate your labor cost:

A. Determine the number of labor hours
First, determine how many hours a job will take. Then, take this number and multiply it by the number of employees on the job to get your labor hours. For example, if your job requires 50 hours and three employees, the labor hours are 150 (50*3 = 150).

Pro Tip: Knowing how long a job will take when you’re starting out can be tricky. To help, use time tracking software to track how long your crew spends on a job and use that information to estimate time spent on future jobs.

READ MORE: How to start a commercial cleaning business

B. Calculate your hourly labor cost
Your hourly labor cost includes the hourly wage and extras like worker’s compensation, taxes, and other employee-related expenses. Twenty percent is usually a reliable amount to add for these extras over and above your employee’s wage. For example, if you pay employees a $15 wage, your hourly wage is actually $18 ($15*1.2).

C. Multiply labor hours by labor cost
Your total labor cost for the job is now $2,700.00 (150*$18).

FREE TOOL: Get our cleaner salary guide, 100% free

Step 3: Factor in overhead, insurance, and equipment

There are monthly costs you should factor in when pricing. These include marketing, cell phone, data, travel, insurance, rent, and commercial cleaning business software like Jobber.

Your exact overhead costs will differ from other commercial cleaning businesses, but adding 20-25% to the previous total is usually a reliable marker.

Continuing with the previous example, multiply your total labor cost by your overhead costs. The job’s total cost is now $3,240.00 ($2,700.00*1.20).

Need help tracking your business expenses? Try expense tracking software.

Step 4: Add your markup

Finally, add your markup. Your markup, usually expressed as a percentage, is the amount you add to your cost to make a profit. For example, a 30% markup gets you a final price of $4,212.00 ($3,240.00*1.30). That’s a profit margin of 23%.

To dive deeper into the topic of pricing, markups, and margins, read How to Determine Pricing for Your Service Business.

Factors that influence commercial cleaning service prices

There are several factors to consider before setting your commercial cleaning prices, determining your pricing strategycreating a quote, and bidding on a cleaning contract:

  1. The size of the building: As a general rule, you’ll bid a lower sq. ft price for a larger building, even though the overall project value will be more. A large building will also have more rooms to clean, increasing the work required and the overall rate.
  2. Type of building: Certain buildings allow you to charge more per sq. ft due to more specialized cleaning needs. For example, you can charge more per sq. ft for a medical building than a general office block.
  3. Type of rooms: High-traffic rooms take longer to clean (e.g., bathrooms, breakrooms, and kitchens), increasing the overall cost.
  4. The type of cleaning service: Certain commercial cleaning services have a higher price tag. For example, stripping and waxing generally cost more than buffing and burnishing. A deep clean will also have a higher price tag than a basic clean because it’s more thorough.
  5. The state of the office building: A dirtier office building requires more cleaning, so you should charge more.
  6. Job location: The further you have to travel to the job, the higher your rate to cover costs. To keep costs down, optimize your routes to reduce mileage and schedule all clients who are close to each other on the same day.
  7. Demand for commercial cleaning services: You should charge a rate that’s unique to your business, based on costs and desired margins, and not fixed to industry averages. However, it helps to understand the demand in your area and use it to guide your price. For example, if there’s higher demand, you can set a higher price than a business operating in a low-demand area.
  8. Cleaning frequency: It’s common for commercial cleaning professionals to charge less as cleaning frequency increases because each subsequent visit requires less cleaning.
  9. Experience: A longer time in the industry means you have more experience and a better reputation, so you can charge more. We don’t ever recommend undercharging or discounting unnecessarily. Instead, build up your experience and reputation so you can charge premium prices.

Different methods for pricing commercial cleaning jobs

There are four different methods for pricing commercial cleaning jobs: hourly, fixed, per room, and per square foot.

The pricing method you choose will depend on your scope of work, preferences, and expertise. And, you may very well find that you alternate between the pricing methods at any given time.

1. Hourly rate

Charging an hourly price works when you’re unsure about the scope of work. This makes it ideal if you’re new to commercial cleaning.

There are a few drawbacks, though. First, you’re not rewarded for getting better and faster at what you do. Second, it can lead to price haggling and mistrust if the client feels you’re purposefully working slow.

2. Flat fee

By charging a single price, clients feel in control of their budget, you avoid price haggling, and don’t get penalized for doing your job efficiently.

A fixed fee works well when you understand the scope of work, making it ideal for established cleaners. The biggest con of this pricing method is that if you underestimate the costs, you’ll have to absorb them.

FREE TOOL: Try our free cleaning receipt template

3. Average room rate

Here you determine how many rooms to clean, work out the per-room rate, and average it out. For example, if you’re cleaning an office building, you may have a bathroom ($100), kitchen ($150), two separate offices ($75 each), and a reception ($50). Your average room rate would be $90 ($450/5).

4. Square foot rate

Your square foot rate will vary based on the size and type of surface. The bigger the building, the lower the square foot rate. Similarly, the harder it is to clean the surface, the longer it’ll take, and the higher your rate.

FREE TOOL: Get paid faster with our free commercial cleaning invoice template

Run a more profitable commercial cleaning business

Deciding what to charge for commercial cleaning jobs may seem tricky because each job is unique. But you can master pricing with some guidance and hard work.

Hopefully, this post provided that guidance by showing you what factors to consider when pricing, the four methods you can use, and the exact steps to price for profit.

Just remember that once you’ve mastered pricing, you have to send professional quotes, track crucial job details, and collect invoice payments.

Try using commercial cleaning software, or a CRM, quoting, and invoicing tool, to see how you can organize your business and impress your customers.

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