In today’s COVID-19 environment, there are generally two types of cleaning and disinfecting jobs janitorial business owners find themselves being asked to bid on.
The first kind are project requests from building owners and property managers who are not current clients of the cleaning company, but who want a one-time COVID-19 cleaning and disinfecting proposal for their facility, office or retail store.
These are often prospective clients who may be contacting the cleaning service for the very first time, providing an estimate of the total square footage of the facility and wanting a set price for the one-time disinfecting project.
They may also express an interest in additional scheduled, periodic disinfecting service visits, but not always.
The second kind, which are the focus this article, are requests from current customers whose buildings the commercial cleaning business already services on a regular basis, looking to add disinfecting or increase the frequency of disinfecting to the current work schedule, job specifications (i.e. daily or weekly cleaning) being followed by the janitorial staff for their office.
But these current clients often want to know not only about the COVID-19 disinfecting process itself, but also how adding a disinfecting task might change the number of budgeted cleaning hours currently assigned to their building, as well as their monthly price.
Now, while some of today’s leading janitorial software are helpful in pricing and creating cleaning proposals for the first kind of request; one-time disinfecting projects for new prospects – few cleaning business bidding software programs are pre-loaded to handle the second kind from current clients asking to add specific, individual tasks such as disinfecting to one or more areas of their commercial building.
The answer comes from looking at how the bidding software is programmed, specifically, how it is coded to calculate the cleaning hours needed to perform the job specifications required; clearly identifying the important difference.
Most cleaning business bidding apps simply use broad, one-size-fits-all production rates assigned to an equally broad set of duties (assumed to represent some standard or acceptable level of cleaning) rather than specific production rates for individual tasks.
But, to effectively customize a cleaning work schedule, such as adding a disinfecting task or increasing its frequency to one or more areas in buildings whose size and layout are often quite unique as well – is not easy, if even possible, using crude, overall production rate(s).
As a result, this one-size-fits-all production rate approach offers cleaning business owner little more than a ‘rough’ cleaning time estimate, with potentially costly consequences.
For example, this method of calculating time generally ignores significant differences between buildings in important factors such as size of building (7,500 sq. ft. vs. 125,000 sq. ft.), frequency of cleaning (1x/ week vs. 5x/ week) and kind of business (industrial/manufacturing vs. legal/accounting).
And again, this one-size-fits-all production rate approach to janitorial bidding becomes essentially useless when a cleaning business owner wants to adjust cleaning tasks on a detailed level; consisting of specific duties being required in specific areas of the building with specific frequencies (i.e. 1x/ week, 5x/ week)
In summary, when building owners and property managers are asking commercial cleaning companies to add one specific task, as they are today with disinfecting related to COVID-19, general production rate bidding software falls flat.
Is there an answer? Fortunately, yes.
Janitorial bidding software using task-based work loading is the easy and effective way for janitorial businesses to calculate cleaning times by task, by area – for current clients wanting to add disinfecting services to their company’s existing job specifications and current cleaning contract.
CleanGuru Janitorial Bidding Software is preloaded to calculate cleaning hours using task-based workloading.
1/ it comes pre-loaded with a large selection of individual tasks, like disinfecting, along with an associated production rate for each; providing a detailed, task-based work loading tool for calculating cleaning times from the ‘ground up’ – task by task, area by area.
2/ it lets cleaning companies add one specific task, like disinfecting to the current work schedule/job specifications in one or more areas of a building, or increase the frequency of that one task in certain areas, but not in others
3/ it empowers janitorial business owners to effectively ‘isolate and highlight‘ one task so they can clearly ‘show and explain’ to the customer:
- where the specific task was added, or increased in frequency,
- how it would affect the cleaning time (average hours/visit), and
- how it would affect monthly price
No mystery. No confusion.
Again, task-based work loading, like the kind built into CleanGuru Cleaning Business Software is the real ‘secret’ and power; allowing janitorial companies to take control of actual work schedule/job specifications on a specific, task by task basis.
The good news is adding disinfecting to current cleaning contracts can be easy for commercial cleaning businesses with the right janitorial bidding and estimating software.
Put simply, the ability to isolate the impact of a specific change, such as adding or increasing disinfecting within a current cleaning contract, as well as to explain any associated change in cleaning time or price, makes the value of software utilizing task-based work loading – clear.
Janitorial Business Guide with Sample Work Specifications
Today, more than ever before, cleaning businesses are being asked by building owners and property managers to bid on cleaning and disinfecting jobs related to COVID-19.
These companies often request a one-time COVID-19 cleaning and disinfecting service for various or all areas of their commercial building, such as office, manufacturing, and health care facilities, as well as day care centers and retail stores.
The cleaning business owner needs to secure necessary information about the project, including square footage to be disinfected and density of high-touch surfaces and frequently touched items in order to create as accurate of a disinfecting proposal as possible.
However, while these requests are often made initially for a one-time disinfecting, building owners may also express an interest in additionally scheduled, periodic disinfecting service visits as well.
Janitorial software, like the bidding app offered by CleanGuru, can be helpful in using specific building data, such as size, density and frequency of service to calculate a recommended price and create a professional disinfecting proposal for the project.
There are many important procedures and precautions janitorial businesses need to keep in mind as they prepare to quote on and perform disinfecting service work for their clients.
For example, due to the important health, safety and legal considerations regarding the current COVID-19 crisis, all cleaning professionals are encouraged to rely on the most credible sources of information, such as: Center for Disease Control, CDC.gov, Occupational Safety & Health Administration, OSHA.gov, Environmental Protection Agency and EPA.gov, International Sanitary Supply Association, ISSA.com
Important Legal, Health and Safety considerations:
- Make sure the chemical/product you use is EPA approved for a) the type of disinfecting service you offer; see EPA List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2, and b) the surfaces you’re applying it to; see CDC, Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting. Maintain necessary MSDS documentation.
- Make sure disinfecting chemical/product is approved for the delivery system you use i.e. electrostatic sprayer, fogger
- Make sure you carefully read the product label on the disinfecting chemical you intend to use, and follow the manufacturer’s directions including proper application, dwell time etc.
- Make sure you and your employees are educated and trained (certified if needed; i.e. CDC, IIRC, GBAC) on a) proper disinfecting procedures for the chemical and delivery system you use, and b) necessary P.P.E. equipment to perform the service safely.
- Make sure to check with your state to see if any additional certification/licensing is required for the disinfecting service you offer, i.e. Louisiana, Commercial Pesticide Applicator Certification/License
- Make sure you research and carry any necessary insurance coverages for the disinfecting services you offer; as well as include in your contract bid proposal appropriate legal releases and/or disclaimers.
- Make sure you protect electrical components, if necessary, as directed by manufacturer’s specifications for your chemicals and delivery system (i.e. fogger, electrostatic sprayer)
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be worn, such as latex gloves, disposable gloves, N95 respirator mask, eye protection/safety goggles/face shield and shoe covers, hazmat suits (if required)
Pricing for COVID-19 Disinfecting Jobs:
As the demand for and delivery of cleaning and disinfecting services evolves during the current COVID-19 virus pandemic, there continues to be a wide range of pricing being discussed and used by cleaning companies (building service contractors), as an example $0.05-$0.35/sq. ft. for standard disinfecting, and $0.35-$0.75/sq. or more if a confirmed case has been reported.
Factors or variables affecting price include 1) kind of facility to be serviced (i.e. accounting office vs children’s day care), as well as 2) density of high touch surfaces and 3) delivery method to be used (i.e. hand/backpack sprayer, electrostatic sprayer, fogger)
Other factors contributing to the range in prices charged for disinfecting services include the differences in wage rates paid in various parts of the country, as well as, in how quickly the demand for these service arose due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cleaning contractors who never delivered this kind of service before were faced with quickly learning 1) how to safely and effectively perform proper cleaning and disinfecting, 2) what safe, approved chemicals to use 3) what ‘delivery’ system to use, i.e. electrostatic, hand/backpack sprayer etc. 4) what their own square footage pricing range should be, or 5) what their own production rate for performing the service should be ‘on average’ or by individual case, given the specific location and factors involved.
As time goes on, the experience gained by actually delivering these services will yield more and more useful data to help improve how accurately and consistently these services are priced and performed.
For now, useful cleaning business software can help in determining competitive yet profitable pricing for these disinfecting jobs. Cleaning companies not utilizing bidding software, but who want to provide disinfecting services may want, at least initially, to offer them on an hourly billing rate basis.
10-Step Work Specifications for Disinfecting Proposal:
Below is a sample 10-step task description for disinfecting services; and we recommend it be carefully reviewed and edited for the method being used i.e. hand/backpack sprayer, electrostatic sprayer, fogger
- Proper P.P.E Equipment including latex gloves, N95 respirator mask, eye protection/safety goggles, shoe covers and hazmat suit if required will be worn at all times while on-site performing cleaning and disinfecting service.
- Walkthrough will be conducted to organize an effective workflow plan given layout of facility.
- Chemical/product used for disinfecting will be registered/approved by the EPA as effective for use against coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Approved equipment/supplies will be checked and prepped for use; i.e. sprayers, foggers.
- High touch surfaces/objects will first be thoroughly cleaned using a detergent-based cleaner and microfiber cloth.
- When dry, chemical disinfectant will be applied directly to high-touch surfaces and objects using a) approved hand/backpack sprayer, electrostatic sprayer or fogger b) microfiber cloths to prevent unwanted overspray, and c) following manufacturer’s recommendations including P.P.E, application, dwell time and ventilation.
- Disinfectant will be allowed to ‘sit’ for the required dwell time specified by the manufacturer’s instructions, listed on product label.
- Surfaces and objects that dry due to evaporation will be re-sprayed if needed to assure proper coverage.
- Once recommended dwell time is up, surfaces and objects will be wiped dry using clean microfiber cloth, or allowed to air dry, based on manufacturer’s instructions.
- When finished, all equipment and supplies will be safely removed or disposed of properly; clothing will be collected to be laundered.