Updated November 16, 2020:

Understanding how to write a bid for a cleaning contract is crucial if you want to secure profitable cleaning jobs. Writing a successful bid requires determining your costs and coming up with a fee that will cover these costs while satisfying your clients and allowing you to turn a profit.

Basics of Writing a Cleaning Bid

Determining the cost of running your business is the first step that you should take when bidding on cleaning contracts. In addition to administrative costs, you will need to determine how much you will spend on your cleaning supplies, travel, and labor. If you don't calculate your costs in advance, it will be difficult for you to write a bid that will let you earn a profit. Calculate how much it costs you to clean an average office or home, and then use this number to calculate a square-foot cost that you can use in your bids.

After you know how much you will spend to complete a standard cleaning job, you should research other cleaning businesses to determine what they typically charge for their service. Generally, a cleaning bid will include an estimate of how long it will take to finish a job, so you need to calculate how long it takes your employees to clean an average-sized room. Make sure that your pricing and services are competitive so that you can win contracts.

The more often you clean a home or office, the faster the job will be, so you should set standard fees that will make your clients interested in scheduling a regular service. For instance, you could set a standard bi-monthly rate but offer a discount for customers that schedule weekly service. You also need to decide what your business considers standard service. Your fees should be enough that they cover your supplies and labor and still allow you to profit from each job.

Standard cleaning services can cover several tasks, including:

  • Sweeping and mopping.
  • Vacuuming and dusting.
  • Disinfecting kitchens and bathrooms.

You should make sure that your customers understand what your standard services include, and that anything beyond these services will cost extra. Special services, which can include laundering bedding, carpet cleaning, or stain removal, can be a good way to increase profits. If you offer special services, you should calculate the additional overhead costs of offering these services so that you don't lose money. Make sure that you have a method in place for keeping track of your costs and what you charge for your services. In most cases, you can use a spreadsheet to keep track of these issues.

Research the Job

Offering the same bid for every project is a mistake that's easy to make when you first start in the cleaning industry. If you want to turn a profit, you should make sure that you're tailoring your bid to the specifics of the project. You should develop a checklist that you can use when discussing a project with a potential client. After you've gone over every item on the list, you should be able to easily write a bid that will satisfy your and your customer's needs.

When assessing a project, the most important issue to determine is what tasks your client wants you to complete. The tasks involved in your project will have the biggest impact on your overhead costs, meaning they will also have the most influence on what you should charge for a given project.

After you know what cleaning tasks your client expects, you need to determine the size and layout of the home or office you will be cleaning. You should measure the square footage of the location to get an idea of how long it will take you to complete the project. Other factors related to the size of the project that you should research include:

  1. How many wood floors there are versus the number of carpeted floors.
  2. How many bathrooms you will need to clean.
  3. If the project requires cleaning any outdoor areas, such as decks or pools.

Finally, before agreeing to a cleaning contract, you need to ask your client if there are any unique requirements that will increase the difficulty of the project. If a job is particularly time-consuming or the cleaning environment is dangerous, you should increase the amount of your bid.

If you need help with how to write a bid for a cleaning contract, you can post your legal needs on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.