No two buildings and no two jobs are the same.

Calculating cleaning times can be difficult due to the number of variables in each task. No projects are identical – they could be the same size, in the same location, but one, for a variety of reasons, could be more complex than the other.

Whilst it’s possible to work from benchmarks and averages – ISSA – the leading association for the cleaning industry, has productivity timings that can be applied to a building based on the square footage to be cleaned, the estimates would ideally only be a starting point.

At Tudor Group, we insist that every job we price is estimated through a site visit. We can do some of the pre-work and give benchmark figures based on information as a desktop exercise – but our site surveys are exact, so we can tailor our services to the specific needs of that building and, most importantly, the customer.

Estimating a cleaning job

What are some of the considerations?

The type of building matters. A hotel is different to an office which is different to a warehouse which is different to a school. Cleaners in health care facilities, for example, must follow more detailed cleaning procedures and precise standards, than those in an office or hotel.

The size of the building must be considered, too. The square meterage/square footage is a key metric that we use to calculate the requirements, in addition to the layout – a building could have the same square meterage, but one big open-plan office is different to twelve smaller offices.

The type of floor can also influence the estimate; vacuuming, for instance, is easier and cheaper than cleaning a hard floor which would require sweeping, mopping and the use of a machine.

What is in the building impacts on the tender, too. In office blocks, for example, toilets might not be included because they are the responsibility of the landlord, which makes a huge difference in the amount of time needed on the project.

Where is the building?

Location is important, too. If the building or project is in a city centre, there are different considerations to cleaning somewhere quite remote, in terms of how easy it is for the workforce to access. In a city centre, operatives are likely to live near or can travel easily to the building; if the site is remote, that is a consideration we have to take into account. In some extreme cases, we might have to bus cleaners in, or make other transport arrangements.

The other practical elements to consider include: Where is the nearest water point? Do we have to walk a long way to fill buckets or machines? Are the windows facing a busy road? Should they be cleaned twice as often as the other windows?

An on-site visit is the only way to get a truly accurate view of the machines and equipment that might be required – and some of those have an impact on productivity and therefore the solution and price. We might decide a site is suitable for the use of a scrubber dryer, which means we can reduce the amount of time that we would have spent on mopping. But obviously there will be costs associated with using that machine. The innovation, the tech that we use, the type of machinery that we use, all has an impact on the quality of the work we achieve and also productivity.

So, there are many moving parts that can only be understood and decided upon once we have visited the site, once we have discussed everything with the customer and know what is required. The way we estimate is all about tailoring our services to the client’s specific needs.

Customer-driven factors

Our clients obviously drive some of the decisions around what is included in an estimate. There may be a preference as to when the cleaning takes place, and depending on the environment that could be morning, daytime, evening, or night-time, which could have an impact on how we do things.

For instance, on a daily clean if the building is open Monday to Friday, we might decide to do the vacuuming earlier or later in the day when there are less people around. Or in a 24/7 site, such as a call centre, we need to consider when the best time would be for us to conduct the work.

The difference between an input and output specification has an impact on productivity too because some customers have very specific requirements, and others rely on us to tell them exactly what they need. To do this, visiting and understanding the building is vital to help us decide what needs doing and how often.

Getting an on-site assessment is best practice, and wherever possible we ask for a site visit before preparing an estimate. Fabien Caqueret, Tudor Group’s Managing Director, explains why estimating for jobs via site visits is so important: “We’ve developed the Tudor Group approach over time, and like to take a more personal approach. We put as much information as we can in our proposal, explaining how we arrived at our numbers and estimations, then perhaps during mobilisation of the contract, we might tweak certain things as we continue to find out more about the buildings and the requirements. The way we estimate jobs comes down to our experience and understanding our customers’ requirements.”

If you have a project you would like to speak to us about, get in touch on 0161 789 3550 or email