Janitorial Bidding & Estimating Software: Past, Present and Future
The future of janitorial bidding & estimating software promises to be very exciting as it moves from being somewhat slow, difficult to use, limited, and providing general estimates to one that is increasingly… fast, easy to use, unlimited and accurate.
How Did We Get Here?
Well, as in many things, the changes in janitorial bidding & estimating software have come in waves.
For many years, and still today, various bidding and estimating “rules of thumb” have been used to create a variety of basic spreadsheet applications or relatively simple bidding “calculators”.
For example, general production rate estimates for standard office cleaning may be used in these calculators, allowing a facility manager to estimate labor hours needed to clean an area, while price per square foot guidelines may be built in to help janitorial contractors determine how much to charge for monthly services.
These spreadsheets or calculators are generally easy to find and available if not free, usually for a modest charge. They can be helpful, but may be limited in their usefulness, since they may only factor in the only the most general of building information, such as total square feet and overall cleaning frequency.
Technology Leads The Way!
The next wave of change in janitorial bidding brought a number of actual CD format or downloadable “software” type products with varying levels of sophisticated programming and features.
These programs opened the door to a much greater level of customization, not only regarding the building information to be workloaded in the program, but in the appearance and content of the reports as well. Information entered into the process could be merged into professional style reports and proposals.
Finally, easier and more efficient ways were becoming available for janitorial cleaning contractors and facility managers to actually workload information very specific information unique individual buildings.
With these programs, it was now possible to factor in such specific building information as room dimensions, floor surfaces and degree of difficulty along with the specific production rates associated to the cleaning tasks listed in the work schedule.
The results could be broken down and printed by individual area or for the entire building. In addition, these CD or downloadable software programs provided a way for the user to conveniently and easily save their individual bids to be reviewed, edited or printed in the future.
This wave of janitorial bidding & estimating software programs represented an important step forward in the accuracy and professionalism of bidding and estimating for both the facility manager and janitorial cleaning contractor as well.
To Be Terrific… Be Specific!
This critical building information can include actual dimensions of areas, type of flooring, and area breakdown by use, as well as more subjective factors, such as degree of difficulty or density. Many of these programs now allow users to improve the accuracy of bidding and estimating commercial cleaning jobs, by moving beyond a one-size-fits-all approach to this kind of highly customized approach.
It””s Not Just For Dusting.
While these janitorial bidding software programs are useful for standard office cleaning situations, which call for common tasks such as dusting or emptying trash containers, they are able to do much more.
Any number of periodic cleaning tasks such as hi-speed burnishing of VCT tile, for example, can be work loaded using these type programs.
As long as an appropriate production rate can be determined for the specific task, it can be used to provide a calculated cleaning time by workloading it along with the size of the area along and cleaning frequency required for that task.
Industry associations may offer useful reference guides of cleaning times for a wide variety of cleaning tasks. However, you may perform production rate studies yourself to establish cleaning times, providing you a useful insight into the efficiency of your own company or department in the process.
One of the most recent developments in janitorial bidding & estimating software is the move to go online. This next big wave of change in bidding and estimating offers even more opportunity for improvements in speed, ease of use, and accuracy. While having all the advantages of traditional janitorial bidding & estimating software, online programs have a number of distinct advantages.
The “live” nature of the internet allows for “real time” training on, and updating of, the bidding software. Users can receive valuable “live” bidding help and training on their actual bid, remotely via the Internet. And janitorial cleaning contractors can use the program to bid on jobs anywhere and anytime they wish… even in the prospect”s office.
In this information age, janitorial bidding and estimating software is positioned to benefit greatly from the unique advantages of operating in this online environment.
For example, the internet provides a platform where continuous learning can take place based on the analysis of raw building data gathered, not from just a handful of bids from a few companies, but from potentially thousands of real life bids from thousands of companies.
The Future of Bidding and Estimating is Promising
The Information Age resulting from the incredible wave of technology, promises to deliver janitorial cleaning contractors and facility managers alike easier, more effective and more accurate bidding and estimating software in the future.
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