Bid Help


Bidding a large job…18 building up to 15 stories high. No waterfed. Mostly Chair work some ladder for lower 2 stories. Exterior only. some interior on common areas. My company mostly does small commercial, route work and residential. This is my first time delving into chair work and height. I have 2 guys who have experience and excited and ready for it.

Its a 3 year contract and they have said will take lowest bidder. I just don’t want to under bid.
My techs thing it will be approximately 2000 labor hours. Expectation by customer is 8 months out of year on site… April thru Sept/Oct.

What is appropriate labor hour cost? $50? $85? Too high too low? help?
Any thoughts and/or advice greatly appreciated…

(FYI- not a fly by night question…I have both 10 year window washing biz and house cleaning/janitorial biz…ready to push the limits to learn more and potentially take this to another level…)


So just to start with I do not do any of that work I just do storefronts and minor residential. But I was thinking of this today…

So you stated they want you on the job for 8 months, or a total of 34 weeks. Now if you have two guys at 8 hours a day 5 days a week for 34 weeks to meet their expectation, than that is a total of 2720 hours. 720 hours more than the 2000 your guys estimated. Now if the company is ok with you getting it done in 25 weeks which is 2000 hours for two guys at 8 hours a day 5 days a week, than you can bid it for that. But it sounds like they have had a company before and they know it will take the 34 weeks (8 months) to complete the job. Also if you are goin to work on it as well you need to cover your hours as well during that 8 month expectation. So if you bid for 2000 hours and you are there for the extra 9 weeks, than you got to figure out a way to pay your guys for the 720 extra hours that you didn’t account for.

Also price wise I have no idea where to start but I think of it this way. Insurance is going to be a lot higher for this type of project. Than since you have employees I am certain you are paying workers comp, payroll fee’s and other expenses attached to them as well. So $50-$85 an hour seems super low to me unless they are taking $8 an hour to do the job, which I doubt. I do storefronts daily and earn on a normal 20-25 hour week away from home washing windows between $55- $65 per hour. Now I am solo, so no employee expenses for me just some franchise fee’s. ( NO I AM NOT FISH!! )

So I am wondering how and why you would only want to charge such a small amount hourly and also under bid the expectation 34 week range by knocking off 9 weeks of hours? I just think after all the added expenses you will get with the big job, it seems less stressful and more profitable to just hit storefronts or market hard for residential work. I would be afraid having the lowest bid and winning the job and have everything you thought would go perfect go wrong and than your company either falls hard holding up that 3 year contract or skims by. Also with a 3 year contract make sure you put something in it to cover inflation or insurance cost or employee wage increases for the following years.

Like I said this is what I was thinking today and with no other responses to you I just wanted to chime in for ya.
I might get ripped on here for some things I said, but it is just ideas to think of.

Good Luck!


Welcome to the forum man.
Its hard to give you a labor cost because only YOU know what that is.

ONLY you know what your overhead is, everything over that is profit…

The only advice I can give you is to know your cost and risk.
You are relying on your TECHS regarding chair work and I can tell you that is NOT the way to go if you are looking to really weigh the cost and risks.

Such as, do you know how much it will cost to replace a broken window on those kind of buildings? It ain’t just one plate. They have to custom make that plate, and they will NOT just make one.

Thats just one factor to think about…

If you are intent on this, you are still the one to set the cost. It is not any different than any other type of window cleaning work unfortunately at least here in san diego. Not even when you are hanging off a huge building. It should be more but it ain’t.

If I were you, I’d sub it out so I could still grab a bite off the top.


Are your guys trained and hold the appropriate certifications for that type of work?
Most large commercial work will need some kind of SWMS( that’s what they are called here) safe work method statement, that would need to define each task from set up to pack up for every individual building,specifically.

Honestly if you don’t already offer these services and this will be your first step into it, I think it would be smarter to sub it, or if you are dead set upon going after this work then, I if it were me in that position would book myself into a REPUTABLE training course, not offered by a window cleaning company but a rope access company and become familiar with the job that is needed to be done. I personally would only go with IRATA but from what I hear its doubtful you would find a trainer in your area so you would need to get SPRAT certified to ensure you are highly educated with height dynamics.