Bidding a school


Alright so go big or go home is what I am living by now lol. One of the guys that works with me told me that his mom works at our local school. She said that the school had the windows cleaned last year and they was very disappointed with the service they received. She gave me the contact information to the head maintenance and told me to get in contact. She said they paid $5,000 when it was cleaned last year. I emailed the guy and he wants to meet on Friday. He told me the school has 1175 exterior windows. The school is two stories. I imagine they want a estimate for outside only. Which is what I think they got done last time. My plan is if I can get this I will buy a decent water fed pole to help. I would have one other person helping me. It will take about 20 hrs at 1 pane per min estimate. Thats the fastest time possible, I think it will take longer. I have no idea where to start bidding this. How would you start? how does pricing work? Should I try just once a year maybe august at the previous bid or slightly lower? What about quarterly or twice a year service? I am intimidated but why not go for it. Thanks guys.


Can you post pics? I would “adjust for inflation.” Still seems like a boat load of work for the money. A pane per min. seems rocket fast. It always takes longer than you think. If they are crusty, it will take longer per. Food for thought until the commercial pros chime in, but they’re probably out making mega bucks right now. :yum:


That is a pretty LARGE job to take on your first commercial and to do so with your first WFP. Plan on 3-5 minutes average on windows since this is a new job and new equipment.

Personally, if you haven’t used a WFP, you may have some issues starting off with equipment and getting down the movements and learning to clean with a WFP. If you are gonna buy a pole, use it on a few smaller jobs FIRST.

I’m only saying this to prepare you. I’m not trying to discourage you from growing and taking on the job. I just don’t want to see you take on the work, and have some screw ups, and feel like a goober. Our image is really important. We have to act like pro’s and appear like them, or word gets around. Lots of the community is tied to schools. So this can help you, or it can hurt you, depending on how this turns out.

Edit to add:
Be sure you know what they expect from you. They may require bonding, workers comp, back ground checks, etc. All that comes with a cost, and for ONE job, you need to know what your expenses will be, if you don’t already have those things in place.


It is huge. I am terrified. I just see a great opportunity that I dont really want to pass. But your right. I would imagine it taking at least 3 min per window but I am trying to make myself feel good at least with the min. estimate lol


I am writing on here because I need all views. Good and bad. I do not want it to break me. The last company sucked. That is how I got my in. Is this to big? Or is it something you guys say shoot from the hip. Research and study and get paid. As to the WFP. I can not buy one to prep for the possibility of the job. I made $60 in my first month of business lol. I have to start growing and getting money into the business account before I can justify buying a WFP. Now If I could get the job. I would shoot for cleaning in the beginning of August for school starting. That would get me some time to get through the spring season and money saved. I have a meeting with him Friday I will get pictures then. They do not have more then the front entrance online.


Generally schools get their windows cleaned in a holiday period, so they are going to want you completely finished before students return.
Most schools that I have cleaned have taken several guys from 2 days to 2 weeks to complete depending on the size.
If your not used to smashing out large amounts of glass quickly then expect the job to drag on for at least a week.


You have a good amount of info, so …
I would go for $4 a window, which would put you just below what they paid before. If you give them better service than the last guy, then they should be tickled pink. Take your time (allow extra time to finish before school starts) and do your best work, because this can be repeat business and a nice gig. Remember too, that the county has more schools, so this could turn into something even bigger. Even if it takes you a lot longer than expected, like 4 minutes per, then you’re still coming in at $1 minute/$60 hour. If you get the gig again, then you should be a lot faster next summer with a year of WFP experience under your belt.So, even if it takes more than 4 minutes per window being a noob with your WFP, it will be okay. I would allow 6 minutes each for scheduling if you are thinking 3 each (that would be about 117.5 hours, or 3 weeks, but you should finish in 2 weeks at 4 minutes each with a 40 hour week), Just my two cents. Good Luck Friday.

Most schools face budget cuts at the same time teachers demand raises. So, they will probably only want this once a year. But, that is okay, because if you get more schools at 2 to 3 weeks each, then you will be busy all summer doing schools. Tight budgets are another reason it will be good to slightly beat the last guy’s price even if you are implying better service. Not likely they have extra funds to pay more. If you give great service within budget, then they will have no need to replace you like they are doing with the last guy :wink:


I agree with all of the above posts. I will add that you WILL have experience before you start this job, whether paid or volunteer. I encourage all new guys to do pro bono for non-profits. They need the help and you need the experience and visibility. I still do pro bono work for non-profits.

As for investing in a WFP, I strongly encourage that. If you want your customers to believe that your business is focused on surviving and becoming a contributing member of the local business community and dealing with you is a good investment of their time and resources then you need to commit to your business.


I am terrified of this job. I mean I am not gauranteed the job but I have a very good chance. My buddies mom works with the head of the schools. She is the one that told me to contact them. I am afraid that it will be to much for us. But this could also be an amazing opportunity. Would allow me to invest in a WFP which I cant do prob for a couple years unless I get a job this size. @Bucket-Bob thats some great info. For you being new like me man that is impressive. Your going places. I dont know if I am jumping the gun or if im doing the right thing.


No, you GOT this.

My first time with using a water fed pole was this job:

Well, it was a cash trade agreement for them doing a commercial for a couple weeks. It was stupid, don’t ask.

My point is, you can do it. Don’t worry so much about it. Here’s my phone number 619.779.5858. Call me while your working and I’ll walk you thru it.

It’ll take you an hour and you’ll get the hang of it.

If I DON’T have the answer, I can point you to someone who does. And don’t lower the price, don’t even THINK about their price because it is meaningless.

Give YOUR price. You may be higher than they are.

That MIGHT be the reason they sucked so badly.

You got this man. Don’t worry man.


What a great guy you are @thorSG1!


:open_mouth: :open_mouth: :open_mouth:


@Bucket-Bob @thorSG1 @LoveGlass @Steve076

Ok I went and met with the school today. 1175 panes of glass. Exterior only. The glass was dirty. Mostly dust from surrounding fields and farmers. Guy thought the last price was pretty high. This school has freaking a great budget. He brought up how the last company tried to talk him into multi cleanings in the same year. I explained that and why. The last company did the cleaning by traditional cleaning. I told him we would do both traditional and WFP. I told him I would want to schedule the cleaning two weeks prior to school starting or the open house. I dont think this job looks to bad. I was thinking what bucket bob said. $4 per pane. That puts it at 4700 for the job. I do not have any knowledge of WFP. I am slightly afraid it wont get some of the dirt off without steel wool. What is your thoughts on this job now? Is my pricing good still even with the heavy soiled windows. What about offering lower price for maintenance cleans?


See…I told you I’d come over here. Scrubbing with WFP? There is a bronze pad WFP scrubber that attaches to the WFP. Scrub away. Tried to upload, but no go. Go to WCR and hit the search window with bronze WFP scrubber. I’m excited for you. Tell them you want the same 5K and you’ll do a better job. Then do a better job and blow their socks off. Scared? You’re pushing a wet brush up and down and rinsing. Take it one window at a time until you eat the elephant. You wanted work? You wanted a job? See? You got one. Yeah team! Now be the confident professional you are and carry on. Get some houses. Enjoy the paid practice. By the time you get to the school it’ll be: " Oh that’s nice, I get to clean 1,000 windows and get paid for it. :smiley: Proud of ya man, go kick some butt.


Personally, I would NOT go less that the 5K. You have to get on the roof to access part of the windows and you have 3 stories of glass. The farther up you go, the more it should cost.

Would I sell them on multiple cleanings? Probably not, because someone who writes the checks would likely flip over paying that much for cleaning glass, and instead tell maintenance to do it. The middle of the school year is winter time/cold. Your not running a WFP in freezing weather, so your stuck with traditional. You want to squeegee all that glass? :wink:

Don’t let them talk you down into losing money. You are going to EARN every dollar on this job.


if each window has 2 panes we’d bid it at ~$9400 and set aside 90 hours for my partner and I.

if it’s 1175 panes we be at ~$4700 and set aside a week for the two of us.

we have and use a WFP


Ok I disagree with everyone so far. That ain’t no 5k job by far. Fellas thats ONE building and it aint gonna take a week.

I didn’t see the back side of that building, did you post the photo? I must have missed it.

What about the courtyard? There is no photo of that either right? I’m wondering what that obstruction is, if any, that part in the escape plans where the tip of that “A” is (in the courtyard).

Did you get a chance to look at it?

This is just the outside perimeter or the entire exterior perimeter of the building?

Because fellas, everything in those pictures can get done in a weekend with one man. Easy.

Call BS. I dare ya.


LOL. 1200 window, one man, 16 hours?


I like you man, but no way.


Dont rely on a customers window count.

Just because you think you know what they paid in the past, it is always beneficial to do your own count and generate your price. This is how you’ll learn to bid the next job too.


sorry @thorSG1 it did not post with the rest of them. Ill get it up. It is the majority of the windows (the courtyard).