Help With Bidding


I was hoping some of you who have bid very large commercial buildings could give me some advice. I’m submitting bids on 132 large commercial buildings - mostly exterior window cleaning.

Most are 1 or 2 story, but a number are 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 story buildings. The 4 story through 6th story buildings I assume would require a lift.

Can you give me some pointers on how to compile bids for buildings that large?

Thanks so much.


Wow, there doesn’t sound like any quick way to do that. Estimate expenses building by building, then add on how much you want to take home?


Competition will be tough as there is alot of work and most is low work. Usually means its perfect for companies that lowball. They will bid low making money on volume and low employee pay. This also means these companies have a high turnover rate for employees and likely delay customers.

This is time consuming to bid, schedule and to maintain this customer in office support and communication throughout servicing if awarded. Dont sell yourself short with the excitement of the large job dangling in front of you.

Keep composed and be realistic. We find these large companies soliciting bids try to control the price range because they have a high volume of work. If they don’t like the prices that come back in they will offer all companies to re bid and state prices were higher than expected. With expectations most will lower the initial bid.

Sell your company and the value it brings to the customer.


Excellent advice @jhans . I remember when we were very early in business we bid an enormous 3-story glass building. Thousands of panes of glass. It was around a $20K job for ONE building. They had a company do it before but it is sent to bid every year. Property manager told us they used bosun’s chair to do it last year.

When we were doing our walk around we noticed EVERY SINGLE window had rounded corners. Apparently that didn’t bother the property manager. We won the bid, did the work, everyone was happy. The following 2 years we lost the bid because “another company was chosen due to lower price.” My Operations Manager and I have been to the building a few times in the past few years and noticed entire sections of glass completely skipped; very obvious that one area was cleaned and another was not.

Apparently that doesn’t bother the property manager…

Lesson is hold to your standards and quality. Price how you need to in order to be profitable and deliver quality work. Whether the other party values quality or not is questionable.


This sounds like a Fish Window Cleaning might come in and underbid the whole job lol :joy:




I have to say, I had the same thoughts in regards to Fish as you are speaking.

After further thought and meeting some or hearing from individual franchise owners they dont all operate the same and like many businesses are trying to find there way into the industry.

I believe many start with zero experience or knowledge of the industry and the initial guidance/training isnt quite as good as one would think coming from a large experienced franchise.

They make many of the same mistakes as any other startup but are more well known by the name.

I wouldnt generalise and assume all are bad companies. @dgalkin has very well proven reputable companies can be operated under the Fish name.


I deal with the same scrap also @dgalkin. Property managers always going with the lowest bid even if quality is an issue and sections are skipped. They get bonuses on crap work and the actual building owners have no clue that they’re paying for junk work. It’s super frustrating when I go to bid a job and they tell me the guy just cleaned them and I see whole sections skipped, then they tell me I’m priced too high. :astonished:


Whats really interesting is to turn down requests for bids when you have bid something so many times. They are shopping for low price and have not found a worthwhile provider yet.

I have been awarded something one time doing this.

When the bid request came I called and explained the situation. If I wasnt awarded this the past 4 times the customer must be looking for something other than me. I explained what I offer and expect, not interested in companies who shop for best price but a long lasting venture.