When comparing carpet maintenance proposals it is often difficult to benchmark how one service compares to another.

In order to quantify & qualify how estimates are prepared, there are resources you can use and some basic guidelines that will make sure you are getting a fair price.

A useful resource you can use for this and other janitorial related services is the Cleaning Times Booklet which has the industry time standards for performing cleaning tasks. It’s available from the  International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) at  (http://www.issa.com/?id=workloading_resources). It’s published and updated regularly.  These are industry accepted time and motion studies that can help you better understand the time and, therefore, money required to complete a job correctly.

Further, the ISSA resources will help you in your analysis of other proposals. How? Well, from the charts, you can see if you are actually getting what you are paying for.

Consider This:

Accepted industry service rate for carpet maintenance is $75.00 per hour.  This allows a company to pay for:

  • Labour
  • Insurance, WSIB etc
  • Chemicals
  • Equipment costs
  • Vehicle costs
  • Equipment + Vehicle Maintenance
  • Sales Costs
  • Office and administration overhead

Once the above are paid, a fair profit remains.

Using the ISSA Cleaning Times to gauge how long a certain service will take will also help you establish how much it should cost.


For example, ISSA states that the time required to both pre-spray and extract 1,000 sq. ft. of carpet with normal furniture coverage is approximately 70 minutes. Approximate cost based on above: 1.2 hours x $75.00 = $90.00.

A price quote in this range will allow the contractor the time and money to do a good job.  If a company quotes $25.00 to perform the same service, you may wish to question if you are actually getting the service that you are paying for as it would seem their rate does not cover the expenses associated with quality results.  Unfortunately, poor estimating will result in “over-promising and under-delivering.”

Gavin Bajin is the Business Leader, Commercial Services for ServiceMaster of Canada.  Gavin joined the ServiceMaster team in 2010 to manage the growth of the specialty office maintenance services. He has spent his career in the Construction Services, Manufacturing and Energy sectors. He can be reached at (905) 670-0000 x 480 or gbajin@smclean.com. Visit ServiceMaster at www.servicemaster.ca