Large Commercial Floor Maintenance. - Cleaning Talk - Professional Cleaning and Restoration Forum
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post #1 of Old 07-12-2008, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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Large Commercial Floor Maintenance.

After getting my feet wet literally and figuratively, by scrubbing/stripping/waxing a small 1,000 sq. ft office for a client with a rented 17" 350 RPM floor buffer and some supplies from a local hardware store, I want to branch off into the larger commercial jobs.

I have bids on three grocery stores in my area. All of which are 20,000+sq.ft and currently have weekly service. I did a walk through of two of the stores to try and get an idea for what I would quote them at before meeting with the store managers. The first store had an Encore floor scrub with wet vac pickup and a newer Aztec model that had to be at least 27". They get a 20,000 sq. ft area done in about an hour and a half I was told. From the looks of their setup all they do is go over everything with the Encore spreading a cleaning solution which has two 10" scrubbers and a wet vac pickup. Followed directly by the Aztec which all they had was a stockpile of white pads which tells me they just burnish/polish after the Encore.

My question is this; am I getting in over my head if I anticipate going through these stores manually spreading stripper via mops and scrubbing/burnishing with a one maybe two: 20" sub 1000 RPM rented floor buffer? Or should I look into renting or leasing some bigger equipment from Aztec? I figured I'd ask here first before contacting an Aztec rep. and trying to get sold on anything and everything floor related they sell.

Does anyone submit bids to larger commercial jobs for floor maintenance? I have concluded that .40-.50/sq.ft. for strip and wax is reasonable to charge out here for large residential/small office jobs and roughly .20-.25/sq. ft for cleaning and burnishing and .35-.40/sq ft. for top scrub and recoat. Unfortunately I don't think this will translate for the larger jobs if I expect to be competitive... any idea on pricing?

Any help is greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of Old 07-17-2008, 05:07 PM
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You are very much over your head. It sounds like you need to stick with smaller jobs and slowly move your way up. A 20,000 sq/ft job would probably take 3-4 hours to sweep, scrub and buff and do it right. To strip and wax that kind of space takes a minimum of 60 man hours to complete, with the proper equipment, and good help. If you try to strip a commericial account with a buffer, you are going to make yourself not look too good.
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post #3 of Old 07-18-2008, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
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Each job I bid on is swept and mopped daily by the in-house cleaning. I'm only responsible for scrubbing/re-coating or stripping and waxing. I found a device called a Wax-o-matic by Durawax. It claims to spread 15,000 sq.ft. of solution per half hour. If this is correct, I could spread stripper, cleaner or wax very efficiently. At which point all I would need is a propane or electric fed floor buffer/burnisher or two.
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post #4 of Old 07-18-2008, 02:00 AM
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Do you have employees or are you planning on stripping and waxing 20,000 sq/ft by yourself. If the latter is the case, it doesn't matter if you have an applicator for stripper and wax. Who is going to get the edges cleaned up? Who is going to mop up any excess stripper off the floor? Who is going to run the scrubber? Who is going to go empty your buckets and refill them? I appologize, but you sound like you have no clue what you are about to get yourself into. 1000 sq/ft offices and 20,000 sq/ft grocery store are two completely different animals. You, like many, are over simplifying the process of stripping a floor PROPERLY.
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post #5 of Old 07-18-2008, 09:30 AM Thread Starter
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I am not claiming to have a firm grip or understanding on the commercial flooring industry. Hence why I'm looking for advice and input from you kind folks. And I really do appreciate your help 21st!
I have employees; I would probably use 2-3 per job. Since the area will be dusted and mopped daily, I would proceed as follows for a strip and wax:
1. Apply a coat of cleaner/stripper via a wax-o-matic applicator (30,000 sq. ft/hour).
2. Immediately follow behind with a propane or electrical fed floor buffer using a green or black pad to scrub/strip the remaining wax. Even with (2) 20" 350 RPM floor buffers, according to ISSA standards we could accomplish 20,000 sq. ft in 2.5 hours.
3. I would proceed to mop up the excess stripper.
4. Finally I would run over the floor with the wax-o-matic spreading a sealant/wax solution (the sealant/wax solution I've been using doesn't require it to be buffed off). I would repeat step 4, 3-4 more times.

With the aforementioned equipment I speculate I could accomplish a 20,000 sq. ft job in 5-6 hours. Is there anything I'm overlooking or missing?
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post #6 of Old 07-18-2008, 01:08 PM
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What do you do about the edges? Do you just mop them up, or do you scrub them? No matter what, a buffer can only get so close to the edges and there will be at a minimum a few inches that have not been touched by a scrubber/buffer. Also, I assume that the floor is being burnished on a fairly regular basis. If so, the wax gets harder and harder with every burnishing, and wax that is hard like that, and is on edges that doesn't get much foot traffic does not like to come off very easily. You are most likely going to have to reagitate the stripper after you lay it so it will get through all that hard wax. Also, 4-5 coats is not enough for a grocery store. Try 10, five the first night, five on a second night for proper cure. Just because someone says you can cover x amount of sq/ft per hour, doesn't account for all the things that take up time, i.e. empty buckets, scrubbing edges, waiting for stripper to work, etc. With 3-4 people, I guarantee that you could only strip, AT BEST, 4,000 ft per hour. I have been doing this for 20 years, I have all the best equipment, great help, the time saving chemicals, and it still takes 3 of us 8 hours to strip and wax a 12,000 sq/ft store. No two strip jobs are the same. You might be able to fly through one with no problems, the next one you might have to restrip some aisles or scrape edges with a razor blade, or you might have ventalation issues where either your stripper is drying to fast or your wax won't dry. There is what you can read about, and then there is real world. Kinda like Estimated Miles Per Gallon on vehicles. The EPA may say a car gets 30 mpg, when in the real world, with real driving conditions, it gets 22 mpg. Just be careful about taking on big jobs when you are going from 1000 sq/ft to 20,000+ sq/ft, you should really consider working your way up to those bigger jobs, or hire a floor tech that can teach you the ins and outs of stripping a large job.
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post #7 of Old 07-26-2008, 10:25 PM
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no offense but the chems you are using sound like .

a cleaner/stripper? Since they are 2 totally different things I can not see how one product can be used for both.

when a company gives you a max per hour figure it is usually bogus by 50%.

I would be very surprised if the store even hired you using electric machines.

Without an auto scrubber and a propane burnisher you and your 2 employees should not do more than 5000 sq ft per night on a strip and wax.
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post #8 of Old 05-27-2015, 02:05 PM
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Interesting read. Thanks for the share.
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