No idea how much to bid for apartment complexes. What about Motels? | TruckMount Forums #1 Carpet Cleaning Forums

No idea how much to bid for apartment complexes. What about Motels?

Will Reed

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I was thinking of bidding 75,85,95 for 1,2,3 bedroom apartments. I have no idea how much apartment/property managers are currently paying so I don't know if I'm too low or too high. Any insights from people with experience here?

How much can you bid for motel rooms?
 

Alexa

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LOL. You are in for a rude awakening. You are correct that those prices are what you should be able to charge. Unfortunately the market for apartments is, for the most part, contaminated by bottom feeders and they only charge $35 - $59 per apartment in the hopes of upcharging for some units in the areas of repairs, dyes, etc. I don't bother with apartment complexes at all.

Motels typically pay anywhere from $5 - $15 per guest room; again not worth it.
 

leofry

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sometimes I agree with what Alexarz says... but I am only in my 3rd year... and eveyone is differant... mine our about 5 minutues away from me and they are very small takes about 1/2 hour to do I get $60 to clean and $75 to do a home... its nice to have about 1 a day helps out... thats just me... but I make them 1. have power on..2. pay on time within 30 days..3 have a way in the home with out me waiting for someone..4. no other contractors there when I am there... 5 all items pick up off floor...6 let me email the invoice 7.. give me at least 10 jobs per year
 
Feb 24, 2010
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I was thinking of bidding 75,85,95 for 1,2,3 bedroom apartments. I have no idea how much apartment/property managers are currently paying so I don't know if I'm too low or too high. Any insights from people with experience here?

How much can you bid for motel rooms?
that is exactly the price i am currently charging in a small town of cal. more if there is urine odor, red stains or just completly trashed. i am thinking of raising the prices soon. yes there will always be someone cheaper but if you show up on time (or call when late), look presentable, do a great job, and service them fast (sometimes same day appt.) when they need it, most will pay the price. at least around here.
motels however are a different story in my experience and were not worth my time.
ask them what they are paying now, they usually will tell you.
 

CoastalCleaning

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I think you'll find that a large majority of the board frowns on this type of work. So I'll jump in here because I've been highly profitable in both areas.

Here's our approach.

Hotel/Motels - No furniture moving here. Minimal stain and gum removal removal. No red removal. I treat what I can within reason, usually what comes out with just citrus.

Charge - 8 bucks per room. Minimum 20 rooms and the rooms need to be lumped together within a range I can reach without setting up and breaking down the van 3-4 times. If we can't lump the rooms together I charge 30 dollars per set-up/break-down (which I've never had to do).

The goal is 10 rooms an hour but anything over 8 keeps you in a good range. Usually once you get a good rhythm going you average about 70 bucks an hour for the entire duration of your time from start to wrap up. I switch to a different cleaning solution for these jobs. One with a deodorizer in the solution and I sell the idea of the carpets being deodorized at no additional charge. This has worked well and the rooms smell great upon completion of the job.

Of all the hotel/motels we've done I've only had one La Quinta have us just do rooms. All the rest have had us do floors/lobbies/dining areas and offices. So this is a good area to make up some ground here. Priced around .10 a sq ft, yeah its cheap work, but its not terribly difficult to clean 4 floors of empty halls. We recently did a Marriott Staybridge Suites that worked out nicely. 20 rooms 4 floored hallways, Lobby, Dining Room and large Meeting/Conference Room. Ran 860 bucks - 8 per room and I was down low on this one about .09 per square foot. It took two of us about 6 hours. Even that low and that much time at one job we still averaged over 100 bucks per hour. We also got a nice reference to another hotel off of it.

Hotel/Motel work gets a bad wrap because its cheap work but we've done well here. My hotel/motel literature (rack card) has the 8 dollar per room price right on the card big and bold. Advertising the 8 per room has led to jobs where we didn't even clean rooms. I love that...getting a call because someone read the cheap 8 dollar per room price but wants halls, lobbies and dining areas cleaned. We've made months off of this work.

Apartments

50 for 1 bedroom

68 for 2 bedrooms

85 for 3 bedrooms

99 for 4 bedrooms

I hear that I'm high all the time (5-10 bucks higher than my competitors). Until I offered Red Removal at no additional charge (gasp!). This is what I consider filler work. Its great for a start up company like our own. If you can get 4 or 5 good complexes to feed you 5-10 apartments a month you can generate enough money to fill in those gaps between residentials and more desirable commercial jobs. Its not great hourly work but at the end of the month an extra grand or two is better than no work at all. I've had residents come up to the van and book jobs right on site. I price those at our normal residential prices so its helped a little. Small repairs and re-stretches could help here too.

Its tough being new so the big thing here is that its revenue until you get a solid rep going residentially. It can serve as a good referral for other commercial work as well. I've made van and equipment payments off of apartment work more than a few times. Its a matter of how picky and choosy you feel you can be. We're not picky, we want this type of work, at least until we can fill week after week up with more profitable residentials.

Eventually we won't be doing a ton of apartment work. Hotel/Motels we'll definitely still pursue.
 
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Alexa

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Ryan, I have made money in hotels with the same type of situation (making $$ in the hallways) but the problem here in FL is that it is impossible to keep the accounts for a long time. Managers get transferred, the hotels get sold and my contacts were never there for long. The motels do not have hallways and they don't make much money on the rental of their rooms so they are not going to pay much for cleaning. Money can be made in some hotels but not all and the bigger ones usually have their own crew clean them with a portable at $8 an hour. Why go through all the stress and trouble when you can make $100 - $150 an hour working in homes? I can't stand doing multiple setups in one location. What a PITA! There are also other commercial accounts that are willing to pay decent amounts of money for your services.
 

CoastalCleaning

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Ryan, I have made money in hotels with the same type of situation (making $$ in the hallways) but the problem here in FL is that it is impossible to keep the accounts for a long time. Managers get transferred, the hotels get sold and my contacts were never there for long. The motels do not have hallways and they don't make much money on the rental of their rooms so they are not going to pay much for cleaning. Money can be made in some hotels but not all and the bigger ones usually have their own crew clean them with a portable at $8 an hour. Why go through all the stress and trouble when you can make $100 - $150 an hour working in homes? I can't stand doing multiple setups in one location. What a PITA! There are also other commercial accounts that are willing to pay decent amounts of money for your services.
I agree the better money is in residentials. With that said my closing rate in advertising (door to door soliciting) to hotel/motels is far more successful and cost effective than residentials. Simply door hanging residentials has what a 1-2% return...at best 5% and the numbers game to actually score would equate to a ton of footwork, days, weeks of hanging. Whereas I can door to door solicit hotel/motels every other month with a return in the 10-15% range. I hit them frequently and we consistently land the work on a day or two of driving around. If you could expand in other advertising avenues then by all means but it all depends on what you got budgeted. As a start up nothing is as cost effective as hitting the commercial pavement with some nice literature.

No question I would love a full schedule of homes, even the small residentials are great money. You just have to look at in terms of what kind of work can easily be generated by a start up with little to no reputation and very limited advertising. A start up might only have 5 decent residentials a week where an establish company would have 2-10 times as much. Obviously none of us with the right amount of residentials would mess with hotel/motel work but its a necessary evil when your fresh in a market and are waiting for your conservative cost effective advertising and reputation to grow and expand.
 

Scott W

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I was thinking of bidding 75,85,95 for 1,2,3 bedroom apartments. I have no idea how much apartment/property managers are currently paying so I don't know if I'm too low or too high. Any insights from people with experience here?

How much can you bid for motel rooms?
The answer to this or any other question about how much should I bid, comes down to "What are your costs?" So few cleaners really understand what costs are involved. It goes well beyond the cleaning agents you use. Advertising, insurance, van upkeep and repair, telephone, the value of your time including benefits like health insurance and vacation days and the list goes on.

If you quote jobs at the going rate that you think everyone is paying - You may be bidding low enough to lose just as much money as everyone else is. Then you can all go out of business together. I think Cosway called this the race to 0.

Bid enough to cover your costs, including your labor, and make a reasonable profit.

When too many companies try to get work by being the lowest price then it hurts you and everyone else. Get the work by offering better service and by being a better business manager or better marketer. If you sell on price, someone can always be cheaper than you are.

When I cleaned apartments, I charged my full rates. There was a discount for open space with no furnitre, since most of the apartments were empty. (I got between $65 and $125 per unit for the carpet depending upon the number of square feet.

When I gave bigger discounts it was for getting 3 or more units to do at the same time and they had to give me the keys. They also had to let me fit the apartments into my schedule when I had an opening or a cancellation. I never went belwo my $65 minimum price per job, but I did give discounts if and only if I got some benefit in return and only to the point I could still make money.

BTW - I am not suggesting that anyone else charge $65. That was for example only. It worked for me. It may not be the right number for your situation.
 

Steve Toburen

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Ryan and yes, I have to reluctantly admit even Scotty make some good points.

It is easy to be arrogant on a discussion forum and diss work. But hotel rooms at even a low price may be better than sitting home staring at the phone willing it to ring!

Will, a Tupelo, MS carpet cleaner wrote my "Steve's Bleeding Heart's Club" advice column over a year ago with exactly the same question you asked. My reply may have some value on how to make money on motels. (And yes, we did very well with the high production techniques I shared.)

http://sfs.jondon.com/363/bhc/crying-the-motel-blues-here-in-tupelo

Steve
SFS.JonDon.com

PS Of course, even before you can start cranking out production ya gotta get the work. How to sell commercial? I thought you would never ask ...

http://sfs.jondon.com/755/resources/special-reports/sell-commercial
 

shane deubell

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I was thinking of bidding 75,85,95 for 1,2,3 bedroom apartments. I have no idea how much apartment/property managers are currently paying so I don't know if I'm too low or too high. Any insights from people with experience here?

How much can you bid for motel rooms?
You forgot restaurants!, lol

To be serious why not be unigue and try the other 99% of the market instead of focusing on what every other guy with a carpet cleaner does.You cant do what everyone else is doing and expect different results.
 

leofry

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I like what Scott said... i have a $60 min on small very small apartments and $75 on small very small homes...
1. they have to be empty, 2. they have to be open(unlocked or hide a key) 3. pay on time 4. let me email invoice..5. no other contractors in there with me.. 6.. have electric on... 7. have junk off floor... i dont want my whole biz to be this.. but wish i had about 10 more propety manages... i would like to be doing about 5 a week..thats about 1500 a month.. not bad...
 

Richard Baldwin

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Charge what you need to get. Motel owners are cheap and are going to go with the lowest of the low, they generally dont care about quality, they care about low low price. Dont get sucked into working all day for nothing. Remember, apartments and motels are only good money if you get a lot of them at a reasonable price, otherwise, focus on residential and decent commercial.
 

rjfdube

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LOL. You are in for a rude awakening. You are correct that those prices are what you should be able to charge. Unfortunately the market for apartments is, for the most part, contaminated by bottom feeders and they only charge $35 - $59 per apartment in the hopes of upcharging for some units in the areas of repairs, dyes, etc. I don't bother with apartment complexes at all.

Motels typically pay anywhere from $5 - $15 per guest room; again not worth it.
Are you serious; I get more than that for a 1 bedroom; of course I actually clean the carpet.

Now from someone that has a clue;

Apartments $25 per room plus at least $50 per living room area if you are just starting out; otherwise you will starve. As you get established with a complex go up with approval from manager and your on your way.

BTW forgot the Hotel room saga; last time a broken english speaking hotel owner called me; requested that I HWE all 800 of his hotel rooms for $4 each; After I laughed in his face I went to his hotel and nearly got arrested for cursing him out in his lobby for 30 minutes; it wasn't my finest moment.
 

tcsdlm

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For Motel Rooms I charge $40 - $80 Depending on weather they are Studio, 1 or 2 bedroom units. Also how much of the Furniture they want moved.

Andrew
 

onthespot

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i am currently charging 75 for my 1 bedroom apartments. 85 for 2 bedroom and 95 for 3 bedroom. i won't do any job for less than that! no worth my time to setup and tear down. imo.
 

Alexa

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Very few areas in the USA allow those higher prices. Here in Florida, it is impossible to get anywhere near $75 - $95 for motel rooms. I don't blame you at all for charging that much if you can get away with it. Your service is certainly worth it.

Somewhere along the line, carpet cleaners here in FL whored themselves off and they continue to do so to this day. There are not many commercial opportunities, certainly not motels, hotels etc. When I first came down to FL in 1995, I bought mailing lists of hotels throughout the state and received a decent amount of calls from managers, executive housekeepers etc. and the going price at that time was between $3 and $7 per guest room. It was a shocking experience. I still remember some funny quotes. One hotel manager said, speaking of the previous carpet cleaner, "You don't understand. Even though he was only charging $3.50 per hotel room, he had a full day's work and sometimes completed 20 rooms in a day". LOL!!
 

CoastalCleaning

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Apartments

50 for 1 bedroom

68 for 2 bedrooms

85 for 3 bedrooms

99 for 4 bedrooms

:AddEmoticons04259:

Man you definently need to raise your prices. I charge double for everything you listed. Raise your prices.
If I raised my prices I wouldn't have the work. It took some work to get them landed at those prices in the first place. I have two primary competitors in the apartment genre in my area. They handle pretty close to 70% of all the apartments within the city and about 10 or so smaller surrounding areas. They run about 10 bucks less than I do across the board. I know of one and only one in Corpus that actually pays more than what I change and its 7 dollars more than me across the board and its rooted in a personal relationship not a professional one.

It basically took 2 things to get the few complexes I have.

I clean better and red removal at no charge.

So yeah I run quite a bit more for residential work but I don't have enough of it to get snooty with the regular apartment work. If I go raising my prices they'll simply regress back to one of the other two they used to use. South Texas baby...these are the kind of people that would drive 60 miles to save 5 dollars. Do the math on that idiocy. I'm good with it though. As long as I can remain mildly profitable and continue to fill the gaps until I grow enough to not need it.

No offense but I think its easy for some of you guys who live in either stronger markets or are more established than a early start-up like myself to suggest we should simply "raise our prices". I think there's one strong factor that would allow a business to raise their prices and not suffer from drop off. That's a solid reputation. If no one knows you and no ones heard of you the market is limited on those willing to take the financial gamble to "test you out". Now with a solid rep or a recommendation the gap is massively closed and you can more comfortably move your price bar up.

We started off getting 1-2 residentials a week then a couple of months later it was 5 and now I'm lucky to get 10 residentials a week. I need those gap fillers until the schedule grows and stabilizes.