What are Reasonable Commercial Cleaning Costs?

We'll show you how to determine reasonable commercial cleaning costs.

Are you trying to determine a reasonable cleaning budget for your commercial building? Due to the variety of building types and office setups it is very difficult, if not impossible, to determine standard commercial cleaning costs.

Chain stores, such as movie theaters and restaurants, may be be able to establish a per seat average cost due to the fact their buildings are likely very similar in size and set up, however for most businesses this is difficult.

There are 28 million small businesses (defined as a company with less than 500 employees), so there are millions of unique, non-cookie cutter office and work environments to consider. With all that variety it’s hard to provide a per square foot charge to use as a benchmark.

The Challenges with Establishing a Benchmark

Beyond size and setup differences, there are many intangible costs to consider as well that can also be difficult to measure. These include:

  • The opportunity costs of spending the time and effort managing or doing the cleaning yourself. Most sound management principles espouse the importance of focusing on your core, revenue generating business activities.
  • The cost of using an in house cleaner versus an outsourced cleaning company.
  • Worker productivity – how does professional cleaning provide a healthier work environment? Given the importance and focus on worldwide pandemics and working to break the chain of Confused by all the factors involved in a commercial cleaning budgetinfection in these cases, having a professional service or approach can impact the bottom-line in another intangible way by ensuring your most productive earners are at work and not at home under quarantine.

Costs vary considerably depending on how much you want done and how often, and pricing is not at all clear-cut — it depends a great deal on the company. – CostHelper.com

Now that you see the wide variety of factors that impact commercial cleaning costs, we’ll give you a few specific items to consider to help you determine what costs are reasonable.

What is the desired frequency of cleaning?

Are you a retail establishment where customers come daily to your place of business? Studies show that 95% of people will not come back or will look unfavorably at a business where the washrooms are dirty. The washroom can’t just be tidy, it must be clean. In many cases people are sitting in the washroom a while and you should look at the washroom from that perspective. Take a seat and close the door, is the back of the door clean? What about behind the door after it is closed?

Once per week cleaning may be enough if you are a small office, but if your garbage’s are overflowing by the time the cleaners come you may want to look at more frequent service.

Clearly the more frequent the service, the lower per visit average you will have from a budget point of view.

Cleaning tasks

Using time and motion studies the average cleaner can do a detailed vacuuming of a 5000 square foot office setting in about one hour. Depending on what rate you expect to pay per hour you can calculate a basic per square charge for establishing a budget. So if you are paying $25/hour, (remember that per hour cost includes equipment costs, insurance, training, uniforms etc.) and you have a 25,000 square foot building your budget would be $125 per day for vacuuming alone.

However you can get more sophisticated using work loading to decide when and how often to vacuum to trim the budget. For example you could vacuum main traffic areas daily and offices every other day or weekly. Depending on the number of washrooms and washroom fixtures you could calculate times for cleaning washrooms. Time and motions studies say it takes a minute to properly clean a sink and fixtures, 2 minutes to clean a toilet.

You also have to decide what and how you want your general office cleaned . Are you having desks and phones cleaned or just garbage’s removed? Count on 30 seconds to empty a garbage can and replace the liner.


There are many factors that go into establishing a reasonable commercial cleaning budget, some are difficult to attach a cost benefit number to but could be vital to the health of your business. Other factors are basic math when calculating how long it takes to clean a single toilet or sink and the time it takes to vacuum a specific area. Both are important considerations when calculating your budget.

Here are a few examples of sample budgets for a couple different sizes and frequencies using a basic office set up and standard time and motion study numbers.

commercial cleaning budget scenarios

Beyond determining reasonable costs for your business, you also need to make sure your procurement strategy is solid. Need help? Click the link below to get our free guide on planning for your MRO Business Needs.

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