Large flatwork job (for me), few questions

Hey guys! I have a few questions on a job that I looked over earlier today. First off, it’s 11,000 sq ft which is probably little leagues for commercial, but I was real happy when I rolled up.

The job came through a lady I subcontract through here in WA. I think I may have backed myself into a corner so looking for advice. She wanted to know market pricing, and obviously wanted me to send my lowest pricing. For whatever reason I let her know I could still do okay at .10 per sq ft on flat work, and bone headed me a few months ago told her I’d do a job over 5k sq ft at .08. Well along comes this monster and I’m thinking 11000 sq ft for 800 and change doesn’t look quite right. Now she just recently, within the last week started sending me pressure wash jobs. Should I try and renegotiate this, or just be happy with the work? I want to be competitive so they get jobs (I’m there only pressure washer), and I don’t have much work, but 800 and change seems like bottom of the barrel pricing. Thoughts?

Also, I’m running a 3.5 gpm 3k psi belt drive MiTM, with a 16 inch surface cleaner. I know it’s cleaning a kitchen floor with a tooth brush, but it’s about doing the jobs right now. Will this do the job in under 12 hours?

PS-more concrete than what’s pictured, obviously… This is about 4500 sq ft in the pic.

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I doubt that you can clean and rinse in under 12hrs.

As dirty as that concrete appears to be, it would take me 8hrs to clean and rinse that using my 8gpm machine with a 24" Whisper Wash surface cleaner.

If I were in your situation, getting work from her, I would probably tell her 10 per foot and explain that the concrete is pretty dirty and that it will take you a long time to do it.

To be honest, I would not do that job with the equipment that you have…but that is just me.


Rinsing is going to be the biggest problem with that being all flat. You may want to look into renting a larger machine for about $150 (a day) to help. Personally i don’t think .10 a sqft is bad in general, but thats very dirty and going to take a while. .10 is good when your doing more sq footage and have a machine that is cost effective at that price.

Im not 100% whats happening in your situations with the lady subcontractor but depending on how much work she has already sent you, you could take a loss on this in hopes of more future work. As much as i dont like counting on future work, if she has been “good” on her word already in giving you work it may not be a bad idea to take the risk. In a way it could be a “loss leader” so to speak and if you have more time than money you may not be “loosing”. I would still do it for at least for .10 though, and just explain that is dirty than a normal drive/concrete surface.

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Hm, I didn’t think of the rinsing. I sent this picture to a friend and he said .20 per ft. I was starting to wonder how crazy my numbers were. My concern was possibly having to make multiple passes.

This lady posted me on her site and is generating a 3-400 dollar job every other week. They seem to be picking up, however.

Another concern I had was with water supply. It’s around the front of the bldg. 400-425 feet away from the farthest corner. I was thinking 200 ft of supply hose, and 250-300 ft of high pressure line. That’ll probably drop me down to 2500 psi. I was hoping to buy a new machine after one or two more jobs like this.

Call some equipment rentals and see how much it would cost you to get the right equipment on the job site. I forget who it was last year buy he rented equipment every Saturday last year and lined up enough jobs until he made enough to pay for his own. Not the most ideal business plan but it worked for him I know id take a $200 hit on my profit to save by back for a lot more man hours using your machine.

You have to supply water from extended areas… Price goes up…
That stuff is very dirty and will take lots of rinsing… Price goes up…
I guarantee you there is rust rings around the furniture… Price goes up…

You can renegotiate with them if nothing has been signed just justify why the increase in the bid so your not hiding anything.

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There are indeed minor rust rings. I figured to just remove the grime and call it a day. I’ve never done rust removal, despite reading about it. Is that something you add on the Sq ft charge, or just a flat 100-200 bucks cushion?

If you dont already have one, you may want an xjet or dedicated pump system. I would do a strong pretreat on that so surface cleaning goes a little quicker.

Rust is not included in a general cleaning, and can be added on. Rust rings from furniture is fairly easy to remove, but will still cost them a decent amount of money. Seeing as she already wants your cheapest price, they probably are not going to want to pay for rust removal, especially since putting the patio furniture back once done will start the rusting process over again. With water supply being another issue the price goes up again, and anything you determine might be a pita add some more to the bill.

Realistically i would probably be around .16 for that, because of how dirty. This is one of the reason i dont like commercial is that i find a lot of property mangers are just looking for the absolute cheapest, and if your not the cheapest they move on to someone who is.

Im agreeing on the pre treat. Id put about 3% SH down first. It will go in one pass after a good pre treatment I think

As I posted earlier…I would not do that job with the equipment that you have…too slow.

With my 8gpm equipment, I would pre-wet, clean and post treat and collect the money. I just cleaned almost the same amount of concrete that was just as dirty…pretreated half and pre-wet the other half. The pre-wet cleaned just as well. I post treated all of it and you can’t tell the difference.

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I have to leave some margin in there for her or she won’t send me work, and neither of us wins if I’m too high and she doesn’t get the job (unless it was going to be a problem job anyway). Like many, I’m stubborn, and I’ll likely tackle it with what I have post treating like a wild banshee.

You guys are great, and I appreciate all this great advice. Thanks to each of you.

That is the right attitude…you will be fine.

Where are you located? .10 seems really low to me… I would have quoted at .20 and had room for negotiation. Try to get face to face with the business owner when you present your number. Establish rapport with them, present the numbers and see their reaction. If they give you an objection simply ask, “where do I need to be to earn your business?” they may hit you low and you can try to wiggle up a little. Try to get their mind off of the whole bidding process. And if they insist on getting other quotes make sure to plant the seed that you would like the opportunity to beat their price. And if they end up finding an 18 year old kid with a home depot special that will do it for $500, pass on the job.

Also, are there any fire hydrants closer than the water access? Hydrants are SUPER easy. They just take a deposit but can make your life a lot easier. If not, I wouldn’t sacrifice pressure due to lack of water hose. Go to home depot and pick up another 200ft of garden hose and dont sacrifice that much pressure. You can never have to much hoes!


Tell her you are appreciative of the work she’s been sending you and you intentionally gave her a great price in this job. If she complains in the future about a price being to high remind her you took care of her on this job.