Need help with parking garage bid

I just got my first opportunity to bid a parking garage. It’s actually two 2-level garages totaling about 80,000 sq.’ All concrete, the upper levels are open air. I have very little commercial experience, but do a ton of residential flatwork using a 4GPM machine, cold water and a surface cleaner. Besides this job being about 100 times larger than the concrete driveways I clean all the time, what other variables should I be aware of? I haven’t used oil stain removers yet, but would like to include something like DE-OIL-IT in the bid. There is also a lot of hard water and rust stains in some areas. Should I offer to restore with F9? After the garage floors are cleaned, the condo association is going to seal it and asked me to put a bid in for that as well. My rinky-dink 2 gal. pump sprayer won’t do, so If I get the job I’m going to upgrade. I’ll take any suggestions out there for a small electric pump spray system, something I can use to spray this water based sealer on this job and later use for F9 and other low volume applications. Has any one made their own for low $? I price residential concrete at $.10/sq.’, would I bid this out the same? I’m also planning on building a water reclaim system, something just to redirect the water pooling in the garage out onto the grass.

Poseidon–I don’t even know where to start with your questions because there is alot in your post. The 2 biggest problems I see in your post is that it appears you only have a 4gpm cold water Powerwasher and the 2nd biggest problem is the price. In your state your going to find guys that bid a garage of that size at around .02sq’ . Your going to have a tough time trying to show why your company deserves more with the equipment you have. A demonstration can go along way in getting these jobs.

As for the 4 gpm machine your going to have a very tough time rinsing the sludge that will form in there from the powerwashing. I would suggest for you to rent a Tennant Scrubber to be used in your cleaning but that 4gpm machine would have me deaply concerned. Also hot water is pretty much a must when dealing with oil stains. You may also have Environmental issues as far as to where your dirty water can flow. Do not let them catch you letting any of your sludge going down the drains. Fastest way to clog them up.

I’d almost tell you to pass on a job like this as a recommendation but then again maybe you’ll get lucky. You are going to definitely need more then a 4gpm cold water machine to do a job like this.

I ditto John T. You are clearly not set up for a job of that size, let the guys who are qualified/prepared get it. You can’t win them all. I have been in the exact circumstance and turned it down and passed it along to a larger commercial guy i had just met (now we have a very good business relationship. I pass most big (headache) jobs on to him and he passes most all his residential on to me. ) Dont be a jack of all trades, Master 1. Stick to what your equipped for and you will be fine, besides your probably about the be slammed busy with this nicer weather.
Sorry it’s not a helpful, or informational post in regards to degreasers, EPA issues (which you do have ) but that’s my professional opinion and my experience. Oh yea, someone somewhere is way more hungry than you and will come in at 2 cents a sq ft (and will get it). Low price usually wins that type work.

LA Pressure Washing LLC
“Taking Pride In What We Do For You”

What they said.
I know the money looks good, but don’t take on a job you’re not equipped for.
If you get out there and mess up, it could not only cost you a lot of money, but it could also cost you lost jobs and a bad reputation due to word of mouth.
I too get calls for huge jobs from time to time that I’m just not equipped to handle.
I sub them out to a man I grew up knowing and has been in business for 18 years.

80000 sq ft isn’t that much when it comes to parking garages if it is four total floors that is only 20000 sf a floor. 2 8gpms should be able to do at least 10000 sf per hour not including gum removal so 1 long day depending on how the garage is setup. you will defintely need hot water for the oil stains as far as rust I have never removed rust stains from a garage. Don’t expect 10 cents a square foot it is probably not going to happen especially if you are bidding against someone who does garages for a living.

Thanks for the fast replies guys. I just joined PWRA and this advice alone is worth the price. I pretty much expected that my equipment wasn’t enough for the job and I’m already wary about being underbid and definitely aware of the headaches and obstacles which come with doing unfamiliar jobs, I just hate feeling like I might be walking away from money. The points made about not losing money and keeping my good reputation of quality work make a lot of sense though. Also, the advice to sub the job out is sound and what I’m going to do. I’ve developed several good relationships with contractors in my area and outside my preferred radius, which we pass work back and forth. I’m gonna reach out to a local company I haven’t talked with yet, but I know they have a good rep in the area, do quality work, and have the right equipment. Maybe I’ll still work on the job in some capacity if they end up getting the bid. I’ve learned a lot (both how to do things right and how others do things wrong) by working with other contractors.


i have been reading this post…like you the contributions are awesome…this forum is a joy to follow

I’ve done quite a few jobs with a few different contractors around here, and will continue to do so when the opportunity arises.
Definitely a great experience.