parking lot bid, jon could i get your opinion?


New Member
I've got the opportunity to bid on a 42,000 foot lot to be cleaned once a week. The lot is 70% asphalt and the rest concrete. They are not looking for any of it to be cleaned deeply, just move the dirt and debri off the surface. I'm finding this hard to bid because I've never done a job that I didn't clean the concrete thoroughly and haven't worked much on asphalt at all. I'm using 2, 4 gpm, 3000 psi machines, both cold water. I've been told that cold water is better for asphalt, would u agree?
How long per 1,000 square feet? This lot is VERY dirty. It used to be cleaned weekly but it has been over a month since it was last cleaned. About 60 trucks a day come into it, loaded with chickens....
We'd do the washing at night, but there will still be between 15-20 trucks moving through the lot that we will have to work around. There are several spots for water hook-ups.

Most people seem to agree that $100 per hour is a standard rate, but is that figure based upon 1 machine, so that 2 machines should be higher? if so, how much higher?

The lot is rectangular in shape and there is a drain that runs the length of one of the long sides. They suggested that everything be pushed to that drain so there won't be any reclaim.
Thoughts on time, and price as well as any tips for efficient and or safe cleaning would be appreciated.



New Member
I don't want to sound like a broken record but you need to charge ever how much an hour it takes for your business to work. As far as how long it should take, you take how much you wash a normal driveway or what not and divide it by how many sq. ft. there are at this place. You would actually be faster because you will get in a groove and be able to wash more because you are not seting up and tearing down like you would if you did the same amount of sq. footage in driveways. Are you using a surface cleaner? If you get this job and you don't have one I would order one right away. You will kill yourself trying to wand 42,000 sq. ft. every week. I usually charge .05 a sq. ft. but that is with my surface cleaner and I can go pretty fast. To wash that lot it would be $2100 a week but I know they won't pay that much. I have a 30" surface cleaner and I can clean about 3000 sq. ft. an hour. I could probably wash more then that if I had to wash something that large and could go non-stop. With something that large though you would have to come down in price especially since they want it done every week. If I could get it done in a 10 hour shift and I know I need to make $84 an hour for my business with just me I would need to charge $840. Like I said though, I too don't know how long it would take me since I have never washed something that large. By the time I get in the groove on most driveways I am done. The specs on the a 30" surface cleaner say it can wash 7200 sq. ft. per hour. So maybe I could wash 5000 to 6000 sq. ft. I don't know. If you are using a wand I don't see how you could wash that in one night. I know that when I try and wand flatwork I get maybe 600 sq. ft. per hour. That would take 70 hours to do that job. With 2 guys it would take 35 hours a piece. So if it took you 70 hours with a wand and chraged $100 per hour that would be $7000. I am only saying all this because I don't know if you have a surface cleaner or not. You said you had a 4 gpm machine. I know that is getting small to be running a surface cleaner. I use a 5.5 gpm on my surface cleaner and I only have a 2 bar. So I could charge .02 a sq. ft. and still make decent money. One of these days I need to get to a big lot and maybe do a demo for a couple hours to see just how much I can do per hour. That way I can give more accruate numbers. I am sure there are other people on here that have done lots that big and can give you a better guess. One thing everyone on here should agree on though is you need a surface cleaner to do that big of a lot. I guess cold water could do but hot water would let you go faster. Are both of your machines hooked together? You said you had 2 - 4gpm machines. So are you working with 8 gpm through one hose? Like I said if you get this job I would order a surface cleaner right away if you don't already have one. It would pay for itself right away. I just don't see how you could wand that many sq. ft. with a wand. Say you and another guy both had wands and worked 10 hours. You would need to wash 2,100 sq. ft. an hour A PIECE to get it done in one night. Hope this has helped.


New Member

I do agree that I need to find my own price, however I tend to approach it a little differently. As a fairly new business, I try and find what the market rate for these services is and then try and determine if I can structure the job and or my business to meet those rates and make money. I think there is usually a range for a rate so I look at my numbers to see what exact $ figure in that range works for me.
As for this job, I don't think a surface cleaner is the best option. I don't have one but am looking to get one soon. The reason I don't think it is a good option is that there is so much dirt on this lot. I am under the impression that a surface cleaner won't carry the dirt to the drain. Am i right in assuming this?
Also, I can clean about 750 square feet with a wand (on concrete) in an hour, but that is fairly detailed cleaning. I don't think asphalt would hold up well to that type of detail and the cutomer doesn't want the lot perfect. They are looking for me to act more like a sweeper with water, just get the dirt off the top. This should make the job go quicker (much quicker I hope) otherwise I would agree that it couldn't be done in one night. I'm not discounting anything you say, I'm just looking for critiques on my thoughts as I see the potential job. What are your thoughts?



New Member
if i can stick my nose in here?
be carefull with the hourly thing.
You might need to get $100 per hour with your equipment and i might need to get $100 per hour with my equipment.
The prob is your running 2 units at 4 gpm and i could come in with 2 units running at 8 gpm.
I will be saving the customer over 1/3erd of your cost just because i could go so much faster.
check out auction #3309257778
on ebay.
I would also reccomend that you use the 2 wire pressure line because of the trucks running over it.
Just wondering why the customer would'nt hire a street sweeper instead of a pressure washer? For that matter why not use a water meter,fire hydrent,and 1 1/2 hose and nozzle?
This type of cleaning has everything to do with VOLUME.
One last thing Dirt becomes mud when it get's wet. Mud will take longer to move then dirt.
Dirt is best removed by sweeping or AIR.
Blow it off before adding any water.
You may want to charge 1/3 to 1/2 more for the first wash.
Thanks for letting me butt in.


New Member

feel free to butt in whenever u want. I think those are good points, and I might agree that a hydrant and hose would be best, but if he wants me to do it, I won't turn down the chance.



Flue Steam

New Member
You stated that "The lot is rectangular in shape and there is a drain that runs the length of one of the long sides. They suggested that everything be pushed to that drain so there won't be any reclaim."
Parking lot drains are typically storm drains NOT sanitary sewers...double check were that drain connects and if that chicken plant treats that runoff. You dont want to drown yourself in dirty chicken water if the EPA finds out it is a storm drain!
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Rick - Pro Wash

<br><b>Community Supporter<b><br>
Hello John,

We actually call that service "water sweep", a cold water rinse on a large area. We can make good money at .02 per sq. ft on that size lot.

I think you're about to learn that a sweeper should go over the lot before you get it wet. Once the dirt is wet, your screwed. As has been said above, mud does not want to move. Even with a fire hose it can be very frustrating.

Depending on how much dirt is on the lot, I could sweep it in about two to three hours, at $55.00 per hour. If it still needs to be washed, it will go ten times faster.

See ya,

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