Here's my plan of attack. I tried to make up a "bid scale" in the past. But I could never make it stick in the real world. So here's how I approached it...
I go in with 10 cents per sq ft in my mind. That's the middle ground. And I know that around the country, .10 is still considered an average price for mainstream commercial carpet care.
So here's how I work it...
I use a "Sliding Scale approach and I adjust up or down from .10 per sq ft.
Some of the many factors that affect my slide upward rapidly are as follows...
~ Smaller buildings with less carpet to maintain.
~ Lots of furniture or other items in the cleaning path that we'll have to contend with.
~ An inconvenient building access or inconvenient access to water, etc.
~ Having weird scheduling requierements.
~ Customer being weird or difficult to work with (I call this smelling out a rat).
~ They are not inclined to have it done on a regular routine basis.
~ They only want certain portions of the building cleaned.
~ The carpet is disgusting or the people are slobs.
~ They only have one location.
~ Or any other negative feeling that crosses my mind when I look at the account.
This list is only a partial set of criteria that will cause me to scoot the price up from .10 per sq ft. I'll bring it all the way up into the high .20's depending on what I observe .11 .12 .13 .15 .17 .20 and so on - you get the idea.
Conversely I will also gently nudge the price slightly under .10 per sq ft. Going down is done slowly! 9.9 9.8 9.7 9.6 9.5 and so on. The reasons for allowing the price to nudge below .10 are exactly opposite of the reasons above for raising the price above .10 per sq ft...
~ Large buildings with lots of carpet to maintain.
~ Minimal furniture or other items in the cleaning path that we'll have to contend with.
~ Convenient building access and convenient access to water, etc.
~ Easy to work with their scheduling requierements.
~ Customer is a peach that I'm looking forward to working with.
~ We can set up a regular maintenance contract for routine cleaning.
~ They want to throw lots of work our way.
~ The carpet is in good shape and well maintained.
~ They have multiple locations for us to clean.
This sliding scale approach takes a little time for you to get the feel for, but in no time you'll have a good handle on how to price things according to your market.
Hope this gives you some food for thought.