How To Calculate An Estimate For Strip And Wax Services

This article outlines how Building Service Contractors can calculate Estimates for Strip and Wax services, things to remember while you quote strip and wax work, tools that can help with an strip and wax estimate, and everything you need to submit an strip and wax service proposal.

What You Need To Put On A Strip And Wax Estimate

Strip and wax jobs are an important part of floor care maintenance. This job cannot be done by amateurs because it requires special chemicals and equipment to ensure a proper finish.

This means that you, a floor care professional, must not only be adept at performing a walkthrough and writing a strip and wax floor proposal, you must also know exactly what to include on the estimate in order to do the best job possible.

This article will cover the basic information you need to consider when writing a strip and wax estimate to ensure maximum profitability for you and the best result for your client.

Size, Services, And Location

The first thing you need to determine when writing a strip and wax estimate is the size of the project.

Strip and wax jobs are charged by the square foot. The price you charge your client can vary due to several factors, but the national average is 30 to 60 cents per square foot. However, some jobs can go up to 90 cents or more depending on how difficult the job is.

What makes the variance in price?

The biggest factor is how heavily soiled the floor is. Most floors that are being deep cleaned are made of VCT—Vinyl Composite Tile. This material requires you to strip all the layers of wax from the surface down to the bare floor.

If the floor is very dirty or damaged from foot traffic, it can take you more time or a larger amount of stripping fluid to remove the old layers of wax. This could mean you increase you price per square foot.

Another cost factor is the location of the job. Stripping and waxing requires you to move fairly large equipment to the job site. If the location is difficult to access, you may charge your client a higher price, or alternatively, you might include a travel fee in the estimate.

Lastly, determine what type of service your client wants before writing the estimate. A traditional strip and wax job involves stripping the VCT, scrubbing the tile with an abrasive cleaner, then re-applying up to 4 coats of wax to re-finish the floor.

Super Clean Commercial Cleaners also mentions that some clients may want a special sealant applied to the final coat of wax. However, this is not a necessary step and it can make it very difficult to strip the floor in the future.

Material Acquisition

Strip and wax jobs require special equipment and cleaners. The materials you use can be billed to your client when you write your estimate.

Route offers a useful bidding calculator for floor services to help you break down your costs in a transparent way.

In the Estimator, you will see several boxes where you can input various information.

The first box says, “Charge Method”. Here you will select “rate per square foot”.

The next box says, “Service Frequency”. Strip and wax jobs are not repeating, so you will likely select one time per year.

The third box is, “Labor”. We will talk about that in the next section.

The box below it says, “Supplies, Materials, and Equipment”. This is where you will input all the charges for your cleaners and anything else you’ll be using on the job site.

The things you will need are stripper fluid, an abrasive cleaner, a floor buffer, and a wet recovery vacuum to pick up the dirty stripper fluid.

Additionally there are other strip and wax supplies you may want such as plastic shoe covers, nitrile gloves, face masks, and safety glasses.

If you own your own machinery, then you don’t want to charge your client for equipment, but if you’re renting, you can add these charges to your estimate.

The protective supplies can all be billed as one-time charges in the “Materials” tab. There are drop down menus to assist you.

One more thing to remember is that your machinery also requires its own set of supplies and materials. Your floor buffer will need a utility stripping pad, and if you’re doing baseboards, that requires a special kind of stripping fluid, too.


When you begin to assess your labor costs, one of the first things to consider is your base rate. Many floor service professionals use a base rate to ensure they are able to hit their profit margins.

It is not uncommon to charge $150-$200 as a base rate for any strip and wax job.

This means that if you’re only doing one bathroom, your client is still going to pay up to $200 for the work in addition to the square footage. You can try to upsell your client by explaining to them that the more surface area you clean, the cheaper the price will be per square foot.

You may need more than one employee to do large commercial spaces. In this case, you will be charging your client the base rate, the square footage price, and an hourly rate for the additional help.

This doesn’t have to be confusing if you are using bidding software like Route. Under the “Labor” tab, check the box marked, “Advanced”. This allows you to break your team down by composition, where you can list the employee’s role, their hourly rate, and the number of hours they will be working.

The average time it takes you to do a job of a certain size is called your production rate. Knowing your production rate will help you assess how many hours you will need additional help.

According to industry veterans, two people can strip and wax about 2,500 square feet per day. Time yourself on several jobs to find your own production rate, then compare it to national averages online to see how you measure up.


Strip and wax jobs are a technically skilled profession that have many costs associated with the work.

In order to write the best strip and wax estimate possible, you need to be aware of several different factors that will affect your price.

First, since strip and wax jobs are charged by the square foot, make sure you know how many square feet you are servicing. You should be able to look at your walkthrough notes to get a good idea about the job size.

Some other things that might cause you to increase your price per square foot are how heavily soiled the floors are and where the job site is located, or how accessible it is.

Next, take inventory of your supplies and materials. Strip and wax jobs require many different supplies and special equipment. You can include the price of your supplies in your estimate.

This covers things like stripping fluid, protective gloves and masks, shoe covers, and stripping pads for your floor buffer. If you are renting your equipment, you can include these charges, too.

When assessing labor, there are two rates to remember—your base rate and your production rate.

Your base rate is the flat fee you charge for any job to make sure you hit your profit margin. No matter how big or small the job is, this number will remain the same.

Your production rate is the average time it takes you to complete a job of a particular size. On average, two people can strip and wax 2,500 square feet per day.

Using this figure as a benchmark, you can calculate your own production rate. This will help you figure out how much labor you need for different jobs.

Keep this article as a handy reference as you continue to write more strip and wax estimates. With time and practice, your bidding process will improve and you’ll be doing more strip and wax jobs than ever before.

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