Supermarket VCT

#1
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I've got a meeting with the management at a local supermarket this Friday. One of them is rooting for us pretty hard to land this account BUT I didn't go to them, they came to me.

I'm really happy they did...BUT

I'm not sure I can handle the scope of a project like this with only 1 helper.

The floors in these smaller, chain stores are always in pristine shape. I'm honestly not even sure how much maintenance it takes to keep them looking so good.

I'm imagining this is where propane burnishers and all kinds of things that real VCT pros have come in handy.

I do okay with VCT. I've been doing mostly medical clinics with small bathrooms and pretty modest break rooms.

Is there real money in an account like this, for 2 properly equipped guys?

It's CLOSE to me and may offer some stability as I PRESS to establish my business in this community.

But If I can't do it AWESOME, I don't want to do it. The extra money wouldn't be worth our reputation suffering.

HELP me fellas. I'm slow right now and can really feel the value of some regular commercial work to supplement our residential work and smooth out this wild ride.

What equipment would I need?

Should I just respectfully pass and run away?
 
#2
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I'm interested in replies to this. I have one large vct account, but it's a hardware store and so I don't keep it as nice as most grocery stores. I also have done small vct jobs for 10+ yrs. I've always avoided the big ones. My guesses:
They need scrubbed nightly, or at least every other night. You need a quality reliable auto scrubber for this. You then need to buff them at least once a week. A propane burnisher is the only way to go. I use one. I see them on Craigslist regularly for reasonable prices. Don't be scared of them. From my experience a small-medium sized grocery store will take 2.5-5 hrs per night of sweeping and scrubbing.

The big question is are you equipped to strip and wax them. You need 4-6 guys to do that efficiently.
I imagine you could figure it out but it needs to be worth it. Don't underbid.
 
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#5
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Square footage? Do you have store employees working at the same time you are doing the floors? Is it worth it to purchase the right equipment?
I knew these questions would come, as they should. I don't know the answer to any of these but my guess is the VCT is in the neighborhood of 5K sq ft.

I'm sure I'm off. I'll get hard measurements on Friday but I had to put it out here to get my noodle working a little after hibernating last week.
 
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I think having the right employees is the key. Like Mikey said. Someone who you trust, but isn't valuable enough to want a high hourly wage.
Also I'm sure it's more than 5k sq ft. My hardware store is somewhere between 15-20k. I scrub it twice weekly and buff once. Strip every two yrs. Takes me 3 hrs twice a week. And I make very good money at it.
 
#9
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I think having the right employees is the key. Like Mikey said. Someone who you trust, but isn't valuable enough to want a high hourly wage.
Also I'm sure it's more than 5k sq ft. My hardware store is somewhere between 15-20k. I scrub it twice weekly and buff once. Strip every two yrs. Takes me 3 hrs twice a week. And I make very good money at it.
It very well may be more. Maybe even quite a bit more.

I'm definitely out of my element with this.
 
#10
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I think having the right employees is the key. Like Mikey said. Someone who you trust, but isn't valuable enough to want a high hourly wage.
Also I'm sure it's more than 5k sq ft. My hardware store is somewhere between 15-20k. I scrub it twice weekly and buff once. Strip every two yrs. Takes me 3 hrs twice a week. And I make very good money at it.

What exactly is involved in "Scrubbing" the floor twice a week
 
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One outfit in town does all the big vct here. Auto scrubbers, the do good work but their employees are questionable. They lock them in most stores. If its big sq/ft you'll need the big stuff to be competitive and make a profit.

A little knowledge and the right equipment goes a long way. Those guys are experienced but certainly nothing that anyone else couldn't do.
 
#13
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What exactly is involved in "Scrubbing" the floor twice a week
Going over the floor with an auto scrubber using neutral floor cleaner. I use a red or green pad depending on whether I'm going to buff or not. I don't cover every square ft of flooring but go down each isle and cover 90 percent or so of the floor. I use a 32inch auto scrubber for the large areas and a smaller more manageable 20in scrubber for around the doors and tight areas.
 
#14
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You really need to have some help doing this if you are cleaning carpet. you can't work day and night, you will get pissy with your carpet cleaning customers. Ask the store if they have their own equipment. If not You can lease jan-san equipment just like carpet cleaning equipment. guessing most stores in that market will take minimum 5 hrs.
 
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There was a time I did some grocery stores with 10,000 to 12,000 sq. ft of VCT. Every week buff or burnish; monthly scrub and recoat; strip about once a year or even less often if I kept everything in good shape. The weekly and monthly route was nice to have, but I did not like the late night stripping jobs.

For most stores in that size range, we had a crew of 4. This was need to have everything finished and 3 or 4 coats of finish dry before opening in the morning.

Even did a few Wal-Marts sized jobs with 50,000 to 120,000 sq. ft. Two teams, the most efficient equipment and it still required more than one night on the biggest stores.

When we are getting established, almost any job can look good. Some companies have done wonderful just with VCT. A friend got a chain of 23 stores and about another 30 from a national chain. Trained the guys. Had crews that worked at nigh stripping floors and doing scrub and recoat. Other crews doing several spray buff or burnish jobs each day. They got decent money and he had a nice slice off the top of each job.

Think about what your long term goal is for two years from now; 5 years from now or 10 years down the road. Try to always being moving toward those goals. Is doing VCT moving you toward the goal or is it a detour? Yes, sometimes we must take detours, but they usually slow us down from reaching the goals.
 
#17
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There was a time I did some grocery stores with 10,000 to 12,000 sq. ft of VCT. Every week buff or burnish; monthly scrub and recoat; strip about once a year or even less often if I kept everything in good shape. The weekly and monthly route was nice to have, but I did not like the late night stripping jobs.

For most stores in that size range, we had a crew of 4. This was need to have everything finished and 3 or 4 coats of finish dry before opening in the morning.

Even did a few Wal-Marts sized jobs with 50,000 to 120,000 sq. ft. Two teams, the most efficient equipment and it still required more than one night on the biggest stores.

When we are getting established, almost any job can look good. Some companies have done wonderful just with VCT. A friend got a chain of 23 stores and about another 30 from a national chain. Trained the guys. Had crews that worked at nigh stripping floors and doing scrub and recoat. Other crews doing several spray buff or burnish jobs each day. They got decent money and he had a nice slice off the top of each job.

Think about what your long term goal is for two years from now; 5 years from now or 10 years down the road. Try to always being moving toward those goals. Is doing VCT moving you toward the goal or is it a detour? Yes, sometimes we must take detours, but they usually slow us down from reaching the goals.
This!

Thanks Scott!
 
#18
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Give it a try and see how it goes. Just tell them that. Of course we are very good at this but it’s night work instead of our normal day work. We would like to try if you’re willing to give us a try. Something like that.
Best of luck whatever you decide.
 
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#19
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Find out what they want and expect. Don’t, I repeat don’t do it not being equipped. People and equipment. It’s just like everything else, there are pros that have specific programs for those. It’s best to even rent them propane buffers to use when you’re not there. Frequentcy of scrubbing, buffing and strip and wax. My buddies here in OKC do that, and even have their own mechanics and have finish they manufacture.
 
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One outfit in town does all the big vct here. Auto scrubbers, the do good work but their employees are questionable. They lock them in most stores. If its big sq/ft you'll need the big stuff to be competitive and make a profit.

A little knowledge and the right equipment goes a long way. Those guys are experienced but certainly nothing that anyone else couldn't do.
I walked in to one of their jobs one morning to have breakfast ( they have good breakfast) and went into the bathroom to wash my hands. The guy had just mopped the floor and had actually mopped around a couple of paper towels laying on the floor. I should have snapped a pic but it was before smart phones.
 
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Russ......we are presently servicing 12 supermarkets, all over 45,000 up to 60,000 sq feet. We are there 7 days a week, scrub & propane buff every day. We've had this account over 12 years. It's a good account but takes up a lot of time & energy. We never buy new scrubbers or buffers, way too expensive & new or used works pretty much the same. We use Signature wax which we get really cheap. We have at least 5 extra scrubbers in our warehouse at all times because scrubbers break down all the time. LMK if you have any questions
 

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