How to Calculate Housekeeping Times

Time is money. For the lodging industry, this is especially applicable when it comes to cleaning costs. Many facility managers assume they can multiply the number of guestrooms by some theoretical productivity rate to determine the time and resources needed to clean their hotels, but the results are generally inaccurate. Workloading, which involves calculating time standards for each task and area within the facility, is a reliable way to determine cleaning times. Before benchmarking performance or developing staffing plans, consider the following four steps from ISSA, the global trade association for the cleaning industry, to effectively workload a hotel.

1Group like with like.

Divide the building into areas that are cleaned in a similar way. While your area list will be unique to your facility, some groupings that make sense are all guestrooms; the lobby; the dining rooms, bars, and restaurants; and the pool and workout facilities.

2Add up cleanable space.

This is the area that is actually cleaned, not gross square feet. Take physical measurements—current CAD or scale drawings are the most efficient. The objective is to accurately gauge what needs to be cleaned and what type of surface is in each area (e.g., 15,000 square feet of lobby tiles).

3Factor in the task.

Labor hours are dictated by the scope of work, which will have two parts: the actual task that needs to be performed (i.e., detailed vacuuming) and the number of times it is performed on an annual basis. This will give you the annual labor hours per task. For example, you may collect trash in a particular area 260 times a year. At 0.5 hours each time, this results in 130 labor hours.

4Get a dollar figure.

The final step is to determine your labor cost. To do this, multiply the total number of hours by the wage rate (adding a percentage to cover taxes, insurances, and benefits) to reach your burdened labor cost. To get a final cost estimate, add supply costs; equipment depreciation; miscellaneous job costs such as background checks, drug testing, uniforms, etc.; overhead; and administration and profit.


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  1. A. How many teams (including relief) of six section housekeepers each would you need to form in the housekeeping department of a 576-room hotel if: ( show circulations)

    1. each section housekeeper cleans 16 guestrooms
    2. the hotel has an on-premise laundry that takes one team to operate
    3. The hotel is open 7 days a week
    4. the employees work 40 hours per week maximum
    5. you need to have enough teams to cover days off.

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