News & Updates

Word on the Street: Calculating COVID-19 Disinfecting Costs and Fees

School districts and experts share ideas on how to calculate the additional cost of disinfecting facilities and what fees to add to facility use agreements and fee schedules.

Word on the Street

Facilitron partners with hundreds of school districts in 25 states across the U.S. “Word On The Street” is an aggregation of up to the moment trends and best practices from districts across the country—a look at what school districts are doing right now.

Published May 27, 2020

Disinfecting Facilities: Resources, Guidelines and How to Calculate and Add Fees

What are school districts doing as far as disinfecting sites in a manner recommended by the CDC?

In our discussions with Facilitron school district partners regarding disinfecting strategies at school sites, a name that keeps coming up is CloroxPro. CloroxPro, a brand of the Clorox Company, is one of the world’s leading experts on the field of cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting of public and commercial spaces.

We investigated further and decided that whether or not you are a customer of Clorox products, CloroxPro's website provides a variety of good information including links to CDC guidelines, EPA-approved products, as well as informative blog posts on professional cleaning, disinfecting strategies, and what schools across the U.S. are doing to keep their sites COVID-clear. Among the particularly relevant documents is a Facility Manager’s Guide to Help Prepare for COVID-19 in Your School as well as 3 Steps to Take Before Reopening Your Facility. We think both are worth reviewing.

How are Districts calculating their cost in employee time and supplies and what are they charging external facilities use groups for disinfecting after events?

As the country slowly reopens and community groups are easing back onto school campuses, the question of what additional fees to charge to cover district costs arises—especially now, when cleanliness is critical due to the ongoing pandemic.

In general, Facilitron partners are increasing personnel time between 20-50% and, depending on size of facility, increasing supply costs between $5-$15 per hour or by the number of attendees.

Facilitron’s scheduling platform can be configured to add staff time and supply costs automatically based on facility type or number of attendees. Then using Facilitron work orders, districts can autogenerate rule-based work orders for both internal and external events while tracking the added staff time and supply costs for all COVID-19 related requirements.

With most districts facing a budget crisis, Facilitron partners may use this time to re-evaluate ALL direct costs by undergoing or updating their real-data cost analysis (a free service provided to all Facilitron partners). This analysis can help districts understand their actual costs per hour per facility type so they have an accurate baseline from which to start when looking at the additional costs of special cleanings or other required setup.

A Case Study: Estimating the Costs of Disinfecting Facilities

Like school districts across the country, Facilitron district partners in Northern California using the Clorox Total 360 System told us that estimating the additional cost of time and supplies required to disinfect facilities has become a priority. With reopening now on the horizon, calculating these costs is important to validate the realities of increased operational expenses in the coming budget crunch and for calculating the supplemental fees that must be assessed for community use of school facilities.

We reached out to CloroxPro about their system and to discuss cost estimate methodology. They provided the following information which could serve as a model for calculating cost with any system:

Calculating the Cost of Disinfecting Facilities

Estimate Capacity— Estimating the capacity, or, how many square feet your equipment or team can clean in 1-hour, allows you to calculate the labor hours needed to disinfect an area. In the case of the CloroxPro 360 system, its capacity is 15,000-18,000 square feet per hour. If you have a manual spray & wipe or spray & go system, your capacity may be different. It would take approximately one hour for an employee to clean up to 18,000 square feet with the CloroxPro system. You may also consider a time-in-motion study.

Calculate Supply Costs — With the CloroxPro system, one gallon of disinfecting solution can clean 7,500 square feet. One gallon of solution costs \$40.

Calculate Equipment Cost — If you are using equipment like the CloroxPro system, you may want to include an equipment cost based on expected life or a length of warranty amortization.

Using the CloroxPro system to base the costs, we arrive at the following:

  • Capacity = 15,000-18,000 square feet per hour
  • Supply Cost = $40 per 7,500 square feet
  • Equipment Cost (optional) = $5/hour

Applying the Numbers: Disinfecting a 15,000 Square Foot Area

Using the numbers above, we know we can clean 15,000 square feet in an hour. It will take 2 gallons of disinfecting supplies ($80.00) + 1 labor hour ($54.50, Northern California) + equipment cost ($5.00) = $139.50 per 15,000 square feet per hour. This would be the cost to clean 15 standard classrooms (approximately 1000 square feet each) or 1 average gymnasium.

Ways to Add Fees to Cover Costs

Adding fees to cover district costs for site disinfection can be done in various ways. The Facilitron platform can be configured to apply these fees automatically—by facility type, attendees, number of hours and more—to requests that enter the system.

Supply cost by facility type — Add \$85.00 for supply costs on every 15,000 square feet of facility area.

Using this standard, a basic 1000 square foot classroom might incur an additional $6.00 fee ($85.00/15) per classroom. An average gym of 15,000 square feet might add an additional \$85.00 for disinfecting.

Supply cost by attendees — Charge an additional supply cost of \$6 per 25 attendees (average number of people in a standard 960 square foot classroom).

Employee time — Many partners are now requiring a custodian or site/campus supervisor to be in attendance of events the entire time an external renter is in a facility. Based on district policy during the coronavirus pandemic, you might work with your Account Manager on creating employee service fees to be attached to each reservation. These triggers can include time required for disinfecting the site by facility type (square foot) or number of attendees.

How Facilitron Work Orders Can Help

Facilitron’s work orders allow a district to autogenerate work orders on facility use requests. Using inspection profiles in the system, the autogenerated work orders are programmed to consist of multiple tasks taken directly from CDC recommendations.

  • Schedule a “CDC COVID-Clean” recurring work order from Facilitron’s work order inspection profiles
  • Record all labor and materials [Costs]
  • Pull workload/cost reports [Reports]
  • Use data to conduct a traditional time-in-motion study to establish custodial standards

Additional Measures and Requirements

Besides special cleaning or setups, what other trends or special arrangements are being considered by districts to prepare for reopening?

To prepare for outside groups returning to campus, we see many districts adding new requirements to the reservation process for renters: new hold harmless agreements, acknowledgement questions, and updated terms and conditions that outline the requirements to which renters must submit before being allowed access to facilities.

Please share your best practices with Facilitron and we will continue to update our District partners!

About Facilitron

Facilitron is a data-driven facilities management platform and marketplace that integrates work orders, facility use scheduling and the leasing process of school facilities and public/private spaces into one singular system-of-record. With over 4000 schools and close to 6-billion square feet of facility space on the platform, Facilitron has processed and supported over 2.8 million community events since the company was founded in 2015.