Hood Cleaning Prices What to Charge?

Restaurant Kitchen Exhaust Hood Venting System Cleaning Pricing Guidelines

First, determine your hourly rate. This is based on direct labor cost (hourly wages for the crew), plus indirect labor costs if you offer benefits (called “labor burden”, it can be as much as 20 to 30 %), multiplied by the correct factor for your profit margin level (usually X 2 or X 2.5).

Most hourly rates are somewhere between $75 per hour to $150 per hour, depending upon how many men comprise the crew.

Based on your hourly rate, you should be able to get into the “ballpark” using the following guide.

For a “straight-up” job, average hood, one-story, fan on roof above, the time on the job should approximate the following:

5 ft. hood or less 2 hours

5 ft. to 8 ft. 2.5 hours

8 ft. to 12 ft. 3 hours

12 ft. to 16 ft. 3.5 hours

16 ft. to 20 ft. 4 hours

20 ft. to 24 ft. 4.5 hours

Over 24 ft. 5 hours


  1. Hood lengths overlap to allow for higher pricing if the system is dirty.
  2. Oriental Restaurants—double the price due to the type of oil that they use.
  3. Additional exhaust fans—add $50 to $75 each
  4. Cleaning filters—add $5 each.
  5. Charge extra for first time or “forced” cleaning (citation from the Health Department)—it will be dirty.
  6. Charge extra for long or complicated duct runs.
  7. Charge extra if the job requires scraping out the system rather than washing.
  8. Charge extra for access panels (if Required.) approximately: $150.00 each
  9. Discount day work, or volume (multiple locations)

Method 2:

$10.00 to $20.00 per hood linear foot plus $40.00 to $60.00 per fan. Minimum charge: $100.00 to $250.00 Double the above prices for Oriental Restaurants.

(Caution: Some restaurants personnel lose their ability to speak English when it gets time to collect the invoice!) Access panels: $55.00 to $75.00 each Give a discount for scheduling during the day as most work is done at night.

Discount for scheduling during your off hours as most work is done from 10:00 pm until 4:00 am. Charge extra for the first time cleaning.

Charge extra if they are being forced to clean (citation from the Health Department) as it is probably very bad.

The concepts described in Method 1 of the pricing guidelines can apply to all markets because it uses the tried and true method of time and material plus your profit margin.

Typically, charging $100.00 to $150.00 per hour will cover your costs plus a good profit margin. Method 2 is also accurate; however, Jenny does not use these pricing formulas.

The real art in pricing strategies is to accurately control and access your corporations cost structure.

Prices will always converge to what the market will support based on the quality/price trade-off.

However, costs are more company specific and can be manipulated and fine tuned to increase profit margins. This is where a company can gain a competitive advantage over the competition.

Keep in mind the quality of work is assumed to be adequate.


Anybody that lives in a major city is going to run in to multi-story grease ducts at one point or another.

In order to give the customer a fair price for the job, you are going to need a formula that will cover all of your costs and ensure that you make a profit, no matter how long the run is.

You are also going to need to be able to keep the price competitive if you have several companies in your area that can do the same quality of work.

The best formula that I have seen for this type of job is the per linear foot method, which can be modified for the width of the duct and type of grease being removed.

Obviously a larger diameter of duct is going to require more chemical and more duct spinner runs than a smaller diameter duct.

Wok and wood burning char broilers are going to require many more runs as well.

In some occasions the reverse is actually true. The ducts are so big and so long that only a light layer of grease is formed on the duct, which will be very easy to take off.

You can modify the formula if this is the case as well. It can be as simple as charging a standard amount per linear foot of duct and going up and down based on size of duct and type of grease, here are some guidelines:

Standard sized duct (say 2’ x 2’) – $5 per linear foot System with wok cooking – add $2 per linear foot System with char broiler cooking – add $1 per linear foot Larger duct – add $1 per every extra 1 foot of width Here is an example using this formula:

10-story (100’ long) 3’ wide duct with wok cooking; Start with the standard $5 per linear foot and add $1 for the larger duct and $2 for the wok cooking.

You now have $8 per linear foot x 100’ = $800 for a 10 story 3’ wide duct with wok cooking.

This can be modified for the pricing in your area by adding or subtracting from your standard duct price. You can also modify this very easily if you plan to give a discount for multiple ducts or multiple locations.

This formula is easy to use on an entire system as well. Let’s say you have an 8’ plenum, 10’ vertical duct with one fan.If it was a standard system and you were charging $5 per linear foot you would have 18’ of duct work x $5 = $90 + $75 for the fan = $165.

This is a pretty standard price to pressure wash a one-story location in but in your area you may be able to go up to $8 per linear foot which would turn the same job in to $220.You can also work the formula backwards and come up with a standard per foot price for your area. Lets say the industry standard for a one-system single story pressure wash in your city is $255.

If you start with the $255 and subtract the fan ($75) you are left with $180 for the rest of the system. $180/18’ = $10 per linear foot of duct work. You can expand this to include the hoods or add-on for lateral ducts and your price will still stay within the industry standards for your city.

Here is an example of a bid for a system with a lateral duct on a wood burning char broiler using $10 per foot: $10 per linear foot + $1 for the wood burning char broiler = $11 per linear foot. A 12’ plenum in to a 1’ vertical riser with 10’ of lateral duct and 10’ of vertical duct in to 1 fan would be a total of 33’ of duct work.

33 x $11 = $330 for the duct work.

Add $75 for the fan and the total for the job would be $405.

You could charge the $11 per foot on the first service to clean the system up and go to $7 per foot on the regular service, which would bring the price down to about $300 on the regular service.

The great thing about this formula is that it is very flexible for all types of systems and customers.

It is also very easy to explain to the customer how his system is being priced, and you are given quite a bit of leeway if the customer wants to haggle.


Salesmanship plays a major role in the amount you can get for a particular job.

Some Contract hood Cleaners can get 10% to 100% more for the same job than their competitors.

Pricing becomes even more confusing because people are entering the business with consumer quality pressure washers without insurance, workmen’s compensation, office, or overhead expenses because they are operating from their homes on a part-time basis. They do not have normal business expenses.

But the customer liability (risk) is greater because a lack of insurance and workmen’s compensation. And often deliver poorer quality work because of a lack of training.

This price guide should be used as a reference point. It is not a recipe that will guarantee that you will get every bid. It will have to be modified to fit the economic conditions of competition in your area.

You will have to decide if you are going to bid on quality or price, or somewhere in between.

The economic realities are that you cannot deliver a Cadillac for a Volkswagen Price. Companies that do cannot pay their bills on time or end up in bankruptcy.

Every time you lose a bid ask the customer who they went with, what was the price, and why they did not buy from you.

This will give you the information to start modifying this price guide to fit your market area. Often the customer will not give you this information but most people will give you some information.

This is the start of your market survey so that you can adjust this price guide for you in your market area. If you are getting 100% of your bids you are too low. You need to be rejected about 15 to 20% of the time to assure that you are getting for most for your time and effort (what your market will bear).

After a competitor has completed a job go by and see what kind of work he did and if possible the price he charged for it. Try to determine if your competitor has insurance, or workmen’s compensation.

You should include insurance and workmen’s compensation certificates with your bids and explain the liability that people have if they choose a contractor that does not have this coverage.

When a prospect calls you need to determine how he got your phone number. Was it from: a referral, telephone yellow pages, saw your truck working, newspaper advertising, recommendation from a present customer, etc.

Yellow pages leads tend to be price shoppers and they call every one in the yellow pages.

This needs to be taken into consideration when you bid. The best lead is a recommendation from a present customer.

Track where business is coming from and direct future advertising based on this information. Keep track of all lost bids and their Kitchen Exhaust System Information Sheets. A new Chef will want to bring in his own vendors.

Now you will be able to bid the cleaning without another site visit but you will also know approximately what he was paying. This database can be an extremely valuable competitive edge! It is being done by almost all of the larger contractors.


Many small companies bite the cash flow bullet on bids for large corporations and the government. They do not have a clear understanding of how they are going to be paid.

They are overwhelmed by the name of a Blue Chip Company and are embarrassed about discussing when they will be paid. The problem is that a lot of these customers regularly pay in 60, 90, and 120 days as a regular business practice and sometimes longer unless you ask for payment sooner.

You need to start your collections before you start the job.

Find out who is responsible for authorization of your invoice and who will actually process or write your check (it may be from another corporate office in another state).

Ask when they normally pay their vendors. Be honest and tell them you are not a large contractor and cannot afford to wait 60 to 90 days for your payment.

Find out what their procedures are. Sometime a 2% discount in 10 days will assure payment in a timely manner.

For large corporations and the government find out who the Accounts Payable Clerk or Manager is. This information should be collected before you start the job and not after the payments are 90 to 120 days late.

If you expect payment when the job is finished this should be stated along with the price.

Do not assume that you will automatically receive payment when the job is finished! On larger jobs that last over 30 days it is normal to receive draws against the total bid based on the percentage of the work completed.

Sometime you can get a deposit before you start the job. On medium size jobs 25% down, 50% upon completion, and 25% net 30 days is common. In the construction industry is normal for the General Contractor to hold back a 10% retainer from all subcontractors until the entire job is completed.

That means that you may not get the final 10% job payment until several months after you have finished your portion of the project.


Most contractors do not charge extra for travel within a 30-minute to a 1-hour drive of their shop. However, they have a minimum charge of $65.00 to $250.00 to make small unprofitable jobs profitable.

This covers of the fixed costs required in dispatching a crew and wash rig. Some contractors charge a small fee of $25.00 to $40.00 for the time it takes to get a wash crew ready for travel and include it in the bid price.

Some travel rates are: A. 50% to 100% of your normal hourly rate. B. 50 cents to $1.00 per mile. C. 30 cents per mile plus $35.00 per hour. No charge on regular service jobs.


Most Commercial Customers do not question the use of their water, but Residential Customer often complain about you using their water.

This is often because they perceive 500 to 1,000 gallons of water being very expensive. You need to check the water rates for your area. In most areas of the U.S. water cost is about 50 cents to $3.00 per thousand gallons.

As you can see this is a minor expense. However, if you have to haul water to the job site water can become a significant expense. Most contractors charge the regularly hourly rate to go get water and haul it to the job site.

Some contractors doing residential work will add $45.00 for water if they do not use the customer’s water. I would suggest that you explain to the customer the water is a job cost and the less you have to pay for water the cheaper you can do the job. If he increases the cost of water than the price will have to go up.

Minimum Charge 

Most companies will have a minimum charge to cover the cost of showing up at a job location. It is not profitable to spend 30 minutes driving to $25.00 job.

Method 1: $50.00 to $250.00

Method 2: $75.00 to $150.00 for the first hour then your regular hourly rate.

Method 3: Minimum of charge of one or two hours at your regular hourly rate.


In today’s turbulent insurance market it is often necessary to obtain several insurance bids. Most states do not have an insurance code for Commercial Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning. Therefore the insurance companies that do insure Commercial Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning have to estimate their risk without the benefit of market risk history. (i.e., they have to guess at it). Because of this market climate it is often necessary to request 3 to 10 insurance bids. Tell the insurance agents exactly what you will be doing when requesting bids and compare quotes closely.


Hourly Rate: Commercial Contractors with Insurance and Workmen’s Compensation: $50.00/hr to $125.00/hr, Average-$65.00 to $75.00/hr- non-environmental $65.00/hr to $150.00/hr, average $75.00 to $85.00/hr- environmental Part Timers without Insurance and Workmen’s Compensation: $35.00/hr to $65.00/hr, Average-$45.00 to $55.00/hr- non-environmental $45.00/hr to $95.00/hr, average $50.00 to $70.00/hr- environmental You should never be making less than $50.00/hr for a one man rig. $50.00 per hour is about break even for a one man rig and you are losing money if it is a two-man rig.

Some contractors will reduce the above hourly rates $5.00 to $10.00 per hour if heat is not required and for cold water washers. Most Contract Cleaners will charge less when starting out until they gain experience. Once experience is acquired and reputation is established pricing goes up. Normally after you have been in business for over a year there will be jobs that you no longer consider profitable and will not accept. But when you first started out you would have dearly loved to have had the job.

When you are bidding a work you are not familiar with you can always fall back on bidding by the hour with a “not to exceed” amount. Also you will find that when bidding by the hour the customer is not nearly as picky as when you are doing the job at a fixed price. Sometimes it is difficult to decided whether to bid by the job or by the hour. Normally if you bid by the hour then your customer is taking the risk on how long the job will take. If you bid by the job then you are taking the risk for how long the job will take.

Therefore, most contract cleaners will expect a higher hourly rate for bid jobs than for jobs by the hour to cover their risk for jobs they miss bid. In a perfect world there would not be a price difference between bid jobs and an hourly jobs.

Note: Kitchen Grease Exhaust Cleaning in normally bid by the job. When estimating jobs it is best to figure the price several different ways. For example if you were bidding a parking lot figure the price based on a cost per square foot. Then figure the price based on a time estimate times your hourly rate. Again in perfect world these two figures would the same. If there is a large price difference then you had better study the situation some more. If you are bidding by the job you should be aware of what hourly rate you are earning and adjust future pricing (bids) accordingly.

Also during a job if your earnings are too low you should start adjusting your work accordingly and start looking for ways to speed the job up. This sounds too simple but come contractors will ask the customer what they are willing to pay for a job. And if the price is one you can live with you have the job! Be aware of the “perceived value” of Power Washing. Normally it is between $50.00 to $150.00 per hour.

Should you give notices of price increases for hood cleaning?

If you are doing regular work on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis should you give notice of price increases? With a room full Kitchen Exhaust Contract Cleaners there is no agreement on this item. It is done both ways. Some will give notice and some will not. If you give notice it will draw the attention of your customers and may cause all of your work to be reviewed! On the other hand if you do not give notice the following will happen. A. The Customer will not notice. B. The Customer will notice but will not complain. C. The Customer will notice and call. You have three options:

  1. Tell them it was a clerical error.
  2. Exclaim: You only got the price increase now!!!!!
  3. Explain how your cost has gone up and a price increase was necessary.
  4. Fire some customers if they are too hard to deal with.

Fire damages Bala Cynwyd restaurant

A fire early Friday damaged a restaurant along City Avenue in Bala Cynwyd.

The blaze at Flap Jacks on the 100 block of City Avenue sparked about 3 a.m., 6ABC Action News reported. It took firefighters about a half-hour to bring the fire under control.

There were no injuries.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Firefighters arrived to find fire in the kitchen, and before long flames were shooting through the roof, according to the report.

via Fire damages Bala Cynwyd restaurant.

Restaurant kitchen fire forces closure of section of Finchampstead Road – Get Reading

A section of Finchampstead Road had to be closed this afternoon after a fire broke out in a restaurant kitchen.

Crews from Wokingham and Bracknell were sent to the blaze in the Wokingham Gourmet Kitchen, opposite Carnival Pool, at about 3.50pm.

They used breathing apparatus and one hose reel to extinguish the fire and then ventilated the premises.

One member of staff was taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and the restaurant was smoke damaged.

Part of Finchampstead Road was closed for about one hour because of the amount of smoke in the area.

via Restaurant kitchen fire forces closure of section of Finchampstead Road – Get Reading.

How to Hire A Good Hood Cleaning Company

What it takes to be successful in the restaurant industry skills, long hours, calm in chaos, and well-trained staff in food preparation, presentation, safety and sanitation. And that’s just the lunchtime shift. By all measures you are a rock star of hospitality.

When it comes to the most important part of your kitchen safety — the kitchen exhaust hood/duct/fan system — are you relying on amateurs? To be sure, here are 8 essential demands you want from your kitchen hood cleaner:

1. Perform a complete kitchen exhaust hood cleaning.

Sounds strange? Unfortunately, it happens all the time that kitchen hood cleaners will only clean the visible elements of your kitchen hood system, skipping the more difficult yet critical components such as horizontal duct-work and rooftop fans.

They get away with it because most restaurant staff will not check the kitchen exhaust hood system after a service, or they don’t know what to check. You can solve this by taking the following simple measures:

• Remove a grease filter and shine a flashlight up the plenum to see if it’s clean.
• Request a complete set of time-stamped photos of each cleaning (see next item).
• If possible, go on the roof and tip back the fan to check that the duct and the fan blades are clean.
Remember, a complete kitchen exhaust hood cleaning in accordance with the minimum standards NFPA 96 2014 requires that your entire kitchen hood system (from fan to flue and plenum area) be cleaned/scraped to bare metal. Demanding anything less can result in fire, kitchen odors, reduced kitchen airflow and catastrophic loss.

Beyond this, a good kitchen exhaust hood cleaning company will polish exposed kitchen exhaust hood so that your morning crew will walk into a sparkling clean kitchen exhaust hood.

2. Provide detailed job photos.

If your kitchen hood cleaning company is not giving you time-stamped pictures of each cleaning, I’m betting you have grease buildup in your hoods. Any respectable kitchen hood cleaner has a “Photo Inspection Program” to manage quality, improve transparency, and document service and safety compliance.

These pictures are made available to you and your insurance company online the morning after service and stay accessible to you for 3 years.

Typically each cleaning requires at least 7 pictures documenting any existing conditions and the real kitchen exhaust hood cleaning including: Access panels, fan units/intakes and surrounding roof area; vertical duct-work from rooftop; horizontal duct-work from hood; hood with filters out and after filters are back in kitchen hood.

3. Courteous, equipped staff.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of a kitchen exhaust hood cleaning gone bad. What matters most is that your kitchen hood cleaner responds immediately fix the problem.

Your customers expect a good experience from you, and you should demand the same from your kitchen hood cleaner. This means your hood cleaner should honor the following courteous protocols:
• Coordinate your cleaning schedule with restaurant management at least 3 days in advance.
• Give you a courtesy call (or email if you prefer) the day before service.
• Crew to check in with your GM on time (or 10 minutes early preferred), dressed in company uniform with company truck equipped for the job.
• Leave your kitchen exhaust hood polished, floors mopped and new hood certificate sticker applied.
• Invoice that accurately reflects the service provided.

4. No Identity Fraud!

Demand evidence that your hood cleaner is really who they say they are. If I could collect a nickel for every hood cleaner that claims to be “the leader,” or “NFPA 96 certified” — and whose mess we had to clean up… Here are some of the best ways to weed out the fakes:
• Your hood company may claim they are “certified” because someone in the company passed a written test administered by an industry association. This is not enough evidence that the technicians actually performing your cleaning are qualified.
We certainly agree that certification is important, particularly quality-process certifications like ISO 9001:2008, which we worked hard to do and very few service companies have accomplished. But, training and experience is the true test of qualified technicians.
• Get a Certificate of Insurance (COI) from your kitchen hood cleaner sure they have the proper insurance coverage, and have them send you a renewed certificate annually. Proper kitchen hood cleaning provides fire protection and is a major fee for kitchen hood cleaners.

If quoted a cheap kitchen exhaust hood cleaning price, chances are the company has inadequate insurance coverage, will become your worst nightmare.

• Ask your hood cleaner so they can present you with an NFPA 96 compliance inspection, and sketch diagram of your kitchen hood system and grease duct-work to include access panels, bends and turns.
• If you are looking for a new kitchen hood cleaning company, contact at least three references to make sure they keep up satisfied customer relationships.

Also consider how long they have been in business. While longevity isn’t a guarantee of quality or reliability, it lets you know whether they can run a business and satisfy clients.

5. Your satisfaction guaranteed.

Reputable kitchen exhaust hood cleaners know that this is a referral-based business, every kitchen hood cleaner receives the occasional complaint, how they respond is the difference.

If you experience a problem following a service, or your exhaust fan is making noise, or there is grease dripping from the hood, ask a call back and expect a quick response.

6. Environmentally friendly – proper waste water disposal.

Congratulations, you are environmentally friendly and have adopted programs for energy conservation, waste reduction and recycling programs in your restaurant.

You abide by mandated federal environmental protection programs like the Clean Water Act and other local municipality regulations because you care, want to avoid hefty fines, and understand it is just good public relations.

Did you know you are also expected to adhere to environment exposures resulting from your kitchen exhaust hood cleaning? Make sure that your kitchen hood cleaner is properly disposing of waste water accumulated during the cleaning process.

If not, your held liable for the damages. Ask them about their waste water disposal (FOG) methods. Only approved grease interceptors and filtering drains will be used during cleaning so that liquid by-products are not endangering public water sources.

Determine whether your restaurant’s drain pipes led to a storm drain or sanitary sewer system. Recent building codes require all inside drains be connected to a sanitary sewer and outside drains exposed to rainfall are connected to a storm drain. However, some older building may not be up to date.

7. Risk Averse – Safety First.

• Fire Safety: Your kitchen hood cleaner is your partner in fire protection and safety. Grease is easily ignited in any form — solid, liquid or vapor. It burns very hot at approximately 1,400 degrees and spreads rapidly.

A simple spark in the cook line could become a catastrophic fire if it ignites grease fuel buildup in the kitchen hood, exploding through the duct-work to the roof fan in a matter of seconds.

Statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) report that over an average year, approximately 5,000 restaurant fires are reported with property loss of $190 million.
• Safety Program: Your hood cleaners should be taking safety precautions while at your facility, on your rooftop, performing under wet and slippery conditions. They should be willing to share with you there OSHA safety program and Fleet safety program.

8. Rooftop Grease Containment.

Grease travels through your kitchen exhaust fan can leak on your roof. If grease is left on the roof it can void your roof warranty and damage the roof.

We recommend that all leaking grease be captured by a grease containment system, or your kitchen hood cleaning frequency should be increased to prevent accumulation of grease inside of the kitchen exhaust fan.

If you do not have one, if there is grease collecting around your kitchen exhaust fan and surrounding area, have your kitchen hood cleaner provide you with a written recommendation for a grease containment system.

Ultimately it is your responsibility, not your kitchen hood cleaner, to protect your roof. Grease and tears in your roof will lead to costly water damage as well. Have them repaired ASAP — a small repair today will save big dollars tomorrow.