How to set rates
for cleaning houses

rates for cleaning houses

When figuring the rates for cleaning houses, you need to take into consideration many factors, not all of them so obvious to the untrained eye.


You want to have a system for generating quotes that is not cookie cutter, avoid the urge to create a simplified formula such as pricing by the square foot or price per type of room such as bathroom or kitchen.


Issues with the Square Feet formula

The issue with this specialized approach is that that square footage tells you nothing about the space. It could be an empty 2500 sq ft space or a completely full space with a ton of obstacles. Does the square footage tell you how dirty it is? No. There is a lot of important information that is missing from this perspective. Even if you added in questions on your square foot calculator, would you want to answer this question truthfully...


How dirty is your house?

  • Spotless (I guarantee someone would click this!)
  • Not very
  • Very
  • A disaster area
  • hopeless


Even when being humorous, It is a bit rude to ask, no? Would you admit to your home being a disaster area? Another issue with the Square Foot approach is that people do not really know how big their home is or they think it is much smaller than it is. They never think it is bigger than it is! Why? Because we are all subconsciously trying to get a better price by downplaying the reality, it is fact that all people do this to some extent.


When you are using our pricing system, you can make such notes to yourself, “a disaster area”, that is good for you to know when setting your price and you do not need to make them confront the fact in your quote form.


Nobody loves filling out a web form anyway. So why not make it easy and enjoyable for them? Go to their house and make an in-person assessment. I have written about all of the advantages of doing this in our CleanZine Newsletter.


The issue with the by room type formula

Obviously, a small apartment kitchen with a cooking plate and a college dorm room fridge is way different from a millionaires kitchen with all the latest gadgets and 3 stone countertops and marble floors! Why would you quote one price for both situations? Seriously not a good idea.


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Pricing Factors

There are many factors that go into setting the price, here are the most important.


Here are the obvious considerations to factor in:

  • Labor
  • Materials
  • Overhead
  • Profit
  • Variables
  • Logistics


On the job estimate

This is a tried and true way to go about it, but what scares new cleaning service business owners is the idea of getting the price just right. The fear of underbidding and being stuck with it. It seems too difficult to a newbie to hone in the price and it is, it is an art more than a science and you have to have good instincts and that takes years of experience or at least a mentor to teach you the signs and tactics. Thus the allure of formulas and calculators. People love shortcuts, but you miss so much with shortcuts, you may miss out on the job entirely!


On the job factors that must be considered in a rate for cleaning houses.


Surface space

How much surface space needs to be cleaned, such as counters and furniture. An empty room has less surface space to clean than a room with nothing in it! A kitchen has more surface space (counters, appliances, sinks) than a hallway.


Home size

How big is the home? Size does not always matter when cleaning a home. This is where a cost calculator does come in handy. You can run a square footage check, to check your price is in the ballpark. Then hone it in using a pricing system like ours.


Obstacles

You will need to know how to factor in the cost of obstacles.


Diversions

Do they have 10 kids or 12 cats? You should find out!


Complexity

Was the house designed by an overzealous architect that had to put in 25-foot ceilings and 7 circular staircases or my favorite carpeted walls?


How dirty?

You need to know this and you need to find out in the least invasive way. You need to be almost Samurai like in your ability to access the job without detection.


Competitor pricing

If you were our client you would not be so concerned about this because you would be going for the wealthiest clients, you would be offering the best services available, the Mercedes Benz of house cleaning, the Gucci of janitorial services. But many pro-cleaners become almost obsessed with having the “most competitive prices”. It is a terrible focus for your cleaning business, if you want to win the race to the bottom of the pay scale and go out of business, then care about “competitive pricing”.


People will pay more for cleaning, the statistics prove it.

Here is why you should not apply your own values onto your client


What is the best approach? Square footage, surface area, the time needed (hourly), walk through, Genre, etc...

All of them!

One way you get your bearings in the pricing landscape is to take a look at the average fees for deep cleaning as a starting point.

House cleaning rates – Deep Cleaning

For deep cleaning a rule of thumb is to charge twice what you would for a routine cleaning. But customers may prefer a room-by-room cost breakdown.


If I were to break down a typical price per room for a deep cleaning it would look something like this.


  • Kitchen - $70 +
  • Dining Room - $30 +
  • Living Room - $30 +
  • Full Bath - $45 +
  • Half Bath - $20 +
  • Bedroom -- $30 +
  • Other Common Rooms - $30 +
  • Home Office - $30 +
  • Halls/Stairs -- $30 +


But, wait you said do not charge by the space. No, do not ONLY charge by the space and do not have a set price per space. When doing a deep clean, you can price it by the space. Why? Because it is one off and you are already familiar with the client and the space. If it is your first cleaning for them, you should charge by the hour so that you are getting paid to learn the job and will not underbid.


A rule of thumb:

  • First deep cleaning – by the hour
  • Deep cleaning for existing client – by the space.


Genre pricing

The pricing for carpet cleaning is much different from the pricing for homes or offices or window cleaning. Each, historically speaking, has its own pricing methodology. But our 4 perspective pricing methodology works for all cleaning niches which is why it is so novel.


Determining rates for cleaning houses is a challenge and one of the most important skills to develop for the success of your cleaning business. Don't be lazy and take shortcuts and just plug in a quote generator on your cleaning business website, actually participate in the process and evolve your abilities. You will become a master of the bid and you will make way more money and have a much better time of it.

Sources:


HomeAdvisor: Hire a house cleaner

Costs of hiring a maid service


Square Up

Determine house cleaning rates


Housekeeper.com

Housekeeping cleaning costs


Small business cost helper

Office cleaning pricing statistics




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