Why You Should Charge More for the First Professional House Cleaning

Here's why you should charge more for the first house cleaning. Modern home with wood floors.
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Here’s the neat and skinny of why you should charge more for the first professional house cleaning. The initial house cleaning can consume more time and supplies. This extra time and supplies must be compensated for. It is wise to consider a first-time house cleaning as a “deep” cleaning, and deep cleaning is different than routine cleaning maintenance.


When you meet your new customer for the first time, it’s important to listen to their greatest concerns. The issues they have with their home that cause the most stress. The very reason your potential customer contacted you in the first place.


Usually, the customer will complain about build up in the bathrooms. Or, kitchen appliances that have not been maintained properly. More than likely, they will make a fuss about dust on the furniture and dirty floors.


Once you take notes about your prospective customer’s problems, it becomes obvious to see that what they’re complaining about will take extra time and extra material to get it to a desirable condition. Then and only then, can a cleaning maintenance schedule happen.


If you need help in taking accurate notes, feel free to download this residential customer profile worksheet. It will enable you to take proper square footage, write down each room’s floor type, and jot down the cleaning supply list requested by the customer. It also has space to list the children, pet names, the nanny, the dog walker, alarm code, parking space #, and so much more!


I will say this, it is always assumed in our professional maid service industry that we need to perform a deep cleaning first and then continue with a thorough cleaning maintenance schedule.  So those handy dandy sheets will help you out.


Don’t hesitate, to get them.  They are sent right into your inbox and you can print it out to use at your next walk-through. There is a BONUS SHEET that helps you estimate your cleaning time so that you can give a more accurate house cleaning rate!



Most initial cleanings are called Deep, Detail, Expanded Basic, or Thorough Cleanings. Professional cleaning companies around the world will refer to this type of cleaning in a variety of terms.


Those same companies will also outline the tasks they perform in each category as well. Each company will outline what they include in their deep house cleaning package.


As you continue with your journey in the professional cleaning services, you will learn to create your own structure of business. And, you’ll learn to create your cleaning systems and strategies for getting your jobs done correctly.



First-time cleanings SHOULD cost more for 2 main reasons.


I’ll be honest, most homeowners may not be aware that the first cleaning will and should cost more and they may argue their point and say, “Well, it’s just a little dirty”. Or, “I don’t think it’s that bad”.


They may even tell you up front how much they are going to pay and not a cent more.  Saying this, “Well, we paid our last cleaning service $$$, so it shouldn’t cost more than that.”


Yes, they will!


Many homeowners are not aware that there are different types of cleaning. As professionals, we should inform our customers of the variety of cleaning jobs to help them make a decision as to what they want.


Honestly, on average, most professional maid services charge 25%- 75% more for the first cleaning.


Go ahead, Google it.  Most professional cleaning services who clean houses will charge more on the first residential cleaning!



One reason why you should price higher for the initial residential cleaning is to compensate yourself for the additional labor time.


It will take you extra time to learn a good work flow. After all, the home is new to you.


Giving yourself an extra hour or 2, or 3 to acclimate to a new work situation is crucial to your customer’s experience and to your final results. It is not worth it to rush through a job and not hit all the pain points that your customer outlined to you.


Dirty mold on white tiled bathroom wall and tub areas

If it takes you a little longer scrubbing the bath tub and tile of months of built up soap scum, well, then it just does.



If the stove top and oven need an extra scrub to clean up Thanksgiving’s dinner, but now this is the week of Christmas, then go for it.



Trust me, it is better to take your time and do things right, and right this first time.


Remember, this first cleaning is your first impression. There are no repeats. This is the time to be clear, focused, on-time, prepared in every way, and ready to work. 



(By the way, if your residential cleaning service has not added additional cleaning to your current house cleaning customers, consider doing so.  It gives you the opportunity MAKE MORE MONEY and ENCOURAGE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION, all at once.  If you enter the FREE deep cleaning challenge, I will walk you through this simple process.)



The second reason why you should charge more for the first professional house cleaning is the extra material.


Since we have established the first cleaning as a “deep” cleaning, you will use more supplies than with the following routine cleanings.


Case in point. If your customer requested window and patio door cleaning, you would fully clean each panel for the first cleaning. However, for routine maintenance, you may only have to spot wipe. See, there’s a difference in time and material.


There can be several scenarios such as this throughout the home. Wiping wood furniture, dusting and cleaning around electronics. Also, it may take 2 or 3 passes to wash the floors and get them to a certain level of clean! This is all extra supplies and material for which you should be compensated for.


cleaning bottles, dust pan and hand broom on a step stool on a wood floor


Even more than that. If you have to rent equipment, such as floor machines, that should be added to your price to your customer.


You should never pay for anything out of your pocket. It just isn’t good business practice!




It will take extra time and extra material to perform an initial house cleaning. No matter what. You should be compensated for this. It is honestly the cost of professional housekeeping. These are the main 2 reasons why you should charge more for the first professional house cleaning.



The common question that gets asked in business is, ‘why?’ That’s a good question, but an equally valid question is, ‘why not?’Jeff Bezos



Until next time,

Happy cleaning!



Creator of A Janitor’s Story®.  I started my office cleaning side hustle at 20 years old. Years later, with the partnership of my husband and our amazing staff, my business grew to mid-six figures and fulfilled my wildest dreams!  Now, 27 years STRONG, I’ve retired, and I help aspiring entrepreneurs to START and GROW their house and office cleaning service businesses to achieve their biggest dreams.  I’d like to help you do the same.


Click here to join my email list for constant inspiration, deals and special offers EXCLUSIVELY for new cleaning business solopreneurs and small cleaning teams.  I look forward to meeting you inside!



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  1. Thank you for sharing!!

    1. Stacey Freeman says:

      You’re welcome!

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