Pricing a residential house cleaning job doesn’t have to be all consuming. The easiest way to charge for a residential house cleaning job is to track your clean time and cleaning material. In this article, you’ll learn how to create a house cleaning pricing guide for estimating house cleaning, condo cleaning, and apartment cleaning so that you make a profit from every cleaning. BONUS: FREE customer profile intake worksheets!
So, you’re new to the professional cleaning industry?
The one thing you don’t want to get wrong is estimating your clean time at a customer’s home like we did.
It was a disaster!
Many years ago, our staff had to clean a 3-story home and provide 2 loads of laundry services for an estimated time of 2 hours. It should have worked, but enough thought wasn’t considered for the laundry’s dry time and folding. (Our customer’s dryer was old and took waaay too long to dry clothes.)
We had just purchased this 75-client based residential cleaning business and we were desperate to keep every single customer!
Even with the option to stop by his home first thing in the morning to put a load of clothes in the washer, then return after cleaning another home to complete his basic cleaning services, we still lost time.
We couldn’t seem to reach our usual profit margin due to time and fuel wasted in travel.
Simply put, the job should’ve been charged much more for laundry services even if we were washing his clothes concurrent to cleaning the rest of his home.
We didn’t consider the total clean time which threw everything else off.
We eventually had to increase our customer’s price. And to remedy this from ever happening again, we developed a system to charge for house cleaning so that we’d make a profit from every cleaning job.
We never wanted to run into this problem again! Never! And we’re here to help you do the same.
I get it, and you honestly don’t know which way to go.
I say, keep it simple and charge by the hour for house cleaning jobs, when you’re first starting. Then as you grow, provide estimated clean time hours as a flat rate.
Why you should charge by the hour for house cleaning and not by the square foot
It’s simple. Estimating by the total square footage presents the issue of not capturing trouble areas in the home that can’t be calculated.
Issues such as mold and mildew, stains on the walls, greasy kitchen cabinets, and bathroom tile that needs extra care – extra time, can’t necessarily be calculated by the square foot.
Now, on the other end of the spectrum, you may have areas in that same home that are seldomly used – and wouldn’t take a lot of time to clean at all. Areas like guest bedrooms, home offices, and sections of the basement.
Again, when it comes to pricing for cleaning, it can get tricky when you’re starting a residential house cleaning company. You don’t need this hang-up. You need results you can trust when creating a house cleaning pricing guide because you’ll want to profit each and every time you clean. Every cleaner wants to be paid THEIR WORTH!
Pricing a house cleaning job is when an estimated clean time is considered, then multiplying that clean time by your hourly rate.
Listen to your customer’s greatest house cleaning problems
At your initial meeting, get an understanding of what matters most to the customer. Ask them about their main concerns – what is so overwhelming about house cleaning that they’ve reached out to you.
As you listen to your customer, and walk through their home, use the customer profile worksheets to calculate every estimated hour of clean time per room. The BEST version is available in our online professional cleaners’ shop.
Easy kitchen cleaning checklist for estimating
The kitchen is the heart of the home. Most would agree that it is also one of the most enjoyed rooms but, can easily become neglected.
Many of your customers will want you to give special attention to this or that in their kitchen. Your job will be to focus on the time and material needed to carry out each task discussed.
If your customer expresses the need to keep the back splash clean, jot that down along with an estimated time to clean it thoroughly.
If the stove top is a concern, write down your guesstimate clean time and the cost of any additional house cleaning supplies you’ll need.
And, since each home is different, be willing to adjust in order to cater to your prospective customer’s needs. You can do this with your copy of Customer Profile Templates!
How to price bathroom cleaning easily and calculate every minute
When it comes to pricing bathroom cleaning, again, if the customer’s main concern is the odor, be sure to address that concern. If she stresses the need to have her shower tile grout cleaned properly, even at the very top, jot down a step ladder to clean with so you show up prepared.
Keep in mind, you’re estimating clean time. So, take advantage of being in the home. LOOK OVER everything and imagine the time it would take you to clean each item. Now, add any other products you’d need to complete the job.
How to price cleaning bedrooms and all other living areas to get paid right.
Just as you’ve looked over the kitchen and bathrooms to estimate time and material, do the same for all the living areas as well.
Take your time.
Make sure that you’re taking notes of anything out of the ordinary in each room. Remember, the house cleaning pricing formula is just the start. There are many other factors to add in BEFORE you give a final price. Things like…
- Cleaning different furniture surfaces will alter your price. You’ll want the best way to clean mirrors and windows without streaks. Sometimes glass cleaning takes longer.
- The difference in price when cleaning carpeted or hard surface floors.
- Cleaning in a room with lots of clutter… NO MATTER THE SIZE!
- Cleaning electronics?
- Ceiling fans, large wall art, curios, or china cabinets, pianos, or anything else that would require special attention. By the way, here’s the best ceiling fan cleaning tool this side of heaven. Check it out.
Room by room house cleaning checklist
Once you know how much to charge to clean a house, use a basic house cleaning checklist. Don’t forget to get it!
A professional house cleaning checklist is always helpful – you don’t want to miss anything.
You can also leave this sheet for each of your customers highlighting that you’ve completed all tasks that were discussed!
Add your estimated clean time. Multiply your hourly cleaning rate.
Once you’ve come up with your house cleaning rate by doing the math, you should be good to go. But before you tell your customer their final price chew on these few things…
- How are your prices compared to your competition? Sure enough, your competition is not your focus. However, you still want to be on the playing field when it comes to giving housekeeping estimates.
For instance, if your prices are 50% higher than all your competition, you’ll want to justify that. Simply, what are you bringing to the table to warrant the price difference? On the other hand, if your competitors are a lot higher, don’t be the cheapest on the block – raise your rates.
- Have you considered all the additional cleaning material needed to perform all cleaning tasks you were shown? All degreasers, various scrub pads, step ladders, extending dusters, the number of flat mops needed, knee pads, mold removing solution, specialty wood polish/ restorer, and rust, lime and calcium remover. Phew!
Whatever types of professional house cleaning supplies you need, be sure to purchase before your scheduled cleaning day.
- Ask if your customer wants any deep cleaning services. Typically, the first house cleaning should be considered a deep cleaning and it’s why you should charge more for the first house cleaning.
Once you’ve done the hard part of developing a systematic way to create a house cleaning pricing guide, it’s time to put everything together.
Remember, this is your professional housekeeping business and it’s best for you to create systems that work for you! And, creating a house cleaning pricing guide for estimating IS one system you want to get right.
Again, it helps to know what your competitor’s house cleaning rates and services are, but it’s always best to have your own unique way of charging for house cleaning. Learn to think outside the box when it comes to creating a house cleaning pricing guide so that you make a profit from every cleaning.
I’m excited for you and hope that you succeed with your new professional house cleaning business!
Anything else I can help you with learning how to create a house cleaning pricing guide for estimating house cleaning, condo cleaning, and apartment cleaning so that you make a profit from every cleaning job, comment below!
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” – Lao Tzu
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.
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