Well, look who’s doing a fantastic job! You are. You’ve received your first call to go price a customer’s house. But, the how to charge for house cleaning is the tricky part, so we’re here to help!
In light of recent events of viral outbreaks (Coronavirus, 2020), please refer to this list of EPA and OSHA approved cleaners. Also, consider this “detail cleaning” for your customers as an additional cleaning. DO NOT give your professional cleaning services away for free. Here’s a FREE simple pricing formula to help you with pricing.
So, you know how to clean your own house. Okay. ✔
Cleaning for friends and family is easy too. Got it. ✔
But, when it comes to charging for house cleaning – the process of putting a fee to your time becomes a little fuzzy and before you know it, you’re feeling like you’ve been duped and cleaning for “free”.
I know the feeling! Its like, you know how to perform the tasks. You know what chemicals you prefer to use – green or traditional. You know that you are a hard, and smart, worker. You have even targeted the area of your city that you want to clean. Buuuutttt, you just need a few steps to put it all together.
Just a 1,2,3 approach to pull together everything that you already know. Like a house cleaning check-off list that helps you to calculate your clean time to an hourly rate.
In order to charge for professional house cleaning the right way, focus on these things.
Take accurate notes of what to clean.
Write down where to clean in the house.
Record the frequency of cleaning.
The cleaning products needed. (Especially requested “green cleaners”.)
The customer’s budget.
These should be the main factors in your agreement with your customer. However, each home is different AND each customer’s desires are different too.
If you need help, visit our cleaners’ shop and check out the residential customer profile worksheets PRODUCT (version) to help with the process of taking good notes. These worksheets will assist you to outline each area of the house. Separating the needs from the kitchen and the tasks of the bathrooms and bedrooms and such.
With these sheets, you will be able to write down the square footage of each room too.
FYI: Deep, spring, detail cleaning is typically done twice a year. So keeping these sheets on hand can be useful for your house cleaning business all year.
In fact, we have used these worksheets for many of our residential cleaning customers over the past 27 years in the cleaning industry!
The 3 factors to consider when pricing house cleaning.
First, listening to your customer is the number one factor when pricing to clean a house.
At the initial greeting with your prospective customer, be ready to listen closely. I mean seriously. It’s wonderful that you want to talk about how great of a cleaner you are, but the truth is you’re there to provide a service to the homeowner. Besides, they already have a positive review about you. That’s how you got in the door, remember? 😉
So, get an understanding of what matters to the customer. Ask them about their main concerns – what is so overwhelming about house cleaning that they have reached out to you.
Now this is the part that you have to give lots of attention to. Give your full attention to what you’re being asked to clean. Not just one room – but ALL OF THE ROOMS in the house.
Really hone in on your prospective customer’s needs and desires. As they speak to you, hear what frustrates them – what’s the most embarrassing aspect of their home. Or, just why do they need a residential cleaning service?
Ask them what they were not receiving from the last cleaning people or in fact, ask, what was so great about them. (Perhaps the last cleaning crew retired or moved away from the area and were not bad service providers at all.)
And, get a feel of the house. Go with your gut and ask yourself, if you’re relieving their lost time by cleaning themselves, or is house cleaning simply something they can’t manage?
You will soon realize that this too matters when listening to your customers’ needs and learning to put a price on house cleaning.
Write down all tasks that you are being asked to clean in the home.
As you listen and move through with the homeowner, write down the minutes that you estimate it would take you to clean.
(Read that twice!) Because you will be “guesstimating”.
NO 2 HOMES ARE PRICED THE SAME WITHOUT CONSIDERING the number of residents, pets, age of children, clutter, lifestyle, if the customers pick up between cleanings, geographic location, chemicals and methods of cleaning desired.
Please remember this and do not fall prey to group-think mentalities that dictate a certain square footage, number of bedrooms/ baths should cost a certain amount.
It just doesn’t work that way.
House cleaning estimates should be given based upon each customer.
Okay, okay, I’m off my little tangent….
Let’s say you got your copy of the customer profile worksheets to give house cleaning estimates. Consider the size of a typical bedroom. If it would take you 20 minutes to make the bed, dust, polish, vacuum, and mop, then write 20 minutes down.
If it would take you 45 minutes to properly clean the kitchen, then write down 45 minutes next to the kitchen’s cleaning task.
While taking notes to give a price for maid services, don’t forget to put a time down even for small areas like halls, steps, entry way and mud rooms.
All the time really matters.
After all, if you‘re giving them back their time, your time has to have a price. And, there is no shame in charging for ALL of your time. THIS IS HOW YOU GET PAID YOUR WORTH… it’s the value of time you give back to your customers!
You can say amen to this… 🙏🏽!
Need extra help with pricing house cleaning? How about a hand-holding, step by step guide with videos, downloads, and easy to implement assignments and email support? Have a listen >>>
Also, take notes of the surfaces you are being asked to clean.
This makes me remember when we had a residential customer that had a lot of black lacquer furniture AND a white shag carpet. Ah man, could you imagine that! I mean the place was gorgeous, but I had to charge that family extra to clean their house because some tasks would be done twice. Sometimes 3 times!!
Ya see what I mean when I say square footage and the number of bedrooms/ bathrooms can’t be the only factors when you charge for residential cleaning services. Because in the end, you want your residential cleaning customers satisfied with your services.
So, the process was to dust the furniture, then wipe it with a cleaning solution, then vacuum the carpet, then dust the furniture one last time. The family loved the results! They said that I was irreplaceable and that they didn’t mind paying me extra. They wanted a good cleaning experience. They wanted fantastic results.
That example is not ideal for all cases, but I put it here to illustrate that not all homes are the same and in some cases, you improvise to bring the best results and satisfy your customer. That is the point – customer satisfaction, right?
The second factor to think about when charging for residential cleaning are the products you intend to use.
While walking room to room observe if there is glassware – then you know what you will need plenty of. How about woodwork? Then be sure to jot that down. Is there carpeting, wall-to-wall or just a few areas rugs here and there. Write everything down. Once you leave, you wouldn’t want to go back for a second walk through.
This would be a great time to write down any specialty products you may need. Some special degreaser for the kitchen or a carpet spotter for a spot that your customer asked you about.
We have listed 21 traditional cleaning products and equipment that you can find useful to your professional cleaning service in our resource library.>>>
Your choice of products will make a difference in terms of cost and how to charge for house cleaning.
Lastly, to price house cleaning is to find out the frequency of service.
Typically, the more frequent you would provide the cleaning service, you would charge the least amount. For instance, a weekly cleaning may be $200 per cleaning. If the customer wants an every other week cleaning, the cost can be $225.00.
The rational is that less time between cleanings is less dirt, grime and dust to be cleaned. Got it?
So, just figure, your total clean time will be less if you cleaned the home once a week as opposed to cleaning it once every 2 weeks. (I must say that this notion WILL vary between service providers, customers, and the tasks being performed. It is my 25 years of experience that I speak from).
Homework: If you are new to pricing residential cleaning, practice on a neighbor’s house or a close friend. Someone who won’t mind you cleaning for a couple of hours just to test this out. You can be the judge of your own time, materials used, how well you cleaned, and determine if it was worth it. Check out this article also, “How to Start a Professional Maid Service”. It may be helpful too!
So, to bring it all home, take accurate notes as you walk through. Factor in the customer’s greatest concerns, what to clean, where to clean, products needed and the frequency. I guarantee that this process will show you how to charge for house cleaning.
“Remember that time is money.” Benjamin Franklin
Until next time,
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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