They say that time is money, and there is no doubt that your time is worth something. When it comes to starting your own cleaning business, not only should you be thinking of the return that you can make on the money you invest. You should also be thinking about the return on the time that you will be investing.
If you decide that you are going to clean houses for a living, it is important to consider how much time that can take away from you. You should expect to spend about 2–8 hours per house that you will be cleaning. That’s factoring in the time it takes for you to travel to and from the houses and the time that it could take to actually clean the house.
Now don’t look over the fact that there are other factors that you need to break down in order to really find out how much time you will be spending at each house.
Getting a good feel for how much time it will take you to clean a house will help you maximize efficiency in your business, scale, and start seeing an even greater return as time moves on!
How Big is the House?
Naturally, it would take much longer to clean a 4 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom house than it would a 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment. Right?
As a rule of thumb, you can expect to spend around one-hour cleaning for each bedroom and an additional thirty minutes for each bathroom. Assuming that there is one person cleaning the entire house.
For example, a 1 bedroom 1 bathroom house would take roughly 1.5 hours to clean. In which case a 2 bedroom 1 bathroom house would take roughly 2.5 hours to clean.
Now with anything larger than that size, you will likely want to have more than one person working on cleaning the house. One reason being that it will make the process much faster, but also because cleaning houses larger than 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom can simply be exhausting for just one person.
When you have two or three people tackling a larger project, the rule of thumb usually becomes one hour per bedroom. Assuming that you don’t have an unusual number of bathrooms to clean as well.
So for a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom house, estimate about three hours of cleaning time. For 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, expect it to take four hours.
How Often is The House Cleaned?
In order to know how much time is going to take to clean a house, you have to know what sort of a mess you are going to be walking into in the first place.
Some houses are fairly well-kept, to begin with and will hire a cleaning company to come in and do more of the deep cleaning to get that sparkle and shine we all strive for. Others could be a total disaster when you walk into them, and naturally, those ones are going to take more time to clean.
Unfortunately, you could find yourself almost doubling your time on houses if they are not kept up with at all, to begin with. This could take your time from 1.5 hours up to 3 hours on smaller houses, and probably extend 5 hours up to about 8 hours on much larger houses. Even if you have a team taking on the project.
Remember that no matter what sort of situation you find yourself walking into, you want to hold yourself and your business to the same standard when cleaning each of these houses. It is always worth putting in the extra time and effort to thoroughly clean a house that appears to be a disaster because you will boost your client satisfaction and increase the odds of them continuing to do business with you.
On top of that, the house should be easier and faster to clean the next time around, if you give it a good thorough cleaning the first time around.
How Many People Are Working on Each House?
As mentioned above, the number of people you have working on each house is going to be a factor in how long it takes to clean each house.
As a business owner, it is a good idea to crunch some numbers and determine how many staff members you should have per project. Depending on the number of clients and employees that you have, you can find out what the most efficient number of employees per house will be.
For example, let’s say that you have a business partner and the two of you are just starting out with your cleaning company. Meaning that right now, it is up to you two to do all of the cleanings.
If you have one client then the most efficient way to clean that house would be for both of you to go and clean it, no matter the size.
Now if you get to the point where you have to clean two houses on the same day, you would have to decide if you will both clean one house and then move to the next, or if you would each take one house for yourself.
Then as you begin to scale there will be more factors to consider:
- What size of houses needs to be cleaned?
- Are there any scheduling conflicts with the employees?
- How big of a house can one person clean by themselves?
When factoring in how long it will take to clean each house within your business, make sure you have already figured out how many people will be working on each of the houses that you have to clean.
You should also consider how long it will take for varying numbers of employees in case something happens where one of your employees can’t make it.
How Much Time Will Be Spent on Each Room?
The last way that you could analyze how much time it should take to clean a house is to think of how much time it will take to clean each room of that house.
Bedrooms are typically going to be much larger than bathrooms, but bathrooms are typically going to need a more thorough cleaning.
Above we used the trick of assuming about one hour per bedroom and a half hour per bathroom, but that was just how to determine the estimated total time that it will take to clean the entire house, based on its size.
Once you get your business up and running, odds are that you will get a better and better feel for exactly how long it will take to clean the average bedroom, the average bathroom, the average kitchen, and so on.
Simply break down all of those numbers, and then add them up to get a rough estimate of how long it will take the entire house.
For example, if you think it will take one hour to clean the bedroom, one hour to clean the bathroom, and half an hour to clean the kitchen, then that would take two hours to clean the house.
Check out these common cleaning mistakes: https://cleaningbusinessboss.com/cleaning-business-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them/
Don’t Forget About Travel.
Lastly, make sure that you do not forget to account for the time of your travel.
This won’t have any direct impact on how long it takes to clean an individual house, but it will help you form the idea of how many houses you can clean in a day at your current size.
In other words, if you are able to pick up more local clients, and not have to travel as much to actually get to the houses that you are cleaning, then you will have more time to clean.
Let’s say you and your partner have eight hours to clean as many houses as you can in a day.
If each house were to take you two hours, then you should be able to clean four houses within the day, right?
Well, yes, but this does not account for the time it takes you to commute from house to house. It also does not factor in any eating time or other downtime that you might want to consider.
It is safer to assume that you will only be able to clean three houses within an eight-hour window if you are confident that it will take you two hours to clean each house.
Is there anything I can do to minimize the amount of time it takes to clean a house?
Bringing on more employees to help you clean and maintaining the cleanliness of any repeat customers will be the best way to minimize the time it takes to clean a house. On top of that, it is important to keep in mind that the longer you do the job for, the better you will get, and the quicker you will be.
At what point should I start hiring employees for my business?
You should be able to feel when the workload surpasses what you feel like you can handle on your own or with just a partner. After starting the business continue to weigh your costs and you should be able to figure out whether or not hiring on employees will bring you a return or if it will eat up the profit that you already have.
How much time will I need to cover the necessary business tasks in my business (paperwork and other similar tasks)?
You should always have room in your schedule to deal with these sorts of business tasks, but as you grow you should be able to hire employees to take care of the actual work. Even then you will still want to have at least a few hours each week to consult with your accountant, lawyer, and others so that you are keeping an eye on what is going on in the business.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
Looking to start your own cleaning business soon? Check out my course and startup documents here.