Once considered a luxury of the wealthy, hiring a personal house cleaner is more common than days of old. In our modern age of two-income households with a full schedule of school and extracurricular activities, who has time to keep a house clean? This is why becoming an independent house cleaner can potentially be a lucrative career choice.
In the United States, the average independent house cleaner makes anywhere from $25 per hour all the way up to $90 per hour. Live-in housekeepers and full-time house cleaners typically make around $1200-$2500 per week. When compared to the average hourly wage of $10 working for a cleaning company, striking out on your own sounds like a great deal.
As with any business, there will be start-up costs and monthly expenses that will reduce income initially. On the positive side, the harder you work at building the business to be a success, the faster you will see an increase in your income.
Experience is Essential
An independent house cleaner’s hourly rate is directly related to their level of professional cleaning experience. Those with a substantial amount of experience are at liberty to charge more for their services. This is primarily because the more experience an independent cleaner has the better they are at professionally cleaning houses.
Cleaning a client’s house professionally is a special skill set that improves over time. It begins with learning how to clean properly, This involves knowing what cleaning products to use and what equipment is needed to do the job right. Most importantly, cleaning houses as a profession means learning how to do the job the best way.
Properly cleaning a client’s home requires being thorough but efficient. It means working hard all the time while reducing the amount of time needed to work. Professionally cleaning people’s homes necessitates the ability to overcome the boredom of mundane tasks by knowing how essential cleanliness is to the health and happiness of the client.
Honing professional house cleaning skills can begin at home when just starting out. Getting paid to practice these important skills can be done with the help of family and friends. In addition to providing work to sharpen cleaning skills, friends and family can provide testimonials for promoting your business.
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Efficiency is Key
Typically when people clean their own home, they start in one room of the house cleaning it completely, then move on to the next room. Sometimes this is due to several family members working together with each person cleaning their own spaces and then collaborating on common rooms like the kitchen and living areas. In most cases, it’s done this way merely out of habit.
What often happens when using this method for full house cleaning is the rooms being cleaned last don’t get done as thoroughly because of fatigue or lack of time. As a result, cleaning in these final rooms gets a little sloppier and things get overlooked. In some cases, tasks are skipped altogether with the promise of getting to it later.
Professionally cleaning a home goes beyond knowing the difference between Murphy Oil Soap and cleaners used on vinyl flooring. Independent house cleaners need to be able to clean every room to the highest standards in every home. They accomplish this task day in and day out by using the method known as task cleaning.
Rather than focusing on one room at a time, known as zone cleaning, task cleaning focuses on the task. This way every room in the house is cleaned from top to bottom by completing one task at a time. It is important to note that to be most effective, the cleaning tasks should be completed in the correct order.
Using the task method keeps you focused and on the move from room to room with nearly every task. This constant movement is both good exercise and makes the job go faster. Plus, the more efficient of a cleaner you become, the more houses you will be able to clean, thus making more money.
Initially, with every new client, you will need to plot out the most efficient plan of attack. This involves knowing the floorplan of the house including the number of rooms and whether it’s a single-story home or multi-level. These details can factor into both the hourly rate of pay and the route you will develop to efficiently clean every room in the house.
Establishing a set routine of where you will begin each cleaning task and the path you will take through the house to the final room will prevent any rooms from being missed. Each task will begin and end in the same rooms every time which ensures a full top to bottom cleaning of the entire home. Keeping to a routine helps maintain focus on the task at hand. Over time, this method’s efficiency will increase the speed at which you are able to clean.
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5 Steps for Cleaning Like a Pro
- Operation Dust Bunny
- Start on one side of the room and work your way around as you dust everything from top to bottom.
- Pay close attention to the tops of tall furniture pieces where build-up occurs the most.
- Using a dry cloth, wipe down every surface area including picture frames, window sills, and handrails.
- Ceiling fans are another high dust collecting area and will require both sides of the blades to be wiped down.
- Be mindful and cautious when moving and dusting knick-knacks that may be fragile.
- Pay attention to where everything is on tables and shelves so that it all gets put back where it belongs.
- Campaign Clean Fabrics
- Remove sheets and pillowcases from each bed and replace them with clean linens if available.
- Start the first load of laundry with the bedding when having to reuse the same sheets to ensure they will be clean and dry in time to remake the beds.
- Straighten or fluff-up any couch and chair cushions, throw pillows, and furniture blankets.
- Use a vacuum brush extension on any furniture surfaces to loosen any build up from food crumbs and other debris.
- Inspect the level of cleanliness of items that only require occasional cleanings such as area rugs and bath mats and respond accordingly.
- Battle of the Smudge
- Use microfiber cloths to wipe down windows, mirrors, and other glass surfaces like tabletops and curio cabinets,
- For streak free-cleaning, use a damp cloth for cleaning and a dry cloth for a finishing polish.
- Wipe down and disinfect countertops and any surfaces touched frequently including doorknobs, light switches, and remote controls.
- Some rooms will be dirty than others which will require using fresh microfiber cloths when they become too soiled.
- Disarmament of Grunge and Scum Kitchens and bathrooms tend to get the dirtiest so start by spraying down all of the sinks, bathtubs, showers, and toilets.
- Allow the sprayed on cleaner time to breakdown the dirt and grime.
- Begin scrubbing in the same order you pretreated the sinks, tubs, and showers making sure to clean the toilets last.
- In the kitchen, remember to wipe down inside the microwave, both sides of cabinet doors, and the outsides of other kitchen appliances.
- Final Game: Sweep Up, Mop Down, and Vacuum Out
- When all else has been completed, it’s time to clean the floors beginning in the bathrooms.
- Sweep and mop each bathroom first then do one of the following:
- If the home has carpeting, vacuum floors after all other floors have been swept and mopped.
- If the home only has carpet in the bedrooms, vacuum those floors after sweeping and mopping all of the bathrooms. Then proceed to sweeping and mopping the remainder of the house.
- If the home is carpet free, then sweep and mop all rooms in the same order in which the previous cleaning steps occurred.
Do I need a special license to become an independent house cleaner?
Cleaning houses does not require a specific license in most states. Obtaining a business license may be a requirement in your specific state. This license gives the independent house cleaner the legal right to conduct business in the registered state. There may be additional permits needed from the city or municipality where you plan to conduct business so check with your city and county government for more details.
What factors play a role in determining how much money an independent house cleaner charges per hour?
Beyond the level of experience, a house cleaner has there are several components that can result in different hourly rates. These include the size of the home with regard to a number of bedrooms and bathrooms in addition to the square footage of the residence. Other circumstances to consider are the condition of the home, the extent of the cleaning needed, and any specialized services that are to be performed.
How long does it take to professionally clean a client’s home?
When using the task method outlined above a typical home can be professionally cleaned in two hours per visit. Most clients request a professional cleaning service for routine once a week visits. Therefore, in order to obtain around 20 hours per week in income, an independent house cleaner will need 5-6 weekly clients.
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.
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