If you have recently decided to start a cleaning business, you may be wondering what exactly you should charge for each cleaning job. Creating the right price to charge your clients is a key component in ensuring that your cleaning business will be successful.
The amount you should charge to clean a house for your cleaning business is between $25 to $45 an hour per cleaning person. To build a profitable cleaning business in your area, you will need to research the competitive hourly rate for your location and provide estimates to potential clients.
Finding Competitive Cleaning Rates for Your Area
Whether you are on the low end or the high end of the $25 to $45 range will depend on your location. If you live in a less populated area, it could be on the lower end. However, if you live in an upscale and expensive part of a big city, it is very likely your competitive rate will be upwards of $45 an hour. The first step to finding out how to charge for cleaning a job is to find the most competitive rate in your area. In order to do this, call around to 3-4 different reputable cleaning businesses in your area to see what they are charging. If they do not provide the hourly rate that they charge, you can ask them for an estimate on how much it would be for them to come and clean your home, along with how long they think that it will take to get the job done. If you divide the total estimate they give you by the total hours to clean, you will find the approximate hourly rate that they charge. This will give you an idea of what your ideal customers are paying for similar services near you. To stay competitive and profitable in your market, you will want to base your hourly rate around what your competitors are charging.
If you are years into your cleaning business, it is still important to check in on competitive prices for cleaning homes in your area. It is recommended to check in on your competitors’ prices at least once a year. This will allow you to analyze your own rate and see if it’s time to increase it. As the cost of living rises over time, you want to make sure that your hourly rate or flat fee rises as well.
Charging a Flat Fee Instead of Hourly Rate
Some companies prefer to charge a flat fee for their cleaning services instead of an hourly rate. This could also include charging a certain amount based on the square footage of a home. For example, you may charge $200 for a move out cleaning for a 2-bedroom apartment. This form of charging is more recommended for those who have been completing cleaning jobs for a decent amount of time and have a very clear idea of how long it takes them to complete similar jobs. If you are just starting out, you may underestimate how long a job will take you and then end up working for less than your desired rate. One benefit of charging a flat fee is customers love knowing what their final bill will be without any surprises, compared to hourly rates where you can’t guarantee an amount till the job is complete.
Calculating Time to Clean a Home
Before you provide potential clients with an estimate on how much you’d charge to clean their home, you want to have an idea of how long cleaning their home will take you. This is going to be vital in providing the most accurate estimate as possible. When you are first beginning your cleaning business, it is recommended to take a timer and record how long it takes you to clean each part of the home. Write down how long it takes you to clean the kitchen (both with and without cleaning the inside of the appliances), full and half bathrooms, living spaces, and bedrooms. An example is listed below on how to calculate the amount of time it may take to clean a home:
Your Estimated Times
Kitchen Including Inside Appliances: 1.5 Hours
Full Bathroom: 1 Hour
Living Space: 1 Hour
1 Bedroom: 30 Minutes
Potential Customer’s Home
Kitchen Including Inside Appliances, 2 Full Bathrooms, 4 Bedrooms, 1 Living Space
Estimate Total Time to Clean Home: 6.5 Hours
Some may be tempted to stay on the low end when it comes to estimating the time to clean a home, hoping the lower price point will convince your potential customer to agree to have you clean their home. However, if the job takes longer than you estimated and the price is much higher, the customer is more likely to be unsatisfied. The best way to grow a customer base that is loyal and provides referrals is to provide accurate time estimates, even if this results in a steep price.
Providing Potential Customers with Estimates
When a potential customer reaches out to you to see about getting their home clean, the first question they are going to ask you is for an estimate or quote on what it would cost them. The price is often the biggest deciding factor for a customer, which is why it is not something to take lightly! To calculate the estimate for your potential customer, you are going to do a similar equation that is mentioned above for your competitors. You will need to ask the customer for the square footage of the home, along with how many bedrooms and bathrooms are in the home. It will be helpful to also make sure you have a clear understanding of what the customer is looking for. Do they want the inside of all the kitchen appliances cleaned and the baseboards cleaned? Getting a clear image of what this customer is looking for will allow you to provide a more accurate estimate.
Once you know what the customer is looking to have done, calculate how long you think it will take you to clean the home based on the tips provided above. If you are charging an hourly rate, you will take the number of hours you think it will take and then multiply it by your rate. If you are bringing along another cleaner to complete the task, make sure to double the amount of time since you want to charge per cleaner. For example: If cleaning a home will take you three hours with one person helping you, this would be six hours total with both cleaners. Let’s say your hourly rate is $25, then your estimate would be around $150 (which is $75 per cleaner).
If you are charging an hourly rate and not a flat fee that is guaranteed, it is important to let the customer know that the estimate is approximate. Explaining up front that cleaning the home may take longer or shorter makes the customer aware that the price is not final. It is your job to clearly communicate during the cleaning to let your customers know if you’re going to be over or under your estimated amount.
Ways to Charge More for Cleaning Jobs
There are various circumstances where you will want to charge your customer more than your regular hourly rate or where you will want to add on extra time when creating an estimate. Our first example is using premium, eco-friendly cleaning supplies. There are a large number of customers in all areas that are willing to pay more for their homes to be cleaned using products that are not only safer for the environment but also safer for everyone who will be living in the home. Examples of customers that may be interested in these types of products being used are parents with small children, pet owners, elderly people or people who may experience allergies easily with more harsh cleaning supplies. Although these cleaning supplies do cost more for you to buy upfront, you can buy them in bulk if it’s a service you want to offer long term and it will then result in more profits for you as well. Plus, this gives you an advantage over competitors in your area who don’t offer ecofriendly cleaning products.
Another circumstance that you may want to charge more or add on extra time for your customer’s estimate is seasonal or move out cleanings. The thing seasonal and move out cleanings have in common is that they frequently will take longer than your traditional home cleaning. These cleanings often include a much deeper clean, including inside all cupboards, closets, and little spaces you might not normally do. To prevent the customer from being surprised by an increased bill once the job is done, it is advised to add an extra charge for this upfront in the estimate.
Working with a Customers Budget for Cleaning Homes
One advantage of charging an hourly rate for your cleaning services is you can work within a potential customer’s budget for cleaning their home! If your customer mentions upfront that they have a budget that they do not want to go over, ask them to make a list of their top priorities that they would like to get cleaned. This could include bathrooms, their kitchen, or floors. The things they most want to be done should be at the top of the list and then continued with more items they’d like done, listed in order of importance. With the list of priorities, you can begin cleaning the items at the top of the list and work your way down the list until you have reached your customer’s maximum budget to spend. For example: If your customer doesn’t want to spend any more than $100 and your hourly rate is $25, you would work on their top priorities until you reached four hours and the budget was met. Working within a customer’s budget is a win for both of you! It helps you to secure cleaning jobs with a customer that may not have a large budget. The customer gets to stay within their budget, while still getting some of the most important areas in their home cleaned.
Keep Business Expenses in Mind
Starting a new business can be exciting, especially when you start dreaming of the possibilities of new income. For many, charging $25 to $45 an hour for your cleaning services seems like a great way to add in extra income. However, when creating your hourly rate for your new business, you need to be aware of expenses. If you charge too low, you could end up not bringing home much money at all after the cost of running your business. The amount you charge should still be bringing in money after your overhead.
As a new business owner and working for yourself, there are extra expenses you typically do not have to worry about when you work for someone else. You will now have to pay your own taxes, business insurance, and legal fees. You will also be the one buying all the supplies used for your cleaning jobs like chemicals, brooms, vacuums, and towels.
Another helpful point in calculating your expenses when starting your business is you will have a better understanding of what price point you can make special offers. For example: If you are wanting to make a special offer to potential new customers for spring cleaning, you will want to make sure this lower offer still makes you profitable after your expenses.
To summarize what we’ve covered, the average hourly rates for cleaning homes in the US is between $25 to $45 an hour per cleaning person. Ultimately, it is up to your personal preference if you charge an hourly rate or a flat fee, but you do want to be careful to keep your expenses in mind. Working within a customer’s budget is a great way to secure more jobs while maintaining your hourly rate. Cleaning services are in high demand and can result in a very profitable business!
Is it possible to charge too little for my cleaning services?
Yes, it is possible to have a rate that is too low for your cleaning business! When creating your price point, you want to ensure that you are not only covering all your expenses but that it is also worth your time. Creating an hourly rate or fee that is too low may seem like a quick way to get more customers in the beginning, but it will prevent you from being profitable long term. Home cleaning is in high demand and your services are needed, so do not be afraid to charge competitively!
What should I do if I provide an estimate that is incorrect for a cleaning job?
Just like any concerns that may arise during a cleaning job, communication is key! If you charge an hourly rate and you notice during the cleaning job that it is taking longer than you expected, let the customer know right away. The customer can then choose to have you stop cleaning once you reached the estimated time and price, or they can choose to pay extra to have the job fully complete.
If I move locations, should I re-evaluate what I charge for cleaning homes?
Yes, you should re-evaluate your hourly rate or flat fees for cleaning homes anytime you make a significant move. You will want to begin researching competitive prices for your new location since your current rate could be too low or too high. Charging a competitive rate for cleaning jobs in the particular area you are in is vital to securing long term customers.
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.
If you are ready to take the next step to open your cleaning business, check out our startup documents here.