When a potential client is interested in your cleaning services, the first question they will often ask is how much it will cost them to have their home or office cleaned. Being able to provide accurate estimates is one of the most important skills you can have in your business. If your estimates are inaccurate, it will result in unsatisfied customers. Our guide will put you on the right track to providing the most accurate estimates as possible.
Providing accurate estimates involves setting your hourly rate, timing how long cleaning jobs will take to complete, adding up the total estimated price and thinking ahead of possible situations where the estimate should be higher. You also need to decide on what method will work best for you for delivering your estimates.
Setting Your Hourly Rate
The first step in being able to provide your potential clients with an estimate is deciding on your hourly rate. Your hourly rate is one of the most important decisions you will make for your cleaning business. It will ultimately determine if your cleaning business is successful or if your finances will end up going in the negative down the road.
To determine your hourly rate, you need to find what the common hourly rate in your area is. Each area will be different for the specific average price. However, the hourly rate for cleaning services in the US ranges anywhere from $25 to $40 per hour per cleaning professional. Your specific average rate will depend on how high the demand for cleaning services is in your area.
To find the common hourly rate for your market, you will begin by calling around to 3-5 cleaning companies near you that have good reviews. When you call, ask for their hourly rate or ask for an estimate on what it would cost to clean your home. If they only provide an estimate, you need to also ask how long it would take them to clean approximately.
Once you have the rates for the 3-5 companies, look for the average rate among the companies. Is there a range that is common among the companies? It is common for most cleaning companies in one area to be very competitive and close to each other in price. You want to stick close to this rate as you are starting your cleaning business.
Timing Your Cleaning Services
Once you have decided on your hourly rate, the next step is to time how long each cleaning job will take you. This step is essential in providing accurate estimates. If you don’t have a clear understanding of how long each cleaning job will take, you will not be able to properly add up the estimated price for cleaning services.
If you don’t know how long each job will take you yet, we recommend beginning by timing yourself in each area of the home. You can ask a friend or family member if you can clean their home or you can time yourself in your own home. You want to set a timer and write down how long it takes you to clean a kitchen with and without the inside of appliances, a half bathroom, a full bathroom, bedrooms and living areas.
You want to keep your list of cleaning times in a place that is easy for you to access, so you can refer to it when a potential client calls for an estimate. We recommend keeping this list in the notes on your smartphone. When a potential client calls, you can add up the time to clean their home by adding up each space they have.
Adding Up Total Estimated Price
After you have timed your cleaning and have a clear understanding of how it takes you to clean a space, you can move on to adding up the total estimate that you will provide your potential clients. With your hourly rate and the length of time it takes you to clean a space, adding up your estimate will be easy at this point!
To add up your total estimate, you will take your hourly rate and multiply it by the amount of time you expect the home to take you to clean. For example: If your hourly rate is $25 an hour and you plan on the cleaning job taking you 4 hours total, the estimate you would provide your potential client with would be around $100.
It is important to keep in mind that your hourly rate is only for one cleaning professional. If you plan on bringing additional help with you, your estimate should reflect this. You also want to keep in mind that bringing additional help will most likely lower the amount of time that cleaning will take you.
To add up an estimate for two cleaning professionals verse one, you would take your hourly rate and multiply it by 2 (since you have two cleaners) and then multiply that number by how long the cleaning would take two people.
An example could look like: $25 (hourly rate) x 2 (total number of people cleaning) = $50. Then $50 x 2.5 hours (lower since there are two people) = $125 (estimate)
Some cleaning companies prefer to charge their clients for drive time and will include it in the estimate they give to potential clients. Charging for drive time is completely up to your own discretion! It is not required, but it can be beneficial if your cleaning jobs are located far away from you. If you plan on only cleaning in a very specific location or neighborhood, then drive time may not be something you charge your clients for.
Situations that May Increase Your Estimate
There are some situations where the estimate may be higher than what you would originally expect. By knowing this upfront and increasing your estimates for certain types of cleaning, your clients will be less unpleasantly surprised in the end.
The two most common situations where we recommend adding on additional time to a cleaning estimate are move-out cleaning and seasonal/deep cleaning services. Both of these types of jobs often take longer than your regular cleaning jobs due to requiring more in-depth and thorough cleaning. We recommend staying on the safe side and adding additional time to your estimate for these cleanings upfront.
Methods for Delivering Estimates
Once you have a thorough understanding of how to calculate your estimates, you want to decide on what method you’ll use to deliver the estimates to your potential clients. For most cleaning businesses, it will depend on the contact method most of your clients use. As an example, we have seen multiple cleaning businesses start using social media as their main method to reach their potential clients. Due to this, businesses prefer to deliver their estimates through Facebook Messenger.
If your clients are reaching out to you over the phone, you can also provide estimate details over a phone call. Another option includes sending an email with an attached document that clearly lists out all aspects of your estimate.
No matter what method you choose to use, it is important to make sure you clearly outline all aspects of the estimate. Your estimate should include the amount of time you expect the cleaning to take, the total estimated price, your contact information and the times you are available to complete the cleaning. The goal is to answer as many questions as you expect the client may have up front in the estimate.
Our last piece of advice when delivering an estimate is ensuring the client knows that the estimate is approximate and not guaranteed. You can explain that although the estimate should be close, that you will not be 100% certain how long the cleaning will take until the cleaning services have taken place. If the client knows this upfront, they will be less shocked if the price is different after the cleaning is done.
What should I do if I give my client an incorrect estimate for my cleaning job?
If you are completing a cleaning job and you realize during the cleaning that it will take longer than you expected, it is important to let the client know right away. You should message or call the client and let them know that the cleaning is taking longer than you expected.
You can give the client two options: You can either stop cleaning once you have reached the estimated price or you can keep complete the cleaning for the additional cost. By giving the two options, your client gets to decide if the cost or the cleaning is a bigger priority to them. The key to keeping your clients satisfied is having very open communication.
Should I keep my hourly rate low for my cleaning business to attract more clients?
There are risks you can take by keeping your hourly rate too low, even as you are starting your new cleaning business! It is important to make sure you keep your business expenses in mind when you’re creating your hourly rate. If the rate is too low, you can end up going in the negative for your business finances.
You want to keep in mind that cleaning services are in high demand! You can charge a competitive rate for your area and still actively grow your client base. Your hourly rate should not only cover all of your expenses, but it should also be worthy of your time and the services that were provided!
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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About the author. Entrepreneur and Cleaning Business Fan.
Hi! I am Shawn and I am a happy individual who happens to be an entrepreneur. I have owned several types of businesses in my life from a coffee shop to an import and export business to an online review business plus a few more and now I create online cleaning business resources for those interested in starting new ventures. It’s demanding work but I love it. I do it for those passionate about their business and their goals. That’s why when I meet a cleaning business owner, I see myself. I know how hard the struggle is to retain clients, find good employees and keep the business growing all while trying to stay competitive.
That’s why I created Cleaning Business Boss: I want to help cleaning business owners like you build a thriving business that brings you endless joy and supports your ideal lifestyle.