How Much to Charge for House Cleaning Services (Rates and Examples)
Are you in the early stages of starting a residential cleaning business? Not quite sure how much to charge for cleaning services? Then read on.
Jane’s worked tirelessly to get her cleaning business off the ground. She’s chosen and registered her business name; found a cleaning service quote and invoice template that works for her; decided what cleaning services to offer; created a Facebook page; and bought supplies and equipment—and that’s only the half of it.
She’s now on the hunt for clients, going door-to-door and even networking. It’s not long before she starts getting a few queries from prospects asking about her services and house cleaning rates. It’s then that it hits her: she has absolutely no clue how much to charge for her house cleaning services.
If Jane’s story sounds familiar or you’re just generally wondering what to charge, then you’re in the right place. Read on to learn about:
- Which factors influence house cleaning rates
- Different methods you can use to set your house cleaning rates
- How to price for profit using one of the most common pricing methods (examples included)
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How Much to Charge for House Cleaning Services
The average hourly rate for house cleaning services is between $25-50 per hour, going up to $90 per hour depending on factors such as the type of cleaning and demand in your area.
Here are the most common factors that will influence your house cleaning prices. You’ll want to keep them all in mind before offering a quote.
- The size of the home: House cleaning rates can be determined either by square footage or by the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the home (more on average room rates below). The larger the house, the more you should charge.
- The type of cleaning: Deep cleaning, which is more thorough and requires more cleaning supplies, will cost more compared to basic cleaning like mopping and sweeping. According to Thumbtack, the starting cost for the standard clean of a one bedroom home is $100 compared to deep cleaning, which is $125.
- The state of the house: The dirtier the house, the more cleaning required, and the higher the price.
- Home location: The further you travel to clean a home, the more you’ll have to charge to cover these costs. To keep your overhead low, you can try scheduling clients who live near to each other on the same day, or use route optimization to reduce mileage and increase efficiency.
- Demand in your area: While you should charge a rate that’s unique to your business and not pegged to industry averages, certain areas will, on average, have higher or lower going rates than other regions. In New York, for example, there’s a higher demand for cleaning services than in say Oklahoma, which drives prices up. The point is: use the going rate in your area as a guide to determine whether you’re over or undercharging.
- Frequency of cleaning: Professional cleaning companies will often charge less for frequent cleaning compared to one time cleans. The reason is that these houses require less cleaning in subsequent visits.
- Experience: Companies who have been in the industry for a long time have the knowledge and reputation, which often allows them to charge a premium. While we certainly don’t ever recommend undercharging for your services, charging these premium rates may not be possible out the gate.
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Four Different Methods to Price Your Cleaning Services
1. Hourly Rate
Charging an hourly rate is a superb option when starting a business because you usually don’t know how what your average cleaning times will be and it gives you some wiggle room.
It is, however, not ideal if you’re established because you won’t get rewarded for becoming more skilled and faster at what you do. Just think about it: why should you get paid less for completing a superb cleaning job in an hour that takes someone else five times longer to do?
The other downside of setting an hourly rate is that clients may begin to question your hours and suspect you’re purposefully taking too long so you can charge more. This can potentially ruin the relationship.
2. Flat Fee
A flat fee solves many of the problems of the hourly rate. It’s the most common and popular method for established professional cleaners.
With this method, you charge a fee to a client based on the value you’re providing. You’re pricing your cleaning services to solve a problem. This means they’re paying you to solve that problem (the value) and not for your time.
For example, if your client is a bachelor, that value may be the convenience of not having to worry about cleaning the house, doing laundry, or even cleaning dishes after a long days work.
By charging a flat fee for the value you provide, you erase any possible disagreements about price, avoid the comparison game where they might compare you to another cleaning service based on an hourly rate, and you can charge more because you’re pricing for value.
3. Room Rate
Some professional cleaners set cleaning rates based on an average per room rate. Here you calculate the price to clean each room individually and then average it out. For example, a kitchen may take longer to clean than a bathroom, with you charging $150 for the kitchen and $100 for the bathroom. The average per room rate would be $125 ($150 + $100/2).
4. Square Foot Rate
The final option is to charge an average square foot rate. The price per square foot will often be lower for larger buildings. When using this option to set your rates, ensure you factor in longer cleaning times for specific surfaces.
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Pricing for Profit: Calculate Your Ideal House Cleaning Services Price
Many business owners mistakenly price their services based on averages they find on the internet and in their area—maybe it’s an average hourly or square foot rate.
Don’t do this.
Sure, use these averages as a guide to give you an idea of what’s acceptable in the market, but do not think this is what you should charge or that you’ll get business by simply undercutting your competition.
Instead, price for profit by working out your overheads (this includes employee-related costs like workers compensation insurance and social security) and knowing exactly what value your customers are paying for (remember they aren’t paying for your time, but for you to solve a specific problem).
Here’s an example of how to calculate a profitable monthly house cleaning fee based on value:
Step 1: Calculate How Many Labor Hours a Job Will Take per Month
Multiply the number of people on the job by the number of hours it takes. For example, three people working for three hours gives you a total of nine labor-hours.
Step 2: Calculate Your Hourly Labor Cost
Add your employee’s wage plus a percentage for extras like workers compensation, social security, and other employee-related expenses. The exact percentage you add will differ by state, but whatever percentage you get, make sure you add extra as a buffer.
For example, Mike from the Grow My Cleaning Company Podcast who’s based in Arizona mentions that he rounds 17% in extras up to 20%. This would mean for example, that if you live in Arizona and pay employees a $12 wage, the real labor cost per hour would be $14.4 ($12 x 1.20)
Step 3: Multiply the Labor-Hours by the Hourly Labor Cost
Using the previous example would give you a total monthly cost of $129.6 ($14.4 cost per hour x 9 hours).
Step 4: Add a Percentage for Overheads
Running a business includes other costs like your website hosting, marketing, cell phone, data, and travel that all need to be included.
While your exact overheads will differ from another company depending on factors like company size, consider adding at a percentage of at least 20 to 25% to your previous total. Doing this will give you the total cost of servicing the apartment.
Continuing with our example, the total monthly cost is now $162 ($129.6 x1.25).
Step 5: Apply Your Markup Percentage for Profits
The only thing left to do is to add a markup percentage and quote your client that final flat fee. For example, assuming your markup percentage is 40%, you’ll charge your client $226.80 ($162 x 1.40) and achieve a profit of $64.80. That’s a profit margin of 28.6% which means that for every dollar spent, you earn just under $0.29 in profit.
You don’t have to feel stumped when someone asks for your cleaning rates. You now understand that your cleaning rates will differ from another business due to several factors like the type of cleaning you offer and the apartment size.
You also know that there are different methods to price your services, with an hourly and flat fee being the most common. Finally, you have an acute understanding of how to price for profit using the flat fee method.
The only remaining question is: What will you charge for your next cleaning project?