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Starting a Cleaning Business

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A woman who owns a cleaning business.
Starting your own cleaning business is a good way to work a flexible schedule and make a decent living, without a large outlay for supplies and equipment. This is a guide about starting a cleaning business.
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August 21, 20130 found this helpful

Part of running a successful cleaning business is being able to estimate the job and charge a reasonable rate that will meet your financial needs and attract customers. This is a guide about setting rates for cleaning services.

A professional cleaner with his cleaning supplies.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 11, 2008

Have been in Alabama 2 years now from London, England and have been cleaning houses. I do windows, walls, housework and takes me 4 hours. I move things around to clean, they have 7 kids, and I really work hard nonstop. I get $40 dollars for the 4 hours. Their friends want their houses cleaned too and they all live in big houses. I don't think they are paying me enough. I don't know what to do about asking for more money. They will not have anyone else to clean their place, they say I do a GREAT job and I do.

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I clean everything that needs cleaning. I have undercut myself somewhere and being new to America, my hubby think I'm not being paid enough. What do you think? Thank you.

Nina from Alabama.

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June 11, 20080 found this helpful

Call around to some of the professional cleaning companies lime Merry Maids, etc. and get a estimate and go from there. Hope this helps.

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June 12, 20080 found this helpful

I agree with Tammie.... Make a few phone calls to see what agencies charge and since you are the agency you will get all the money. I used to hem garments and sleeves for people. Since I didn't really didn't need the money charges ran from zero (for friends) to very little. My husband insisted that since there was a lot of time and excellent work involved I should make at least minimum wage. I called a couple of places and got their prices and when I told people the prices my hemming business was in the toilet. I went back to making barbie doll clothes.

You should raise your prices but be sure to run an ad in your local paper because you probably will loose some customers.

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 12, 20080 found this helpful

Here in Missouri, I charge $20 an hour and it sounds like you do a better job! I think $20-30 is the norm here, depending on the work. I believe you should definitely ask for more and certainly ask for at least $20 when taking on new jobs.

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 12, 20080 found this helpful

That ticks me off that someone would do that to you; they're ripping you off. I would never do that house for under $75. If they refuse to pay no more than $40, let them get someone else. One person may be faster that another so setting a price by the hour I would not consider. Good luck and RAISE YOUR PRICE. No wonder her friends want you to clean for them.

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 12, 20080 found this helpful

I would change the price gradually. Explain to them what the going rates are and also that gas prices have gone way up. Tell them that you need to start charging atleast 50 for a 4 hour visit. If they really like you the way they say, they can't expect for you to do it for nothing. I would run an add in the shopper's guide or want adds to advertise. When quoting the new houses, quote them the new price. If there house is same size as the house you're talking about, at 10 or 15 to the total price. THis way it won't sound too extreme to them and you still get the extra money. If the house is bigger, I would add the amount to accommodate. In this case, size does matter-especially if they have a lot of stuff to dust around.

If you get 1 or 2 jobs that referred by the customer you are doing, offer to keep their rate the same or not raising their price alot for bringing you the business. Or you can knock a certain percentage off each time they refer you and you clean a home..that's a good incentive for them.

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June 12, 20080 found this helpful

Nina, will you please come clean my house in Texas for $40 for 4 hours? I'm paying Merry Maids $130 for 2 people to spend about an hour doing a halfway job of it. Seriously, you have to charge more. You're a businesswoman, and you're barely paying yourself more than minimum wage! Rates might be slightly less if you're rural rather than in a city (like Birmingham), but either way, you need to at least double your fee.

For your existing customers, you can cite gas prices (and supply prices if you use your own) as an excuse and maybe phase in the new prices gradually to soften the blow. But any new customers should be charged double what you now get.

Let me know if you decide to move to Dallas! ;)

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 12, 20080 found this helpful

You are absolutely NOT charging enough! I know that prices vary geographically, but I would not do that big of a house and spend that much time for only $40. If it takes 4 hours, you should get no less than $60. Personally, I don't charge by the hour. I charge by the job. My clients like it that way. They know how much it is going to cost every time, no matter how long it takes.

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June 12, 20080 found this helpful

About 10 years ago I paid $100 for a cleaning crew of 2 to clean my 3 br 2bath. They worked approx 2-3 hrs once every other week.

So you see, you definitely need to raise your rates for this day and time. You're not being paid your worth! Your time is as valuable as your skills are.

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 12, 20080 found this helpful

Nina, you are working for less than half of what you should be making! We had a wonderful lady who came every other week and we paid her $80.00 for about 4 hours of hard work. Even then, I felt that we should pay her more, but she insisted that it was enough. We moved away, and I can't get anyone who does it like Pam did!

I think that you should charge at least $25.00 per hour for any new customers. Good help is hard to find! Don't cheat yourself! Ask your current client to write a letter of recomendation for you; your new price might be as high as $30-35 per hour, but for "friends and family" of your current client, you'll discount down to 25.00 or so per hour. Boost your wage to at least 20.00 per hour for your current folks..they won't turn you down! With the price of gas, etc. you need to make money, not sell yourself short!

Believe that you are worth it! You ARE worth it, and you are smart enough NOT to let people run all over you and take advantage of you! You GO, girl!

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 12, 20080 found this helpful

Yes, Nina, you need to ask for more money. That may not be easy, but just let them hire Merry Maids, Molly Maids or whomever and they'll realize just how much you're underpaid. My mother uses one of those I mentioned and I think she pays $86. for 2 ladies that work about 1-1/2 hours. Very few times is she really satisfied with their work. Nina, I don't care where you work, it's always hard asking for a raise.

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June 12, 20080 found this helpful

Nina, I agree that for the thorough job you do, you're not charging enough. Why don't you make up a Memo saying that effective on such and such a date your prices are going up to the new price. When you finish cleaning each house, leave the Memo on the kitchen counter.

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June 12, 20080 found this helpful

Hello Nina~ Oh man, with the cost of gasoline you sure are undercutting yourself. I agree with everyone else. Pick a date and tell them as of, say the beginning of July, the 7th for example, you ARE and WILL be raising your fees.If you lose one job, you will still be ahead of the game.Make a flyer and leave it at each job and take no complaints. Do these people want quality or quantity? If you make yourself sick from doing so much, what good would you do for them then? Especially the family with so many kids...just wondering, do they live in a shoe ? ? ? Ha, that was a joke, a little humor here! Take care of Nina! Charge more, you're worth it, aren't you ? ? ??

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 12, 20080 found this helpful

My cleaning lady charges me $20/hour. I told her she needed to bump it up a little to pay for the extra cost of gas. I do not have everything done, but being handicapped she comes once a month for 2 hours and gives the bathrooms and floors and dusting a really good once over. I've upped her to $45 for the 2 hours. Definitely for what you are doing you need to charge more. We live near Atlanta.

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 12, 20080 found this helpful

I paid $80 for 2 hrs. of housework here in Montana, and she didn't move things even when dusting.

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 13, 20080 found this helpful

Hi, I have been cleaning houses for the past 14 years. I agree, you are not charging enough. I average 20 - 25 dollars an hour. No wonder other people want you so bad. They can get it done much cheaper. You need to ask for more money and what if you lose them. If you clean that well then you'll get more houses.

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 13, 20080 found this helpful

It is a good idea to check your area to see how much other cleaners charge. In our area, the price is about $10-12 an hour but where my sister lives, about 60 miles away, cleaners get twice that amount. Good luck to you.

I think day care workers/babysitters and house cleaners are taken for granted. Both of these jobs are hard work. And of course, caring for children is more important than anything. I am surprised how much people will pay to have their lawn maintained but usual hesitate to pay for the care of their child/children.

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June 13, 20080 found this helpful

I like to say a BIG thank you to everyone who sent me feedback, i'm going to have to try and ask for more money, i need a rise and they know i do a bloody good job.

I will put a add in the Gadsden Times and try and get new people to clean for.

Once again THANK YOU very much for your feedback.

Nina xx

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June 13, 20080 found this helpful

I live in Alabama also. I never charge by the hour. I charge a flat rate depending on the size of the house and what my duties will include.

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 26, 20080 found this helpful

Hi, you are definitely being underpaid,especially if they love your work. I also clean houses for a living and it has to be "Kathy" clean, before I leave. My clients appreciate me as much as I do them. I clean everything but dishes, clothes, windows, etc. I charge about $30 per hour, but when I leave, I leave a very satisfied customer. I would definitely raise your price at least $10 per hour. THEY WILL PAY! They know what you are really worth! If not,find a new clientele. People are begging for cleaners, not just dusters. Do not let them take advantage of you for even one more day. If they say no, walk out. I promise you that after their "new" cleaner comes to clean, they will be calling you back to work again, at your price. Take care, God Bless

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By 2 found this helpful
March 27, 2011

I am currently a stay at home mum going to college and would like to start a cleaning houses. What are the rates around Bordentown and do I need a license to do that? I really need help in figuring it out as I am ready to start working. I am very hard working and reliable. Just send me a mail and I will be there.

By Gloria from Bordentown, NJ

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By 1 found this helpful
August 2, 2016

How can I start cleaning foreclosed homes and businesses?

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By 0 found this helpful
April 15, 2009

I mainly clean homes. I have had a call to do an apartment complex. They want me to do the clubhouse 3 times a week and do the model homes about the same. What would I charge for that? Should I charge by the sq. ft. or the amount of time? For cleaning houses I charge $22 an hour. So what would I charge for something like that in Indiana?

By Janikawa from IN

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April 15, 20090 found this helpful

If it were me in your shoes, I would state $22.00 per hour for the jobs if that's what you make in your area. You're the professional, they sought you out and now it's your call. You can still negotiate the price if they think it's too steep and you want to.

Or, ask for a couple dollars more and see if they're agreeable; if not, drop it to what you do make. You're in the business to make money and favors are for family.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 11, 2015

I have been trying to get my cleaning business up and off the ground, but I seem to have a little trouble with getting people to engage! I have a Facebook page and post things all the time, but no one seems to pay attention. I had a post reach over 300 people, but not one messaged me or called wanting to schedule a cosulation with me! What am I doing wrong? I named it "A Helping Hand" something I thought sounded helpful and professional. I need opinions and help. Thanks in advance!.

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March 2, 20140 found this helpful

I wanted to know if my cleaning business needs to be registered?

By Stephanie

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October 17, 20130 found this helpful

I replied to an ad on Craigslist and the person is saying I need to get enough supplies for 5 different houses. The homes are single family houses between 1800 sq. feet and 1916 sq. feet. They have 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, hardwood floors, carpet, and tile. They were built in 2006/2007. He asked me to send him the total cost for supplies, but I don't know a reasonable price for the supplies.

Can anyone help?

By Jon

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October 2, 20130 found this helpful

How much would it cost to clean factories in South Africa?

By Matome

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September 24, 20130 found this helpful

What are the cleaning companies charging per square foot for cleaning?

By Ernestine

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July 30, 20130 found this helpful

I am living in Uganda and am a student in my last year at university. What ways can I go through to be able to start a cleaning service with minimal capital? Also how do I invite those that would support me financially? Thanks.

By Edwin

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July 18, 20130 found this helpful

What should I charge for cleaning at apartment complex in Jacksonville,North Carolina? I was told the number of rooms for the apartments and they accepted that price I charged, 17 cents per sq ft. Now they have asked that I clean the main offices and club house, a weight room, tanning room, and a full sized basketball court and two common restrooms the average size of a basket ball court is 94 x 50. I will have 2 workers. They want the basket ball court cleaned once a month. What should I charge?

By Michele

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By 0 found this helpful
July 3, 2013

I'm going to be cleaning a whole house. It's going to be a completely empty because they're renting it out. The job includes: bathrooms, bedrooms, window sills, stove, tile/wood floors, vacuum/shampoo carpets, and maybe garage. It's an average size house possible 2 story house.

By ssoto2

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

March 27, 20110 found this helpful

I'm planning to start a house cleaning business in southern California. What type of licenses/other start ups do I need and where do I do this? How much will it cost. I'm just starting slow doing a few houses per week.

By puffinsmom from RSM, CA

Answers:

Starting a Cleaning Business

When starting a small business you need to go to the county office building for a license. A little FYI you need to be bonded in case you break something. I paid 30.00 for my license for jewelry making. Also go to a tax office and find out what you can deduct on your taxes: your car, mileage or general (repairs, oil changes, etc.) a room in your home that you own, where you store your business items.

Car deduction is tricky you have to have a base than your mileage is counted from base to the job, for example I do catering for a restaurant not my own business. I drive 30 miles to pick up the food and deliver it with my own car. On my taxes I can only count the miles from the restaurant to the venue, so I charge my boss a delivery fee.

I am also tax exempt when I buy my product to make my jewelry, but then have to pay taxes on the finished product that I sell. All this is a little different than what you are doing, but it is a wise idea to look into. (10/16/2010)

By leekelly

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October 13, 20100 found this helpful

I have a cleaning business and would like to get new customers, but I don't have a price list. I need help in this regard.

By Patrick from Loganville, GA

Answers:

Starting a Cleaning Business

List your cleaning services. (01/27/2010)

By Suntydt

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January 27, 20100 found this helpful

Where can I find information about a cleaning list for a new cleaning business? I know how to clean, but want to make sure I don't miss anything pertinent. Also, what do you think of the name "Clean As A Whistle Cleaning Service" for the name of my cleaning business? Thanks for your help.

By Sharon from Defuniak Springs, FL

Answers:

Starting a Cleaning Business

I am not sure what you mean by a "cleaning list". Do you mean cleaning product list, check list of things to clean and/or price list for cleaning?

The name "Clean As A Whistle" for a cleaning business would definitely catch my eye. (11/13/2009)

By Deeli

Starting a Cleaning Business

You would do best to start your own cleaning list. Sit down with a pad and pencil, pick a room and write down everything you would do to clean it. Then another room. Or make a list of different types of rooms and then start with the first one and everything you would do to clean it, eg. kitchen, dining room, breakfast bar, den, living room, sunroom, game room, sewing room, family room, bedroom, bathroom, sauna/whirlpool room, walk in closet, cupboard, bar, pool room, indoor swimming pool area, play room, porch, attic, basement, furnace room, and root cellar.

Pick whether you will clean these rooms or not and then list what you will clean in that particular room.

Once you have your room list, give each room a page of its own in a notebook and list what you will clean, how you will clean it, and what you will clean it with. You can also consider shed, garage and hot/green house cleaning. This will be invaluable when a customer asks how or what you clean with. Consider different types of cleaning: el cheapo, thorough, disinfected cleaning, and allergen cleaning.

Making yourself available to clean what most cleaning places don't will make you more valuable.

Oh yeah, I think you posted you have a name, but I thought of "Godliness Cleaning". (11/13/2009)

By Suntydt

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November 10, 20090 found this helpful

I am looking to start a cleaning business and not sure if I should go into just cleaning offices, or cleaning out homes after people move out and before others move in. Anyone have any experience or advice on this to share?

DLynn

Answers:

Starting a Cleaning Business

I have only a suggestion. I have an Aunt who was in the cleaning business for over 20 years. She is now on disability from various problems caused from the chemicals in the cleaning products she used over the years.
Please use a mask when you do your cleaning, or use chemical free products. (03/07/2008)

By PICO

Starting a Cleaning Business

I live in Delaware and pay $90 for 4-5 hours of cleaning and I supply the vacuum cleaner and all supplies. This lady is an honest person and a wonderful cleaner. If she breaks something, she tells me or leaves me a note if I'm not at home. As an earlier post said, she doesn't change the bed linens, do laundry or dishes. I clear the small things from the bathroom countertops before she comes, and I pick up the old newspapers. Being honest...not stealing is most important. I lost several things before I found this lady. The going rate depends on the area of the country where you live. Good luck with your business. (03/07/2008)

By hj

Starting a Cleaning Business

My daughter was a military wife, and she made good money cleaning military base housing when the families were transferring or being discharged. The military does a pretty strict inspection, and, many of them feel that it is just easier to hire the cleaning done. She also put herself through college by doing the cleaning in a huge apartment complex where she lived. She cleaned appliances, cabinets, showers, and carpets after tenants moved out and before the apartment was rented again.

If you do cleaning for private households, you will get referrals from your satisfied customers to help build your business. I would suggest that you include all types of cleaning jobs when you are starting out, then you can change to a specialty in the future. (03/08/2008)

By Harlean from Arkansas

Starting a Cleaning Business

Do you want to work days, nights, or both? Most offices are cleaned after hours. I do one office that I have to do during their working hours because it is a pharmacy and they are very strict about anyone being in there without a pharmacist on duty. It is somewhat of a pain to clean with the workers there, but I have adjusted to it. Mostly I do houses that people live in, and I weed them out. I won't take on a job that I know the owners will be home. It is too time consuming to have them chatting with me all the time. Also, if I make any noises, I feel like they are thinking, "what did she just drop/break", so I rarely do one with them home.

I can get in and out so much faster if they are gone. I have been doing some of them for around 10 years. I would probably prefer to do houses that are vacant between tenants, just haven't ever ran across any of those jobs. Maybe I should look into that. I always charge by the job because you will get much faster once you get used to the house. You will get referrals from them and your business will grow faster than you think. I make around 25-30 an hour on average, of course there again, I am charging by the job, not the hour. It is difficult to raise your prices so get a fair price to begin with. Good Luck! (03/09/2008)

By Janell

Starting a Cleaning Business

My housekeeper comes to my home every other Wednesday. I pay her $10.00 an hour. She also drives 45 miles to my home and 45 miles back to her home. I need to give her a raise with gas prices the way they are.

Anyway, I heard that cleaning houses and apartments after someone leaves makes you more money. You might even want to check into cleaning houses that have been through a fire or someone died or was murdered. They really pay good on that. Sorry so gruesome. (03/13/2008)

By maggie3956

Starting a Cleaning Business

I have been cleaning other people's houses and businesses for 30 years. It has been a very challenging job.
I started out with just a couple of houses, then word got around. Then I picked up a few more. You have to be honest, prompt, and do a very good job. Put an ad in your local paper or a small bill board at your local store. Word will get around and before you know it, you'll have yourself a little business. The starting rate around here (N.C.) is $50.00 on up. Good Luck! (05/30/2008)

By barrsbits

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March 6, 20080 found this helpful

How much do you house cleaners charge and hour for dusting, changing linens, making a bed, mopping, bathroom cleaning, dishes and vacuuming, and other light housekeeping duties?

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