Determining a Reasonable Cleaning Rate

An important decision you will have to make when starting your own cleaning business is setting a cleaning rate. This is a guide about determining a reasonable cleaning rate.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

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March 15, 2016 Flag

I was asked to wash the floors in three bedrooms on my hands and knees. The owner of the house does not want me to use a mop. How much should I charge? Per room, per hour for such hard work? Any advice is welcome.

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March 19, 20160 found this helpful

All the posters have excellent advice. See the place first, get the agreement in writing, and certainly charge by the hour. If the lady is too hard to deal with, she may be one of those people who will find fault with the job and refuse to pay. I'd be wary.

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August 16, 2016 Flag

I do contracting work for a real estate agency cleaning vacant houses and apts. I am now wanting to start my own business doing the same thing. However, I do not know how I should charge. I live in Pueblo, Colorado. I have been charging basically by the number of rooms at $20-25 a room, plus extra for appliances $25-$30. I don't know if I am under pricing. Every time I call Merry Maids they seem to be charging up to $100 more. Can you help please?

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August 17, 20160 found this helpful

Being self-employed, CJNKD, certainly is fraught with questions and kudos to you for being willing to go out on your own!

Of course cleaning rates vary from one part of the country to another. Up here (Calgary, Canada) the going rate is $30 - $35 per hour but with most businesses, the way I understand it at least, is to start with a reasonable and competitive rate (which means calling several companies to find out what they charge). Let your potential customers know you charge a bit less until you establish a reputation for reliability and perhaps going a bit over and above expectations. As your schedule becomes increasingly busy, gradually increase your rates and don't be afraid to add "the best" to your business cards and / or company name.

Wishing you every success!

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April 6, 2016 Flag

So I decluttered, cleaned, and organized a customer's home while she has been out of town. Since she has been gone I have done 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 2 closets, one of the closets was as big a room pretty much. And I've been doing loads and loads of laundry. I've spent altogether about 16 hours there.

She will be returning tomorrow and told me to tell her how much and she will write me a check. How much should I ask for? I don't know if I should charge by the hour, the room, or what. I have also been taking care of her 3 cats, guinea pig, and bird. I cleaned out the bird cage as well. I'm not a "professional", but I have done a great job because I am great at and love organizing and cleaning. Any comments or advice would be so great! I've included before and after pictures of some of the work. I live in Braselton, GA. It's about an hour from Atlanta. Thanks!

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Anonymous Flag
April 7, 20160 found this helpful

Maybe $150.00 I am not sure you have to decide this one ..good luck ..

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October 15, 2016 Flag

I am bidding on a 3000 sq ft home. I am doing additional work, doing all woodwork including 19 doors, frames, and baseboards, 26 windows 13 inside/out, 26 blinds that are dark wood, an oven, 10 lights, all the flooring, 4 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, entrances outside, and back porch. I just wanted a suggestion on what to charge for additional work. Thank you.

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December 28, 20160 found this helpful

I am in the same situation, 3500 sq feet 4 Bedrooms 2.5 baths with plantation shutters and 7 ceiling fans. The house has not been cleaned in years and has dog hair and nastiness on every step and floor in the house. The white bathroom grout is even discolored. Would love some input on what to charge and how

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October 22, 2015 Flag

What is the going rate to do a complete cleanup for a restaurant that hasn't had a cleaning service in 2 years? I need to get cleaning back up to cleaning standards. It's 10,400 sq ft.

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October 22, 20151 found this helpful
Best Answer

Not clear on what you mean by "cleaning standards"? I worked in restaurants as server and manager for 6 years getting through college so have some knowledge of restaurant quality standards.

Ouestions:

Are you experienced in cleaning restaurants?

Has this restaurant received a low hygiene rating by the city and requires specific cleaning?

What has the owner requested for the cleaning? Has the owner provided any information or direction from the city re problems?

Exactly what needs cleaning? If cleaning includes the kitchen, prep areas, dry and cold storage, customer area, etc., this is a tall order. If you will not be cleaning the kitchen, prep, etc. areas, less of a problem.

These questions and more must be considered to even begin to tally a cleaning price for this project. If the owner is not completely open about what they want and why, be careful!

One caveat here-If the owner is required by the city to bring the restaurant up to a required cleanliness level, you as the cleaning company are responsible to meet that quality level. If you clean the place and do not meet city requirements, you may be barred from future cleaning possibilities.

No thorough cleaning in 2 years-why? Does the owner have financial problems now or in the past?

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June 11, 2016 Flag

I have an idea of what I want to earn for an 8-10 hour day cleaning empty apartments and newly built homes in the Greenville/Spartanburg area of South Carolina. I realize that some of these spaces might be more than a day's work to complete, so I believe I need to set a per sq ft cost. However, I have no idea what the current rate is for this type of service in my area here in South Carolina. Can you provide me with the going rate that most cleaning services charge here, so that I can be certain to set a competitive sq ft price? Thank you for any help you can provide!

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June 15, 20160 found this helpful

You should check online and local newspapers to see what other services are charging. My experience (inNew York) has been that they charge an hourly rate.

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May 6, 2016 Flag

What would I charge to clean a senior citizen high-rise (11 floors) that is 176,580 sqft? I will be doing apartment clean outs (about 250 sqft per apartment, 1 bdrm) and doing common areas which consist of four offices, three restrooms, mailbox center, two multipurpose rooms, a computer room, stairways (monthly), two lobbies (cleaning door glass on each), a copy room, a TV room, a kitchen area, and a conference room. The common areas will need to be cleaned five days a week, which consists of dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, emptying trash, cleaning window sills and baseboards. All 11 floors hallways have to be swept and mopped everyday. The clean outs will be done when needed.

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May 7, 20160 found this helpful

Your location would help to suggest a cleaning fee. However, I hope that you plan to "seal the deal" with a formal written contract stating all agreements between the parties before starting the job. Also consider the services of an attorney to help you in negotiations and contract.

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April 25, 2016 Flag

I packed, organized, and cleaned a 4000 sq foot home, what should I charge? I worked more than 75 hours. I worked with very little help. It took 4 weeks. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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April 25, 20160 found this helpful

I can't provide a fee amount as you did not provide your location, however, I offer this advice-it will seem just more work, however, I guarantee that it will enhance your professional reputation and business.

I caution you not to set any fee until you have considered these basics. BEFORE any job or service, even if your client is a relative, friend, etc., you should protect yourself:

*Complete a thorough and detailed "walk-thru" to see EXACTLY WHAT YOUR CLIENT EXPECTS AND DEMANDS.

*Decide on a fee-per hour, service type, etc.

*Develop a cleaning, etc., fee contract covering what your client expects re service (as thorough as possible) and exactly what you expect to do to complete the job. Your client and you must sign any contract before service. You can find printable simple contracts online and in Microsoft Word.

*State in the contract exactly what you will do if you find "other work" in your service that your client and you have NOT agreed to-such as: extra work you had not anticipated or more than expected work (tons of laundry, more than agreed cleaning, etc.). Will you simply list the problems and not complete them or contact your client re what she/he wants you to do, etc.?

*This list is only the basics in deciding service and fees but is crucial if you want to be paid for what you will do.

Always Remember-

Work for free or work for full price; never work for nothing

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June 2, 2016 Flag

I live in Pueblo, Colorado. I clean vacant houses and apartments. I am not sure what to charge. Right now I only get paid $10 an hour and it is a lot of work for that amount. I have a house I need to bid on which is 3,201 sq. ft. It is a vacant house which they need cleaned to put on the market for sale. I usually work alone, but if job is too large I have a couple of others who help. I don't want to cheat them either of pay. Is there a price chart I can follow?
Thanks new to all of this.

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June 3, 20160 found this helpful

Cleaning rates vary throughout the country, CJNKD. Why not call others in your area and ask if they might provide you information about their fees? (Up here in Canada $35 / hour is pretty much the going rate.)

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May 23, 2016 Flag

How much should one charge for house cleaning, organizing all rooms, dishes, making beds-4, and laundry at least three loads a day? Of course the organizing is once. The other things are daily. This is a job that I would be doing for a family of six, five days a week.

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May 24, 20160 found this helpful

You need to find out what house cleaners in your area are charging for similar work. Also, decide if it will be simpler for you to charge by the hour, day or week.

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September 2, 2013 Flag

I recently quoted a potential client 125.00 for a 5 bedroom, 3 bath, 3200 sq foot home. She was quick to tell me she had someone clean for considerably less. She also has 3 children, a pet rabbit, and a dog inside. Help?

By Carol R

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September 23, 20151 found this helpful

I'd say, I can do a walk through or ask more questions.

Unless this person is an immaculate housekeeper, a deep first clean should cost at least two times as much.

If you do a very good deep clean, solo, this will be an 8 hour job just to get it down to a 4 hour biweekly maintainence clean.

Sounds like she can't or wont pay you for that. I find a creative way to get rid of clients like this that end up costing me money.

If people sound condescending, nasty or lowball me out of the gate I automatically price higher, because value customers are our worst nightmare. They literally end up costing me money, so I refuse to budge on their estimates.

I take a hit on that 1st deep clean and bill out on average about 20 an hour. I am aiming for 30 per billable hour so I can get a permanent, solid hire that will stay.

My money is made on maintainance cleans.

I have insurance, advertising, gas and personnel expenses to pay.

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January 6, 2015 Flag

I have a request to do a cleaning of a repast (dinner after the funeral). It includes vacuum, cleaning dishes, and removal of trash. I am unsure what to charge for something like this. Please assist.

By LK

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January 7, 20150 found this helpful

Just charge 10.00 an hour if this is the going rate for minimum wage in your state. It sounds like an easy job so you don't have to worry about heaving lifting or dirty cleaning. Hope that helps. PBP

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October 17, 2015 Flag

I am just starting my cleaning business. What would I charge for a very neat and clean basement apartment? It has a small bathroom with tub, toilet, and sink, a bedroom/living room, and very small kitchen. She wants someone bi-weekly. I live in Connecticut. It's more an efficiency apartment. TIA

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October 17, 20150 found this helpful

There are many factors that determine how a cleaning company charges for cleaning, type-house, apartment, general or specific, move in or out, etc. You can try researching rates in your area by searching online.

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September 27, 2015 Flag

If you quote 20 per hour and you have a 16 hour job. If 2 people do it in 8, is it right to still charge the 16 hour price?

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September 28, 20151 found this helpful

If one worker cleaned for 16 hours, the charge is 16 hrs = 16 x $20 = $320.

If two workers cleaned for 8 hours, the charge is still 16 hrs or 8 hours each- 2 x 8 x $20 = $320.

Charge by the actual number of hours worked by each worker.

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August 12, 2015 Flag

I received a request to clean a funeral parlor. It includes cleaning the entire place, including bathrooms, vacuuming, windows, gasing up the limos, etc. How much do you think I should charge? By the hour or a bulk rate? Is anyone doing this? If so, can you explain what you do?

Thank you.

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August 13, 20150 found this helpful

Hi, Joy.

What do you think about going to the location and getting more information? Would the (potential) client be willing to pay by the hour for the first few times you clean? Once you have an idea of how long it will take to do the work, you can offer a monthly rate (if you like, pre-supposing they don't throw any surprises into the mix).

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June 16, 2015 Flag

The house is 1250 square feet and there is no furniture or stuff in house. I live 45 minutes from the place, so that's 1 and a half hours round trip! They want light switches and everything sanitized and cleaned. I will supply all cleaning stuff, but I don't know what to charge? We live in Myrtle Beach, SC.

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June 17, 20150 found this helpful

It is hard to know how long it will take to clean an empty house. I would allow 4 hours to clean a 1200 sq ft home that people were living in. If people were living in the empty house it would be a "move out" cleaning. You need to allow double the time for cleaning a house that is empty. That would be 8 hours. It takes a lot of time to clean where the washer and dryer were, inside the cupboards, baseboards, etc. I cleaned house for many years and that was the rule of thumb I used. Since that formula can confuse folks who don't have much exposure to housecleaning, I usually suggest I charge by the hour. Then I charge the going rate for the region. Here in Seattle it is $30 an hour. In the eastern part of our state it is $10 an hour. Hope that gives you some idea.

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June 22, 2016 Flag

I'm currently in startup mode of a cleaning service in Dade/Broward counties. Should I charge hourly, being that I'm in a high cost area?

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June 9, 2016 Flag

Here is my issue, I have been working at a resort cleaning cabins for a year now. I have been getting paid a salary of 686.62 for this year and now they want to change it up and pay me by the cabin. They want me to come up with reasonable prices and I have no idea what to charge. The cabins range from one bedroom, one bath to three bedroom and two baths. There are 14 cabins which are rented out frequently. Any ideas what I should charge?

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December 9, 2013 Flag

How much should I charge for a weekly cleaning of a 2000 - 2500 square foot, 3 bedroom and 3 bath home? She would also like her windows cleaned and her oven and refrigerator cleaned. Thanks for your help.

By Nan

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December 16, 20130 found this helpful

It depends on where you are and how much competition there is in your area. I would think that $125 is the minimum per week but $185 might be more realistic. I pay $90 for my (daughter's) 1 BR apartment once per month and $175 for my house. I have 6 BR, 3.5 bath but only ask for two bedrooms, kitchen and den to be done every month.

Good luck. Wish you were near me since the people that clean my house do a barely adequate job. They certainly do NOT do windows.

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May 28, 2016 Flag

What is a good rate for cleaning 1600 square feet, including 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 office, living room, den, kitchen, and laundry room? It is medium dirty off hand before doing a walk thru.

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