Determining a Cleaning Fee

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 4, 20130 found this helpful
Best Answer

$125 is a really good price to clean up after this lot! She's trying to intimidate you before you've even broken out the broom. She's clearly going to be a real problem client.

The money she is willing to pay is not anywhere near enough to put up with this woman, her three children, and her other zoo critters! Anything under $125 is too little - bet she wants to pay $75!

Truthfully the right price for this much work (because really, with her attitude it's clear she's going to expect you to do a lot more than just clean up after her and the zoo) is $150, $200 if I'm right and it turns out she expects child-minding, and lots of other 'little things'.

And the pricing should be figured for after tax - make sure she (or anyone else) pays you enough to leave that $125-200 in your pocketbook after your paying taxes on the earning.

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September 4, 20130 found this helpful

Then I would let her use them. Some people just want something for nothing. Pretend you are a potential client and ask around to some of the other people who clean. I bet the price is "considerably higher" than you quoted.


Some people price things by what they do. The old adage "I don't do windows" can be your starting point. Charge the same rates for similar jobs but don't assume they need every thing done. If they need a good vacuuming but don't need the bathroom clean, you can charge by the "piece" so to speak or in this case by the job.
I hope that helps.

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September 4, 20130 found this helpful

I live in a small town. I have 1 child, five cats, two bathrooms and three bedrooms in approx 1600 sq feet. I pay $65-80 depending on how many hours it takes her. She charges a flat $12 per hour

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May 18, 20180 found this helpful

If you have a 1600 square foot house and it takes her that many hours to clean it something's not right. I can do a 4000 square foot regular clean home in about three and a half to

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September 4, 20130 found this helpful

So where is this other cleaning person now? I bet they quit. If she was satisfied with their work and their price, why is she looking elsewhere if they are still willing to work for her.


She is trying to intimidate you like another responder said. Stick to your guns.

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September 4, 20130 found this helpful

I clean in the Seattle area. I charge $30 an hour. I won't clean a house over 4000 sq ft by myself and I dont work over 5 hours a day. for me her house would be a 5 hour job. That would be $150. You are a bargain. You will end up hating this person, and wish you never went to work for her. If you really need the money you could work for her for awhile, while you find someone better to work for. Good luck to you.

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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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November 7, 20150 found this helpful

Wow, I cannot believe how underpaid cleaning people are. 15 years ago my daughter had a cleaning business with a waiting list. She hired other people butoften had to clean behind them because they didn't meet her standards. Her rate, once your house was brought up to snuff was $ 25/hr and again, this was 15 years ago. If houses were not kept to a certain level of cleanliness, she fired the client and would move on to the top person on her waiting list. She helped people organize those boxes not opened for years, but that was pricey and required a stiff down payment. She was even successful in putting together teams to help hoarders who were ready to accept help and at the other end, inventory, pack, and prepare for auction or beneficiary distribution the contents of homes of deceased. Then she would clean the house to a pristine state.


For the work you people do, $35/hr should be your minimum AFTER you have completed the first cleaning. My daughter was the type ofcleaner who used a toothbrush in the corner on her hands and knees if need be. She fluffed pillows, made sure the central air (and other air) filters were clean, had a green thumb, (so she could keep an eye on or maintain the indoor plants), and did not have accounts receivable. She was cash only, and never had a client that didn't tip her. She was also a philanthropist because ifshe heard of elderly or disabled in need of a cleaning, she would go and do it, take a crew if necessary to take care of yards and repais, and then hook them up with local groups or social services for ongoing care.
Unfortunately, In her teen years, a lot of our home and yard care fell to her when I sustained back injuries. I couldn't stand to see her take on so much, but she was a trooper and hardly complained. I knew it bothered her. Three months after she started her business to help with college expenses, she called me. "Mom, I am so happy I had to do all thathousework. I lesrnedso many great tricks for cleaning and learned how to make a home spotless, that I am getting lots of referrals. And thanks for teaching me how to vacuum myself out of a room. People really like the design and the fact there's no footprints. I received a couple big tips just for that. Can you believe it? For vacuuming a certain way?"

ALL OF YOU CLEANING PEOPLE SHOULD ALSO LEARN HOW TO ESTIMATE SQUARE FOOTAGE AND HAVE A RATE FOR IT. Use that for your initial clean. Get to know specialists like window wahers, carpet cleaners, tree trimmers, gardeners .... people that you can all get together and refer each other for jobs.
AND WHENEVER SOMEONE SAYS that they have someone who can do the job for less money.... simply thank them for their time and the opportunity to bid on their job and LEAVE..
IF THEY CALL YOU AGAIN, go out and do a NEW BID with a NEW HOURLY RATE INCREASED BY $5. If they question, PROFESSIONALLY let them know you have had a rate increase since you last met...even if it's the next day.... you may have reviewed your books last night.
GOOD LUCK EVERYONE. So often, you do a thankless job, cleaning up after others. Hopefully if you do feel that way about a client, you dismiss them. It's not worth the stress and there are lots of individuals and companies who need you.

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September 13, 20170 found this helpful

Tell her to use the other people. Your charge for that size house is on the low side. I guess it also depends where you live but for that size house I would charge 130 to 150.

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