How to Determine a Cleaning Fee for a House That Has Been Closed Up for Years?

Two people cleaning a house
This is a page about how to determine a cleaning fee for a house that has been closed up for years. It can be hard to figure out what to charge for unique cleaning jobs. When a house needs more work than normal, it can be helpful to seek out advice from other people that may have done similar cleaning jobs.


Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

September 25, 2017

I am cleaning a 2 story house, with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. The house has been sitting closed up for about 5 years and I am going to need at least 4 people to come and help clean because all of the furniture is still inside the house and owner wants us to put it where it goes, couches in living room, table in kitchen, etc. Clothes and everything is laying around the floor, the person that owns the house wants to get stuff boxed up so that means that we have to sit there and pick and choose what we think is salvageable.

We are cleaning the garage as well that is filled with boxes. What would be a reasonable price for this house. I'm in Louisiana.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
September 25, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

Determining a cleaning fee

Step 1
The first part of the job is the cleaning part. Figure out how many hours it will take you and your crew members to clean this house. It will take longer than a regular job because its been closed up. Charge by the job, not by the hour. See what other cleaning crews charge in your area. That is the first part of the fee.


Step 2
The second part of the fee is to move the furniture. This is heavy work. Figure out how many hours that will take and multiply that by the going rate in your area.

Step 3
The last part of the job is the cleaning out and organizing. Figure out how many hours and charge a flat fee.

Present the estimate to the client broken down as stated above


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 433 Posts
September 26, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

Cleaning fee.

  • The packing up stuff and cleaning out the garage plus moving furniture is specialty cleaning.
  • That will cost more,as well as the fact you have four people to pay as well.
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  • Cleaning people charge anywhere from twenty five to seventy five dollars an hour.
  • I would charge seventy five an hour that is only fifteen each an hour.
  • The person paying can't complain you have five people so it will not take as many hours.
  • If you do not like the hourly charge make up a set fee.

Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,246 Posts
September 25, 20170 found this helpful

I read a recent article that the cleaning alone of an empty house that size is around $500 but you have a lot more work to do. I'd figure out all other work on top of that by hours and multiply that by your hourly charge (if you have one set).


Of course then divide it up between you.


Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
September 26, 20170 found this helpful

There are a number of different areas that would help determine the cost you need to charge to be fair but still make money.

  • Some determining factors:
  • Will you be doing windows? This is always an added job and is usually determined by the number of windows, inside and/or outside, lower floor or upstairs also (2 story house).
  • Are you a professional service with bonded and insured employees? This type of service charges more per hour/job so when comparing prices charged keep that in mind.
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  • Will the home owner be covering you with liability insurance in case you or your other workers are injured or will this be your responsibility?
  • Does the house have carpets or tile/wood flooring as carpet cleaning is a big job and usually added as a separate fee.
  • Do you intend to keep 4 workers for the entire job or just part of the time?
  • Do you intend to pay employees by the hour or by the entire job? Are these contract workers so there is no Social Security/taxes involved?
  • Who will be providing cleaning or other supplies - owner or you? This can be a big factor if cleaning carpets.
  • What is the square footage of the house? This is what cleaning estimates are usually based on. If you do not know you can Google your county with the address and check the footage on their site.
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  • Will you be cleaning baseboards, refrigerator, range/oven, window sills - all of this type of cleaning is considered "extra".
  • Since there people living in this house several years ago it would be safe to assume everything will be dirty and need cleaning so all of this will have to be considered and spelled out - yes or no on cleaning.
  • Will you also be doing laundry since you say clothes are scattered on the floor. Examining and sorting clothes and articles is also an extra job so decide if that will be in the original contract or added as an extra.
  • The garage is an entirely different type of job so it cannot be figured in the same way. What type of cleaning will you be doing? Removing boxes? sorting through and discarding "stuff"? Are there large items that have to be removed? Will you need a "mover" to haul away discarded items?
  • Here are some links that may give you some ideas about house cleaning charges - your zip code will help show a more accurate picture.

These questions should maybe give you areas to think about before you determine your price but just be very sure everything you plan to do or not do is listed in a written contract.

Here are some statements for the Bureau of Labor:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that housekeepers, depending on the area, charge between $8 to $17 an hour. For instance, a housekeeper in the New York-New Jersey area may charge more than $17 an hour, whereas a housekeeper in a small metropolitan area, like Texas or Georgia, may charge around $9 an hour.

If you choose a professional cleaning agency, expect to pay more per hour. The average hourly rate for a maid service company ranges from $25 to $35.

A two-story, 2,200 square-foot home, housekeepers typically charge anywhere from $100 to $180 twice a month.

Keep in mind that most estimates you see will be for cleaning services either weekly or bi-weekly basis and a one time/first cleaning service is always more costly.


Bronze Answer Medal for All Time! 220 Answers
September 26, 20170 found this helpful

Cleaning Contract
It is crucially important that you have a signed deal with your client BEFORE ANY WORK IS DONE. A simple contract will guarantee that your work is formally agreed by your client and you and your workers receive the agreed fee. The contract is especially important in this house cleaning endeavor.

There are many simple and free "house cleaning agreements" online; you can search yourself and consider this example:

Good To Remember:

*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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