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How to Set Rates for Cleaning Apartments?

April 7, 2021

I am new to the industry and I think I'm being taken advantage of. I recently started my own cleaning company, nearly a month ago. I do move In/Out cleaning for a real estate company. After cleaning an apartment I had the manager show me a globe (a lighting fixture) and tell me it is still dirty. I said "I don't do lighting fixtures" . Does anyone clean lighting fixtures, vents, fire safety water sprinklers? How should I charge for windows? Some stoves really need heavy scrubbing. My mom use to say, "put some elbow grease on it!"

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Please give me feedback, I would love to hear from you

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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
April 7, 20210 found this helpful
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I'm sorry to say this but all of this type of information should have been collected before you started doing the actual jobs.
You should also have a contract that states exactly what you will do and anything above that will be extra money even if the extra is charged by the hour.
A contract for this type of work has to be very explicit about everything that is included even to the size of property, type of property and cannot say things like 'general' cleaning. A contract for this could be 2-3 pages long.
Most of the time agencies will inspect the property and provide an estimate or price for doing that exact job. Of course, if these apartments are all the same size that may be different.

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If you have already signed a contract to do this work then I'm afraid you may be stuck with whatever they want you to do until the contract runs out.

When you say you started your own business, do you mean you actually have an official license with all the bells and whistles that states and counties make you have to open a business? Created a business plan?
Or do you just have a business that is like a 'home' business and you seek out your own jobs?

I believe you really need to start from the beginning and maybe contact the Small Business Administration as they have very good classes on opening a business and they assign business people to help you with finding all the information you will need to be able to survive in any business.

If you cannot do this then you may be able to work for one of the cleaning agencies in your area and maybe learn how they do this same type of jobs. Find out how they charge, what type of contract they use as all of this is very important.

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If this was just a regular house cleaning you were trying to do, you may be able to ask some of the agencies for an estimate on different size houses but I do not believe they would supply you with information on this type of work.

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
April 7, 20210 found this helpful
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Are you in the US? If so, I think you need to contact your local Small Business Development Center and talk to someone there. They can help you with a business plan and part of that will be pricing yourself for your market, helping you understand your market, learn how to market to your ideal client, etc.

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The SBDC has mostly free services and is the best thing you can do to get your business on the right footing. The mentoring is even free (paid for with tax dollars).

They can tell you what to expect for working for a real estate company vs. home cleaning (and yes, where I am , they have to do everything...lighting fixtures, vents, fire safety water sprinklers, windows, blinds and carpet. Maybe your town is not the same, but it sounds like it is.

If you are not in the US, maybe your country has a comparable service. It sounds like you need to go back to square 1 and get your underpinnings in order!

Blessings in your ventures!

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Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 440 Answers
April 25, 20211 found this helpful
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Starting any business, you should first of all familiarize yourself with the peculiarities of this business, with its pitfalls.
You must understand that in cleaning business, not only claims to poorly performed work can occur, but also more serious problems, such as injuries or property damage. You must be prepared to deal with all of these problems.

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If you work in USA, then there is the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), it has a variety of regulations relating to protection, toxic and hazardous substances, ventilation and so on. You should investigate all federal and state regulations relating to janitorial services, especially federal safety and health rules. Check the cleaning industry section of the OSHA website: www.osha.gov/

For example in France, according to the workers protection law, house employees are not allowed to work higher than 2 steps up from the ground for safety reasons. So it's not allowed to clean elements placed high, for example, lightbulbs, sprinklers, fire safeties, etc. Because working on high levels require specific security equipment. Investigate all such laws, rules of your country.

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Different customers may have different ideas about exactly what cleaning company will provide. This why you have to make clear in advance, in writing form, what you will and won't do for your clients. If you have a website, then post your policies there, if you have no website, then provide a printed document containing the policy information to all of your clients, and do it BEFORE you reach an agreement and begin work. Indicate all.
In addition, make for each particular client a written plan for the specific services to be provided.

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4 More Questions

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.

March 15, 2011

How much would I charge to clean a one bedroom apartment, bi-weekly? It is about 1500 square feet.

By Robin from Moline, IL

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March 19, 20110 found this helpful
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I started cleaning houses about 15 years ago.I love it! I have a great clientele. I have got all of my clients through their referrals.

I can usually tell from my first "walkthrough", about how long it will take me to clean it. Since I do a very thorough job, each time, I have learned to double my usual rate on "first time" cleaning. This prevents a potential client from taking advantage of me working as hard as I do to get "everything" spotless, the first time that I clean their home.

I usually go far beyond the "normal" cleaners in this area. I am not a hit or miss cleaner. I do not waste my time or theirs. With that being said, I have only lost two of my clients since I started, and that was from their dyeing.

Mentally, I figure $30 per hour and that is what I base my price on. I do not tell them this. It sounds better to just give them an actual price. I also supply my own supplies, that way, I know that I will have what I need and it is not as expensive as you would think. I buy most of mine when certain stores put them on special. I stock up on name brands only. Plus, if you have coupons, it is even better.

I know that some area's charge more than others, that is true, but if you give the customer the service that they expect, you will not need to look for clients, they will find you!

My best wishes go with you and may you be as blessed as I have been!

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August 12, 2012

A friend of mine asked me if I'd like to come clean her apartment and do her laundry once a month to make a little extra money. I told her yes, but had no clue on what I should charge. She said she'd rather do a lump sum amount rather than a by the hour charge so she can budget it better. I don't know the square feet, but it's bigger than an efficiency and smaller than a large one bedroom. She's providing the cleaning supplies and things. Anybody have any suggestions?

By wenpeek from Dallas, TX

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 846 Posts
August 14, 20120 found this helpful

Personally, I would not do something like this unless you want to take the chance of losing this friendship. What sends the red flag up for me is the fact she wants a flat rate rather than an hourly rate. What if some months she is a complete slob and also has a dozen loads of laundry to do and it takes two or three times the amount of time you expected?

If you really want to follow through with doing this then give her a flat rate (for example $40.00 based on 4 or 5 or 6 hours) and let her know how many hours the flat rate you've chosen is based on. I see trouble coming from even doing that because she could say you were cheating and not working hard enough during those hours.

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August 14, 20120 found this helpful

I used to do extra cleaning for friends in college (after) if you have it all worked out before you start should be fine. I admit wrong conditions could hurt your friendship only you know that. Maybe putting it in writing would be the answer, saving any problems that may occur later. I never had any, so I was going tell you if place is somewhat kept up before you start around $40.00 is fair. If you have to clean the place up then charge more to start, after you get it up to par charge a fair price for your area. From what you say the size is, its only one person's laundry 40 dollars is fair.
Good luck, it is a great way to make extra income. Maybe one job could lead to a couple. If I was able and had opportunity, of course; any extra money is a blessing.

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Bronze Tip Medal for All Time! 64 Tips
August 14, 20120 found this helpful

I pay $40 for having my 1 bedroom cleaned and its 3-4 hours work.

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August 15, 20120 found this helpful

Thanks for the great answers. It certainly gives me a great place to start.

Wen

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April 27, 2015

How much should I charge for cleaning a two bedroom apartment including removing items left behind? Should I do a flat rate or by the hour? I live in Idaho.


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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
November 15, 20170 found this helpful

I would estimate my time and charge a flat rate to clean this apartment. If you need to box up a lot of personal affairs left behind this will take longer and you'll need to find storage boxes to use. You can purchase your boxes at Home Depot and charge the person for the boxes, how long it will take to pack the apartment and how long to clean the apartment. Cleaning the apartment should take around 4 to 6 hours depending on how dirty the unit was left. You can estimate $13 an hour for this. Then take into consideration your time to pack the apartment and the cost of boxes you purchased to use.

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
November 16, 20170 found this helpful

I would charge by the job, not by the hour. Estimate how many hours it will take you, and give the client the total fee.

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November 2, 20180 found this helpful

I charge anywhere between $250.00-$300.00 for a 900 square foot two bedroom/one bath apartment move out in northern Idaho. For bi weekly cleanings for apartments or houses I charge $25.00-$30.00 per hour. Normally the jobs are 2-4 hours in length.

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July 18, 2014

I am cleaning a 650 square foot apartment. How much should I charge?

By Stacee W.

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July 19, 20140 found this helpful

Depends on a lot of things. Are there a lot of mirrors and glass topped furniture and a lot of artwork and pictures hanging on the wall? All these have to be dusted. How many people are in the house? Will you be picking up after children? Will you be washing breakfast dishes? Also, what is the going rate in your area? Don't shortchange yourself by quoting a low figure. I did this for awhile and learned that some people can take advantage of you real fast.

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 119 Feedbacks
July 19, 20140 found this helpful

I would go $20 an hour and that they supply the supplies needed like the broom, vaccum, the furniture polish, the rags to polish with, the windex along with paper towels, & the toilet bowl cleaner. At $20 an hour your are making $5 every 15 minutes and that isn't anything to sneeze at by no means.

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