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A pricing guide for house cleaners

January 6, 2022
Written by Nextdoor Editorial Team
January 6, 2022 | Written by Nextdoor Editorial Team

From dust on the windowsills to laundry piled like small mountains, house cleaning is, for many, a never-ending project. That’s why homeowners and renters who struggle to find the time or energy to stay on top of all of the daily and weekly to-dos, may need to hire someone like you, a professional house cleaner. 

Your work is invaluable, of course, which is precisely why you’ll need to be mindful of the value of your time. In this article, you’ll learn how to charge for house cleaning so that you can earn what you deserve every time you perform your indispensable service.

Types of cleaning services

Before you’re able to set your prices for your house cleaning business, you’ll first need to settle on what type of cleaning you plan on doing exactly. Whether you’re deep cleaning a home that’s for sale or simply providing regular maintenance services like vacuuming, dusting, and mopping, what you charge will depend on the scope of your work. 

In short, different homes and projects require different cleaning approaches. Before diving into what to charge for each, here’s an overview of the types of cleaning services you may choose to provide:

Basic cleaning 

Easy and straightforward, regular cleaning involves simple tasks to tidy up a home:

  • Vacuuming
  • Mopping
  • Dusting
  • General tidying up

Deep cleaning

More time-intensive than basic cleaning, a deep cleaning service usually means the following:

  • Grime removal
  • Shower scrubbing
  • Refrigerator detailing
  • Cleaning hard to reach areas
  • Move-out cleaning

After-event cleaning

You may have been hired to make sure a home was spotless before an event and, now that the party’s over, you might be called back to help tidy up the aftermath. After-event cleaning usually demands the following:

  • Dirty dish scrubbing
  • Trash removal
  • Carpet maintenance
  • Living space detail

You might decide to specialize in one, some, or all of the above cleaning services, or you may even choose to fill a hole in the market for a different kind of housekeeping. Merry Maids, for example, is a house cleaning company based in Asheville, NC that specializes in several different types of projects. In addition to the cleaning services like the ones listed in this section, they also offer holiday cleaning, green cleaning, and specialty cleaning.

How to charge for house cleaning

To stay competitive within the industry, you should plan to set your rates between $40 and $65 per hour. That said, there are a few factors that may cause these numbers to fluctuate.

Let’s break down these components starting with the most important: house size.

1. House size

Regardless of how efficient your cleaning systems are, there’s no way around it: larger homes place more demands on your time than smaller homes. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure you’re being compensated appropriately when you take on bigger jobs. When finalizing the details of your pricing list, you’ll want to consider whether or not to charge by the square foot of the number of total rooms. 

Let's take a closer look at both of those options now. 

Charging by the square foot

If you opt to charge by the square foot, calculate the total cost based on the square footage that needs to be cleaned.

First, consider these averages:

  • For 1,000 square feet, the cleaning charge is $80 for basic cleaning and $125 for deep cleaning.
  • For 2,000 square feet, the cleaning charge is $100 for basic cleaning and $200 for deep cleaning.
  • For 3,000 square feet, the cleaning charge is $150 for basic cleaning and $300 for deep cleaning.

You should note that different companies may charge different rates per square foot for a professional cleaning service. For instance, one house cleaning company may charge 10 cents per square foot whereas another may charge 15 cents. Do some research in your area to compare rates and settle on one that is high enough to compete with the industry average yet affordable enough to meet the budgets of your customer base. 

Charging by room

A popular way to calculate the total cost of cleaning is to charge by room—specifically the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. 

Charging by bedrooms and bathrooms is an effective way to calculate total costs because these rooms give a sense of how many people live in the home, a good indicator of how dirty it might be. 

On average, expect to earn the following if opting to charge by room:

  • 1 bedroom: $75-$130
  • 3 bedroom: $130-220
  • 5 bedroom: $200+

Charging by hour

Still, some cleaning companies find that the most effective way to optimize income is by charging by the hour—regardless of the number of rooms or square feet. 

In fact, if you’re thinking of opening up your own cleaning business or planning to re-shape the current systems you have in place, popular podcaster and house cleaner Angela Brown recommends charging by the hour because you don’t yet know your overall costs: 

“It’s recommended you start out charging $25 an hour... the reason being... you don’t know yet what your systems are or what chemicals you’re going to use...”

Located in beautiful Crested Butte, MT, Crested Butte Cleaners also opts for the charge-by-hour approach, charging different rates based on the season: off-season, standard, and peak.

2. Location

Just as with most businesses, where you live and the regions you service make a notable difference when it comes to how much to charge for house cleaning services. If you live in a big city, for instance, you can generally expect to charge more for house cleaning than if you live in a small town or rural area. 

To illustrate this cost difference, let’s take a look at two cleaning services: Lazy Susans Cleaning Service based in New York City and Hudson House Cleaning Service located in Cornwall, NY.

  • Lazy Susans Cleaning Service – For a one-bedroom home, Lazy Susans Cleaning Service charges $117.58 plus tax for a one-time cleaning.
  • Hudson House Cleaning Service  – For a one-bedroom home, Hudson House Cleaning Service charges $99 plus tax.

Although both companies offer the same services, Lazy Susans Cleaning Service charges more in order to accommodate the higher cost of living in New York City versus that of a small town in upstate New York.

3. Going green

Given what we’re starting to learn about the harmful impacts of some cleaners, cleaning companies may opt to take a more eco-friendly approach. While this strategy is beneficial to the environment and allows you to capitalize on a niche market, it may lead to higher financial demands when it comes to cleaning supplies. When making the swap to eco-conscious cleaning supplies, factor the increased spending into your budget and adjust your rates accordingly. 

If you operate a cleaning business and are thinking of going totally green (or at least offering an eco-friendly alternative to traditional cleaning products), it’s best to state this on your website or Business Page. Johnson City’s Appalachian Maid Services, for example, places their commitment to eco-friendly cleaning front and center by announcing their use of electrolyzed water in lieu of traditional cleaning products: “Not only is EW safe and all-natural, but it is more effective than the chemicals currently being used.” 

If you decide to take a similar approach, be transparent about this service offering as well as the difference it implies when it comes to price. 

How to Earn More Money as a House Cleaner

Looking for ways to boost your income as a house cleaner? Follow along with these tips and tricks to expand your audience and to keep your customers coming back to you whenever their house could use some freshening up: 

  • Develop a reward system – Earning your first paying customer is an exciting step for you and your business, but how can you start to build customer loyalty? Encourage repeat cleanings, for example, by offering a free week of cleaning whenever someone books your services as a bundle. 
  • Build your online presence – Build your audience and boost your bookings by tapping into the power of social media. Position yourself as an expert in the field and give your target audience a reason to hire your services by sharing posts that feature professional cleaning tips and savvy hacks for home organization. 
  • Run a targeted advertising campaign – Connect with people in your zip code who are already on the hunt for services like yours by running a paid ad campaign. Select the regions and demographics that fit with your target audience, launch a paid promotion, and monitor the performance to keep track of the return on investment. 

Cultivate a cleaner community with Nextdoor

Whether you’ve been in the business for decades or are a new house cleaner looking for ways to rate your services, consulting a house cleaning pricing guide is a valuable first step. Knowing what to charge helps to brighten up a living space at a price that’s fair for both those who are providing the services and receiving them.

Fortunately, Nextdoor makes it easy for cleaners and their customers to learn the ins and outs of the house cleaning business. By connecting you with a hyperlocal demographic, Nextdoor makes it possible for house cleaners and homeowners to form trusted connections in their neighborhoods. 

Start building your customer base and earning more in your neighborhood with Nextdoor.

Claim Your business page


Sources:

Appalachian Maid Services. Go Green. https://appalachianmaid.net/go-green

Ask A House Cleaner With Angela Brown. Can I Charge by the Hour for House Cleaning? https://askahousecleaner.com/charge-by-the-hour/

Crested Butte Cleaners. Homepage. https://www.crestedbuttecleaners.com/

Hudson Cleaning Service. Homepage. https://hudsonhousecleaning.com/

Lazy Susans Cleaning Services. Home Cleaning Price. https://lazysusanscleaning.com/pricing/

Merry Maids. Cleaning Services. https://www.merrymaids.com/cleaning-services/

Thumbtack. How much does house cleaning cost? https://www.thumbtack.com/p/house-cleaning-prices


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