House Cleaning Pricing Guide (2022)

  • by Brandon Boushy
  • 2 weeks ago
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An image about pricing guide for housecleaning

Professional house cleaning is a major industry. The global cleaning industry is currently over $55 billion and is expected to double by 2030. That means it’s a great market for new entrants, but you’ll need a house cleaning pricing guide to make sure you charge properly.

Chris’s wife started Queen Bee Cleaning Service in 2015 to make some extra money, but it took off so quickly Chris quit his job and helped build it into a $1.5 million company. Queen Bee is also top-rated on Nextdoor, Yelp, Houzz, Thumbtack, HomeAdvisor, and Porch.

We’ll share his information to help you create a cleaning pricing guide that will help you make a great living in the house cleaning services industry. We’ll cover the types of services, different ways to charge and share the pricing list.

What kind of house cleaning services should I provide?

A housecleaning service will normally offer other services besides just cleaning homes for people who live in them. They may also provide services for Airbnb, moving, apartments, and commercial spaces. For instance, Queen Bee also offers:

  1. Airbnb Cleaning
  2. Carpet Cleaning
  3. Disinfecting Service
  4. Home Cleaning
  5. Move-In Cleaning
  6. Deep Cleaning
  7. Move-Out Cleaning
  8. Office and Commercial Cleaning

He told us:

If I was to start today, I would probably focus on Airbnb cleaning because it has a higher profit margin.

For standard house cleaning services, Chris includes:

  • Dusting all furniture, walls, fans, counters, and other hard surfaces
  • Vacuuming all floors 
  • Mopping wood, marble, tile, and linoleum floors
  • Mirror and window cleaning with a glass cleaner
  • Cleaning and sanitizing all bathroom surfaces including toilets, sinks, tubs, and showers
  • Sanitizing all kitchen surfaces including inside the microwave and the front of the fridge
  • Spot-cleaning cabinets
  • Changing linens (if fresh linen is left out) and making beds
  • Emptying the trash and relining the trash can before exiting each room

This is a summary of the items he includes in his house cleaning services. You can find his complete cleaning services checklist in our Cleaning Business Master Course. Sign up now to be one of the first to take it. There’s also a list of 11 add-ons.

LEARN MORE: Check out our blog on starting your own cleaning business.

Let’s look at what you might offer with your house cleaning business. We’ll start with the Airbnb cleaning.

What should I include in Airbnb cleaning services?

In addition to the standard services you offer as a house cleaning service, Chris suggests maintaining an inventory of your own supplies to replace toiletries, kitchen essentials, and linens. For the laundry portion, you’ll need to have someone do laundry or partner with a laundry service.

He also told us:

I charge extra for the toiletries and linens, but it basically takes me the same time as a normal home clean.

Check out our interview with Chris below or you can check out the complete guide to starting a cleaning business featuring Chris here.

What should I include in carpet cleaning services?

Carpet cleaning services focused only on rugs, carpets, and other floorings. You’ll need to assess your time differently from other services and have the special cleaning equipment to do the job best.

Chris shared his cleaning pricing guide for carpet cleaning, and it includes five main cleaning points with time and price for: 

  1. Rooms
  2. Hallways
  3. Landings
  4. Each stair
  5. Rugs

It’s typical for a carpet cleaning business to have a minimum amount, such as $99 for two bedrooms.

What should I include in disinfecting services?

Disinfecting services are focused on cleaning surfaces with medical-grade cleaning products. The focus here is on keeping the space particularly clean in a way that helps to minimize germs. I would imagine this is popular for businesses or households that have had a Covid outbreak.

Christ told us:

Eliminating germs & pathogens requires more than just a wipe of a towel with bleach. We use an electrostatic sprayer to apply the disinfectant. The sprayer “loads” the mist with a positive charge making the disinfectant stick to all surfaces killing 99% of the pathogens Our hospital-grade disinfectant is an EPA-certified product safe to use around children & pets, safe on ALL surfaces.”

What should I include in deep cleaning services?

Deep cleaning services should include everything you do in standard house cleaning, plus baseboards and behind furniture. Chris also includes dishes in his standard deep clean service and offers a variety of additional offerings.

How much does a deep clean cost?

Deep cleaning services are normally charged at a premium to a standard cleaning price. In Chris’s case, the deep house cleaning cost ranges from $199 to $319 above the standard cleaning price.

So, once you know how much you’ll charge for regular services, it’s easy to decide how much to charge for deep cleaning a house.

What should I include in a move-out cleaning service?

Move-out cleaning is a service offered to renters to help them save time and money by helping them get their deposits back. These services include:

  • Thoroughly cleaning all counters, cabinets, and appliances
  • Cleaning bathrooms, including toilets, sinks, and showers
  • Cleaning floors and carpets
  • Wiping down light switches, walls, and doorknobs
  • Disposing of any expired food items
  • Deep-cleaning the oven

Chris recommends using the move-out checklist provided by the client’s landlord as the basis for bidding on the cleaning job. Chris told us:

I charge $279 to $479 more for move-out cleaning costs than my standard cleaning rates

What should I include in office and commercial cleaning?

Team of cleaners cleaning the office

Offices and commercial cleaning jobs are different for every building. Chris recommends touring the property and establishing the following:

  • Square footage
  • Number of desks
  • Percent of floors that are carpet and tile
  • Number of windows
  • Number of toilets and sinks
  • Square footage of counters
  • Kitchens in the building
  • Parking lots
  • Special requirements

These jobs can be more complex, but they need more routine cleaning services. Commercial buildings also tend to be better suited for pricing per square foot because you can assign a price per square foot to each task and then just multiply quantities. It might look like the table below (sqft = square feet).

House cleaning pricing guide

LaborEvery cleaning company will have costs associated with operating. One powerful difference between a successful cleaning business and other cleaning companies is how well the business owner manages the cleaning costs. Your house cleaning rate needs to cover the following expenses:

  1. Payroll expenses, taxes
  2. Marketing costs
  3. Cleaning supplies
  4. Fuel
  5. Insurance
  6. Repairs
  7. Rent
  8. Utilities
  9. Professional fees

Based on Queen Bee Cleaning Service’s annual expenses, you might expect the total overhead costs to be approximately 87% of the amount that you make if you have employees. If you are a single-person house cleaner, the total overhead will be between 30% and 50%.

In the following sections, I will share a few examples. You can use similar math regardless of what type of cleaning business you run. Queen Bee is primarily house cleaning, so I refer to house cleaners in these sections.

Let’s look at each of these to give you an idea of what they are for Queen Bee and what you can expect to pay when you start to charge for housecleaning.

How labor impacts the house cleaning price

Labor typically accounts for approximately 50% of the costs of running a house cleaning company. Whether this amount is going to you or employees will vary. If you have employees, you’ll typically need to pay them either an hourly rate or billable hours.

Just make sure you don’t try to consider them independent contractors. Chris told us:

I was misclassifying the maids and got a hefty fine.

To help establish an hourly rate, check what house cleaning companies in your area pay their housekeepers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a lot of data on the hourly rate of the house cleaning industry. Most places will pay an hourly rate of $15 or more, though.

Remember to train your staff well because employee efficiency can impact both quality and overhead.

Assuming the following:

  • Employee pay: $15 per hour
  • Employee hourly rate, revenue: 50%
  • Number of people on cleaning crew: two

That means you’ll want to charge the customer no less than $60 per hour. That is far lower than the cleaning rates for many house cleaning companies. The reason is that a house cleaner has other costs that go into the standard cleaning fees.

Payroll Expenses, Taxes

A man typing on his laptop and searching about payroll

On top of employee pay, your house cleaning price will also need to cover the costs of payroll expenses and taxes. The government requires employers to collect:

  • Income taxes: You’ll need to withhold these for all employees using the information in Publication 15-T.
  • Payroll taxes: The employee pays 7.65%, and the employer pays 7.65%.
  • State taxes: There are seven states without income taxes. You’ll have to collect these from employee pay unless you live in Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, or Wyoming.
  • Other Deductions: Insurance, 401K, etc., will be deducted if you offer them.

There are a lot of tasks associated with compliance, so you may want to outsource your human resources. Most of these start around $39 per month plus $6 per month for each employee.  

The 7.65% tax increases the $60 per hour fee to $65 per hour, which is starting to get closer to the cleaning rates of the Molly Maid cost of $75 to $96 per hour for a basic cleaning package.

The revenue will also need to cover other costs such as cleaning supplies, which we’ll discuss next.

Cleaning Supplies

Based on standard cleaning services, you’ll probably need to spend an average of $3 to $5 per hour on cleaning supplies. You’ll be buying these in bulk to save money, but Chris estimates that the supply list for many cleaning companies will be around $900 for startup costs. 

That means you need to charge around $70 per hour, which gets us even closer to the price cleaning services charge.

Vehicle, Fuel, Insurance, and Repairs

Local businesses will have to drive to provide weekly cleaning to residential and commercial clients. That means you’ll need to maintain the vehicle and insurance requirements. At Queen Bee, these costs are approximately 17% of the revenue. 

This is why your credit score is so important to businesses. Bankrate estimates that insurance costs 25% more for an average credit score than excellent credit, and poor credit spends twice as much as any other group.

If you add 17% to the $70 cleaning crew rate, we’re at $81.9 per hour without any administrative costs, marketing costs, rent, and other utilities.

Marketing and Administration Costs

The Small Business Administration advises spending 5% to 15% of your desired revenue on marketing your cleaning business (or any other business). Chris doesn’t think you need to spend that much. 

If you have good software, you can automate many of your tasks and reduce the final cost of operating. Chris runs his marketing between 2.4% to 6.2% per month, with the lower percentages during the holidays.

Rent

Four wooden dice with letters on a desk

His rent and utilities are based on a home-based business. These are marvelous because they are mostly legal accounting maneuvers. If you store supplies in your home or do office work out of it, you can claim the space you use and the energy associated with it from your taxes. 

There are a lot of rules governing this, but if you choose the simplified method of claiming, it’s up to $1,500 a year. If you use the actual expenses, it can go higher (but may increase the chances of an audit). You’ll want to measure the square footage of the space used.

You don’t have to include this in your cost, but if you do, it will raise the hourly rate by about $1 per hour.

Utilities

If you have a home-based business, you’ll be using the energy associated with work as a write-off, but if you have a separate location where you store everything, you’ll need to cover those costs. 

Utilities shouldn’t be too much unless your cleaning business does a lot of laundry or manufacturing in-house. To give you an idea, Chris only spends about $300 per month on utilities.

Professional Fees

Local companies will often need a lawyer and accountant to help them structure their domestic services correctly. You’ll want to budget for these. Chris assumes approximately $1,000 per month for his cleaning company, but different cleaning services may have different needs.

Ways to charge for a cleaning service

There are a variety of ways to charge for a cleaning service. We’ll cover the most common pricing strategies cleaning businesses use, including:

  • Charging by the hour
  • Pricing per square foot
  • Pricing per room 
  • Comparing house cleaning prices in your area
  • Offering weekly cleaning subscriptions with discounts
  • Proposing household chores as add-ons
  • Giving free estimates

1. How much per hour should I charge for cleaning?

A man at typing on his laptop

Below is the easiest pricing structure to use, but it can create fluctuations in costs based on how long it takes to clean the property. This works best if the client provides all the cleaning supplies and just needs someone to help. You might want to do this if a client wants specific eco-friendly or other specific cleaning supplies.

You’ll probably want to charge a higher first hour. I typically assume that it will cost me $50 just to drive somewhere. Based on Queen Bee’s pricing guide, Chris has established that cleaning services prices should be approximately $70 for the travel costs and booking fees.

To calculate how much you want to charge, assume:

  • 2,000 hours per year
  • 65% profit margin when you are the worker or 15% when someone else is doing the work
  • Your income goals (let’s say $100K per year to start)

You’ll divide your income goal by the hours in a year to get an hourly rate. See the example below: 

$100,000 / 2,000 = $50 per hour

$50 per hour would be revenue, though. To calculate the profit, you’d need to divide the hourly by .65.

$50 / .65 = $76.92 per hour

Let’s make it a nice even number, so it’s easy to multiply and make it a straight $80 per hour. You need to add your first-hour fee, though. Let’s use the $70 Chris uses, and that will make the first hour $150, and each additional hour is $80.

That means you need five hourly cleaners to make the same $100K profit as when you are the labor cost. Now, if you have five employees plus yourself, you can make $200K per year after paying your employees the house cleaning rates per hour.

2. How to calculate cleaning cost per square foot pricing?

The price per square foot is straightforward to estimate. Given that almost every address is a public record, you can look it up to see how many square feet their house is. Then to charge by the square foot, multiply the square feet by 20 cents (or divide by five).

Example: 1,400 square foot house

1,400 x $.20 = $ 280 

1,400 / 5 = $280

You can make it more complicated and separate it by carpet and tile, where the carpet is 20 cents and tile is 25 (examples for easy math).

Example: 1,000 square feet carpet and 400 square feet tile

(1,000*$.2) + (400*.25) = $300

3. How much to charge for house cleaning per room?

Another easy way is to price by the room or by the fixture. For instance, Chris charges a fee per room and also fees for other specific tasks. For instance, he has a table that details:

  • 1 to 10 room pricing
  • Full restroom pricing
  • ½ restroom pricing
  • Add-ons like full window cleaning

Each has a specific price, so unless a homeowner has a unique setup, he can quickly estimate based on the number of rooms, restrooms, and add-ons. You should really check out how he does it on the Queen Bee Cleaning Service booking page.

He uses Booking Koala to automate the whole booking process. Check it out, and let us know what you think!

4. How much do cleaning services charge?

Professional cleaners have plenty of sites to help evaluate the average house cleaning cost in their area. Many of the sites are the same sites you’ll use to find customers for your house cleaning service. 

For instance, Thumbtack makes it easy to establish the rates house cleaners charge in a particular area.

Thumbtack price check for house cleaning

While you’re on Thumbtack, you might want to sign up to provide cleaning services.

5. Offer weekly cleaning service discounts

Whether you are a residential cleaning business or offer commercial cleaning services, your cleaning company can benefit tremendously by offering regular cleaning services at a discount to loyal customers.

House cleaners benefit from offering discounts for routine cleaning in the following ways:

  1. Increased efficiency: Less travel time, more cleaning jobs completed per day, reduced house cleaning costs.
  2. Better forecasting: Order your own cleaning supplies with more accurate forecasts.
  3. Better scheduling: You can schedule house cleaners working each day more effectively.
  4. Better cash flow: The more of your cleaning jobs that occur on a recurring basis, the better your cash flow will be.
  5. Reduces churn: CB Insights says that subscription models change the customer retention dynamic from mostly churning to mostly retention.
  6. Increases lifetime value: The value of a customer increases consistently over time.
  7. Less marketing costs: Your cleaning company will be able to spend less on marketing when you have higher retention rates.
  8. Lower overhead, revenue ratio: As a cleaning company’s recurring jobs grow, the overhead stays the same until you have to invest in more equipment or administration.
  9. Happier customers: Everyone (except maybe hoarders) loves a clean home! Someone coming in each week and cleaning their home will delight customers.

We used the pricing from Queen Bee Cleaning Service to show how their subscription model increases the revenue over the course of a year. As you can see, offering a 10% monthly, 15% bi-weekly, and 20% weekly discount can dramatically increase the revenue of a house cleaning business.

House cleaning subscription model breakdown

6. Propose household chores as add-ons 

Customers might want you to offer other services like appliance cleaning. Anticipate this and have easy ways to calculate cleaning cost estimates. Some of the most common add-ons are:

  • Deep house cleaning
  • Appliance cleaning
  • Laundry
  • Dishes
  • Indoor and outdoor window washing
  • Carpet cleaning

You can add each of these to the house cleaning cost to help improve your revenue per cleaning job. You can quickly turn a $200 cleaning job into a full day if someone wants all the add-ons. It will increase the cleaning rate to potentially as high as $1,000 and make it where your cleaning crew only has to clean one house that day. 

That’s great for reducing expenses!

7. Don’t forget to give free estimates!

Whether you are doing a deep clean, home cleaning, or post-construction cleaning, people love free stuff, and businesses should too!

Chris told us:

Most people don’t know the square footage of their house.

A free estimate gives you a chance to view the property, manage the risk of underestimating with a flat rate, and establish the square footage and whether it needs a deep clean. Plus, it gives you a chance to develop a relationship, ask questions, and help them develop a plan. This may increase overhead costs, but it builds loyalty.

What type of pricing do you plan to adopt with your cleaning business?

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