The best all-purpose cleaner for cleaning services. Imagine, you’re cleaning your clients’ house and you realize that you’re going to need a special cleaner for the fingerprints on the window.
Do you have any cleaners that are safe to use around your children and pets? Will they clean fingerprints, dirt, and grease?
Not all cleaners are created equal, and using the wrong one can damage surfaces or leave behind streaks and spots. If you are a professional cleaner, it is important to have the best all-purpose cleaner for your cleaning service. You need one that is versatile, tough, but also safe for you and your clients.
In this blog post, we will discuss the best all-purpose cleaners for cleaning services. We will also provide tips on how to use them safely and effectively!
What to look for when buying the best all-purpose cleaner for cleaning services.
When you are looking for a new cleaner, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
The option to buy in bulk
It is important to purchase your all-purpose cleaner in bulk. This will help you save money in the long run and ensure that you always have enough cleaner on hand.
When I purchase my all-purpose cleaner I would use a gallon jug to create my mix. I would create a heavy-duty all-purpose cleaner for deeper cleanings or in bathrooms where soap scum builds up quickly. Then I create a lighter all-purpose cleaner that I would use for almost all of my recurring clients.
These gallons would ride along in the back of the car. This way when I was done cleaning a client’s house, I could top off the spray bottles before cleaning the next house.
Consider how easy the cleaner is to use.
The best all-purpose cleaner for cleaning services will not require a lot of scrubbing. You don’t want to have to spend a lot of time scrubbing surfaces or worrying about damaging them. Look for a cleaner that is tough and can cut through grease and grim often found in kitchens and soap scum build-up in bathrooms.
There is a saying in the cleaning industry: Use a cleaner that will work for you, not one that you work for it.
Find a cleaner that is safe on most surfaces.
Every professional house cleaner knows that no two houses are the same. Cleaning houses, you will come across many different surfaces. Think about what kinds of surfaces the cleaner is safe for. Look for cleaners that are easy to use and safe on a variety of surfaces. The last thing you want is to end up with streaks or damage because you used the wrong cleaner on a sensitive surface.
Avoid cleaners with harsh chemicals that can be harmful to your health and the environment.
Instead, opt for cleaners that are made with natural ingredients and are safe for both you and the planet. You will be exposed to these cleaning chemicals all day, several days a week. Respect yourself, and use cleaners that will not harm your health.
Environmentally friendly cleaners use to get a bad reputation for not being effective. You would have to use more elbow grease just to get the tough jobs cleaned. That is not the case anymore. With the new technology, these cleaners are just as tough on grime and dirt but are safe for you to use.
Consider the scent of the cleaner.
Some people prefer cleaners with a light scent, while others prefer ones that are heavy-duty and have a strong smell. You will be cleaning lots of different homes with lots of different customers. It is best to stick with a light-scented cleaner that most people can tolerate.
You will come across clients who will want you to use harsh chemicals, such as bleach. You will have to decide if this is something you are willing to do. If you are not, be sure to state this in your Client Policies that all new clients receive. This way the expectation is clear and upfront from the beginning.
How to use all-purpose cleaners effectively.
Now that you know what to look for to get the best all-purpose cleaner for your cleaning service, let’s talk about how to use them effectively.
Always read the label before using any cleaner.
Reading the label will give you important information about how to use the product safely and effectively.
Never mix your all-purpose cleaner with other cleaners. Mixing cleaners can be dangerous and can lead to harmful chemicals being released into the air.
Unless you have a chemistry degree and know what is safe and not safe to mix, always follow this rule. You don’t want your client to come home to you passed out on the floor.
Make sure you are using the right amount of cleaner.
More does not mean better when it comes to using an all-purpose cleaner. Follow the instructions on the label to avoid damaging surfaces or leaving behind streaks.
Using too much cleaner can leave behind traces of the cleaner. The leftover residue tends to attract dust and leaves surfaces looking dirty. This is when streaks can happen and that sticky feeling that can happen a surface is cleaned.
Have you ever walked over a recently mopped floor and your shoes stuck to it? What caused that sticky feeling is the floor cleaner was not properly rinsed and therefore left behind residue. This is a common complaint for wood or laminate flooring, so I wrote a bog post on how to best clean these types of floors, you can read it here.
How about granite. Have you ever cleaned granite countertops only to have streaks left behind? This doesn’t exactly give that sparkling clean look you want to be selling.
Using too little all-purpose cleaner will cause you to work harder. When you don’t apply enough all-purpose cleaner to the surfaces you are cleaning, or if you dilute your concentrated cleaner with too much water you are going to have to work twice as hard to get surfaces cleaned. Even the best all-purpose cleaner will not be effective if it is not being used at the correct strength.
So, when you are purchasing the best all-purpose cleaner in bulk, make sure you are using the correct water to cleaner ratio. This will ensure you use just the right amount of cleaner and leave behind shiny surfaces with no streaks or sticky residue.
The best all-purpose cleaner for cleaning services.
With so many options out on the market, I have narrowed down my top 3 best all-purpose cleaner for cleaning services that check off all the boxes listed above. Any of these cleaners I would use in my cleaning business.
Because there are so many choices, I recommend trying each out first to see which all-purpose cleaner works best for you and your cleaning style.
Better Life All-Purpose Cleaner
Buy on Amazon
This natural all-purpose cleaner is very powerful. It can clean things better than cleaners that make your eyes water. Your clients will enjoy the soft scent of sage and citrus in this cleaner as well as the friendly ingredients.
Not only is this all-purpose cleaner powerful but it’s versatile too! You can spray it, wipe it, and see how it cleans scuff marks on the wall, spilled juice on the floor, peanut butter on the counter, bacon grease on the stove, toothpaste on the vanity, or coffee spills on the couch.
Buy on Amazon
Eco Blast is a powerful, non-toxic cleaner that can be used for heavy-duty cleaning or light general cleaning. It’s safe to use around the house and has a light natural smell.
You can use Eco Blast for homes (kitchens, bathrooms, kids toys, pet messes), power washing, brick/masonry, spot removing, carpet, granite/stone, kitchen countertops, marine and RV’s, ovens/grills, toilets, tub/tile, upholstery, and wood. It’s the perfect all-in-one cleaner!
Speed Cleaning’s Red Juice
Red Juice is a powerful liquid cleaner that is biodegradable, odor-free, and safe for use around people. It is made from environmentally friendly ingredients such as seaweed and soybean extract. It is also non-toxic and unscented. Red Juice is a safe cleaner that you can use anywhere in the house. It will clean fingerprints, dirt, and grease. It is also safe to use on most surfaces in a house.
How to save money on the best all-purpose cleaner for your cleaning service.
Save money by buying in bulk
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good all-purpose cleaner. One of the most expensive ways to buy an All-Purpose cleaner is by purchasing them from your local grocery or box store.
These stores sell single-use cleaners that can cost upwards of $5 a pop and often you can use half a bottle in a client’s home. If you are cleaning 10 homes a week, that is $25 a week. And you still have to buy other cleaning supplies on top of that.
You can purchase a 1 gallon concentrated all-purpose cleaner for $70 and get 80 16 oz spray bottles. If purchased separately that would be $400! And then think, where would all those empty spray bottles go after each use?
Purchase with subscription services
If you are purchasing from Amazon, there is an option to select Subscribe and Save. This is just another option to save additional money. Before you sign up for this though, try out the cleaner to make sure it is a good fit for you. Once you find your perfect all-purpose cleaner then choose this option to save additional $.
Tips and tricks for using all-purpose cleaners safely and efficiently
Dilute according to product instructions
Be sure to read all labels correctly. Over diluting your all-purpose cleaner will make it less effective, creating more worth for you. If you find your all-purpose cleaner is not working very well, try adding a little more concentration to see if that doesn’t help get the job done.
On the flip side, not adding enough water can lead to using too much cleaner. This can damage more sensitive surfaces, leave behind streaky and stick residue and cost you more money in cleaner.
Create a heavy-duty and light-duty solution.
The heavy-duty solution can be used on tough jobs such as stoves and ovens. In bathrooms where there are hard water stains and soap scum build-up.
The light solution is what you will use for most surfaces when cleaning your regularly recurring clients. When a home is cleaned regularly a lighter cleaner will be sufficient enough to get the job done.
Use a damp microfiber with warm water when cleaning
This helps to rinse the surface off and leave behind a clean finish. When cleaning surfaces that tend to show water marks, I will follow up with a dry microfiber cloth to remove any standing water and buff surfaces clean.
For lighter cleaning, most all-purpose cleaners do not have to get rinsed off. Using a damp cloth and rinsing it regularly should pick up the cleaner and not leave any behind.
But with deeper cleaning like in sinks, bathtubs, and showers you will more than likely be using more cleaner than for vanities and kitchen countertops. In this case, giving a good rinse will help to wash away all the buildup that you just scrubbed off.
Wear gloves to avoid skin irritation.
Even though you will be purchasing an all-purpose cleaner that is made up of safe chemicals, they still can cause some skin irritation. It is best to wear gloves to avoid contact with your skin. Plus anytime you are cleaning someone’s house, you should always wear gloves.
There you have it, the Best All-Purpose Cleaner for cleaning services. What to look for when buying them, how to use them effectively, and little tips and tricks.
Should I bring my own cleaning supplies to clean a client’s house? YES!!!! Keep reading to learn why.
Most new house cleaners ask this question. It is an investment to purchase cleaning supplies for your new cleaning business. And what happens if the business doesn’t work out?
But on the flip side, if you use your own cleaning supplies, there is no learning curve. You already know how all the equipment works. You can clean faster and know what to grab for each surface.
If using your client’s supplies, you will have to read labels and learn how to use the equipment.
I did a survey of my email subscribers to get their answers to this as well. And it turns out 91% bring their own cleaning supplies to their client’s house.
This falls in line with the business model I teach. It’s what I recommend for those that are building a business and not just planning on cleaning part-time here and there. This post will help you decide which is best for your business.
When the Maid should bring the Cleaning Supplies
Bringing the cleaning supplies for cleaning jobs will work best for the following business models:
- For cleaning persons that will be cleaning full time on their own.
- Business owners who will be cleaning and eventually hiring employees to help clean.
- Businesses that will only be hiring employees to do the cleaning.
It is easier to clean more efficiently and to maintain a consistent service when maid services bring their own cleaning supplies and equipment. When cleaning multiple homes a day the importance of cleaning efficiently becomes more important because when you save 15 minutes in one home that can translate to an hour a day or 5 hours a week. That’s like cleaning 1 to 2 houses in waisted time.
So here are my why’s to bringing your own equipment and supplies to each home you clean:
You can ensure that you know how to use the products and equipment
The more you use the same cleaning supplies and equipment, the more your cleaning routine becomes second nature. You’ll be able to clean with your eyes closed (NOT recommended though!).
When you use the same cleaning supplies over and over, you naturally get faster at cleaning. When you clean faster, you can clean more houses in a day and you will make more money.
You know that the equipment is properly maintained and will work
When bringing your own house cleaning supplies, you know the equipment is being taken care of. (Hopefully, you are servicing your cleaning equipment each evening and washing your towels.) With proper maintenance, you know that your cleaning equipment will be working properly….hopefully with no surprise breakdowns!
What if you get to the client’s home and their vacuum breaks, maybe the motor goes out or the electric source becomes loose and no longer works? You will be left without the proper equipment to finish the job.
Or, what if you get to the house and the homeowner is all out of bathroom cleaner. Maybe they forgot to pick some up before Cleaning Day. Or all they have is Windex. Have you ever tried to clean a shower with Windex? I don’t want to! I can’t imagine the soap scum will come off.
When a house cleaning service brings their own equipment they will have control over how well the equipment will work and ensure they have enough cleaning supplies to get the job done.
You know that you are using cleaning products that work effectively
Why do you purchase the All Purpose cleaner that you bought? More than likely, it is because you know it works, and it works well!
Your client may purchase cleaning products because of some fancy marketing, but it could be crap to clean with. Imagine scrubbing a shower and the soap scum doesn’t budge.
Your arm will hate you, and you will have wasted time cleaning that shower. If you had YOUR cleaner and maybe a razor blade, you could have had that shower cleaned in half the time…Am I right?
You become familiar with how the products work with the cleaning process that you have built and designed
You’ll know what products to use in the kitchen, and which products work better in the bathroom. Or think about your cleaning towels, do you have a favorite kind to use for bathrooms versus dusting? Do you like to use a feather duster, hand cloth, or hand-held micro-duster?
What about a long duster that is versatile, where you can extend to clean the tops of ceilings, but then bend it to dust the ceiling fans without getting a new tool?
By bringing your own house cleaning supplies and equipment, you’ll be able to build the cleaning process that you can use for each house you clean.
You can control the size of the bottles so that they fit into your apron
Your client is not purchasing cleaning supplies with your cleaning apron in mind. When you buy cleaning supplies, you should be buying in bulk and then filling smaller bottles that will fit neatly on hooks attached to your apron.
I recommend purchasing 16oz reusable spray bottles and filling them. Make sure to label them well with a printed label covered in tape. I tried using a permanent marker, but it has a tendency to rub off quickly from the cleaning supplies.
It shows professionalism
Most professional house cleaning businesses and cleaning ladies come equipped with their own cleaning supplies. You are providing a full house cleaning service. Your client is hiring you to do the cleaning and buy the supplies.
You wouldn’t hire a plumber and expect to provide the tools? You probably don’t even own the tools he would need to do the work. This is the same with your clients and house cleaning.
It allows you to charge more for the cleaning services
This is my favorite reason, it allows me to charge what other large cleaning services are charging. My clients will see me as a legit cleaning business and not just a lady that cleans their house for them.
By bringing your own supplies and equipment, you are investing in your business. You are saving your clients the time and money it would take for them to purchase the supplies. This equals a higher level of service and so, you are able to charge more to cover the cost to supply the equipment.
When the Homeowner should supply the cleaning supplies
If you are getting into cleaning as a part-time gig
For those starting a side hustle and only planning on cleaning for 5 or fewer clients, then I recommend using your client’s supplies. At 5 clients or less, it does not make sense to purchase the cleaning equipment (vacuum, mop, and cleaning supplies). It will take you longer to recoup the costs of purchasing the supplies and equipment.
If you are going to charge by the hour
If you are charging by the hour for cleaning tasks then it is ok to use your client’s supplies. Charging by the hour will ensure you are paid for the additional time it will take to learn how to use your client’s cleaning supplies and adjust to different products.
If you provide the client with a list of cleaning supplies to purchase
Some cleaning ladies/companies may decide to provide a list to the client on what cleaning supplies to purchase for them to provide for each cleaning. This is not a common practice. Many homeowners will not want to do this.
If you are part of the 9% who use their client’s supplies, make sure you follow these tips:
Give your client a list of the products that you use. This way at least you will be familiar with the products you will be using.
Charge an hourly rate rather than a flat fee for your cleaning services. You will not be able to replicate your cleaning system, therefore each home will be cleaned differently and will vary in how long it takes you to clean.
Etiquette when bringing cleaning supplies to your client’s house
Make sure the equipment is in tip-top shape.
Don’t bring broken down or dirty vacuums, in fact, you should be cleaning your vacuum filters out each day. I always kept extra filters for each vacuum that we had. This way I would wash one and while it dried, I would use another one.
Have the right supplies
Make sure you’re stalked with the right cleaning products to clean your client’s surfaces (stone countertops, stainless steel appliances, grout, and specialty surfaces). The best approach here is to purchase a safe All Purpose Cleaner that you can use on all surfaces.
Don’t run out of supplies
Stock your car each day so you don’t run out of cleaning supplies halfway through the day. In my business, we purchased most of our cleaning supplies in gallon quantities. So I kept a gallon of the cleaner in the car, and when we were packing up the car after a house, we topped off each cleaning bottle. This way we had plenty for the next house.
Keep your cleaning caddy neat and organized
Don’t bring a dirty cleaning caddy to your client’s home. Your equipment and supplies will be a reflection on you and your business and you don’t want to appear messy and unorganized. It’s best to wipe out your caddy each night as part of your end-of-day tasks. This way it is clean and ready to go for the next day.
Start a cleaning business in Colorado. Homeowners pay an average of $170 to get their house cleaned in Colorado. imagine if you cleaned 2 houses a day that would be an average of $340 a day and $1,700 a week!
The majority of cleaning companies are made up of small businesses. There can be little start up cost involved and as you grow your cleaning business, you can add on the fancy tools.
How to start a Cleaning Business in Colorado
This guide includes resources for starting a cleaning business in Colorado. Visit the states Business Organizations page to learn more about running a business in Colorado.
Decide what type of cleaning service you will offer
There are many different types of cleaning business you can start in Colorado.
- Recurring House Cleaning
- Rental Cleaning
- Hotel Cleaning
- Foreclosure cleaning
- Office cleaning
- Move out cleaning service
- Restaurant Cleaning
Choose a name for your cleaning business
When choosing a name, you will want to consider SEO (search engine optimization, how new clients will find you on the internet) and the name should represent what your business does. This way when some one hears your business’s name, they know your are in the business of cleaning houses.
To brainstorm a name for your cleaning business, start with the words Maid, Cleaning and Service. Put these words at the top of a sheet of paper.
Then start writing as many adjectives and adverbs that match your company. This will help you to create a list of possible business names for you to choose from.
Once you choose a name you will need to verify, no other businesses are registered with the same name in Colorado. You can do a Business Name search here to verify your business name is available in Colorado.
Choose a Business Structure for your Cleaning Business
Before registering your new cleaning business, you will need to know the legal structure for your business.
This structure will determine how your cleaning business will file its tax returns and how you as the owner will be taxed on your earnings as well.
It’s extremely important that you become familiar with and understand the different structures and how taxes are paid and filed with each. When choosing your business structure, consult with your tax professional. They can also help you file all the necessary paperwork.
The different structures include sole-proprietor, partnership, corporation, s-corporation or limited liability corporation. You can learn more about each business structure here.
Apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number)
Getting an EIN for your cleaning business is a must if you will be hiring employees.
If you will be operating as a sole-proprietor and not hiring employees, you may be able to use your personal social security number when filing taxes and such for your business. But it is always best to talk to your tax professional to see which you will need.
To apply for an EIN you will file a SS-4 with the IRS. It is free and you can do so on the IRS website. If you file online you will get your number right away.
You can also apply by snail mail, but it will take much longer to get your number. Read more about your filing options on the IRS website.
File your cleaning business with the state of Colorado
The state of Colorado requires that all businesses register at Coloradosos.gov.
If you are forming a Corporation you will file an Articles of Incorporation with the state. The fee to file is $50.00. For instructions on filing an Articles of Incorporation visit .
To file a Limited Liability Company in Colorado you will file an Articles of Organization. Click here to get a checklist to use when filing an LLC in Colorado. The fee to file an Articles of Organization in Colorado is $50.00.
If you are not ready to file as a Corporation or an LLC, you are able to operate as a sole-proprietor. To file your cleaning business in Colorado as a sole-proprietor you only need to file a trade name on the Departments Website. The Fee to file a trade name in Colorado is only $20.00.
The State of Colorado offers a training that walks you through the process of registering your house cleaning business with the state. The training is called Starting a Business in Colorado.
Business licensing needs in Colorado
At the time this article was written, Colorado does not have state business licenses. Licenses are applied for at local municipalities.
I recommend checking with the states licensing need when registering a new business.
Click here to check to see if your business needs a business license in Colorado.
Get Business Insurance
Insurance protects you and your business’s assets, or money in the event of a accident or other unplanned event.
Types of insurance your cleaning business may need include liability insurance, bonding insurance and commercial car insurance.
The easiest way to shop for business insurance is to start with an insurance broker and they will do the shopping around for you to find the best deal.
This article goes more in depth on what types of insurance are best for cleaning businesses along with some FAQ’s.
Additional Resources to start a cleaning business in Colorado
The Colorado Chamber of Commerce has lots of resources for small businesses in Colorado. They offer online training, new and existing business counseling, as well as business training and events.
The Colorado Small Business Development Center is a not for profit organization who offers free business consulting and low cost trainings for small business owners. Their mission is to help small businesses grow and prosper in Colorado.
Next Steps to start your cleaning business.
Now that you have taken care of the boring (but oh so necessary) legal steps to getting your cleaning business official, you can now start with the Cleaning!
Below are resources on how to operate a cleaning business successfully.
Purchase cleaning supplies and equipment
Now that you have started your cleaning business in Colorado, you’ll need to get supplies to start cleaning your first client homes. I have that taken care of for you.
Visit my page to get a complete list of cleaning supplies and equipment needed to run a Professional Cleaning Business.
If you have the money, I recommend investing in a good quality vacuum. If you need help purchasing a vacuum visit my page on purchasing a vacuum for your cleaning business
Marketing your cleaning service
You can’t start cleaning houses if you don’t tell people you have a cleaning business.
Your first step to marketing will be to tell all your friends, family and contacts that you have started a house cleaning business and you are currently taken new clients. If you don’t let everyone know, then they won’t be able to refer you to their friends.
Next get your business online. Most homeowners now search for services online before hiring a business. Make sure your business is visible online when a homeowner searches for cleaning services in your area.
Claim your My Business google profile. By claiming your My Business google profile your business will show up in searches when someone searches Cleaning Businesses in Town Name.
When setting up your Google Profile, make sure to add your contact information, a list of your services, and a an about me page where you introduce yourself. Include high quality before and after images of your cleaning.
Activate a Facebook Business Profile. Complete your profile completely including contact information, pictures of yourself and pictures of cleaning you’ve completed.
Price your cleaning services
Decide whether you are going to price your cleaning services by the hour or by a flat fee. Most cleaning businesses make between $25 – $75 an hour.
Charging by the hour for house cleaning services:
It is best to charge by the hour when you are offering services that will take longer to complete and when the tasks can vary each time you clean a house. When your cleaning times vary it becomes much more difficult to charge a flat fee per clean.
It is best to charge by the hour if you plan to offer the following tasks similar to the following:
- picking up clutter/toys
- organizing spaces
- personalizing cleaning service to each client
Charging a Flat Fee
Charging a flat fee is the best way to streamline your business and start building more profits. But a HUGE disclaimer: Only charge a flat fee if you are completing the same cleaning service for each client.
This means you define the checklist and tasks that you will complete at the home. If you do not follow the same cleaning checklist for each client and each time you clean, DO NOT charge a flat fee to clean.
Check out the following articles for more information on Pricing Cleaning service:
If you plan to hire employees you will need to make sure you have filed for an EIN (Review step #4) and have proper insurance (Review step #7).
You will also want to have a training plan in place. In my experience it is best to have a 3 step training plan in place.
- Have your new employee read through or watch a video that you have put together on how to clean your way.
- Next, have the new employee follow you while you clean. Talk through all the steps they should be taking for each task and room in a home.
- Now, you shadow the new employee for a few houses. It is important to correct a any movements that do not fit into your cleaning strategy. For this step you are helping your new employee to develop the same habits to clean a home your way.
Well Kept Clutter helps aspiring entrepreneurs to start their own cleaning business and start making money right away.
Sign up below to get access to our FREE resource library or hop on over to our shop to purchase client forms, get help with marketing, or purchase our signature EBOOK: A Maid Services Guide to Cleaning Professionally.
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Start a Cleaning Business in Colorado
Should you charge by the hour or flat rate when cleaning houses?
For new house cleaning companies, it can be difficult to know whether to charge by the hour or a flat rate when cleaning houses. Neither is better than the other. There will be times when charging by the hour is better. And other times when charging a flat fee will be the way to go.
Which ever method you use, make sure it is making you money and you don’t end up working for free! After all you are in this business to make money.
For more help to knowing what to charge for cleaning services, read this guide: Best Pricing Guide for Maid Services
When to Charge by the hour for house cleaning:
Charging by the hour is great for those times when the time you spend in a home will vary greatly. Charging a flat rate will cost you more money in the long run.
Charge by the hour if you offer these services:
- picking up clutter/toys
- organizing spaces
- personalizing cleaning service to each client
These tasks take longer, and the time to complete them can vary each time you clean. It would be impossible to project a profitable flat rate when your service times will vary.
For instance, if you offer laundry service: one week your client may have 1 load of laundry, but the next week they have 3. The week there are 3 loads of laundry, it will take you longer to clean the home.
Or you may have 1 client who has newer more efficient washer and dryer which cleans laundry fast, while another client may have older machines that just don’t work as fast.
All of these variables can adjust how long it takes to clean a home. This is why charging by the hour when offering these types of services will be better for you.
You will also want to charge by the hour if you customize your cleaning service for each client. This is because you will be completing different tasks at each cleaning service.
Your cleaning times will vary greatly therefore your costs to clean a home will vary as well. By charging by the hour, you will protect your profits and income because you will be making the same amount of money each hour you clean, no matter which home you clean.
When to Charge a flat rate for house cleaning:
Charging a flat fee is the best way to streamline your business and start building more profits. But a HUGE disclaimer: Only charge a flat fee if you are completing the same cleaning service for each client. This means you define the checklist and tasks that you will complete at the home. If you do not follow the same cleaning checklist for each client and each time you clean, DO NOT charge a flat fee to clean.
A sample checklist would look like this:
Item’s that would NOT be included when charging a flat fee:
- Washing or folding Laundry
- Picking up and putting away toys and/or clutter
- Cleaning out cabinets, cupboards or drawers.
- Thorough cleaning of cabinetry facings.
- Cleaning inside large kitchen appliances (refrigerator/oven)
- Washing dishes, emptying dishwashers.
- Organizing closets
What I recommend:
When I talk to small cleaning business owners who want to know what to charge for cleaning services, I recommend they start streamlining their service so they can save time by not working each evening on paperwork and client management.
Why I like flat fee vs hourly.
- Flat fee provides full transparency with your clients.
- Can manage expectations better. The client will always know how much their cleaning will cost and you always know what you are going to clean. No unexpected surprises, no questioning why it took you 30 minutes longer one visit from the next
- Client is not worried about you ‘running up the clock’.
- The client does not get an invoice they were not expecting, they can plan on their monthly cleaning expense.
- Flat fees reward productivity. If you invest in a new tool to help you clean more efficiently, or develop a more efficient cleaning system, you can give yourself a raise! If you charged hourly, you would never get a raise unless you charged your client a higher fee or purposely slowed down (I do NOT recommend this, it will certainly build distrust with your client).
What NOT to do when charging a flat fee:
- Do not compromise quality by cutting corners.
- Do not skip tasks if something ‘looks clean’.
- Do not clean so fast that you leave behind dirt, smudges or risk breaking items.
To help you develop a cleaning service that allows you to charge a flat fee, I have created my Maid Services Guide to Cleaning professionally. I teach you how to develop your cleaning service so that you are providing a WOW experience and offering a service that your clients have been looking for.
Next Steps: Read my Pricing Guide Article to help you build your pricing list and know what to charge for each house.
Charge by the Hour or Flat Rate when Cleaning Houses?
Don’t be blind sided when first cleaning a new house. Questions to ask before cleaning someone’s house. It may seem to be straight forward: A client hires you, you arrive to the clients’ house, clean and then leave.
But often there are many variables through out that process. In the beginning months of my cleaning business, I would sign up a new client, and only collect their basic contact information, how they would pay me and that was about it.
But there always seemed to be some unknown that would cost us money, lost time or client frustration. So I came up with a list of what to ask new clients.
Before cleaning a clients home it is important to get as much information about them, their home and access to service to create a smooth cleaning service. You can do this by using a new client data sheet and when you are quoting the cleaning service.
New Client Welcome Forms
Before we get too far into this…if you are looking for a new client data sheet and new client welcome forms my new client welcome kit is just that. The Kit includes a Customer Data Sheet, a Welcome Letter, Client Policies and Procedures, Cleaning Checklist and a Client Referral Program.
These are done for you forms that are ready to print and use.
Questions to Ask Before Cleaning Someone’s House
Below are questions that I have developed throughout the years with my cleaning business. This allowed us to offer a professional cleaning service and avoid any unwanted costly surprises.
Collecting important contact information:
Ask questions about who your client is and how to get ahold of them during a cleaning or after hours.
Common questions include:
- Phone number
Ask if there will be a different name on their forms of payment. Especially if they are paying by check. This will make it easier to reconcile your payments to your client.
Don’t forget to ask if they have a preferred first name.
Always ask for a second contact
If you can’t get ahold of your client and their is an emergency, who should you contact? Don’t assume if you are talking to a female that her spouse is a ‘he’. Be aware and sensitive to all different family make-ups. I like to ask for the Significant Other. Or to make it easy, just say 2nd contact who lives in the house with you.
What is the best number to reach you while we are at your home in the even of questions, emergency, or if we can’t get into the house?
If the client is not going to be at the house while you are cleaning, you will need a contact number to reach them at whether it’s a cell phone or a work number. Anything can happen while you are in the home, and you’ll want a way to get ahold of your client quickly if needed.
Collect important information about the home to help with pricing & cleaning time:
The next set of questions you want to ask about is their home. These questions will help you understand how long it will take you to clean and what types of cleaning products you should be bringing with you to the first cleaning service.
These questions will help you get a better understanding of how long it will take you to clean, so that you can more efficiently price the cleaning service.
Read this article to learn How to Price House Cleaning Services.
When was the last time you had your home professionally cleaned?
This will give you a good idea of how long the first cleaning will take. If they had their home professionally cleaned in the last 4 weeks the first cleaning will not have to take as long.
The first cleaning service will more than likely will take up to twice as long if a client has not had their home professionally cleaned…like ever.
If this is the case, you may want to suggest your client to purchase a deep clean for their first cleaning service and then regular maintenance cleaning after.
These questions will help you understand the size of the home.
Basic questions include:
- What is the square footage of the home? You can verify this on Zillow.com
- How many bedrooms do you have?
- How many bathrooms do you have?
These questions will help you to know what kind of equipment, tools and cleaning supplies you need to bring to the house. These questions are really important so that you can come to the house with the right tools.
What kind of flooring do you have?
You’ll need to know if you need a vacuum for carpet or a vacuum for hard floors. If the client has hardwood floors you will want to make sure to bring your hardwood cleaner and mop. Tile flooring and other types of hard floors require different types of mops.
How many stories is the home?
Is there 1 or multiple stories. You’ll need to know this because of the extra cleaning time with the stairs. Additionally when cleaning 2 story homes you will approach cleaning a little different as it is more efficient to clean the top floor first then move down to the bottom floor.
Questions regarding Special Cleaning instructions
Ask your new client questions about any special cleaning instructions. These questions are NOT meant to cater your cleaning services for each specific client. Rather you will want to ask questions about any special no-touch items or items they hold near and dear to their hearts. This way you know the whether you should skip cleaning these items or not.
Do you have any special cleaning products you will provide? Where are they located?
The majority of maid services bring their own cleaning supplies to clean client homes. But every once in a while, a client may have a special product they use on a certain piece of furniture. It is not best practice to buy cleaning products specific to every client. Instead, if a client has a special product, they provide it. You’ll want to know where to use it and where you can find it in the house.
Do you have any family heirlooms?
This question is important because you want to know which items hold sentimental value to your clients. These are the irreplaceable items in the home. In my cleaning business these were generally ‘no touch’ items, especially if they were breakable.
Money can’t buy everything. That holds true to a ceramic vase that has been passed down from 4 generations. You will never be able to replace a family heirloom like you could a lamp that was purchased at a home goods store last year.
What are your no touch items?
There might not be a family heirloom, but some clients may have a no touch item. These items may be expensive, one of a kind or just unique and can’t be replaced. You’ll want to stay clear of them when cleaning the home.
Let the client take the responsibility to cleaning or dusting these pieces. It will save you headache (and heartache) if in the event the items get damaged during the cleaning process.
Are there any rooms in the house we should not venture into?
Sometimes you’ll have clients that may have area’s of the house they don’t want you to clean in. These could be nurseries, offices with confidential information or storage areas.
Usually, they will tell you up front, but it is always good to ask the question. It shows you care and are professional. Make sure you respect the wishes of your client and stay clear of these areas.
Questions about your clients pet’s
Don’t get caught off guard by a large dog. Or let a cat run out of the home when you are arriving or leaving. Ask about any pets your new client may have and what to expect with them.
Do you have any pets?
It is a good idea to know your clients’ pets. You’ll be in the house for a few hours with the pets.
You also don’t want to leave a door open when carrying cleaning supplies to and from the house if they have a cat or dog. The last call I would want to make is that I allowed the dog to run out of the house.
Which leads me to the next question….
Are the pets allowed outside?…Will the pet be locked up?
These are great questions to get a gauge on whether or not the pets are allowed outside. We had clients that had cats that were allowed outside. The cats would roam in and out of the house, and there was a kitty door where they could get back in.
If the client has a large dog or dog that is prone to running out of the house, it is a good idea that you request them to cage the pets during your visit, especially if the client will not be home.
What are your pets’ names?
If they have pets, write down the pets’ name. Pets are often time treated like family and children. Learning and remembering the pets name will help build report with your customer and it will show you care about their belongings.
Questions about getting into the house/locking up
Clear up any questions about how you will be getting into a clients home and how to lock up. This will save you wasting time on or accidently setting off an alarm.
Is there a gate to get into the home or complex?
Some neighborhoods will have a gate or guard at the front. With these many times there are codes that you will need for these to enter the neighborhood.
Where should we park?
This question is not always obvious. Your client will appreciate you asking the question. Answers will vary such on the left or right of the driveway, on the side of the road, on the side of the road across the street. Or if the client lives in an apartment complex or condo there may be visitor parking or service parking.
Some communities don’t allow parking on the side of the road and may result in towing or ticketing. Make sure you clear up any parking restrictions before you arrive for your first cleaning service.
How should we get into the house?
This is an important question. Many clients will not be home when you clean their house. That means you will need to know exactly how you will be entering the home. It is best not to make assumptions here.
Some clients will provide a key, others will have garage door codes you can use, or some may want you to come into a side door rather the front. I even had clients who left a key under a planter or mat and that was how we got in.
If the client says they will leave the door open for you, or that they will meet you on cleaning day to let you in, make sure you make it very clear what time you will be there and how long you are willing to wait. Also, this is a good time to remind them of your lockout or last-minute cancelation policy. (Our lockout/cancelation policy can be found in the New Client Welcome Kit)
One thing to note here; I always presented the question saying most of our clients prefer to provide us with a key. If at any time they termed service, we would provide the keys back to the client. Having a key is the best way to prevent any lock outs or having to wait for a client to meet you at the home.
Is there an alarm/alarm code you will have to shut off when entering the home?
If there is an alarm that will be activated, you will want to get the code so that you can shut it off when entering the home. You don’t want the police showing up because the alarm went off.
Ask the client to show you how to use the alarms control panel, or do some research of your own to get an understanding on how to use it.
Most alarms will allow the homeowner to set a secondary code just for service providers. That way if they terminate service, they can inactivate the code that they give you.
If the client does not want to give you the code to the alarm because they say it will not be set on cleaning day, make it clear that if you walk into the home and the alarm does get activated, that the client is responsible for any costs associate with the alarm going off.
How should we lock up the house before we leave?
If there is an alarm code do, they want you to set it before leaving? If the client meets you at the home to let you into the house, do they want you to lock the door when you leave?
Where is the location of your central trash container?
As part of your cleaning service, you more than likely will be collecting and taking out the trash. Make sure you know where to take the trash out of the house. Most residential homes will store their outside garbage cans in the garage or on the side of the house.
For apartments and condo’s this may be in a different location than the unit.
Read this article to learn how to present a house cleaning Quote to a potential customer.
Are you looking for new customers? How to find house cleaning jobs near you. OR Low cost marketing for cleaning businesses.
New Client Welcome Forms for Cleaning Businesses
Essential New Client Welcome Form Kit with fillable and ready to go forms. Just update the area’s highlighted in Yellow with your information and you are ready to print or use on your webpage.
Forms Included in the Kit
- New Client Welcome Letter
- Client Data Sheet
- Customer Policies
- Cleaning Checklist
- Customer Referral Program
Get the Forms Here
Questions to ask before cleaning someone’s house