5 Mistakes New House Cleaning Companies Make

5 Mistakes New House Cleaning Companies Make

Most new house cleaning companies make these common mistakes. Anyone can start a House Cleaning Business. But not everyone can be successful at it. Having a house cleaning business is so much more than driving to someone’s house and start cleaning. There is planning and careful considerations that have to go in to it first. Here are the top mistakes new house cleaning companies make and prevent them from making money. Disclosure: Some of the links below are Affiliate Links. What that means is I may earn a small commission if you click on one. This comes at no additional cost to you as the buyer. All of these products are products that I used exclusively in my Cleaning Business. I only recommend products or services which I have used, tested and highly respect. When you order through my link it helps to provide you free content. I greatly appreciate your support!

5 common mistakes new cleaning business owners make


Mistake #1 New House Cleaning Companies Make.

Not Charging Enough for Cleaning Services

Of all the mistakes new house cleaning companies make, not charging enough is the one I see the most. This mistake can cost you your business by eating away at your profits. It may be tempting to under bid the next solo-prenuer who has little to no overhead so that you can gain more clients. This is especially easy to fall prey to when you are first starting out and wanting to grow your customer base. While this seems tempting to increase your client base, it will most certainly decrease your profits!!!!


Cover your expenses

1st lets start with a little accounting lesson. Profits (Your salary) = Revenue (sales) – Expenses (payroll, gas, supplies). Your expenses will be higher than Susie Solo-prenuer House Cleaner. She doesn’t have employee’s to pay. She uses her clients cleaning supplies and equipment and she does not have business insurance. All of which set you apart from her and ADD value to the service you offer. She may charge $75 to clean a house, where you may charge $120 for the same house. This is because it costs you $60 just to provide the service (because you have business insurance, own your own equipment and supplies, and possibly have employees). If you under bid Susie at $70, that only leaves $10 to cover fixed costs (insurance, taxes, office equipment and supplies, customer management software etc.) and profits (YOUR SALARY). You might as well quit now, because you will be working for free. And no one wants to work for free, at least I don’t ?.


Charge a Reasonable Price

Of course you can’t charge whatever you want. Supply and demand do apply to the cleaning industry just like most other industry’s. But you have to charge enough to cover your expenses and pay yourself. When setting your house cleaning prices you must consider what other companies in your area are charging offering similar services, your cleaning times and what you want to make per hour, what your expenses are, and how much profit you need to make. I go over all of this in my blog post: What to Charge for House Cleaning Services. PS…there may even be a free worksheet to help you set your prices.



Need help Tracking your Revenue and Income???

Read Maid Service Bookkeeping: A beginners guide.



Mistake #2 New House Cleaning Companies Make.

Not Having a Consistent Price List

Having a consistent price list or structure allows you to bid jobs quicker. And if you put in the research work have a consistent cleaning routine, you will make a profit each time. So many business owners fall into the trap of adjusting price for clients to land a job, this is especially so for newer businesses. DON’T EVER LET A CLIENT INFLUENCE YOUR PRICE. You will end up working for less than you are worth!

Not having a consistent price structure will most likely lead you into sticky situations. If a client who has a cheaper rate refers a client you have to either honor that price or charge them more for a similar clean. The referred client is going to expect that lower rate you are offering their friend. You’ll end up with either no referrals or cleaning for free!

Having a consistent price structure will take any question out of bidding jobs and streamline your quoting process. If you run into a potential client who feels your price is to high, then you don’t want them as a client. Tell them thank you for considering your business, leave your business card and ask them to call you if they change their mind. And move on to the next one.

There were several times I had these types of bids call me a few months down the road saying they could not find reliable or quality service and signed up! After all that is what you are selling. So don’t be afraid to walk away from a client who is not willing to pay for your service. Don’t have a Consistent Price Structure, get one here ——–> What to Charge for House Cleaning Services



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Mistake #3 New House Cleaning Companies Make.

Not Having a Consistent Cleaning System

Similar to not charging enough for cleaning services, not have a consistent cleaning system will eat away at the money you make as well. This is a mistake I see new House Cleaning Companies making. They are too excited to get their first client, that they clean how the client wants them to clean. You are in the service industry to offer a unique service. Take the time to develop what that service is and looks like, and then stick to it. You will begin to build efficiencies which will save you TONS of money. And you will offer a consistent service your customers can count on.

Control your service, and you control your price

It is important to develop a cleaning system which works for you and the services you offer. Having a consistent cleaning system will ensure faster cleaning times and increase the money you make. Cleaning faster will cut down on payroll costs because your cleaners will spend less time in homes.

What a consistent cleaning service looks like.
  • Use the same products and equipment each time you clean a house.
  • Have a cleaning check list and stick to it.
  • Clean each house in the same pattern every time.

Having a consistent cleaning system will keep your cleanings organized. When you step into a house you know where you start and where you end. Learn about the tools Pro’s use to improve their own Cleaning System: Must Have Tools for Speed Cleaning Our simplified cleaning system looked like this. 2 person teams: 1st Cleaner started on the Bathrooms and Kitchen and 2nd Cleaners began on the Dusting and Floors. When they stepped into a room they cleaned top-to-bottom left-to-right. Same steps and same motions for each house. Learn about my Professional Cleaning system that allowed me to charge $37/ hour, keep long-term clients and get referrals. —> A Maid Services Guide to Cleaning Professionally.



Mistake #4 New House Cleaning Companies Make.

Not using the right products

Many new house cleaning owners will use the same products they use in their house. These products can be more expensive or they can be damaging to your clients surfaces. Many owners are unaware of this risk, which is why it makes it as one of the top mistakes new house cleaning companies make.

Don’t use products from the drug store

What you don’t want to do is go to your local drug store and purchase consumer products. These products are harsh and cost more money to use. Using the harsh over the counter cleaning supplies can be damaging to your health and skin. As you or your employees are cleaning 3 – 4 houses a day these chemicals can be hard on skin, lungs and eye’s.

Don’t damage your clients surfaces

Using the wrong product on fragile surfaces can cause damage and cost you lots of money and headaches. You want to become an expert in the field, so not knowing how to use your products will look poorly on your business too. Clients are use to consumer grade products like Windex or Clorox Clean up. Resist the urge to cater to clients wants.

Check out my post on House Cleaning Supplies and download a FREE equipment and supply checklist for professional house cleaners.

Find a quality all purpose cleaner

You will want to find a quality, Eco friendly product that can be used on multiple surfaces. There are several products out there that will work. Using a good quality multi-purpose cleaner will simplify your cleaning process as well. Your cleaner will have less products to transport and will require less training. My favorite all purpose cleaner was Ultra One Cleaner. This stuff is awesome. It is safe on all surfaces, including granite and stainless steal. It cuts through grease, cleans up rust, cuts through soap scum, and hard water stains. Yet it is safe on skin contact.



Mistake #5 New Cleaning Companies Make.

Not Planning for the Unexpected

Not planning for the unexpected is not something business owners always think of. Accidents happen, weather happens, people get sick, clients have to cancel. We know that all of these things could potentially happen.

The businesses that survive are those who plan for them to happen.

Your business and clients should have processes in place and procedures to follow when the unexpected happens. Having procedures will set expectations in the beginning and will lesson the impact of potential surprises for the client and you. While we don’t have control of when and why things happen. We can have control over how our businesses deal with them after they happen.

Items your business should be prepared for

Last minute cancelations

It may happen with the best client. Emergencies happen and it is inevitable that your business will experience last minute cancellations. To prepare for this, your business should have a cancellation policy in place to cover the cost of the cancellation. $30 – $40 is usually standard, and we always forgave the 1st last minute cancellations. Read here on How to Get Paid for Cleaning Services

Inclement weather happens

Inclement weather is another unknown. Running my business in Florida, we have hurricane season through out summer and fall. We were lucky and never had any issues, but in our client policy we included a statement that during inclement weather where conditions were unsafe we would not be able to service there home. And that we would be in contact with them to reschedule as soon as conditions were safe.

Equipment breaks

Equipment breaks down, and you should plan for it to. Cleaners should carry extra supplies in their vehicles, in the event they run out or break something, they will have a quick replacement. You don’t want your cleaners not to be able to clean a house or run behind schedule because they did not have the tools they needed.

Breakage happens

Breakage is an accident you should for sure plan to happen. We have processes in place for safety and to minimize breakage, but because we are humans, items do have the potential to break. Carrying insurance and having a plan in place to replace or repair will make your company stand above other one man cleaning persons. Related topic: Why Every Cleaning Business Should Carry Insurance.




To summarize, the 5 mistakes new house cleaning companies make.

  1. You must charge enough to cover all of your expenses and to pay yourself.
  2. Have a consistent price list, and stick to it.
  3. Clean consistently every time.
  4. Use safe and effective products
  5. Plan for disasters

Thank you for reading my post! If you found this post helpful, please share the pretty picture at the top of the page so that others can find this article as well.

How to Provide Free Cleaning Services for Cancer Patients

How to Provide Free Cleaning Services for Cancer Patients

So what is Cause Marketing?

Cause marketing is when a for-profit business and a non-profit business team together to bring awareness or raise funds for a common cause.  Philanthropy helps your business generate more business and now a days consumers expect it from businesses, it is becoming the norm.

What is cleaning for a reason and why should it be part of your business strategy?

Cleaning for a reason is an outreach program where women undergoing cancer treatment can apply to receive free, no obligation, cleaning services.  A patient can apply for cleaning service by having their doctor sign a form confirming treatment.  Anyone can sign them up through the cleaning for a reason website.

Complimentary Maid Service for women undergoing cancer treatment. Learn how to implement into your cleaning service.

Once enrolled, patients are matched up with a cleaning service who service in their area.  They receive 4 free consecutive monthly cleanings during treatment.  This takes the burden of house work off of the patient and allows them to focus on healing, resting and spending time with loved ones.

Many of these patients lack the physical ability to clean their own homes.  The body is put through a lot during treatment and chemo making it nearly impossible to keep up on house work.

Currently 1,200 maid services participate in the program and have served 23,000 women totaling $6,000,000.00 in house cleanings.  The number keeps rising as more awareness is being made.  Anybody who is a somebody in the residential maid service industry is participating.

So what is a maid services commitment?

A maid service who agrees to participate in the program agrees to service 2 patients at the same time.  The maid service sets the cleaning parameters that they are willing to clean.

You can donate 3-4 man hours a cleaning. Which will be plenty of time for up to a 3500sq ft home. If you have 2 patients to service, that is only 6 – 8 man hours in a month. 

Maid Services Can Join Here!

What are the benefits to your maid service?

1. You can’t beat the PR.

This is a wonderful service to provide for women undergoing treatment.  Everyone is so appreciative for the help.  Word will spread through out your community about your businesses commitment to the cause.  When I was running my cleaning business, we would have friends and family members of those we serviced through Cleaning for a Reason who were looking for cleaning services.

Cleaning for a Reason provides marketing resources for their maid services. They provide a ready to use logo for you to apply to all of your marketing material.

Need content for your social media? They provide loads of Facebook post ideas and tweats that you can reuse on your platforms for your following!

2. Boost employee moral!

Send them on these cleanings. Employees love to making a difference and participating in community service. There is no better feeling than knowing you made a difference in some ones life!

My employees absolutely loved servicing these clients. It made them feel more pride in their work and our company, building employee loyalty.

3. Cause Marketing

Tell all of your customers and potential customers about your involvement. Include the logo in all of your marketing material.  It will help to build a positive image in your community.

Every October complete a campaign educating the public and local news media about the program. There is a good chance you could get a featured article or news blurb about it during the month of October! Cleaning for a Reason even provides Media News Releases for you to send into local news media!

How your cleaning business can provide cleaning services for women with cancer AND grow your business!You just get the feel goods!

Every client/patient I cleaned for through this program was so grateful of the service. We meet so many strong women. Heard so many encouraging stories.

It is so enlightening to be apart and support a person in their hardest fight of their life. Just knowing you contributed support against their battle is aw-inspiring.

You could never put a price tag on the benefits.

Now is the Time to Join!

It is supper simple to sign up. Go to www.CleaningforAReason.org, and click on their Click on the Maid Service tab.

There are minimal requirements to being a maid service partner. You will need to be insured and/or bonded and perform background checks on non-family employees. (Which you should be doing anyway!!!)

5 Free Business Tools to Run Your Cleaning Business

5 Free Business Tools to Run Your Cleaning Business

Free Business Tools to Run your Cleaning Business

When first starting out with your new business, money is tight.  Spending money on expensive software and equipment is not possible.  But that does not mean that your professionalism of running a cleaning business office should suffer. There are many free or low-cost options that can be used until your volume picks up. Here is a list of 5 free business tools that will help you run your Cleaning Business Office and still maintain a high level of professionalism.

Google Voice

Having a separate phone line and keeping business call separate from personal lines is very important in maintaining a professional look as a new business owner.  Lucky Google has made this process easy and FREE! 

If you don’t already have one, you will want to sign up for a Google account.  From there you can set up your own Google Voice number. You can set up your own voice mail, identifying your business and assuring the caller that their call is very important to you and you will get back to them as soon as possible.  Voice messages will also be stored online so you can retrieve them from any computer as well, if you don’t have access to a phone.

Google Calendar

As your booking all of your new clients, you will need a calendar to do this in.  While there are several really good paid products on the market to streamline your scheduling, Google calendar is a great FREE option to use when you are just starting out. It is packed with several functions you would find in other paid programs to help you stay more organized.

When scheduling a cleaning you can store the customers address in the task for easy navigation. Client data can also be stored in Google Contacts to make it even more easy to schedule clients. You can use the invite ‘attendee’s’, to invite or schedule employees on the different cleaning jobs. This will also send your employees emails for of their daily cleanings.  Color coding can be used to separate cleaning teams, when viewing the calendar. Cleanings can also be set to reoccur on a weekly, every other week or every 4 week schedule.

Want to read how to fill your cleaning calendar check out this post —–> 7 low cost ways to grow your cleaning business!

Face Book

If you don’t have a website you most definitely need a Face Book page for your business.  With over 2 billion adults on Face Book, if you are going to have an online presence, this is where you will want it.  And guess what??? Its a FREE business tool!  It is a great way to advertise your business online, reach and engage with your local target market.

Items you will want to have on our Face Book page are, your contact information, how clients can reach you for a free quote and what kind of services you offer.  Another avenue on Face Book you will want to pursue is local Face Book groups. If you have not yet discovered them, they are a great way to engage with potential clients. Look for swap shops, mom groups, or small business referral groups.  Some groups will have limits on how often you can post advertisements within the group. Make sure to follow all guidelines, always keep it professional, stay away from heated arguments or bashing of others.  Remember that you want to make a good impression of being trustworthy and professional so that potential clients will want to invite you into clean their homes.


Bookkeeping helps you track revenue, expenses and to invoice customers.  When first starting out, your volume will not require a a big expensive software suite.  So don’t waste your money on one, there are FREE alternatives that will meet your needs. Wave is a small business web based accounting software which will be able to handle your bookkeeping needs.  It is an easy to use software designed for the non-accountant.  You will be able to track expenses and revenue. This will prepare you for tax season, and track profitability with easy reporting so you know where your making your money.  Wave allows you to connect with your bank account and credit cards to easily insert them into the software for easier tracking. It also has built in invoicing so that you can send invoices to your clients. There is even payroll functionality so that you are ready to hire your first employee!  Visit Wave to learn more about the free software and to sign up.

Related Article: How to Get Paid for Cleaning Services

Mile IQ

Mile IQ is a travel tracking app.  One of the most under used deductions for small businesses is mileage! Did you know that when you drive to a clients home or to the store to pick up supplies that counts as business travel.  And it is tax deductible. Meaning you do not need to pay taxes on the amount of money it costs you to travel!!!  It’s basically like putting money into your pocket.

Mile IQ is a completely FREE business tool that you can download unto your cell phone through either Google Play or Apple Store. The app uses your GPS and tracks each trip you make to different locations.  At the end of the day you open your app and it will ask you for each driving trip you made that day whether it was for personal use or business. You simply swipe left for business and right for personal.  And the other cool part about the app is that you can download reports for your business mileage.  At the end of the month or year, you give it to your accountant and he/she can use that to apply your tax deduction!

There you have it. 5 Business tools you can start using today to help run your Cleaning Biz. If you have not started your cleaning business yet click here to get started.  As always I am here to help you get your cleaning business off to a great start.  Leave me a message or email at Roberta@WellKeptClutter.com

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How to Quote House Cleaning Services

How to Quote House Cleaning Services

Its one of the most sought after questions for new entrepreneurs.  How do I deliver a house cleaning quote? First, before we get to far into this, you will need to know what your price structure is.

If you don’t have any idea or know where to begin on what to charge for house cleaning services, jump on over to my post that dives into it. —> What You Should Charge for House Cleaning Services 

Get the FREE Download for my Price Worksheet (included in the FREE Resource Library This worksheet provides a Pricing Guide for recurring Residential Cleaning!


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Its exciting when you start getting requests for quotes.  You’ve marketed your business and finally got that first call. Now what??? If you don’t have all your ducks in a row and a consistent process then you will not have a very high conversion rate.



Decide if you are going to give in home estimates or phone estimates.  These are the 2 most popular quoting methods, and the most debated on whether which is best. They both have their pros and cons.

In Home Estimates

Lots of cleaning companies only do in home estimates and will argue that they are the only way to go.  Whats great about them is you will be able to to see the condition of the home.  Because the condition of the home has an impact on cleaning times, seeing it will give you a better idea on how long you should plan to be there on the first clean.  It also alleviates any surprises…Trust me those are never fun!

The down side is that they eat up valuable time. You might be confused…Wait, isn’t landing a job one of the most valuable things you can be doing? Well, yes … and no.  You can have a converted quote just the same whether you speak to the potential client on the phone or in person. The difference is the amount of time invested to convert the quote.

When you are a business owner, your time is very valuable and you will need to be very selective on how you spend it.  Most in home estimates will take about 2 hours. This allows for driving time and for the actual face to face time with the client.

You could only realistically do a few in home estimates a day.  And that is if your doing them during regular business hours.  But, most of your estimates will be done around a time convenient for the potential client.  This means you will be spending weekends and evenings delivering quotes.   This will cut into family time, leisure time and sleep time!

Phone Estimates

These are my #1 choice. You can still get information concerning the job AND you can still create a connection with the potential client BUT you are saving 1/4 of the time! You could give 3 times more quotes this way!

The down side to phone quotes is you won’t be able to see the home until the first cleaning day.  In my 2 years of running a cleaning business we walked into 1 complete disaster.  But this was a move out clean, not a recurring client.  The way around this is to set a disclaimer letting the client know up front, that the Estimate may change due to extenuating circumstances causing additional cleaning time than expected.

If you have a consistent cleaning system and pricing system your cleaning times will not vary greatly for the majority of clients. Obviously there are those outlier’s, but that is what the disclaimer is for. This makes phone quotes more effective and accurate.

Related Post: Cleaning Efficiently, The Most Efficient Cleaning System

Website Estimates

Website estimates have grown in popularity in recent years.  When you are first starting out, it more than likely will not financially make sense for you to invest in an online booking form.  If you have a website, you should definitely make it a goal of yours to  putting one on your site.  The great thing about online estimate forms is they happen on autopilot.  A client finds your site when they do a web search for a reputable cleaning company in your area, they can get a custom quote immediately AND can book their cleaning at the same time! When a quote is submitted, or booking made, you will get a notification.

The online booking form I used for my cleaning biz was Launch27.  They are currently the best out there.  Pricing starts at $59 a month. But they the sleekest and most user friendly format for both clients using the form and you as the business owner managing it.  They have an easy to install plug-in for your site and offer tons of resources to help you through the process.

Step Two

Collect Data

Whether you are providing an in home, over the phone or web quote you’ll want to gather pertinent data to help you set a price as well as prepare for your first cleaning. You will want to know the following information before entering a home.

  • Square footage
  • Number of Stories
  • How many Bedrooms
  • Number of Bathrooms
  • Any other rooms? Laundry, Den, etc.
  • Type of flooring throughout the home
  • Any Pets?
  • Is there currently a cleaning service
  • One time cleaning or Recurring service
  • Any additional information the client would like to add

Not only will this information help determine price and cleaning times, it will also help prepare for the first cleaning. It will help give you an idea of a cleaning time and help determine what supplies and equipment will be needed. If the client has wood floors you’ll want to bring a wood floor mop and cleaner, if none then that can be left in the vehicle. (BTW Click here —-> for the best Wood Floor Cleaning System) The more information you can gather about a home before you enter it, the better. This will help to eliminate any special surprises.

Step Three

Define your services

So, why should clients choose your cleaning service over another? Now’s your time to SHINE!!! Tell them all the fabulous reasons your company stands out over another.  Remember that you will be competing with cleaners who work by themselves, have no insurance, and don’t have any formal cleaning program, and are not insured.  So tell potential clients this.  If something is broken or property is damaged, cause lets face it we are all human and accidents happen, liability insurance protects your clients home and belongings. (P.S. If you don’t have business insurance, you need to hop on over and read this article —-> Why every cleaning business should carry insurance!)

Show them a cleaning check list used with each cleaning. At a minimum your service should include dusting of furniture, vacuuming, moping, kitchen surfaces, bathroom surfaces.  Think of including areas that many other cleaners miss such as long dusting of ceiling fans and hard to reach area’s (this can be done with a simple long dusting tool).

Offer a unique service, and tell potential clients about it, that will separate you from your competitors.  The way we stood out over our clients is offering ‘Extra’s’ like wet wiping baseboards, cabinetry, vacuum living room furniture, and other periodic tasks that most companies charge extra for.  When I would tell potential clients this they were always excited about this.  Its so easy to offer. At each cleaning you complete one task. Because you are keeping up on the tasks, it does not take much effort to add to the cleanings.

Step Four

Follow up

This is important. Some times potential clients will ask for a quote and may be get busy, or something else comes up.  If we didn’t hear back from a client in 3 days I would email them or call them to ask if they had any questions I had not answered.  This does 2 things. One it puts your company name in front of them again.  Maybe they have called around for several quotes (which most people do when shopping for a cleaning service).  Two it lets the potential client know that you care about their business and care about them. If they were to hire your cleaning service, they know they will be services with care.  And three it makes you look professional.

Ask if you can send them promotional emails

I always asked those that received quotes if we could put them on our mailing list.  I don’t recall anyone saying no!  I let them know that we ran promotions or specials periodically for clients and that we would be happy to add them to our mailing list.  Almost every time we ran a special, we had a prior quote sign up either for a 1 time clean. Some times homeowners get quotes and realize they can’t afford the service.  But jump on the special promotions.  These clients are great for generating referrals too! Once we got into their home to clean, we impressed them with our stellar service we either got a great review, referral or new continuous service.

Also, if there is an issue with budget with a potential client you can suggest once a month visits rather than weekly or bi-weekly. They still get the heavy cleaning done, but may have to do light cleaning chores such as vacuuming and wiping down counters.

Read my article on How to Get Paid for Cleaning Services AND Save Money on Credit Card Fee’s

So there you have it! How to give an effective house cleaning quote and get a sale.  The key here is collecting the right data to determine the price, consistent pricing, having a consistent cleaning system and following up.  Clients will hire a service whom they trust, so remember to always be professional and keep all promises.

Once you get hired head on over to my article Creating a New Client Welcome Kit to learn how to welcome your new client!

If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave a response or shot me an email at Roberta@WellKeptClutter.com! I am here to help you start a successful cleaning business with as little extra work necessary!

The Best Pricing Guide for Your Cleaning Service.

The Best Pricing Guide for Your Cleaning Service.

The number 1 question asked by new cleaning companies is how much do I charge for house cleaning? You don’t want to under cut your services, and loose money. But you also don’t want to over charge for house cleaning services so that you don’t pick up any cleanings.

After reading this post make sure to jump over to my post How to Give a House Cleaning Quote to learn how to deliver an effective quote to land more cleanings!

There are so many factors that go into setting your cleaning prices.  You will want to know how long it takes you to clean a house. AND. You will want to know what others in your area are charging for house cleaning services. Once you know the answers to those questions you can begin building your price schedule for your cleaning business.

In this blog post, I have spelled out how to determine how much you should charge for house cleaning services. Grab a cup of coffee, a pen and a note pad.  This article is filled with lots of information and tools so that when finished, you will be a few steps away from knowing how much you should be charging for house cleaning services. Be ready to develop a competitive price for your cleaning services!

Related Topic: Maid Service Bookkeeping: A beginners guide.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are Affiliate Links. What that means is I may earn a small commission if you click on one.  This comes at no additional cost to you as the buyer.  All of these products are products that I used exclusively in my Cleaning Business.  I only recommend products or services which I have used, tested and highly respect. When you order through my link it helps to provide you free content. I greatly appreciate your support!

Here we go……

Should you Charge By the Hour or a Flat Rate for House Cleaning?

The first question to answer when determining what you will charge for house cleaning, is whether you want to charge hourly or a flat fee per house, per visit.  If you are planning to service regularly occurring clients (which I really hope you are!) you will definitely want to charge a flat fee per house.  Most all of the large chains charge this way and I know many successful business owners who do as well.  It is just the norm for the industry and for good reason.

If you charge a flat fee per clean you and your client will know what to expect with each clean.  They will be given a flat price for a specific service.  There will be no need to leave a job undone because the client only wanted to pay for 2 hours.

Read this article for a more in depth description on the difference of charging by the hour or charging a flat fee.

With flat rate pricing, both the client and the cleaners will be happy.  There will be no question or doubt that your cleaners did not clean fast enough or they intentionally took too long to clean so as to charge more.

Calculating your cleaning rates

Hopefully I have convinced you to charge a flat fee for your cleaning.

When setting your prices there are 2 major factors that go in to your cleaning rate.

  1. What the going rate is in your area for cleaning houses
  2. How long does it take for you to clean a house

If you do not price within your local market you will either be loosing money on potential profits because you are charging to little.  OR  If your cleaning prices are to high, then you will loose potential clients.


3 Steps to determine what to charge for cleaning services

1. Find out what other Cleaning Services are charging in your area.

It is so VERY important to do this step.  You want to make sure your prices fall with in the range of what other cleaning companies are charging for cleaning service. Because after all the #1 purpose of your business is to gain clients so you can become profitable...am I right?!?!

Do your market research to see what other companies are charge for house cleaning.  I would call 6 – 10 companies.  Make sure you have a range of large to small businesses.  Again, you want to call businesses that are legal businesses offering similar services.  Don’t call Curley Sue who charges $50 to clean a house because she operates out of her car. You will not be competing with her.

Look up cleaning companies in your area, include the larger franchises as well. Write all the names and phone numbers down on a spreadsheet so that you can remember what each one said.  When calling ask the following questions and record the answers…

Ask these questions…

1. Do you carry insurance? What kind... You will want to know what coverage others have so that you can use it in your marketing and closing client deals

2. Do you charge extra for the 1st clean? Again, you’ll want to know this as well. This way you can decide if you want to or if not, use it in your marketing and sales pitch that you don’t while your competitors do.

3. How much for weekly? Bi-weekly? Cleaning times are different depending on the frequency of the cleaning.  Make sure you are getting this information.

4. What do you charge for extra’s? Or are they included? Knowing if and what other companies are charging for extras will help you again in setting your prices.  Or if you use my House Cleaning Checklist (Hint, Hint), then you can advertise that while your competitors are charging for these things, you include them in your cleaning rotation. (I closed ssooo many clients this way, they LOVE it!)

While you are calling your competitors, make sure to record other ‘non-pricing’ related information.  This information will help you to create a better quoting experience for potential clients.  You’ll be able to use it to stand above your competitors as well.  After all you will want to make sure you are offering the BEST service in town! So here it is make sure you record…

  • Did some one answer the call on the first call? If not, when did you receive the call back?
  • How did they answer the phone? Did they just say Hello? or did they announce their business name?
  • Do they quote over the phone or did they want to do a home inspection 1st?

Whatever your data shows, you will want to make sure you stand out and above your competitors. Potential clients will be calling around gathering prices as well, you will want to make sure that you give the best 1st impression.

Define a pricing window

Organize cleaning prices from high to low.  You will want to know what the low and high point of cleaning prices are in your area.  Record the Highest price point, the Median (the middle), and the lowest price points.

Depending on your business structure you can decide if you will be aiming for a more premium cleaning service or a more economical.

2. Know your cleaning times

It is important to know how long it takes to clean an entire house using your Cleaning System.  The best way to do this is to test this on your home, your mom’s house, friends and families.  Using your cleaning checklist/cleaning system, record how long it takes for you/your team to clean a house from start – finish.

Are you using a Cleaning Apron? You could be loosing money, from longer cleaning times.  Get your cleaning times under control, by using an apron EVERY TIME you clean!!! We recommend this cleaning apron.

Record the square footage and # of bathrooms, bedrooms and extra rooms there are in the house. How long did it take you (I recommend setting a stop watch), was it an initial clean, weekly, or biweekly.

Side Note: Every time I cleaned or my team cleaned, I would record the time. It is actually good business practice to do this continually so you can always track your profitability and efficiency.

Your largest expense with house cleaning will be your labor cost. You want to make sure that you are covering your labor costs. The average cleaning company spends 40% – 50% of their revenue on total Labor costs. That includes hourly rate, taxes, and payroll fee’s.

The more efficient your cleaning times are, the higher your profit margin will be and/or your prices can become more competitive.  To improve your cleaning times, read my blog post where I teach you to clean more efficiently.

Determine your hourly rate compared to your market research.

Using your cleaning times and the cleaning prices you gathered, you can calculate what your hourly rate is for each of the High, Median, and Low price points.  *It is important that your timed cleaning correlates with the size of the home you obtained your quote for. *

Example: You cleaned a 2,000 sq.ft. home bi-weekly in 196 minutes (3.27 hrs).  You called around for quotes and determined the high, median and low prices were: $145, $115, and $82 at that size.

Now divide each by your cleaning time.  This will give you the hourly rate.

      • High: $145/3.27 hrs = $44.34/per hour.
      • Median: $115/3.27 hrs =$35.17/per hour.
      • Low: $82/3.27 hrs = $25.08/ per hour.

Should you Charge by Square Foot OR Per Room

Now that you know what you can realistically charge per hour, you can start setting your house cleaning rates. You’ll have to determine whether or not you will want to charge for house cleaning by the square footage of the home OR by the # of rooms/bathrooms. Cleaning companies large and small use either pricing method.  When I was running my cleaning business I used square footage because it worked better for me.

I was able to create a grid worksheet in increments of 400 sq ft starting with 1000 sqft.  I priced each levels (home sizes) by weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, and 1 time.  This way when I had a potential client call in, I could quickly give them a quote with my sales pitch.  They liked the up front pricing and usually got me in the front door.

How will you market your business?

Will your business model be a low cost option for clients, or will you be a premium high-end service.  This is your preference on what service you want to offer.  I will tell you that when I had my cleaning business I did charge on the mid-to-high side.  With my rotating cleaning schedule I was able to offer my clients the ‘extras’ that most house cleaning companies charge extra for.

I highly recommend that you follow the same schedule.  When I told potential clients this, especially those who where very particular, they loved it and this was the #1 factor that helped me stand above the competition in my area.  We offered a very comprehensive cleaning schedule at a more affordable price. Our customers base boards, door trim, interior windows and trim, refrigerators and such were kept up on a regular basis.  This kept our clients happy and offered many referrals!

I can’t say it enough! NEVER base your business model as the lowest price.  With so many ‘trunk cleaners’ out there, you will inevitably be undercut by someone who does not pay employees, operates under the table. Since you will have a legitimate business, there is no way you can compete with that.

3. Create a House Cleaning Price Worksheet

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I highly recommend to use Excel or some sort of spread sheet with columns and rows.  In the first column you will want to have your home size groups (ie… Sq Ft, # of rooms). I will use the Sq Ft as an example, as that is what I had previously used.  Start with less than 1,000 sq ft and go up from there in 400 increments.

Using the data you have recorded with you cleaning times insert it into the correct line item. (For ex. 2,000 Sq Ft, Bi-weekly you would insert your 196 minutes and 3.27 hrs) Using your hourly rate you came up with previously insert it into the hourly rate column.  To calculate the cleaning rate for a 2,000 sq ft home on a bi-weekly basis you would calculate the hours x the hourly rate = Cleaning Rate.  (Ex. 3.27 Hrs x $35 = $114.45.

To fill in the remainder of the worksheet add about 15 minutes when moving up/down in home size.  To add time for frequency, add about 22 minutes from Weekly —> Bi-weekly —> Monthly.  Move outs take about 4 hours longer than a weekly cleaning service, One time cleanings will take you about 1.75 hours longer than a weekly cleaning.

As you start cleaning more homes and continue to time yourself and your team, you can fine tune your cleaning times to better reflect your service.

With move out cleanings I highly recommend you quote a certain price, but disclose the number of hours you planned for.  Tell the client that if it takes longer or less time then you will adjust the price accordingly. These types of cleanings can go really well, or you cleaning team could really be walking into a disaster! It all depends on how well the home was kept up.

Keep your House Cleaning Rates Consistent

Once you have determined how much you are going to charge for house cleaning services, stick to it! You will do your research and determine the price structure that will best suit your company and the services you offer.  Don’t fall into the trap of charging less for one client and more for another. When clients see your service in action they will be happy to pay the fee that you worked so hard to develop 🙂

Plus…When you start getting referrals from existing clients, they will talk about service and rates.  You will not want to explain to Susan why her neighbor Debbie pays $40 less than she does.

Using this process for determining what you will charge for house cleaning services will streamline your quoting process. No crazy calculations will have to be done. With your new house cleaning price worksheet you will be able to easily implement quoting across several plat forms. You will be able to quote your cleaning services over the phone, on website forms, and over social media.

Phew!!! There you have it in 2118 words…How to determine how much you should charge for house cleaning services!

Here are more blog-posts about running your house cleaning business:

If you have any additional questions don’t hesitate to drop me a line here  ——> Roberta@wellkeptclutter.com

After all, that is what I do, help people like you get their cleaning business up and running so that you can break that 9 – 5 job and create your own financial freedom!