How to Price House Cleaning: Average Cost for Cleaning Services

Learn how to win bids while pricing for profit

By
Jake Perry | Updated August 23, 2022

You’re all excited. You’ve spent weeks getting your cleaning business startup off the ground and it looks like you’re about to get your first client. Then it hits – you don’t have a price structure figured out.

When it comes to house cleaning, getting your pricing correct can be a little tricky. You want to win the business by giving a good rate, but on the other hand, you need to be profitable.

How to price house cleaning services can therefore be difficult, especially if this is new to you. That’s ok though, because this guide will walk you through each step on how best to estimate house cleaning jobs for your unique business. 

Cost Related Variables

Your pricing should take into account several determining factors. You’ll need to think about these before selecting your pricing method.

No method is perfect and it may require a little trial and error to start with. How to price a house cleaning job will become easier once you understand these different components. 

Location

The area you will be working in is one of the biggest things to consider. If you’re in New York, it’s going to be a much higher cost of living compared with a rural part of Texas, for example.

Further to this, location will affect demand. More people equals more business. Make sure to consider both factors when pricing.

Employees

Do you run a company with a crew of ten employees or is it a small side hustle of just you? If you employ people make sure to factor in their wages.

If you’re starting a side project for extra cash and the work will be done by yourself, you may charge a little less. Then the lower prices will assist in growing the business and building up a good reputation. 

Experience

More experience commonly means higher pay. If you or a staff member has specialist knowledge of how to clean specific things like certain types of fabrics, floors, or machinery, then you are more likely to be able to charge more.

Cheaper is not always better for some customers, and a quality job is more important. Make sure to think about your experience and price this accordingly. For employees with less experience, starting them on a lower wage would be better. 

Frequency

Generally, the price goes down as quantity goes up. It’s like when you go to the supermarket and see two sizes of the same candy. The smaller bag is $1, and the large bag is $2, but the larger bag has five times the amount of candy for only two times the price. It’s the same with most things.

If a customer wants their house cleaned twice per week indefinitely, then it would be useful to think about future earnings rather than per job. Offer discounts for longer-term cleaning contracts.

This will help with longer-term cash flow and make the client more likely to stick with you if you give them a discounted rate.

Size of the home

Larger homes will take more time to clean. The longer a job takes, the more it will cost both in resources and time. 

State of the home

It’s a good rule of thumb to visit homes before starting cleaning. By doing this, you’ll see the state of the home. It will require more time than standard to clean if it’s much dirtier than your typical home.

You can then build this into your price. If you don’t visit the customer’s house beforehand, you can always ask them over the phone what their expectations are to gauge the home’s cleanliness. 

Methods for Determining Costs

There are a few different methods that can be used to learn how to price a cleaning job. Each has positives and negatives, which are outlined below.

Choosing the correct method for you is crucial to growing your business, turning a profit, and ensuring you aren’t overpricing compared with your competitors. When cleaning houses for a living, your pricing is arguably one of the most important factors for success.

Square footage

A square footage price plan can be used for both business and home cleaning. It’s more often used for bidding commercial cleaning, but some cleaners also use it for home cleaning. Here you will need to decide your fee on a flat rate per square footage.

You’ll then need to estimate the home’s measurements that require cleaning. You can expect to charge between $0.05 to $0.15 per square foot for private properties. 

Pros:

  • The standard fee doesn’t change for regular customers
  • You get accurate prices and it is hard to misquote

Cons:

  • It doesn’t take into account any specialist requirements 
  • It’s difficult to estimate without first visiting clients 

Flat rate 

A flat rate is pretty much what it says on the tin. You charge the client the same price every week. This is one of the more popular pricing models for house cleaners as it has multiple benefits and few drawbacks.

Pros:

  • No need to visit clients before starting
  • Eliminate future price misunderstandings with clients

Cons:

  • Doesn’t take into account the state of the home
  • Easy to initially underprice

Per-room 

Instead of charging a flat rate for the whole house, you can break this down to a per room basis. Either by having a flat rate no matter what size or type of room or by being a bit more specific and having a price for each type of room.

So you would have different prices for kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. 

Pros:

  • Specific, accurate pricing 
  • No need to visit the customer before the initial clean

Cons:

  • Room size not taken into account
  • Generalises rooms and is none specific to room contents 

Per hour

A per-hour cleaning basis is where you will get paid for the amount of time it takes you to complete the cleaning. If the house is in a better state this week, it won’t take you as long to clean, so you won’t need to charge the customer as much.

Average cleaner hourly rates range between $15-$40 per hour. 

Pros:

  • No need to pre-price jobs
  • Easy to quote customers 

Cons:

  • If time changes, the price changes, which could cause unhappy customers
  • Level of trust needed from employees

Competitors’ prices

Another tactic to price is by using your customer’s pricing system and then slightly undercutting them. 

Pros:

  • Easier to win business

Cons:

  • Requires you to stay up to date with the competitor’s pricing

How to Price House Cleaning

  1. Visit the customer
  2. Estimate using your price model
  3. Calculate your costs
  4. Check competitor’s prices
  5. Add your markup

1. Visit The Customer

Visit customers before the job starts, even if your pricing model doesn’t require you to. First, you will be better prepared for the job as the customer will have time to show you around.

This will give you a better idea of what you’ll need to do rather than approaching blindly. You can see the state of the home beforehand and give a more accurate quote regardless of your pricing method. 

2. Estimate Using Your Price Model

You should now have chosen your preferred price model. Use these parameters to work out an estimate. For example, you might need to measure the home to get the total square footage.

Or, If you’re using the per room model, you’ll need to take a room count and price accordingly. 

3. Calculate Your Costs

Here, you want to think about the costs you will incur from taking on the job.

How long will it take you to travel to the client’s house? What will your cleaning labor costs be? How much will supplies cost you? You’ll need to answer these questions to get an accurate cleaning proposal together. 

4. Check Competitors’ Prices

A quick way to help decipher price can be by simply asking your competitors what they would charge. Give them a call and speak in hypothetical terms. It’s not illegal to ask for quotes from other businesses.

It’s probably best to keep to yourself that you’re a competitor though!

5. Add Your Markup

This is where you make your profit. So you’ve been to the house and have a good idea of what the job entails and the costs you will incur.

Now you will want to add your mark up. Usually, a markup of around 33% is sufficient to make a business flourish.

Which Method Should You Use?

The best method of how to estimate a house cleaning job will be unique to your business. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this; it depends on how your business runs and what best suits you.

It’s worth thinking about the different pros and cons of each method and seeing how you want to best optimize.

Key-Takeaway: If you have a large staff and want to keep it simple, charging per hour could be the best way. If you’re a wiz with numbers and want to enhance pricing accuracy, then maybe go with the square footage approach.

Pricing in Extras 

You can offer different services like standard cleans, deep cleans, event cleans, and moving-out cleans. Each service can have a different price. Further to this, you can offer extras within each service type. 

Here is a list of some potential extras:

  • Laundry 
  • Ironing
  • Washing dishes
  • Pet care 
  • Carpet cleaning
  • Changing bedding

The key is asking questions and digging into what the client expects of your services. Then use this information to quote accordingly. 

Conclusion

There is a lot to consider when considering how to price house cleaning. It’s best to use the above variables to understand your client and choose one of the methods outlined.

It’s OK to change your pricing method if it initially doesn’t go to plan. Try to hit that sweet spot where your price is competitive enough to attract new clients but profitable enough for you to stay in business and flourish. 

Written by

Jake Perry is a writer from the United Kingdom. He travels the world while working from his laptop, learning about new business trends from startups around the world.