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How Much to Charge for House Cleaning: Pricing Guide with Rates and Examples

August 26, 2021 15 min. read

You’ve worked hard to start your own cleaning business from scratch. You registered your business, decided which types of cleaning services to offer, and bought your own cleaning supplies and equipment.

Now you’re hunting for new work, and potential clients are asking about your house cleaning prices list. But then it hits you—you aren’t quite sure how much to charge to clean a house.

For a standard cleaning job, you could charge $40 per hour, $25 per room, 10¢ per square foot, or $100–170 as a flat fee. But which option is best for your business and your clients?

That all depends on a range of factors, which we’ll dive into now. We’ll also explore the different kinds of pricing methods and show examples of how to price cleaning services. Let’s get started!

How to quote for cleaning services: consider your pricing factors

Before you start thinking about exact numbers, it’s important to think about the most common factors that will influence your house cleaning costs:

  • Labor: How many workers do you have and what is their cleaner salary? Factor in your hourly rate for your team’s labor, even if you’re currently a team of one. Multiply your hourly rate by the number of workers for that job, then add 18% payroll on top. That’s your bare minimum amount, without even factoring in overhead costs and other factors.
  • Overhead and profit margin: What does your cleaning company need to survive and profit? This covers taxes, fuel, cleaning insurance, supplies, advertising, and all other business expenses. Once you know your hourly rate, add at least 50% to cover overhead and profit margins (which should be 20–35% on its own).
  • Home size: What size of homes will you be cleaning? This is usually determined by square footage or the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. The larger the home, the more you should charge for your house cleaning service.
  • Home condition: How dirty is the home right now? Get photos or do a walkthrough to find out. The worse the home’s condition, the more cleaning it’ll need—and the more you’ll want to charge for your time and effort. You may want a higher rate if the client has pets, too, since this could mean you have to come more often or clean more carefully.
  • Home location: Where is the home? If you have to travel a fair distance, you’ll need to charge more to cover travel time and fuel. You can also schedule clients in the same area on the same day, or use route optimization to cut down on drive time.
  • Local demand: What’s the going rate in your region? Your rate should be unique to your business, but some areas do have a higher or lower going rate based on how much demand there is for cleaning services. Use the local rate to make sure you aren’t over or undercharging.
  • Ideal client: What type of client do you want to work with? If you’re working in a lower-income area, premium pricing won’t get you far. On the other hand, lower rates in a high-income area could mean you’re leaving money on the table. Make sure to charge right around the rate that your client is willing to pay.
  • Type of cleaning: What services will the client need? Basic tasks like vacuuming and dusting (especially if you’re doing them every week) won’t take as long as a more thorough one-time deep cleaning. You’ll want to charge more for services that take more time, effort, or supplies—or specialty services that your competitors don’t offer.
  • Cleaning frequency: How often will you be cleaning? A one-time deep clean needs plenty of time and elbow grease, especially if it hasn’t been done in a while. If you’re cleaning regularly, though, you won’t have as much work to do because you’re in maintenance mode. The more time and effort you invest, the more you should charge.
  • Experience level: How long have you been professionally cleaning? If you’ve been in the industry for a long time, you can charge a premium for your reputation and know-how. If you’re less experienced, you may have to wait to charge that higher rate until you have the experience to back it up.

Pro Tip: If there’s a cleaning contract involved, try to do an initial cleaning before signing on the dotted line. This will show you how much work to expect each time. Otherwise you could be locked in at a lower rate or longer cleaning time than you planned for!

FREE TOOL: Try our free cleaning estimate template

How to charge for cleaning a house: choose a pricing method

There are five common methods to help you decide how much to charge for cleaning a house. All of them can be effective—it’s just a matter of finding the pricing strategy that works best for you.

1. Hourly rate for house cleaning

Charging a house cleaning hourly rate is a great idea when you’re first starting out. You might not know how long it’ll take to clean, so charging hourly gives you the time you need.

Here’s how to price cleaning a house based on hourly rate. There are two different numbers in play—the amount each worker takes home, and the amount you actually charge per hour:

Lower rates usually apply to repeat clients who have you clean every week or so. If the home needs more work or more cleaners, you can charge a higher hourly rate for house cleaning.

You may also choose to offer a discount for repeat clients, service packages, or other upsells.

Should you charge an hourly rate for house cleaning?

There are some situations where charging an hourly rate for house cleaning might not benefit you:

  • If you’re an established business, you aren’t rewarded for getting faster and better at your job unless you charge a higher hourly rate.
  • Some clients might not want an hourly rate for house cleaning—they may think you’ll take longer on purpose so you can make more money.

But if you charge the right house cleaning rates and take time to build trust with your client, you can still make this pricing method work for you.

Pro Tip: The first visit takes the longest. You might want to charge a higher rate for the first visit, then reduce your rate for future visits. Make sure to do a pre-visit walkthrough the first time, too—that can help you decide what to charge for house cleaning.

2. Flat fee

With flat fee pricing, you don’t need to worry about fair pay and client trust as much as you would with hourly rates. This is one of the most common pricing methods for house cleaners.

With the flat fee method, you’re pricing your value, not your time. Your services solve a problem—what’s the solution worth to the client?

For example, maybe your client lives alone and works long hours. They don’t have time to tidy up or do laundry. Show them the value of solving their problem, and the flat fee will be a small price for the client to pay.

READ MORE: Unique cleaning business ideas to kickstart your company

Here’s how to charge for house cleaning for a flat fee:

To decide your flat fee, consider pricing factors like time, number of rooms, and number of workers. Build in healthy profit margins and a little extra padding in case of unexpected hiccups with the work.

READ MORE: Start using these quoting best practices

Should I charge a flat fee for my cleaning services?

A flat fee is based on value, and it’s the most beneficial for your client. Your budget is set from the start, no matter how much cleaning product you use or how much time you spend on the job.

While a flat fee can be easier to sell to the client, it can also cost you if your rate doesn’t cover all the cleaning they need. You should be making money with this pricing method, not losing it.

Pro Tip: Time yourself as you clean so you can see how long it takes, then think about ways to make sure you can hit this time limit with every job. If you don’t have any clients yet, clean your own home or a friend’s.

3. Room rate

Charging a flat rate can be tricky when you’re cleaning houses of all shapes and sizes. That’s why some cleaners set their home cleaning services price list based on a room rate.

The term “room rate” most often refers to the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, not the number of actual rooms in the home. That said, you can definitely calculate a rate based on actual rooms if you’d like!

READ MORE: Use our free house cleaning checklist

When you’re deciding how much to charge for house cleaning per room, use these numbers as a starting point:

Should I charge a room rate for my cleaning services?

This pricing method works better for repeat jobs where each room is in reasonably good condition. It won’t work as well for deep cleaning a house that hasn’t been done in a while.

The room rate also applies to every room, no matter how big or small it is. So make sure you assign accurate prices to each type of room to keep your jobs as profitable as you can.

READ MORE: Learn to bundle and upsell cleaning services

4. Square footage rate

If calculating a room rate feels like too much math, you can follow in the footsteps of other successful cleaners and set your residential cleaning prices based on square footage.

This type of pricing is easy to calculate on the spot when a client is asking for a quote. Just ask them for the square footage, then multiply that number by your square footage rate.

Your square footage rate should vary depending on the size of the home and the type of cleaning you’re providing. Here’s how to calculate cleaning cost per square foot:

So if you’re deep cleaning a furnished 700 sq ft apartment at a square footage rate of 30¢, you would quote $210 for that one-time job.

Regularly cleaning a 2,000 sq ft home at a rate of 7¢, on the other hand, would earn you $140 each week. It’s less income per job, but it’s recurring work that you can always count on.

Should I charge a square footage rate for my cleaning services?

Square foot pricing works especially well if you also clean commercial spaces. Commercial clients prefer this pricing method, so you might find it easier to price all your cleaning jobs the same way.

If you decide to quote by square footage, run the numbers for a few different house sizes. Then make sure you’re still coming out ahead for labor, supplies, overhead, and profit margins.

READ MORE: Try out the best apps for cleaning services

5. Specialty cleaning services

Specialty services are an extra step to help your clients solve a problem. Many house cleaners don’t have the ability to solve it, but you do—and that sets you apart from your competitors.

Not sure how much to charge for specialty services? Usually, these types of add-ons use a mix of the other four pricing models, depending on what the service is.

READ MORE: Offer service packages with good, better, best pricing

This is how to charge for cleaning services that aren’t as commonly offered:

Keep in mind that this is just a starting point. You can set your own prices based on what feels right for your situation and your clients—and what they’re willing to pay.

Pro Tip: You can also set yourself apart from competitors by using eco-friendly cleaning products, either as a value add or at an optional extra cost. Just make sure your bottom line can handle more expensive supplies!

How to quote cleaning services: calculate your rate

So you’ve considered all your pricing factors and chosen a pricing method. Now it’s time to actually learn how much to charge for cleaning house, and how to present the price quote to your client.

Here’s an example of how to price a cleaning job. Let’s say a new client is asking for a quote. After asking them some questions, you find out that:

  • The home is 3,000 sq ft
  • They live next door to one of your other clients
  • They want you to clean every week
  • They need basic cleaning plus laundry services
  • They have three dogs that shed

You decide you’ll need a team of three cleaners for four hours a week. The dog hair will take time to deal with, but you can be more efficient by scheduling this client and their neighbor on the same day.

Pro Tip: If your new client was referred by their next-door neighbor (one of your existing clients), think about offering referral incentives for both clients to thank them for their business.

“How much should I charge to clean a house?”

Using an hourly pricing model, let’s dive into the math:

  1. Calculate Labor Hours: Multiply the number of people on the job (three) by the number of hours the job will take (four). This gives you a total of 12 labor hours per visit.
  2. Calculate Labor Cost: Multiply your labor hours (12) by your workers’ total hourly wage (let’s say they make $12 per hour). That’s a labor cost of $144. This step might be tricky if your workers make different wages, but in that case, average out their wages and use that number.
  3. Add Payroll Expenses: Multiply your labor cost by your payroll percentage, which covers expenses like workers’ compensation, social security, and health benefits. This number varies by state and should be padded a little. So if your state’s percentage is 17%, round up to 20% to get a total employee expense of $172.80.
  4. Add Other Fees: Let’s say you’re offering laundry on top of your regular cleaning services. You charge $10 per load, and the client needs three loads per visit, adding up to $30 each time. Because the client also has dogs, you decide to add a small fee of $15 per visit to deal with the added dust and pet hair. That’s a total of $45 in added fees per visit for a total of $217.80.
  5. Add Overhead: Your overhead costs will depend on factors like how big your company is, how much marketing you’re doing, and how far you have to travel for jobs. Still, it’s good practice to add at least 20–25% to your job total. Assuming you’re at the lower end, that brings your quote up to $261.36.
  6. Add Profit Markup: Everything you’ve calculated so far will help you pay your workers and keep your business running, but you still need to calculate profit margins for this job so your business can grow! Add a markup of at least 10% to bring your final number to $287.50, which means you’re making $26.14 on this job.

It might sound like a lot of math, but if you use cleaning business software to create your free estimates, you can send out quotes on the spot and start cleaning even faster.

cleaning estimate screenshot showing costs for monthly cleaning service plus add-ons

Pro Tip: If you’re planning to discount your services in any way, raise your markup percentage so you’re still making money on each job. Remember, that discount can’t come out of wages or overhead—it can only come out of your profits.

FREE TOOL: Try our free cleaning receipt template

“So how much should I charge for cleaning a house?”

Now you know the answer—it depends! There are lots of factors to consider and a range of pricing methods to help you set your house cleaning prices.

Your prices won’t be exactly the same as anyone else’s, and they shouldn’t be. Instead, they’ll be the prices that are just right for you and your clients.

Originally published July 2019. Last updated August 26, 2021.

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