House cleaning pricing guide: how much should you charge?

October 28, 2021

We surveyed hundreds of house cleaners and used their insights to build a comprehensive house cleaning pricing guide. Use tips from professional house cleaners to determine your cleaning rates.

As a house cleaner, there’s a tricky line you must balance between charging too much and too little—overcharge and you might scare potential clients, undercharge and you may not be receiving fair value for your labor. And when you add different cleaning services into the mix, the pricing equation becomes even more complicated.

So, what’s the perfect pricing equilibrium? To answer this question, we surveyed hundreds of house cleaners and used their insights to build this house cleaning pricing guide.

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Before we begin, it’s important to note that house cleaning rates fluctuate depending on various factors. For instance, these include but are not limited to:

  • Your location
  • The size of your crew
  • The size of the home
  • The condition of the home
  • The type of cleaning services performed

Some cleaners go by a flat hourly rate, others charge by room and square footage.

To help you find the best pricing model for your newly established cleaning company, let’s run through an overall cost breakdown. We’ll start with setting your price by areas cleaned, since those are a little more straightforward to calculate.

This is one of the simplest ways to determine your house cleaning price. On average, prices tend to be about 5¢ to 10¢ per square foot for a routine house cleaning.1 Extrapolated, those figures look like:

  • 1000 ft2 – $75-$125
  • 2000 ft2 – $100-$200
  • 2,500 ft2 – $125-$250
  • 3,000 ft2 – $150-$300
  • 4,000 ft2 – $200-$400
  • 5,000 ft2 – $250-$500
  • 6,000 ft2 – $300-$600

If you plan to serve commercial clients, pricing per square footage can be the way to go. It’s typically their preferred pricing model.

According to our survey, many respondents said that they made pricing easier for themselves by charging per room and bathroom, especially since many clients don’t know the exact square footage of their rooms that they want cleaned. Many start at a base rate of $75-$130 and then add on at least $25 per room and $10 per bathroom.

  • 1 Bedroom – $75-$130
  • 2 Bedrooms – $100-$180
  • 3 Bedrooms – $125-$250
  • 4 Bedrooms – $200-$300+

To calculate your hourly rate, start with the base amount of money you’d like to make per hour. Then factor in your overhead costs and profit margins, and pad that number accordingly.

Charging by the hour can be a good option for newer house cleaning businesses. If you’re just starting out, charging by the hours helps you ensure you get paid adequately for your time. You can also use this information to help you gauge how much it costs to clean a home of a certain size, if you decide to switch to area-based pricing later on.

There are a few downsides to hourly pricing. As your house cleaning business grows and you get more experience under your belt, you’ll likely become more efficient. With hourly pricing, the more efficient you are, the less you make. Some clients are aware of this, which makes them wary of hourly pricing. They may worry that you’ll work more slowly to make more money. Besides, many people like the guarantee of knowing how much a total job is going to cost — rather than having to guess at how many hours you’re going to work.

Location

The average prices in one location can vary dramatically compared to another—even if they’re relatively close by! It’s important that you evaluate the market in your area. One of the most common tips we received from our surveyed cleaners was to call a few of the established cleaning companies in your area to get quotes. Also, consider charging more if there are significant travel costs to reach the job site.

Overhead costs

A factor that you need to always include in your cleaning price is your business’s overhead costs (taxes, fuel, insurance, supplies etc). Your base house cleaning rate should (at the very least) be higher than the money you’ll spend on gas, insurance, taxes, labor, equipment, etc.

Supplies & manpower

Like overhead, there are significant input costs that eat into your profits. It’s important that you factor in the size of your crew and the cleaning supplies you’ll need into your pricing model. Additionally, some clients may have their own supplies they want you to use. If given the choice, consider saving yourself the supply costs by utilizing their free products.

Residential vs. commercial cleaning

Setting pricing for your house cleaning business also depends on your typical customer. Will you be primarily cleaning people’s homes, or will you also be cleaning commercial spaces like offices and local businesses? Residential cleaning is usually paid for on the day the cleaning is provided, while commercial clients typically pay on a monthly basis.

Commercial cleaning doesn’t need to be quite as spic and span as a residential, but there is a lot of ground to cover. While residential homes range from hundreds of square feet to a few thousand, commercial spaces start in the mid-thousands. To ensure profitability, you’ll want to invest in more equipment and staff. This way, you can have multiple people cleaning the space, and be in and out in a few hours. Keep in mind that most commercial cleaning takes place after business hours, which means your staff may be working in the evening, overnight, or on the weekends.

When setting pricing for commercial cleaning, factor in the additional crew and equipment you’ll need to get the job done. There may also be more upfront and administrative work required. For instance, your client will likely request that you do a walkthrough of the space beforehand, share your Certificate of Insurance, and draw up an agreement for their accounting and legal departments.

As mentioned, there are different types of cleaning jobs and services. A standard cleaning is different from a move-out or deep house cleaning. As a result, prices are also subject to change.

To that end, our experts gave the following advice:

Standard house cleaning

For a normal, regular cleaning, start by charging hourly (with a two-hour minimum) and then charge extra for the first time to perform a deep clean.

Pro tips:

  • Charge more for the first time because it inevitably takes longer.
  • After, reduce your hourly cleaning rate for routine cleans. Always account for extra time for window cleaning, especially the coverings.

Deep cleaning

Deep cleans are more expensive than a standard clean, but pricing depends largely on the types of services performed. On average, a deep clean costs between $200 to $400, depending on the size of the home.2

After-event cleaning

Pricing a post-party clean depends on the size of the home, the number of rooms that require cleaning, and whether it will be a general clean or a deep, thorough cleaning.

Move-out cleaning

Like a deep clean, a move-out clean tends to be pricier since there’s more work to be done (consider irregular tasks like cleaning the inside of the fridge and oven). On average, a move-out cleaning costs $350.3

Post-construction cleaning

The construction process is messy. Once the crew leaves, there’s a lot of work to be done. In addition to standard debris, there’s also the potential for hazardous waste being left behind. As a result, post construction cleaning is expensive; averages for residential jobs range from $375 to $800.4

Carpet cleaning

This type of cleaning service requires you to use special equipment and solutions. Because of this, you can expect to charge more. To be competitive in the market, survey respondents noted that you should keep your carpet cleaning pricing lower (approximately $50 per room), since you won’t be able to beat out Stanley cleaners and other companies that are dedicated carpet cleaners. That said, by maintaining a reasonable and competitive price point, you can convince customers that you’re providing an all-in-one house cleaning service.

Add-on cleaning services

You can make your cleaning business more profitable by offering special upgrades or add-on services in addition to your standard cleaning services. These can be tacked on as an additional fee. Here are a few ideas:

  • Appliance cleaning: This is a good one to offer during the holiday season, when your clients’ ovens and refrigerators are getting a lot of use.
  • Laundry services: Offer to wash, dry, fold, and put away your clients’ clothes.
  • Linen services: Along the same lines, you can wash bedding and linens and make your clients’ beds.
  • Dishwashing: Hand wash dishes or run the dishwasher, then dry and put them away.
  • Window cleaning: Grime and dust can build up over the year. Offer to clean your clients’ windows inside or outside.
  • Outdoor cleaning: Speaking of the outdoors, if your client has a furnished backyard or patio, offer to tidy up, vacuum, and wipe down where needed.
  • Green cleaning: Cater to your eco-conscious clients by using only natural or organic cleaning products in their homes.

These additional cleaning services help you stand out as a professional house cleaner. You’re not only making your clients’ homes cleaner, you’re making their lives easier. People are willing to pay a price for that!

Still don’t know how to price your business? The professional cleaners we surveyed recommend that you just stick with an hourly rate that’s between $25-$50 an hour. Follow these tips before you agree to the job:

  • Ask for photos of the home to gauge the extent of the cleaning – especially one that’s far away.
  • Be sure to ask ahead of time to see what exactly it is they want done— certain types of cleaning jobs will cost them more.

Are you competing for a contract?

If so, consider performing an initial cleaning before signing a contract for a recurring cleaning job. Failure to do so could result in you underbidding on a job that takes longer or costs more than you initially assumed.

When asked about the best ways to win over customers and build a successful, house cleaning company, those surveyed recommended the following:

  • Provide free estimates – Whether you offer over the phone or in-home estimates, give your customers an idea about your pricing and a feel for your business.
  • Offer specials – Discounts for regular cleanings, referrals, and other deals are fantastic incentives for turning customers into loyal patrons (and even brand ambassadors!). A spring cleaning promotion can be a great way to bring in new customers and re-engage with some of your one-time clients.
  • Use eco-friendly products – This can be either an add-on price or a value add. Either way, using eco-friendly cleaning supplies can impress new clients who are eco-conscious. That said, you may have to charge a little more to cover the extra costs.

Last but certainly not least, it’s important that you have cleaning business insurance. Make sure it’s factored in as an overhead cleaning cost. Having the right type of liability insurance not only protects your business, it also demonstrates your professionalism and reassures clients that, should an accident occur, you have safeguards in place.

Specifically, you need general liability insurance which provides coverage for incidents involving third parties. It can help cover the investigation, defense, and settlement for third-party claims relating to:

  • Bodily injury
  • Property damage
  • Personal and advertising injury

Additionally, if you invested in significant equipment (such as a carpet cleaning machine) you may also want to look for equipment insurance to protect your equipment when you’re on the job!

As you start your cleaning business, one of the first things you need to know is how to charge for your cleaning services. Remember, there are several factors that must be priced in such as your location, the size of your cleaning crew, the size of the home, or the total number of rooms and bathrooms.

If you want to avoid calculating square footage, consider a flat hourly rate for normal cleaning services. Then, charge more for high-intensity jobs like a deep clean or a move-out clean.

Finally, be sure to cover yourself with the right insurance. With House Cleaning Insurance arranged by Thimble, you can operate confidently in the knowledge that you’re protected. This allows you to devote all of your energy toward providing top-notch professional cleaning services that delight your clients. Our on-demand insurance policies cover you by the hour, day, or month, so you only pay when you’re working. Best of all, it takes less than 60 seconds to get insured.

Hopefully this house cleaning pricing guide and insider tips gave you valuable insights! Good luck in your pricing pursuits.

Written on November 17, 2020 | Last updated: October 28, 2021

Our editorial content is intended for informational purposes only and is not written by a licensed insurance agent. Terms and conditions for rate and coverage may vary by class of business and state.