This is a question that almost every new cleaning business owner asks and it is not an easy one to answer.
The true answer is it depends. It depends on many different factors but mainly your geographic location. A cleaning company in San Francisco will be charging much more than a cleaning company in Memphis, TN, due to cost of living differences.
But besides the geographical location there are some other factors that have an effect on pricing. If you’re trying to own a business with employees, then you’ve gotta think about how much would a cleaning employee cost you? (don’t forget to include taxes, insurance, etc and of course your profit margin too). Then estimate how much time it will take to clean a home. Break it down by areas, such as bathroom 1, bathroom 2, living room, kittchen, etc.
My suggestion would be if you’re just starting out and don’t have any employees and are new to the cleaning business, start of by charging hourly until you’re more confident estimating time it takes to clean homes.
Heck I’ve owned BA House Cleaning for many years but till this day I still use hourly blocks of times in situations I don’t feel comfortable giving flat rates to. You can read more about flat rates vs hourly rates for cleaning here.
Besides the information I’ve given above, here are a few things a new cleaning business should always do prior to giving out prices; especially flat rate prices!
Call your competitors
At BA House Cleaning we get competitor calls all the time. I can tell that its a competitor price shopping because I do the same thing. When I ask for details such as address, they pause and have to think for a bit. But we all do it.
When you call, ask if they offer hourly rates, ask them what those rates are.
I recommend calling at least 4-5 of your competitors, find out about both their flat rates and hourly rates.
Cleaning Time Study
No home is the same so a cleaning time can range greatly. Thats exactly why I recommended starting off with hourly above. You just can’t go wrong with going by the hour. Plus you’ll be able to learn a lot and be able to give flat rates comfortably and more confidently.
Start giving estimates
When you are comfortable with giving flat prices, you may do so but keep an eye out on your hourly rates. Continue to monitor how much time you spend on each job, how much would it cost you if you didn’t do the work your self and if you had an employee working for you. If your plan is to grow your cleaning business, you can’t do it solo and in order for it to be profitable, you must charge enough to cover all employee expenses AND make money too.
Eventually you may decide that charging by square footage is the way to go or maybe by number of bedrooms and bathrooms. At BA, we charge by the sqft but also don’t disregard the quantity of those bathrooms. Wet rooms (bathrooms specifically) are usually the most time consuming and if a home is only 1500 sqft but has 3.5 baths, we typically bump up the price a bit because we know that those bathrooms take time to clean.
I am an entrepreneur, wife, and a mother of two girls. After immigrating from Bosnia to USA 20 years ago, I went to school and worked in accounting and human resources for 10+ years. In 2012 I started a house cleaning company – BA House Cleaning. It is now the top-rated maid service in the East Bay Area of San Francisco, employing 18+ people and servicing over 1000+ clients.
I started Service Roller, after spending years of hopping form one software to another only to find out that its missing a functionality that my cleaning business could not thrive without. So I decided to have a software built just for BA House Cleaning. After being approached by many cleaning business owners questioning our online booking platform, I learned that many other cleaning businesses are having the same issues I once had and Service Roller was born.