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How Much Should You Charge for Housekeeping?

Here are the factors that you should take into account when setting your pay rates as a housekeeper.

Image courtesy of Getty Images/filadendron

Now that you've decided to look into work as a house cleaner, you’re probably wondering how much house cleaners actually make. Care.com’s House Cleaning Cost Calculator can help you determine the rate for your area. On average, house cleaners make $11.46 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That said, there are many factors that will influence the pay rate including the size of the house and where you live. Housekeepers generally need to make a visit to the home  in order to assess the space before determining how much to charge. Setting up an in-home consultation with prospective employers will give you a better understanding of the size of the home and your house cleaning duties.  This will allow you to determine an accurate price.


What to Consider When Figuring Out How Much to Charge:

  • Where You Live: House cleaning rates will vary depending on what part of the country you call home. For example, house cleaners in Southwest Utah make an average of $8.99 an hour but house cleaners in the San Francisco Bay area make an average of $18.64 an hour. Check out our House Cleaning Cost Calculator to find out what the going rate is in your area.
  • Size of the Home: How many bedrooms and bathrooms does the home have? Also, find out the square footage of the space you are responsible for cleaning. You’ll charge a lower rate for smaller homes or apartments than you would a two-story home.
  • Frequency of Cleaning: How often does the client want you to clean their home? The most popular option for individuals and families is a bi-weekly house cleaning but many customers also opt for weekly or monthly depending on their needs. Consider your schedule and the demands of your clients before agreeing to a certain frequency. This will help you stay on track and realistic about the client’s expectations.
  • Members of the Household: How many people and pets live in the house? A home with one person and a small pet will often require less cleaning than a family with kids and multiple pets.
  • Level of Clutter: Can you access the areas to be cleaned? It’s important to see the space for yourself in order to determine the right price for your services. If the house is messy, it may require a deep cleaning, thus driving up your rate.
  • Special Requirements: The client may have special cleaning requirements outside of the norm for you. This could include tasks like cleaning the windows or scrubbing the baseboards. Establish a list of average house cleaning duties and also your rate for add-on services.
  • Level of Experience: How many years have you been in the business? If you are just starting out, consider charging a lower rate than the average for your area. This will help you build up a large client base, allowing you to raise your rates in the future. If you are an experienced house cleaner, be sure to charge what you are worth. Customers are typically willing to pay more for a highly qualified individual.
  • Number of People Cleaning: Will you work as an independent contractor or as part of a team from a professional cleaning agency? If you work for an agency, you will have a predetermined hourly rate. If you work on your own, you’ll be able to set your own rate by the hour or by the job. 
  • How You’ll Get Paid: Establish whether you will be paid by the job or by the hour.


Tips for Estimating What You Can Charge for to House Cleaning

  • Calculating Your Rate: To check what hourly rates are for comparable services in your area, refer to our Housekeeping Cost Calculator and enter your zip code to see what other house cleaners are charging. Keep in mind that rates may vary greatly from one area of the country to another.
  • Ask Around: Talk with other house cleaners in your area how much they charge for cleaning services. Compare their level of experience with yours and charge accordingly.


Tips for Negotiating Your Way to the Right Price

  • First Offer: Always let the client make the first offer and ask if they are willing to negotiate the price.
  • Do Your Homework: If the client has agreed to negotiate your rate, and you feel their initial offer is too low, do your research and come up with a counteroffer. Be prepared to explain how and why you feel your rate is more appropriate for the scope of work requested by the client.
  • Show Your Worth: Do you have years of professional cleaning experience or are you just starting out? House cleaners that have been in the industry for a long time have a better chance of negotiating a higher pay rate than those with little to no experience. Another way to show your worth is by agreeing to a trial cleaning period. This will help your client evaluate your skill set and may make them more likely to agree on a higher rate.
  • Build Your Client Base:  If you’re just starting out, it may be helpful to charge a lower rate than others and to build up a group of clients who will give you good recommendations. This will then enable you to raise your rates as your become known for your high quality work.
  • Stay True to Yourself: Remember not to sell yourself short when it comes to a fair wage, but be firm and professional when seeking a negotiated pay rate. If the client refuses to work with you, and you feel you are being shortchanged, you may want to consider declining the position and continue searching for something else.
     

Once you have figured out how much to charge, and that you want to move forward to get a job as a house cleaner, you will want to advertise your services on Care.com and then prepare for a job interview.

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