The Housekeeping Guide: Housekeeper Cost

Find out about pay rates for housekeepers

The cost of housekeeping services can be based on many factors and varies from one area to another.

It is usually necessary to have an in-home consultation with your prospective housekeeper/agency, so they can get a better understanding of your home, its cleaning requirements, and your cleaning specifications, in order to determine a price.

Factors that impact cost:

  • Size of your home (number of bedrooms/bathrooms)
  • Frequency of cleaning (weekly, bimonthly) and housekeeping
  • Number of people and pets in your household
  • Level of clutter (can your housekeeper access the areas to be cleaned?)
  • Amount of different surfaces to be cleaned
  • Special requirements, such as cleaning windows
  • Level of experience of the housekeeper
  • Number of people cleaning your home (an individual or team from an agency)
  • Paying by the job or paying by the hour

Cost estimates:

  • In a larger metropolitan area, for a medium-sized apartment or house, plan on paying at least $100 for cleaning twice a month.
  • In less populated cities or towns, for an average-sized house (2500 square feet), around $75 is a typical fee.
  • For a large national chain, monthly cleaning service in a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home, runs around $175 per cleaning.

Definitely ask your neighbors and friends how much they pay for cleaning services to get an idea of the going rates in your area. You may need to negotiate with the prospective housekeeper in order to arrive at a fair price, especially as your needs are specific to your home and lifestyle.

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Comments (167)
Hi all, I'm am just reading some of your post. First of all I don't think a lot of you are charging enough. I started my own cleaning business about 2 & 1/2 years ago, & it is hard work, & labor intensive! Especially if you work alone, as I do. I have established 6 biweekly clients, & 2 once a month clients. My fees for the homes I presently do range between 75.00-175.00 a cleaning. (more for deep cleans). I learned early on to charge BY THE JOB, Not by the hr. If you are efficient, You end up cheating yourself charging hourly. My smaller places usually take me around 2-2&1/2 hrs. My larger houses take me 3-4 hours, sometimes a little more, if asked to do a little extra. (& when asked to do extra, always charge extra, accordingly).
I have been with almost all of my clients for the 2- 2 & 1/2 yrs. I have been doing this. I am also happy to say that I built my business in around a year, all on referrals. I have 3 houses on the same street from neighbors telling each other about me! :) Because I work alone, & it is labor intensive, I only do one house a day, with the exception of once a month when I have a small, already pretty clean town house for one of my clients 89 yr. old mom. She lives in the same neighborhood as another client, so I do her place after I finish my other client's house, since I'm in the same neighborhood. I have also doubled up 2 smaller jobs on the same day, if on the week of a holiday, (Thanksgiving & Christmas), so I can still fit everyone in, & not miss making any money that week.
Posted: September 22, 2015 at 4:46 PM
Margie,all your comments are so relative and realistic. Sounds like I do things similar to yourself and for almost 30 years. Sadly,sometimes I still get the disrespect. Kudos to you! Wish I could talk to someone like this in person.
Posted: August 24, 2015 at 1:14 PM
Photo of Tammie K.
Tammie K.
I tried charging by the hour and it does not work. I go by square footage. I don't know how people can charge $10.00 an hour. I am seeing them sinking and going right back out of business, mainly because their charges are to low, just so they can get a house cleaning job. I see a lot of customers only wanting to pay $10hr, they do not realize by the time you drive to their house, plus the cost of supplies, labor service, you pretty much are making less than minimum wage, then you have to drive to the next house, you now have put yourself further in the hole even before getting to the next house. So house cleaners charging $10hr, cleaning a 1,300 sq ft are only getting $30. I clean houses by sq footage and I'm receiving $85 for 1,300 sq foot. That is enough to cover all charges, gas, labor, supplies. Customers are paying for these services. So don't sell yourself short. I see a lot of people that say they clean homes for a living, but don't have a clue as to how much to charge. You have to research what house cleaning prices are going for these days. $10.00hr is pretty much over with these days and customers have to learn to adapt to that if they want good house cleaning. I had a lady that would not give me her square footage and was trying to tell me she would not pay for any of my gas, so how much then would I charge her. I told her she would not be getting my service, simple as that. People are afraid to stand up to customers, when customers want to be super cheap. They will try to rule YOU and get you to be cheap. I would not stand for that. I noticed house cleaners that charge by the square footage are the ones that are surviving out there, making a decent living and customers will pay the flat rate charge by the square footage. House cleaners, please do your research and stop underbidding yourself, just to get a job. There are plenty of resource on the internet as to how much to charge by square footage. Don't allow customers to stomp on you. If they want service, good service, they will pay the FAIR price.
Posted: August 23, 2015 at 1:24 PM
Other professions that don't need a college education also charge a nice price, for example painting, dry walling or pest defense. Anyone can also learn those skills and just go to work.

Couple of things I don't see mentioned much of is the physical toll on a persons body young or older non matter. Not to mention the chemicals as well.

Green cleaning is better but depending on product choice still may not be healthy as your skin continuously absorbs materials, same as breathing them in.

Gotta be paid correctly for the hazards you endure and the trust thats entrusted to you also comes with a price.

No benefits, sick/vacation time, no bonuses unless you are blessed with a client whom chooses to do so, ect.

Plus if your doing multiple houses in a day (gas and time running around), or supplying your own supplies, providing insurance for your business, your own laundry from cleaning cloths, trips to the store for product, office time... Yes, theres a lot people don't think about!! Don't even get me started on the taxes in my state being self employed!!!

I charge per job not per hour but it does roughly end up at $20/hr for a house and more for a business. I've learned my lesson from under charging and at times still am (15 years going). Its hard to say a price but again I have learned a lot, when your price is middle you gain a lot of respect. When your price is high people talk negative and when its low they don't respect.

This is a job that can be either slave type work or satisfactory type depends on your customers. Customers can make it or break it for you. Its ok to be choosey, when your work shines customers will talk and refer like crazy. If you do awesome detailed work with a positive attitude you will be able to be picky on your clients, your phone will be ringing and you will be saying "I have a waiting list " ;)

Right attitude and right quality and you will be blessed with super awesome customers! Everyone wins!

P.S. Minimum wage has greatly changed since the 80's to. Can't compare the past to today. Compare competitors with competitors and there ya go.
Posted: July 27, 2015 at 8:44 PM
Photo of Cricelia F.
Cricelia F.
I have noticed that many people tun to these sites in the hopes of saving money, but yet they want the housekeeper to take over the position of multiple people such as chauffeur, nanny, personal assistant, chef, maid and housekeeper. etc. It would be nice if certain people understand you have to pay the price for what you want. Thanks.
Posted: June 27, 2015 at 12:27 PM
Photo of Erma M.
Erma M.
When I started cleaning houses back in the late 1980s, the going price was $10 an hour and I did deep cleaning as I rotated one special item such as the stove, fridge per week and this was in a smaller town. The houses need baseboards, ceiling fans, sheets changed etc...if you want quality work it is only fair to 20 - 25 dollars an hour. There is so much you can do in an hour. This is in answer to the lady that wants to raise her rates. I won't do it for less than 20 in the metro area, traffic, gas, and its hard labor with no benefits...
Posted: June 13, 2015 at 10:38 PM
Photo of Ana S.
Ana S.
we all the have the option to hire any type of cleaner lady either is from a company or independent contractor also experienced or not as a cleaner we all have the right to put price to our work, you will decide if u keep having our services none has the right to criticize or judge our rates because we all now how value is our work , hope you all find the right person and be thankful this is the job we decide to do and as other jobs is an honest job and that is what we do so please respect!! because at the end we do what some people don't want to do .
Posted: June 10, 2015 at 8:34 PM
Photo of Barbara B.
Barbara B.
Hi I have been cleaning homes for over 25 years.I started at the age of 11.I am 48 now .I am very good at what I do and I have no complaints from noone.I am getting paid 16 dollars an hour but I want to raise the pay to 25 or 30 an hour because of my work experience. How should I go about doing this.This is how I support my family.
Posted: June 01, 2015 at 7:29 PM
Photo of Susan G.
Susan G.
Hi, I medically retired due to a wiped out back. I posted an ad for a house cleaner to come 1 - 2 times a month. I have a 2,300 sq ft house, 3 bathrooms that need to be fully cleaned, entire house vacuumed, kitchen floors & counters cleaned, light dusting, & finer prints removed from walls & sliding glass doors. I was honest that I can't afford top dollar, but I'm completely flexible on days & times, & I'm perfectly ok with the housecleaner's child(ren) coming along, as long as they are old enough to be entertained by TV or whatever electronic device they may have. I know how expensive child care is, & with summer coming, I'm hoping for a break on cost in exchange for flexibility & allowing their kids to come along. Just wondering if that would appeal to you, & what price I should expect? I live in Silicon Valley in CA where all the money is made, but I list 2/3 of my salary, so I define try dint have it! Just wondering your opinions on this type of offer, thanks!
Posted: May 27, 2015 at 7:36 PM
Barbara S.
Carol R. That woman was C H E A P. You and your hard work would never, ever be appreciated. She does not want a professional, but a slave. And she would probably continually be adding on things she wants done, but not pay extra. There are many fine homes in the Charlotte area AND businesses where you would be valued and paid. For that size house you were under-charging.
Posted: May 19, 2015 at 11:46 PM
Barbara S.
D.W. When I became disabled I had to get on Medicaid. No help and not mobile! So I called VNS (Visiting Nurse Services) and they came and got me every service I needed. Medicaid sent their supervisor who came with their contractor (Board of Health nurse) who then approved VNS services AND homecare (cleaning thru a local agency) as well. Physical Therapy, social worker (depression), weekly nurse, 7 specialists in all. DAILY, except weekends, all paid for by Medicaid. Until the Lord touched (healed) me and I cancelled it all (Joyfully). Something for you to consider.
Posted: May 19, 2015 at 11:05 PM
Shawna P.
just because people think they can clean, does not mean they really know how to clean. I have worked with several individuals that have had many years of cleaning experience and still did not meet my standard of professional cleaning. If cleaners want to charge top dollar ($20.00 + an hour) then please do the home owner a favor and learn how to clean correctly. It is my business to train individuals to become professionals in this industry and it really upsets me when someone with only 2yrs experience wants to charge $15-$20 hourly. Charge what you are worth, or get certified so that you can make the top paying wages you seem to think you deserve.
Posted: May 16, 2015 at 11:17 AM
Judith....all I can say is YIKES!! I can't imagine cleaning that many rooms! Take care of yourself. You only have one body, and when it starts hurting that's when you slow down.

Posted: May 13, 2015 at 5:44 PM
Judith L.
Margie,I worked as a housekeeper for 25 years in a very beautiful 21 room mansion.Then the home was sold and I found another full time housekeeping job.What a shock.They told me it was a 6 hr.a day job,but I never got out in 6 hrs.All summer they left their 7and 9 year old boys with me,saying they didn't need a babysitter(so therefore I wasn't babysitting).They continually added jobs into my schedule so it delayed my regular cleaning(like "just cook this brisket"),and I was doing at least 6 loads of laundry a day.Their sheets had to be ironed and they never used a towel twice.There are just some people who will treat you badly and have no concept of how long it takes to clean their dirty house.Do not doubt your ablilities or your speed.If they can convince you that you are slow and not very good at your job,then they can pay you less.These are the people who are always complaining that they can't keep help!Find nice people to work for!They also need their houses cleaned.
Posted: May 11, 2015 at 7:02 PM
I started cleaning last year using all natural cleaning products and I charge $75 flat for 2 or 3 bedroom and $50 for 1 bedroom and for larger homes I charge $25 more per bedroom. I clean vacation rentals and in peoples homes that are regular clients. I prefer vacation rentals.. no pets etc but I am grateful for the work I have and the families I help. I will do laundry while there what I can get to but I do not stay just to finish laundry if I am done with cleaning. I was a counselor/social worker for 20 years and worked with the public in many forms and know that it is about how you treat people as well as doing a good job. My clients have become good friends and recommend me. I never had to advertise after the first client. Best of luck to you and don't settle for less than you are worth. Cleaning is hard work...
Posted: April 16, 2015 at 3:05 PM

Don't know if you have a large house like the surgeon in your neighborhood, but I hope you are young! You did not mention if he has a family which makes a difference, or only him. I just turned 55 on April 10th, and I know I'm slowing down. Not because of cleaning homes, but what I do when I'm not cleaning homes. I have gardened and landscaped all my life, and I have been typing (writing novels) all my life. Those activities wears the ol' body out. So if you think you can get his 6000 square foot house done along with some laundry, do it. If you land the job, ask if you can split his house between 2 days, like I have been able to do with my biggest and busiest house.

About how much to charge: I don't know what state you live in, but if you're working for a surgeon living in a 6000 sq ft home, I would go with a minimum of $30 an hour, and do not bust your butt at going super fast. That is a lot of repetitive motion for the shoulders and believe me, bursitis will kick in. You only have ONE body. Take care of it.

Best Wishes on getting the job,
Posted: April 13, 2015 at 5:05 PM

First I want to say how sorry I am that life has taken its toll on you and for having MS. Not nice.
I also cleaned homes back in the 80's when I was in my early 20's for five years. I think I made about $5 an hour. But to see EVERYTHING that you did for 6 hours and only for $40...I'd say that was being underpaid--even for the 80's. I've been cleaning homes again for almost three years, and my minimum is $25, and $30 an hour as an average. One large house I used to clean in the 80's had burnt orange colored carpet throughout the whole house with 3 German Shepherd dogs. Now that was a lot of hair to vacuum up with a ShopVac! I was probably there about 6 hours. She would write me out a check for $30 every other week. Boy, hasn't times changed...
Posted: April 11, 2015 at 12:26 AM
Hello all! Please help! I will be starting to clean a very well known surgeons home in my neighborhood. He owns a 6000sq ft home. 5 bedroom 3 full bathroom. I know there is a debate on flat rate vs hourly, but what would be an OK rate to request? I am very efficient and move quickly. He also mentioned wanting laundry done And letting his dog out since I'll be there. Please, someone who has experience please respond!! Thank you!
Posted: April 10, 2015 at 11:09 PM
D W.
As I sit here reading all of these articles trying to figure out what I am in for as I look for a new housecleaner, I can't but sit back and smile. I cleaned houses in the 1980's. I was a single parent and was working my way through college in my 30's. I had a few steady homes over the years. They were large homes that had been built over 100 years ago (at that time) for top executives of a large company. I don't quite know the square footage but trust me when I tell you they were large, elegant and had carved woodwork throughout. I put my daughter on the bus at 7:45 and I caught the bus to get there by 8:30. My start time was 8:45 so I always had 15 minutes to sip a cup of tea to warm up or drink ice water to cool down. For the next 6 straight hours I cleaned. First took a laundry basket around the house and anything that was out of place - went in. I started in the kitchen. Wiped down cupboards, appliances, empty and fill dishwasher, wiped down counters and washed everything on them. Scrubbed (hands & knees) and waxed the floor. Every other month I traded the counter deep clean for the fridge. Then I cleaned the family room which was dust furniture, wipe down windows, scrub and wax the tile floor. Clean the half bath and then off to the dining/living room. Damp washed all the woodwork and then Jubilee waxed all the furniture. I was very happy though as they had an internal vacuuming system so I didn't have anything to lug around. Then it was time to hit the stairs and the upper floor. Up there was the bathroom and another TV sitting room. I was grateful I didn't have anything to do with the bedrooms. For all that I was done by 2:45 and was home in time to get my daughter's bus. They left an envelope on their kitchen tables for me with 2 crisp $20.00 bills. I thought I had the best job in the world! I saw my work as I went. It gave me a feeling of accomplishment to turn around and know it was a job well done. In all my years, with all my homes, I never received one complaint or bad word. I was tipped generously on my birthday, the anniversary date I started with them and at Christmastime.
LOL Now I see that times have changed. I'm not sure I would charge someone $50.00 an hour to clean their home though, nor would I pay it. I never went to trade school to learn the trade, I just watched Granny. I guess at your prices here you are way out of my league. After years of work, school and work I ended up on full disability with limited income and limited physical ability to do it on my own. I guess I have to face the fasct thatbit is just time to hire a young girl and teach her the ropes. Give her a trade to help her in the future to maybe work her way through college.
Thanks for nthe eye opener.
Posted: April 09, 2015 at 8:45 PM
D W.
As I sit here in 2015 reading all your comments I sit back and smile. I was a house cleaner back in the 1980's. I don't know what the square footage of the 2 homes were but they had been built by CEO executives to a very large company in my city. I took a laundry basket and walked the downstairs and anything out of place went into it. I then vacuumed and dusted up and down (which included all woodwork - and the whole downstairs was wood.) C.leaned lower bath, scrubbed and waxed the sunroom tiled floor and kitchen. Emptied and filled dishwasher, cleaned refrigerator, wiped down outside of cupboards and sometimes started dinner in crock pot. LOL And back then I took a bus, carried most of my supplies. I got there at 9:00 am and left at 3:00. I worked right through and never took a break. At the end of my shifts when I left there was an envelope waiting for me. Inside (wait for it....) There were 2 $20.00 bills! I had 2 houses like that on the same block, plus a couple more. My Mom was also a real estate agent and I would go and scrub out homes that were left like pig pens by old owners. I cleaned for years as a sin Now I am 57, disabled with MS, desperately need help and couldn't afford to have anybody come in to even give me an estimate.
Posted: April 09, 2015 at 10:08 AM
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