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Things to Consider When Pricing House Cleaning

We have a lot of new house cleaning business owners ask how they should price their services. Too many tend to price low in order to get the job. Below is how one business owner prices her house cleaning services. In many areas these prices may seem high, but she's able to get it. She's also able to explain why the prices are what they are...

I have a little chart that I made up to help me with bidding on jobs and I came up with a simple price between square feet (not based on square ft. per hour) It's like this:

  • 1000 - 1500 is $100.00
  • 1501 - 2000 is $120.00
  • 2001 - 2500 is $140.00
  • 2501 - 3000 is $160.00
  • 3001 - 3500 is $180.00
  • 3501 - 4000 is $225.00
  • 4001 - 4500 is $250.00.

These prices are per visit and believe it or not, the people actually pay it. They know that they are paying for the "slot". If they want it cheaper, then we knock off some rooms. If they want a detail first, I add about $150.00 to those numbers.

When they question my pricing, I tell them that I do NOT charge by the hour, I charge by the job and what they are paying for is a great cleaning and great protection. I pay for insurance and bonding and advertising and all taxes, etc.  Also, I have several employees that I have to pay at least 44 1/2 cents per mile to drive to each customer's house, so I tack that on as well. I also tell them that my prices are above the little ladies who take cash and cannot afford to buy them new carpet if they spill a bucket of bleach and I'm below the national franchises. That usually satisfies them.

I used to charge $80.00 for large houses and discovered that I was way behind when it was time to renew my insurance policy and pay my self-employment taxes. Another thing I did was use my Excel program and made a chart showing all my customers, how much I charge them, subtracted employee wages, taxes, self employment taxes, FUTA taxes, etc. That was an eye opener for me. After figuring all that information, then subtracting my business and personal bills per month, I found that I was not making ANY money at all. That let me see how much I needed to charge in order to take care of my monthly bills and make some profit.

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Comments

Milton Legendre

One of the subjects I also discuss is limitations. My parents had local people that would clean their house, and the cleaners would bring their siblings sick children with them to help out their siblings. Also, sometimes they would bring guest that were in from out of town. Having the service provided by a reputable business limits the unknown guest in the house.

tonya

I wonder what type of reaction the customer has when you give them the break down on the job. Do you give this to all customers? I would like to do something alon these lines . Customers seem to think you are out to rip them off sometimes when you give them their price.

Dee

Our pricing is in line with your pricing, however, we must have an hourly rate to keep clients who want to "add" tasks even though they are on a Service Agreement. Our document states what we will do, etc., but there are still clients who try to add tasks without paying. How do you handle this type of client without an hourly rate?

Jean

Tonya wrote: "I wonder what type of reaction the customer has when you give them the break down on the job."

Tonya, she doesn't break this info down for the customer. Rather, she did it for herself so she knew exactly where the money was going so she could see how much she needed to charge in order to make a profit.

Dee - what you are doing as far as charging an hourly rate for the "extras" is exactly what you should do. You only talk about hourly rates when it comes to added services that they want done (unless it's something like carpet cleaning or window washing).

Jean

debbie urman

I am wondering what area of the country are you in? I am outside and west of Chicago and I have a hard time getting 80-90 per home. Any suggestions? Thank you

Dee

Debbie, we are in Central Florida. When we first started cleaning we had the same problem ... getting the price we felt we were worth. About 8 months after our start-up we started approaching our in-home quotes as detailed information sessions, taking about 1.5 hours to get to know the clients and let them know we knew our business. We provided them with cleaning tips, an information sheet, and a Service Agreement which gets signed on the spot. We are now being paid what we are worth. You need to remember that not everyone is your client. Also remember you are not on sale, so don't clean for consumers who try to tell you what they want to pay. You need to cover your insurance, bond, supplies, employees, etc. and gas is fast becoming another factor. When we feel a client truly needs some budgetary consideration we work with them and cut down the clean and offer them a bathroom/kitchen/floors combo price or whatever help they need. This way they get help, we get our price, and everyone is happy. Hope this helps you. It takes a little practice getting your price, but if you are a service provider who loves what you are doing and you do it well, the clients who are willing to pay you what you are worth will start coming quickly. Good luck!

Deborah

I just wanted to thank you for this information. It's soooo helpful. I've just started my own cleaning business and it's a challenge for me at times, though I know it's worth what I'm charging, to charge rightly.

Jean Hanson

Deborah,
Glad this discussion was helpful to you. Pricing services is something you need to practice and play around with until you get your own system down. You might want to sign up for our new newsletter for residential house cleaners at http://www.myhousecleaningbiz.com

Char

The information you've provided is great!! Based on the price list how frequently are the customers getting there house cleaned?

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