One area of house cleaning that tends to be complicated for many new house cleaners is reaching accurate cleaning estimates. Without knowing exactly how much to charge, you may lose money or not make enough profit.
Understanding how to arrive at accurate pricing saves you time – one of your most valuable resources in the cleaning business. Besides, knowing how to charge for house cleaning can positively impact your potential customers’ perception and make them choose your services.
House cleaning can be charged based on an hourly rate, flat rate or per room, and square foot. We’ll focus on the last option – charging house cleaning prices per square foot. If you can determine how big a room or space is, figure out how long it will take to clean it, and how much you plan on charging per hour, you can arrive at a fairly realistic cleaning bid.
Types of Cleaning
Whether you charge for house cleaning using flat rates, hourly rate, or square foot, the type of work required can significantly affect the time spent cleaning an area. Cleaning types include:
- Standard Cleaning: This is the basic cleaning services that include sweeping, dusting, mopping, vacuuming, and generally tidying up spaces and furniture.
- Deep Cleaning: This requires getting rid of grime and dirt on a deeper level with particular attention in areas such as bathrooms, kitchen, and bedrooms. Other hard-to-reach areas may also require deep cleaning. For example, stairs, refrigerators, and windows.
- Move-In/Out Cleaning: A move-in/out service requires performing a deep cleaning service in a home before moving in, or moving out furniture (walls, cabinet, and the likes) and cleaning spaces that have not been cleaned for a long time.
- After-Event Cleaning: This type of cleaning involves a complete cleanup at the end of an event. Usually, it includes taking out the trash, doing the dishes, and cleaning all living spaces. Essentially, it requires returning the home to how it was before the event or party.
It is important to understand the level of cleaning work required before giving out a cleaning bid.
Understanding How to Price Per Square Foot
To know how to calculate house cleaning prices per square foot, you need first to understand the basics. Square footage is simply the length of a space multiplied by its width.
To figure out how much cleaning work you can do means calculating how many feet you can clean per hour. The time it takes to clean an area is calculated by the total area divided by your productivity.
Here’s a simple way to put this:
- Square foot (area) = length x width
- Productivity = number of square feet you can clean per hour
- Time = square foot (area) divided by productivity
Typically, your productivity is the area you can clean per hour, and it generally falls into one of these categories:
- Low productivity (1500 – 2000 feet per hour)
- Moderate productivity (2000 – 3000 feet per hour)
- Medium productivity (3000 – 4000 feet per hour)
- High productivity (4000 and above)
Here’s is an example:
Suppose it takes you 2 hours to clean a 4000 square foot area, your productivity is 2000 feet per hour. But not all 4000 square foot areas will take the same amount of time. The type of cleaning that needs to be done in an area will determine how quickly the job gets done.
A 4000 square foot house with one bathroom and light cleaning is likely to take less time than another 4000 square foot area with two bathrooms and tile floors that require deep cleaning.
There two more factors to consider when calculating house cleaning prices per square foot. These are the frequency of cleaning and the rate you charge per hour.
In other words:
- Frequency = How many days in a week or weeks in a month service is provided
- Rate = How much your charge per hour
The national average cleaning cost per house is between $25 and $50. This price varies based on certain factors, including the house's location, size, and cleaning required.
To be competitive, a reduction in hourly rate is a good idea as cleaning frequency increases. For example, if you are bidding for a cleaning for a job that requires you to clean only once per week, it is okay to charge $25 per hour. But if you are expected to clean four days per week, you could charge around $16 to 18$ to increase your chances of winning the bid.
General Guidelines for Calculating Hourly Rate Per Cleaning Frequency
If you want concrete figures to work with, here are some guidelines. Remember that these numbers are not etched in stone. They will vary depending on where you live and the type of cleaning required. However, it is safer to start with these or work your actual figures using these guidelines to help you remain profitable while being competitive at the same time.
- Once per week = $25 per hour
- Two times per week = $20 to $22 per hour
- Three times per week = $18 to $19 per hour
- Four times per week = $16 to $18 per hour
- Five times per week = $14 to $16 per hour
A Simple Formula for Bidding
Here is a simple formula you can use to calculate a realistic cleaning bid price. Multiply the average number of hours (time) it will take you to clean an area by how much you charge per hour (rate), the number of times you are expected to clean (frequency), and the number of weeks in a month (4.3 weeks per month).
Your bidding formula is: Time x Rate x Frequency x 4.3
Here’s an example.
You want to bid for a house cleaning job. The home is 4000 square foot that requires standard cleaning four times weekly.
To bid this job, determine your productivity level. Remember that productivity = number of square feet you can clean per hour. Since you only expected to do a standard cleaning, this could easily be a high productivity job of 4000 per hour.
Therefore, 4000 divided by 4000 = 1. So it will take you about an hour to clean the area.
Next, you’ll charge about $18 since you will be cleaning four times weekly.
Using the formula Time x Rate x Frequency x 4.3, your bid is 1-hour x $18 x 4 times per week x 4.3 weeks. This is approximately $310.
While there is no one-size-fits-all formula for calculating house cleaning prices per square foot, you can give a fairly accurate estimate using the suggestions given here.
After a couple of cleaning jobs, you will know how to tweak your cleaning calculator for each unique home.