How to Estimate House Cleaning Jobs: A Pricing Guide for Small Businesses
Estimating a house cleaning job isn’t as simple as quoting whatever your competitors are charging. Each business has unique costs they should factor into their prices.
So, while there is no “one size fits all” answer for how to estimate house cleaning jobs, if you follow the seven easy steps below you should be able to come up with a profitable and reasonable hourly rate.
It might take a new cleaning business a few rounds to get comfortable with the estimating process. That said, it’s important to learn how to do it properly so you can earn a decent living wage.
Need a professional estimate template? FreshBooks’ online estimating software makes generating and sending estimates easy. Plus, you can quickly convert them into invoices when the job’s done.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- Visit the House
- Estimate Time
- Calculate Labor Costs
- Factor in Taxes
- Factor in Supplies
- Factor in Overhead
- Add Your Markup
1. Visit the House
First tip: don’t give estimates over the phone. You must see the house in question when estimating all private house cleaning jobs, according to Cleaning 4 Profit.
Why? You need to estimate how long it will take your company to clean the house, not how long the customer thinks it’ll take you. The customer may try to mislead you to try to get a lower bid. Or they simply don’t know how long a professional cleaning job takes.
In any case, you must visit the house before you provide an estimate in order to evaluate the task at hand. Otherwise, you’ll end up consistently paying yourself less than you deserve.
While you’re there, measure the space with a laser distance measurer to get an accurate idea of what you’re dealing with or ask the customer what the total square footage is. Or eyeball it, if you’re more experienced.
2. Estimate Time
Now that you’ve seen the house, it’s time to estimate how long you think the job will take. As a general rule, 1,000 square feet of house should take 1.5 hours to clean, according to Cleaning 4 Profit.
So a 3,000 square foot home should take three hours to clean, and so on.
Different types of jobs, like deep cleaning or vacant house cleaning, will obviously take more or less time. You might want to double or triple your rate for first-time cleanings, especially if the space has been neglected and needs some serious TLC.
Then you can charge your regular rate for subsequent cleanings, since you’ve gotten it back to normal.
Whatever the case, get in the habit of keeping a log of how long each type of job takes you so you can adjust your pricing accordingly.
3. Calculate Labor Costs
Calculate labor costs even if you’re the one doing the cleaning. This way, you always pay yourself. You need to establish an hourly rate.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that cleaners who service buildings and dwellings make $11.24 per hour on average. Of course, this number is higher in top-paying states like Hawaii, D.C., New York, Massachusetts and Nevada, where the average is between $18.41 and $14.16 per hour.
Now multiply the number of hours you estimated the job will take by the hourly rate to find labor costs.
- For example, a 3,000 square foot house that takes three hours to clean. You’re in Nevada, so you’re paying one cleaner the average hourly rate of $14.16.
- $14.16 x 3 = $42.48
4. Factor in Taxes
Payroll taxes are another consideration if you have a staff. Payroll taxes are officially called FICA taxes. You can estimate that payroll taxes will cost 18 percent of your labor cost, according to Cleaning 4 Profit.
- Taking the example above, your labor cost is $42.48
- $42.48 x 0.18 = $7.65 payroll cost
- $42.48 + $7.65 = $50.13 total hourly rate so far
5. Factor in Supplies
Supplies like cleaning products are obviously a typical expense in house cleaning jobs. You need to add about six percent to factor in supplies costs.
- $50.13 x 0.06 = $3
- $50.13 + $3 = $53.13 total hourly rate so far
6. Factor in Overhead
Overhead is any cost not specifically associated with the job at hand, such as office rent, marketing etc. You should add 50 percent to cover these costs.
- $53.13 x 0.50 = $26.57
- $53.13 + $26.57 = $79.70 total hourly rate so far
7. Add Your Markup
You want to make a profit on this job, so you need to add a markup. Add 33 percent on top of your cost. Of course, you can reduce this number if you really need the money, want to be competitive or especially want to land this client. But, remember not to undersell yourself.
- $79.70 x 0.33 = $26.30
- $79.70 + $26.30 = $103 final hourly rate
Now you have the hourly rate you’ll charge your client: $103 per hour.
If your state requires you to charge sales tax, add that on top in the estimate. Thankfully, in Nevada (our example state) service-based businesses don’t need to charge sales tax.
TaxJar has a simple sales tax calculator that estimates your tax rate by street address.
People also ask:
- What Is the Going Rate for House Cleaning?
- How Do You Price House Cleaning Jobs?
- How Much Should I Charge for Cleaning per Square Foot?
- How Much Should a Housekeeper Get Paid Hourly?
What Is the Going Rate for House Cleaning?
Here’s a cleaning services price list: the average cost of hire a cleaning service is $90 to $150 and the average national hourly rate is $25 to $90 per cleaner.
A single family home should cost $120 to $150 to clean, according to Home Advisor.
This number will depend on your home’s size and condition and frequency of service (weekly cleaning may be discounted, as opposed to monthly or bimonthly cleaning).
Clients are also charged fees for extended travel to the home and special services like cleaning an oven, high shelves or ceilings, fireplaces etc. Fees will vary based on the city or state, too.
How Do You Price House Cleaning Jobs?
You can price house cleaning jobs by the hour. The national average hourly rate is $25 to $90 per cleaner. Check your competitions’ prices and base your number off theirs.
Or use our step-by-step guide above to accurately calculate an hourly rate based on overhead costs, profit margin etc.
An easy solution is to use this free house cleaning cost calculator that finds average prices based on factors like frequency, cleaning type and pets.
How Much Should I Charge for Cleaning per Square Foot?
Typically, you can charge customers about $90 to clean a house that’s less than 1,000 square feet and $250 for a house that’s 3,000 square feet or more, according to Home Advisor.
Residential cleaning is usually charged by the hour. Office, janitorial and commercial cleaning is more frequently charged by the square foot—usually 5 to 55 cents per square foot. Usually larger offices get discounted per square foot rates.
- For example, a 20,000 square foot office in a major city is usually charged 5 to 10 cents per square foot. A 2,000 square foot office outside a major city is usually charged about 10 to 55 cents per square foot.
Services like carpet cleaning and cleaning microwaves or fridges are usually charged extra.
How Much Should a Housekeeper Get Paid Hourly?
A housekeeper should be paid minimum wage, at the very least. Here’s a list of 2018 minimum wages by state. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.
Housekeeper cleaners make an average of $11.84 hourly nationwide with a low of $8.52 and a high of $16.87.
The rate also depends on the industry. Housekeepers who work in dwellings make $11.24 per hour on average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hotel housekeepers make $10.68 per hour on average, according to Indeed.
California employs the most housekeepers, with a $13.88 per hour average.