Wow! $20 for specialized cleaning is crazy. I charged $35-$70 an hour for just regular cleaning. While I'd never worry about a rating, I think the last complaint we had was maybe in 2009 so I'd figure that would have transferred to good ratings. And the last complaint before that was.... who knows. I know a lady that used to do specialized cleaning 10 years ago for an hourly rate of $100 per hour. She got tired of it but she never had a hard time finding work. She sold her company and it is still in business.
Yes, I can see how it sounds bananas. However, I never had much overhead being a solo owner/operator being that I had no office or super huge expenses to cover. Also, I'd scaled my service area down to no more than 15 miles from my homebase to keep my gas expenses low as well for maintenance (weekly/biweekly) cleaning jobs which made my commute never more than a 30 minute drive in bad traffic. This area still included about 10 cities/townships I had the opportunity to serve.
There is a local strictly residential cleaning company that I surfed big jobs I couldn't do and they run several cleaning teams. They have a home-based office and they charge $25/hr per person. On occasion they will run specials for $20/hr. Their hourly pay for their personnel runs between $8-$12/hr from entry level to leads. The higher franchised hourly companies in this area (Metro Detroit) tend to charge about $30-$40 pp/per hour. On a regional/national basis, I know cleaning rates vary wildly. For my local area, I don't think I am super high and or super low. Trunk slammers I am aware of are charging $10/hr. When I worked for commercial cleaning companies, they were paying $8.50-$10/hr, so their responsibilities on the backend I am estimating would be triple or quadruple. A girl I know who worked for another residential cleaning company knew her boss was charging clients $25/pp per hour and she was getting paid $9/hr. This particular owner also had a homebased business and kept a storage unit where her workers would collect their supplies and hustle it to their client's homes. Based on those wages/charges, and other research, I don't think I am too far off for the area. I've even had some cheapos of the professional top-earner persuasion tell me I was too high.
If I were a faster house cleaner I would've probably cleared $25/hr, but there's no way I will blow through a house, lose the detail, & kill myself doing it. It was what I was/am known for (am phasing out of house cleaning at the moment to focus on micro/SMB digital marketing thus all the past tense). Power to those who manage to meet the perfection trifecta of hustle/detail/stupendously high hourly rate for **residential cleaning**. My own personal hustle time tops out at 225 s/f per hour and no more (for biweekly maintenance cleans, but I more run at the 200 s/f hr average as previously stated). I gave clients a couple of different options for deep/initial cleaning of areas.
My focus on detail stems from having heard so much negative feedback from my clients about inconsistent and 'wipe-and-go' house cleaners. Plus, I'd worked alongside people as an employee who absolutely sucked and didn't care so I know how that goes on the front end. Just because they've sprayed and wiped it, they THINK they've cleaned it. That's why I meted my limit to homes up to 1,500 s/f or priority task list cleaning by the hour as the alternative (with an hourly minimum & clients set the hours from there). I loved providing personalized, detailed service, & that's what set/s me apart. Residential cleaning, to me, is both a science AND an art. Moreover, I got to work for myself, set my schedule as I wanted it, and not take home near minimum wage after taxes either. Plus, people appreciated me monetarily tip-wise and were often giving me free/nice stuff. If I had the time and energy I probably could have ran an Ebay store on the side.
Maintaining my 5 star review status on Yelp was an integral part of how I got new clients, so 1 bad review would've been a huge issue with me personally. My best clients were sourced from there and no less than 5 stars would be a blow to my cleaning ego.
I am currently still trying to get them to take the profile down because I keep getting calls for service.