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Hourly or by the job doesn't really matter. You just need to know your market and be competitive. Clients are just looking at the overall cost. Doesn't matter to them how you charge, only what you charge.
I do agree 'cause I learned that some people will pay 115 for a 3/2 (3 bed 2 bath) and some wont but will pay 105 for their 3/2 cause to them 115 is way too much....
 

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I clean for a resort that rents cabins and they pay me hourly, and low at that lol. One of the rentals was recently broken into, robbed, and vandalized. These cabins are owned by people who rent through the resort on a money split. Anyway, we have to go clean up the mess that I'm sure his homeowner's insurance is paying well for the clean-up. So, my first question is this. Our we entitled to get paid what the insurance company is allowing or because we are employees of the resort, we only get our small hourly pay? Second question: The resort owner, our boss, says there is no personal, physical danger for us in cleaning up the fire extinguisher mess. (The thief thought is was funny, I guess, to spray a whole one out everywhere before leaving). I read that the chemicals can be corrosive when water is added. He says, only if it sat in water a long time, then it might be corrosive. Comments, please.
 

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I have been cleaning for a little over 2 years on my own as an owner/operator. I have established myself as a 5 star Yelp company with several reviews and other testimonials which I post on my website and are all legit. I started out with providing recurring service, but moved to niche 1x type on-call cleanings (since seeing the same house on the same day every week was something I found bored me to tears after awhile). I only do 2 homes regularly on a flexible biweekly basis because I really like these clients. I switched to on-call service as well to allow me to have a flex schedule with my young son. It was also hard doing recurring service if he got sick or I had an appt. I do not like inconveniencing clients without back up. Anyway, I am a 'slow' cleaner and boggled how some cleaners can finish a home over 2000 s/f in 3-4 hours. I am amazed. I am known asa detailed, make-it-look-a-magazine, leave it way better than you found it cleaner. I wish I could be faster though. My average (recurring service #'s) boil down to 175 s/f if I am feeling sick to 200 s/f per hour normally. This is why I will only do homes up to 1500 s/f above basement level. I figured my flat recurring rates to boil down to .08 cents a s/f biweekly on average and up to .10 a s/f for more messy clients after an an initial clean (charged at 2-2.5x the established recurring rate). I charge flat rate or hourly depending on needs. Hourly is $20 an hour to do priority task list cleaning. I have a 4-5 hr minimum depending on the location. This includes equipment & all supplies. I will work up to 10-12 hrs maxin 1 day depending on what they want/need/budget for. My normal on-call service at flat rate is priced much higher by the square foot (.20 - .30+). Basically stand or deep 1x cleans, move/in out or vacant home sale prep service. Plus I do organizing, home staging, and pre-hoarder help. I get most of my clients from Yelp (best ones hands down), I detail every aspect of my service on my website), and I don't deal with PIA clients. I get conveniently 'booked' and/or surf them out to other services I network with who will take anybody. I can easily tell now who those PIA are based on their webform replies. I don't do onsite estimates, but have clients fill out a 40+ question webform or do a quick overview over the phone & give them a quote range. I usually require a 50% deposit from them to secure the appt. Doing 1x on-call service it's best for me to do so as it keeps the client committed and from past experience dealing with last minute cancellations. I would like to expand and have teams do recurring service requests for me and am looking into programs like successmaideasy to help me accelerate time/speed/hire quality employees. I detail what I will provide in my cleaning packages. Some people have some idea of what cleaning companies SHOULD be providing and it's up to you to spell it out for them and/or provide them with your list on the day of service so their are no miscommunications of assumption. If it's not in writing, you invite problems. If they don't care to read or do their own due diligence that's their fault & you're covered. Though I do remain flexible in customizing/providing special requests.
 

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charge per job

hi. i had a hard time moving away from the hourly rate to charging per job, but am glad that i did. independent cleaners who are on the field cleaning may benefit from hourly but there are a few reason why charing hourly for a team based service was like shooting myself in the foot.
1. you typically become more efficient in one house over time and spend less time there - it is no good for the rate to drop because of that.
2. when sending a crew, each cleaner works a differing paces - why should they may more for the new girl and less for your best (and probably highest paid) cleaner?
3. people still want an estimates and i find it hard to judge, even after touring the house, how long it will take. even if you are good at judging, it is easier for potential clients to talk you down convincing you that they do it in xx hours. when each item has a set price they are less likely to haggle.
 

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so true. when starting up, i dreamed of getting clients in the huge houses around my neighborhood but eventually learned that is NOT our target market at all. the humble, hard working families not only tend to accept the rate, they are also more likely to grant us all-day access (rather then "oh i forgot you were coming, can you return next week") - which means less schedule juggling/less admin. work, etc. AND they are less particular!!
 

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We charge per hour/per person for the initial cleaning.
The same with the 2nd...the price it takes us the 2nd cleaning then becomes the amount we charge for every cleaning from that day forward.
 

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19 years of trial and error. :)
I started with bidding accounts and not charging X-tra for the initial.
When it occurred to me there was something wrong with that picture (a few cancels after an excellent initial with the additional time not paid) I bid them at time and a half.
Being an over the top perfectionist and having still not quite getting paid for it, I decided to do initials by the hour.
By the 2nd cleaning, we have a pretty good routine set up and because it's just myself and my sister, (yes, 10 years with my sister~what WAS I THINKING?) :) the GUESS-timate I give PRIOR to the initial, USually works for us as well as the customer.
 

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I charge by the house. I have found that after the first few times I clean a house it takes me way less time so I was getting screwed when charging by the hour. I do not do any special projects at this rate just a basic house clean I open no door (ie closets, refrigerator, oven) on these cleans I will set up another day to clean these things with the client. It has worked really well I have had the same clients regularly for 3 years now and they all love me.
 

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Luna~
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.

I have been cleaning for a little over 2 years on my own as an owner/operator. I have established myself as a 5 star Yelp company with several reviews and other testimonials which I post on my website and are all legit. I started out with providing recurring service, but moved to niche 1x type on-call cleanings (since seeing the same house on the same day every week was something I found bored me to tears after awhile). I only do 2 homes regularly on a flexible biweekly basis because I really like these clients. I switched to on-call service as well to allow me to have a flex schedule with my young son. It was also hard doing recurring service if he got sick or I had an appt. I do not like inconveniencing clients without back up. Anyway, I am a 'slow' cleaner and boggled how some cleaners can finish a home over 2000 s/f in 3-4 hours. I am amazed. I am known asa detailed, make-it-look-a-magazine, leave it way better than you found it cleaner. I wish I could be faster though. My average (recurring service #'s) boil down to 175 s/f if I am feeling sick to 200 s/f per hour normally. This is why I will only do homes up to 1500 s/f above basement level. I figured my flat recurring rates to boil down to .08 cents a s/f biweekly on average and up to .10 a s/f for more messy clients after an an initial clean (charged at 2-2.5x the established recurring rate). I charge flat rate or hourly depending on needs. Hourly is $20 an hour to do priority task list cleaning. I have a 4-5 hr minimum depending on the location. This includes equipment & all supplies. I will work up to 10-12 hrs maxin 1 day depending on what they want/need/budget for. My normal on-call service at flat rate is priced much higher by the square foot (.20 - .30+). Basically stand or deep 1x cleans, move/in out or vacant home sale prep service. Plus I do organizing, home staging, and pre-hoarder help. I get most of my clients from Yelp (best ones hands down), I detail every aspect of my service on my website), and I don't deal with PIA clients. I get conveniently 'booked' and/or surf them out to other services I network with who will take anybody. I can easily tell now who those PIA are based on their webform replies. I don't do onsite estimates, but have clients fill out a 40+ question webform or do a quick overview over the phone & give them a quote range. I usually require a 50% deposit from them to secure the appt. Doing 1x on-call service it's best for me to do so as it keeps the client committed and from past experience dealing with last minute cancellations. I would like to expand and have teams do recurring service requests for me and am looking into programs like successmaideasy to help me accelerate time/speed/hire quality employees. I detail what I will provide in my cleaning packages. Some people have some idea of what cleaning companies SHOULD be providing and it's up to you to spell it out for them and/or provide them with your list on the day of service so their are no miscommunications of assumption. If it's not in writing, you invite problems. If they don't care to read or do their own due diligence that's their fault & you're covered. Though I do remain flexible in customizing/providing special requests.
 

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Little overhead

Luna~
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. :D

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. :D I am currently still trying to get them to take the profile down because I keep getting calls for service.
 

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Luna~
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.
Newbie business starter guy here - what exactly do you consider "specialized" cleaning projects?

Based on your posts it seems something I need to be concerned with when getting bids.

Thanks in advance!

- Michael
 

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I prefer to charge by the hour but as stated before some homeowners think wow, that is going to be expensive. the ones where i have charged by the job and guessing how long it may take me to clean usually ends up with me doing little extras and getting paid the same or it takes me more time than i figured and i am losing money. I have one really nice client that always tips me extra because she said I underestimated my time and she is right. I find charging by the hour is the best way to go if the client wants me to do something extra like put sheets in the dryer and make the beds or wipe down the miniblinds. One client leaves me a blank check to fill out when I am done. Now that is trust! One never knows how dirty a home will be each time. I have a client that leaves trash and clothes all over the floor. I have to clean before I clean. Of course when i visited the home it was spotless. I also charge a bit more for once a month cleanings. But some people think that it will get easier and I can clean faster each time. that is so not true. Monthly cleanings always take me the same amount of time...sometimes more.
 

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My girls always had rules. We did't do little extras that are not on our (own) list. We didn't wash sheets... ever. Dusting of blinds was for the gold plan and it was scheduled and they paid more and didn't tell us when to do them. The things on a gold plan were always on a rotating basis; the customer didn't have to tell us when to do them. We also didn't do monthly cleanings. we did weekly, bi-weekly and every 4 weeks. Monthly and 3 weekers had to seek another home and we had some people that did find other cleaning companies because we wouldn't clean monthly or every 3 weeks. I wasn't mad... those types of cleanings fit the schedules of other companies. Just not ours.

No matter if a house is at it's dirtiest or it's cleanest, if you have a GOOD system the difference in time should only be 15 minutes +/-. If a company doesn't have a GOOD system, it could vary widely.
 
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