Price By The Hour or Job for House Cleaning?

Hi there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask
a House Cleaner. This is the show where you get to ask a house
cleaning question and I get to help you find an answer. Today’s question comes from a brand-spanking-new
house cleaner who is going to start her own business. And she wants to know “What am I supposed
to charge customers for house cleaning? I have no idea what the going rate is. I have no idea what I’m supposed to charge. Wow. That is a that is an exciting question because
every house cleaner at some point has asked that question. So, what you need to know, and this is based
on Home Advisor and Angie’s List which are two national websites that do house cleaning
referrals across the country. And this is the country of the United States. In the United States, the going rate for house
cleaning is anywhere from $25 to $45 per hour. There’s a range in between you could say the
average is $35 an hour and that would be a fair price just about anywhere. There are some way tiny remote places out
in the country the charge a little bit less. There are places in New York City and probably
Boston and some other really highly populated areas where might be a little bit more. But the going rate across the country is about
$25 to $45 per hour. Now there are two ways you can bid a job. The first way is you can bid by the hour and
you can just charge a flat rate. “I charge $30 per hour or $25 per hour.” The second way you can charge by the job. And it depends on the way your business is
setup which will determine which way you choose. If you’re just getting started in the house
cleaning business and you’re brand spanking new and you don’t have a business plan setup,
and you’re just getting started, my recommendation is this; make it easy on yourself. Don’t get hung up on, “what is the square
footage of the home?” And “what is going to be involved?” And how… you don’t know how to bid a house
you don’t know how long it’s going to take to clean. You don’t know what is involved as far as
the chemicals and the cleaning supplies and all of the things that you’re going to have
to bring and provide, in order to offset those expenses. So, having said that. Don’t charge by the job when you’re getting
started. It’s super complicated for somebody who has
no idea what they’re doing. If you’re brand-spanking’-new to the business,
(I love this,) just charge by the hour. Now, you don’t have the credentials because
you have not done this as a business. You don’t have a big list of happy customers. Okay? So, you don’t have the credentials of the
referral system behind you. You probably don’t have a certification of
where you’ve been through house cleaning training. So, if you’re just kind of winging it, and
you’re going to figure it out as you go, my recommendation is that you don’t charge top dollar. If you screw up something people are going
to be really quick to fire you. And say “I’m paying top-dollar and you’re
just kind of screwing around figuring things out.” So, don’t do that. I don’t want to encourage you to lowball your
prices because I’m a very big advocate that has house cleaners we get what we are worth. Having said that though if you’re just getting
started here’s an easy way to get started; charge $25 per hour. And I know that’s right at the very bottom
of the rung, but here’s what that is; this is an easy math problem. So, the easy math is I only have 4 hours to
clean your house. So however big or however small your house is, I only have four hours.” So if I can clean your house in 2 hours it
will be $50 dollars. If I can clean your house in 4 hours it will be $100 dollars. And you can do the math and so can the client
so that’s super easy. When you get to a customer’s house and the
customer says “Well, I have a hoarding problem and I have all of these things that I have
collected over the years how long will it take you to do that?” Please do not try to bid by the job. You have no idea what you’re doing, and you
have no idea how long it’s going to take. So, bid by the hour and say “Listen I only
have 4 hours, let’s see how far we can come in 4 hours that will cost you $100.” Now, as you’re getting started, what this
is going to do for you is it’s going to fill a time slot. They call it low-balling the price. And the reason I recommend this is because
you don’t have a system in place. You don’t have cleaning systems in place that
will tell you how quickly and how fast. The more you do this the more proficient you
will become. You’ll walk into a house and you will look
around and will say “This will take me 2.5 hours and it’s going to cost x amount of dollars.” And you’ll get that good at it. But right now, in the beginning, $25 an hour. And then you can figure it out as you go you
have a chance to create some systems. And to figure out how fast and how efficient
you are. What cleaning supplies you’re going to need,
and it gives you a little bit of wiggle room. Right? Because the customer is not taking the biggest
bet on you at $50 an hour. If it takes her twice as long at least that’s
the $50 bucks. So, they’ll say “Well, I’ll give this
girl a chance. If it takes her twice as long at least that’s
the $50 bucks.” Right? So, they will give you a little bit more leeway. The second thing is once you fill up your
schedule there will be people that drop off. That’s just the natural progression of this
business. As people drop off if you decide that you’re
worth more, and you want to charge more, you can certainly raise your prices. But keep your beginning clients at $25 so
the people that you hire you in the very beginning when you’re just getting started, that you’ve
got them locked in at that rate. This is the only profession I know where you
can jump in, This is not anything that you should laugh
about. This is the only profession I know where you
can jump in, where you don’t need a college degree. You don’t need four years of training, and
you can walk in the first day on the job and say “I get $25 an hour.” Right? That’s a pretty good income for somebody just
starting out on any job. On any job that’s pretty good money. If you work 8 hours a day at $25 an hour you
just made $200 in your pocket. If you do that five days a week, you just
made $1,000 in one week in your pocket. Right? So my point is that you can earn some pretty
good money just starting out even if you start at the bottom of the rung. And as you start out at the bottom of the
rung and you work your way up you’re going to become quicker at what you do. And your processes will change. And you may switch altogether from bidding
by the hour to bidding by the job. But at the $25 an hour there’s another element
here that’s really important. Because the math is simple, the math is also
simple for the people that you work for. So they can turn around to their friends and
say; “Listen, I just got this really great house cleaner and he only charges $25 an hour.” And the person that they’re speaking to thinks
in their head “Well, wait a second. I’m paying my current housecleaner $35 an
hour and they’re not very good. I should give your guy a try.” And immediately you’re going to pick up some
referral business from friends and neighbors of the people that you work for. So very quickly, your schedule will become
full. One of the biggest problems that I see and
this again goes back to social media. There are house cleaners that will jump on
the internet and say; “Well, I’m worth $50 an hour I’m going to charge $50 an hour.” Okay. That’s fine but how do you justify that price? If you’re just new and you don’t have the
systems in place, and you’re not efficient, and you don’t have the credentials, and all
of these things, you’re going to get fired very quickly. And then instead of having some money coming
in, you have no money coming in. And now you have to go out and spend money
to advertise to get new customers. Because you have this attitude that’s a little
bit on the arrogant side; “Oh, I’m worth so much more money.” If you don’t have anything to back it up,
guess what? You’re not worth that much more money! You have to be able to back it up. And so stay humble in the beginning. Charge a lower price, completely fill up your
calendar. And in the event, that you have customers
that drop off. And you’re going to get new customers, and
I’m talking six months down the road and you want to raise your prices, you can do that
at that time. Right? Because now you can justify that price. Alright, so until I see you again, figuring things
out.” if I can clean your house in 4 hours it will be $100. where you don’t need a college degree. leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.

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