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How Much to Charge for Cleaning a House?

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House cleaners earn a range of payments that depend on the size of the house, how in demand a particular housekeeper is and the housekeeper's reputation. A cleaning business with a stellar local reputation, for example, can typically afford to charge much more than an entrepreneur just starting out. Before you determine what to charge, you must evaluate conditions in your local market.

Geographic Location

House cleaners must charge partially based on the cost of living where they live. If you live in a small town where your rent or mortgage is relatively low, you'll typically charge less than if you move to an expensive city such as New York and San Francisco. Perusing job listings on cleaning sites and calling local cleaning companies can give you an idea of the going rate. You can then price your services to be either slightly less or slightly more, depending on your experience and skill level.

House Size

A larger house takes longer to clean, so you should determine your charges based partially on house size. One way to do this is to set a standard hourly rate. Doing so ensures you're paid fairly for the time you spend. If your customers don't want to guess how long you'll take, though, you may want to base your pricing on a home's square footage or number of rooms. For example, a house with a large number of bathrooms will typically demand more time than one with lots of hallway space, so be sure to ask about the specific number and types of rooms a home has.

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Extent of Cleaning

A quick vacuuming coupled with folding laundry is a relatively undemanding workload. If you're cleaning up after a sick person, helping a family put their home back together after a storm or working on a home that hasn't been cleaned in years, though, you'll need to charge more. An hourly rate can help you avoid inspecting the home before you give a price quote, but you may also want to set standard rates for specific services. For example, dusting might be charged at one rate, while cleaning extremely soiled floors is charged at another.

Experience and Special Skill

Cleaning might not seem like a skilled pursuit, and many clients certainly won't treat you like a skilled professional, but as you gain experience and a strong reputation, you can charge more. If you develop a special skill -- such as a secret recipe for getting blood out of clothes or the ability to remove even the toughest wall stains -- you can charge more for your services.

About the Author

Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.

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