A lot of house cleaners wonder how to charge for a hoarding job. What do you do when you get to a house and the client has tons of items strewn about and it’s in a state of chaos?
How do you bid a job like that? Well, it’s more complicated than that. A lot of times you might not be able to fix a house like this, and you’ll need other professional help.
Listen: How to Charge for a Hoarding Job
Watch: How to Charge for a Hoarding Job
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
How do You Charge for a Hoarding Job?
How do you charge for a hoarding job? One house cleaner had this question. “I have a new client today. He’s an artist and he wants me to clean his bathroom. It’s a simple bathroom with a bathtub, sink, and toilet.
But over the bathtub and tile, it’s heavy with mold and he is a hoarder. He has many pictures all over the house. His house wasn’t cleaned in over one year, it’s too dusty and I don’t know how I can deal with this client. What kind of contract do I need to provide?
He needs to clean his house only one time a month and laundry too. He lives alone. Can you help me make a contract or how much I can ask for a deep cleaning because I need to scrub everything. And in the kitchen, he doesn’t have much space. There are books and boxes everywhere. It’s too much stuff.”
Pricing a Hoarding Job is Tough
That’s a tough question. And how do you price a job like this? The first question is, should you be doing a job like this? So if you walk into a house and you’re bidding a job and you discover that there are a lot of things that need to be addressed. Then you might not be the right person for the job.
So how do you price it? And are you the right person for the job? So how do you charge for this job because the bathroom is full of mold? Now, is there mold in the bathtub, or is there mold all over it?
So if it’s all over the bathroom, that sounds like a mold remediation job. What that means is you have somebody come in that specializes in mold removal. But as regular house cleaners, you are able to get mold out of the bathtubs, but that’s about it. So if it’s spreading, then that’s a much, much bigger job that house cleaners are not equipped to deal with.
You Can’t Clean Until You Organize
One of the things mentioned was that there were boxes all over the kitchen. So it was going to be difficult to clean the kitchen because there was not very much space. If you’re doing the job, are you actually cleaning? Because it said it needed a deep clean and you were going to scrub the kitchen.
Well, you can’t scrub the kitchen until you can get to the kitchen. And so you might have to have a professional organizer come in and actually organize the home.
Therefore, are you a foreman of the job, and are you going to be bringing in a mold remediation specialist and a professional organizer? Now junk removal, and not saying his things are junk. But what there are companies that come in and they remove large items from homes that aren’t in use.
You Can Typically Remove Stuff in Hoarders’ Homes
And so, there’s a lot of stuff typically in hoarders’ homes that can be removed. Stuff that they’re never going to use that they don’t actually even want. But that requires a conversation from the homeowner.
The homeowner has to decide what they want to keep and why they’re keeping it. That’s where the professional organizer comes in. The junk removal comes in where they bring in a great big truck and they’re great big, strong people that will come in and they will cart this stuff away. They will make it go away forever to a landfill or however, it’s processed.
Are You Ready for This Job as a House Cleaner?
Then the next thing that we want to talk about, is this a job that you’re ready for? You’re asking about pricing, which suggests that you don’t have a good scope on how long it’s going to take.
Also mentioned was that he wants house cleaning once a month. Once a month for a hoarding house is not maintained clean. That is a deep clean, even in a clean house. That’s a deep clean every single time you show up. And you said there are layers of dust.
The layers of dust, even if you erase the layers of dust right now, it’s going to build back up by the time you come back next month. So it’s going to be an entire deep clean when you come back next month.
You Have to Address Several Areas in a Hoarding Job
So, what you need to do if this man is willing to make a change to his home, is to address several different areas of the home. This could mean removing the boxes, to removing the mold to making sure that you clean spaces out.
It was also said there are lots of pictures in the house and everything has dust on it. That’s several layers of clean, so you’re not bidding a one time clean for once a month. That could be three, four, or $500 depending on the size of the home. Depending on what’s in the home, depending on what you’re going to do to the home, and depending on what the result is expected.
You’re not going to be able to remove mold for that price, and you’re not going to be able to have a professional house cleaner come in for that price. Or have the junk removed at that price.
Create a Series of Cleans for a Hoarding Client
And so what is recommended is that you create a series of cleans where if you’re going to be the foreman of the project. You’re going to oversee the project, then what you have to do is you have to figure out little steps that they can do to help get the house in a clean maintained mode.
You’ll go in after one cleaning and you’ll have moved some stuff around and it won’t look like you’ve cleaned anything. And then he’s going to be disappointed and he’s going to want his money back and you will have wasted all this time.
Bid a Hoarding Job on a Long-Term Basis
So how do you bid on cleaning jobs with a hoarder? You bid on a long-term basis depending on what needs to be done and how long it’s going to take.
So maybe you can set up a three-month contract at least so that you can have a certain number or put it on a budget. Say, “We’ll come in every week for X amount of dollars so that we can do so much on this project until we get your home back to a safe standard of living.”
Because right now if there’s mold in the house that is not a safe standard of living. Mold is toxic and it will hurt his sinuses and it will make him sick and it will hurt his respiratory system. So it’s not healthy at all.
You Might Need to Enlist Professional Help
And so, to get the home back to a livable condition, it might need some professional help. Like a mold remediation specialist that’s going to come in and is going to erase all that mold and wipe everything down and gut the bathroom out.
They might even have to take the tiles out and all kinds of stuff. But it’s going to be a much bigger project than you going in to clean.
One of the secrets to housecleaning is to be able to go into a home and to look at a job and say, “I’m very sorry, this is out of my league.” And there are times you have to do that. You have to say, “I don’t have the training and I don’t have the skills for me to do justice to your home. So I love the fact that you’re willing to change and upgrade your lifestyle. I’m not the right person to help you.”
And then sometimes you have to walk away from a job. It’s not in your league. You don’t have the skills or you don’t know what is needed or it’s going to take you far more time to do that one project than you have to give on any particular project.
It’s Hard to Find a Price for
So, what do you charge? You have to take into account the condition the house is in or what is going to be involved. But without seeing the house, without knowing all those other variables, you can’t know how much to charge.
And so all you can do is say, “For three months, I can come in for three hours each week, and here’s what I can do at this price.” And you can create a window of time where you will do a certain number of things.
And then at the end of each of those cleanings, then you break down and you say, “Here’s what we did today. Here’s what we’ll do next time.” And that way he’s on track the whole process, and he knows what progress you’ve made and he knows what to expect. So, you have to be very clear about the expectations at every single visit so that there are no surprises. And then if you have to hire someone for next time, the price might change. And they might have to come to do their own walkthrough so they can give a fair price.Resources
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