Ask a House Cleaner, Move Out, Savvy Cleaner

Move Out Cleaning Tips and Tricks for House Cleaners & Maids

Move out cleanings can be a good source of revenue for maids, or they can be a nightmare. Today on Ask a House Cleaner we cover quick tips and house cleaner rules to make the move out process easier for everyone involved. With a move out checklist, the homeowner can make sure they don’t disconnect the electricity or the water too soon. We provide you with the move out instructions you can provide your client that will ensure you get paid for the cleaning you do, and land you a referral to the new tenant.

Bam! You’re now working smart not hard.

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Listen: Move Out Cleaning Tips and Tricks for House Cleaners

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Watch: Move Out Cleaning Tips and Instructions


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.

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Question: What Do I Need to Know About Move Out Cleans?

House cleaner with supplies for a move out cleanNow, the question today comes from a house cleaner who was doing a move out clean.
A move out clean, not to be confused with an actual move, is when somebody moves out and you’re hired to clean up.

They get all their stuff out and then they leave. And behind where the furniture was sitting, there’s probably stuff along the sides of the baseboards, there are crumbs, there is stuff from the movers, there might be boxes of stuff that got jumbled a little bit, and pieces of crap fell out and whatever. It’s whatever is left.

So, they want you to come in and clean the entire house from top to bottom and make the thing look stunning so that the Realtors can come in and show the house to someone else in order to sell it.
So, the house cleaners want to know “What am I supposed to do in the move out clean?  Is there anything special that I should let the owners of the house know that are my requirements before I come in to do a moving clean?”

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Answer: Move Out Cleans Do Have Special Requirements

power strip, electricity needed for a move out cleanYes, there are special considerations for move out cleans. My number one request is that the house has electricity.

I can’t tell you how many house cleaners have gone into a move out clean and they can’t vacuum the floors because the people have already cut off the electricity.
You must have electricity.  You need lights to see, you need to be able to plug in a vacuum or an electric steamer. So before you even bid the job make sure there’s electricity in the house.

Sink with running water needed for a move out cleanYou Need Running Water for Move Out Cleans

The second thing you need to make sure of is that there’s running water. Have you ever tried to clean a house with no running water? It can be done, but I don’t recommend it. You need to be able to flush toilets, rinse out showers and bathtubs, mop floors, rinse out rags, etc.

So, don’t cut off the electricity, don’t cut off the water make sure that that stuff is still functional before you come in to do the move out clean.

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Clarify Customer Expectations for The Move Out Clean

garbage and junk left on floor waiting a move out cleanAll right so then the next thing is to make sure that you understand what exactly the customers are expecting. Are they expecting that you’re going to move stuff out or is all the stuff going to be moved out?

If all of the stuff is going to be moved out, then when you show up if they are still clothes and shoes and garbage and stuff they left behind, you’re not ready to clean.
That’s not what you bargained for. That’s not what you bid.

And I can’t tell you how many house cleaners don’t clarify that with the people that are moving out. But by the time the people move out, they’re just so exhausted and they’re so done with all this weird crap that’s left behind they just leave it.

And then the house cleaner is like “Wait a second if I gotta bring in a construction crew to clean up all this crap it’s going to cost a whole lot more money and take a whole lot more time.”
And so you need to be really clear up front what is involved in that move out clean because you don’t want to get stuck with a whole bunch of extra stuff.

Upsell Your Move Out Clean With Window Washing

Girl washing windows on a move out cleanIf window washing is not part of your agreement with the customer – I recommend up selling it as an add-on service. 

If you come into a house in the windows are really dirty but the rest of the house is clean the house is still going to look dirty.

You might only be able to reach the windows on the first floor. But cleaning those will make the house look amazing.
Ideally, the customer would hire a professional window cleaner to clean all the windows during the move out. But if they don’t, and they don’t want to pay you to do it, make sure that you wash the sliding glass doors in the kitchen. And that you catch the kitchen window. And if there are windows right there in the front room if you can get to them from the outside of the house, you certainly want to wash the inside and outside of those windows. So that the house looks clean.
When you walk in and you can see all the way through the house, the house will sparkle.

When the windows are clean, it adds a layer of cleanliness to the house and improves the look of every move out.

Empty Rooms Highlight Dirty Walls and Imperfections

Empty room highlights blemishes and dirt on walls and floor during a move out cleanAnd then another thing that I have to mention is when there’s no furniture, there are no distractions.

And so when people walk in what they see are the marks on the baseboards, and they see the fingerprints on the door jambs.

So you’re going to have to go to a little bit extra care to make sure that you clean all the things that now people are going to see because they’re not distracted by trinkets and bright colors, and ornaments, and furniture, and all the things that normally distract people when they walk into a house.

Don’t Forget To Have a Conversation About Payment

hands exchanging cash and a credit card for a move out cleanAnd last but not least you have to get paid. It’s a really easy on the way out the door if someone is moving to not pay you. You may just want to have a rule that on move out cleans you get paid in advance. To ease concerns from customers, you can offer a 100% Satisfaction Money Back Guarantee.

I can’t count the time’s house cleaners have gone and they’ve done move out jobs but because the person moved they skip town and they never paid the house cleaner.

So, if you are the housecleaner I recommend that you get payment up front after you bid the job properly, and you are a hundred percent crystal clear on what is supposed to be done for that job.

And if they don’t give you a credit card on file make sure there’s a check waiting for you when you arrive, because if you do not get paid for this job guess what? You should not do it.

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Move Outs Encourage Bad Behavior On Everyone’s Part

A lot of people take advantage of house cleaners during move out cleans. There is a long string of history to prove this. 

And a lot of house cleaners do sloppy jobs on move outs because they don’t expect they’re ever going to see the client again.

But remember that even if the customer goes away – they still have access to social media and yelp. 
The buyer and the owner will have a conversation at closing about the condition of the home. This is your chance to shine.

Your Move Out Clean is A Job Audition for The New Homeowner

referrals word of mouth people blowing hornsAnd if the buyer comes in and says “Oh my goodness, the house looks amazing. I saw the house before when we walked through it to buy the house, but the way that it was left for us was outstanding. By the way, who do you use as a house cleaner?”

Okay, so in our company when we do move out clean we use a regular worksheet. If you don’t have a worksheet you can go over to print you up a worksheet. Take it to your move out clean. It’s got a list of all the things that you normally do. Guess what?

You’re not going to do most of the things on the list because there are no garbage’s to empty, no beds to make etc. You will still clean the blinds and the baseboards and all the things that you normally do and check those off as you go.

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Getting A New Account Has Never Been Easier

Don’t leave this worksheet for the old homeowner. Leave this worksheet for the new people.

And fold over the corner of your worksheet and make a note. “Hey, welcome to your new home. I’m the cleaner that cleaned this place to get it ready for your move. I’m so excited that you’re moving in. The people that lived here before you are wonderful people and they took good care of your home. I know the house, and I would love to clean it for you.”

Hey, guess what? You’ve already auditioned for the job. You left the house in tip-top shape. It looks incredible.

The new people will be so impressed they’ll want your address and your phone number. They’ll want to know who cleans the house.

And they can call the people they bought the house from.  They already met them at closing, right? That’s your referral. “Oh yeah, she came every other week she was amazing. She’s reasonably priced and she consistently does an excellent job.”

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New Neighbors Talk – Make Your Move Out Clean Memorable

New neighbors talk. The buyers of the house are going to meet their new neighbors. They will be talking about their move in experience – and how you left the place. This is not you out randomly looking for business and advertising on Angie’s List or on which are our fine sites to advertise on.

(Sidenote: Since this episode was produced and added to the queue. HomeAdvisor acquired Angie’s List for a cool 500 million dollars. So now owns Angie’s List. Woohoo!)

But you all have already cleaned this house, you know this house, right? So, let it work for you.

Anyway, that’s my two cents on move out cleans.

  • Just do the most outstanding job you can.
  • Make sure your clarifications are clarified up front.
  • And make sure that the money is in place for your payment.

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If you found this tip helpful, let us know in the review section below. This way we can continue to bring you quality tips or make changes to serve you better. 

And until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.

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