Ask a House Cleaner, Questions to Ask on a Walkthrough, Savvy Cleaner

Questions to Ask on a Walkthrough

Questions to Ask on a Walkthrough, Woman Surrounded By Question MarksWhat are the questions to ask on a walkthrough or house cleaning job estimate? 

The questions to ask on a walkthrough help you determine how long the job will take and how much to charge the customer. 

Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru has 63 questions to ask on a walkthrough. And she covers a few of them here on this cleaning channel. She also gives cleaning advice and things to look for when giving a job quote.

Today’s Ask a House Cleaner sponsors are Savvy Cleaner (House cleaning training and certification.) My Cleaning Connection (pro cleaning tips, cleaning videos and house cleaning FAQ.) HouseCleaning360 (List your business, find some clients.) And Savvy Perks (Employee pricing for small business owners at thousands of companies.)

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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: Questions to Ask on a Walkthrough

“Hi. How are you today? I was just wanting to ask a few questions as I just started out my own cleaning business. I was wondering what some important questions are to ask the customer, when you go to bid a job or give a cleaning estimate?

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Things to Think About on a Walkthrough

Questions to Ask on a Walkthrough, Woman Cleaning OvenWhat questions do you ask when you’re going to bid a cleaning job, and how much money should you charge? 

If I understand, you’re starting out in the house cleaning business, and you don’t know what questions to ask on a walkthrough. My guess is that you probably don’t know all the things that you’re looking for either. 

So, it’s going to be hard for you to judge how much time it’s going to take for you to clean a house.

Lots of people get in the house cleaning business, and they’ve cleaned their own house. 

They think that it’s going to take the same amount of time to clean a client’s house that it does to clean their own.  But every house is different, and every family lives a different way.

The Walkthrough is the Time You Spec Out the Job

Questions to Ask on a Walkthrough, Family in KitchenThink about how long it takes you to clean your house. Now, it’s going to take a whole lot longer to clean someone else’s house. This is because you don’t know where all their stuff goes, and you don’t know the way that they live. 

For this reason, as you’re starting out, I recommend charging by the hour. If you go in and bid the whole house guessing on time – you’ll probably underbid. 

In America, the going rate across the country for house cleaning ranges from $25 – to $45 per hour. And the price depends on a variety of factors.

If you’re just starting out, charge $25 per hour. That’s a fair price across the board. And it’s a good starting point for your proposal

Questions to Ask on the Walkthrough Will Give Clues

 63 QuestionsI’ve narrowed it down to about 63 questions that will give you a really good idea of what you’re getting into.

 When you go into a customer’s house, there are certain things you’re going to train yourself to look for. The questions will fill in the gaps.

They’re things like, “When was the last time that you had a professional house cleaning?”

You want to know if it was two weeks ago, or was it eight years ago? 

If it was eight years ago, there’s going to be a lot of buildup on the shelves and the baseboards and the six-paneled doors. The answers will clue you into things like that that maybe you haven’t thought of yet. That is a question that will kind of give you a feeling for how long it’s going to take to clean.

How Many People Live in This House?

Questions to Ask on a Walkthrough, Mature Couple Eating LunchQuestions to ask on the walkthrough are, “How many people live in this house?” 

Are you cleaning a house for one business professional or are you cleaning for a family of seven people and three dogs? 

That’s the next question: “How many pets live in this house?” 

What you might find is there’s a fish tank, and there’s a turtle, and you’ve got a bird and a guinea pig and two dogs. That’s a lot of stuff that you’re going to have to clean up after. 

The dogs track stuff in, so now you have to consider that there will be dog paw prints and dog slobber.

What Rooms in Your House Get the Most Use?

More questions to ask on the walkthrough are: “What are the rooms that you use the most in your house?”

Now it’s easy to assume that all the bathrooms get used on a regular basis. Or that the kitchen gets used on a regular basis, and that the bedrooms get used.

But there may be sitting rooms or formal dining rooms that get little use if any. If you came to my house right now, there are three rooms in my house that get a lot of use, and there are other rooms in the house that get hardly any at all. 

I would want you to focus on those three rooms that get the most amount of use because that is where I spend the bulk of my time. 

So, you want to find out from the customer where they spend the bulk of their time.

Find Out on the Walkthrough What They Want You to Do

Extra Work, Cluttered RoomThen you want to find out what are they paying you for. 

If you’re charging by the hour, which I recommend that you do just starting out. Are they paying you to come in and pick up toys and clothes and fold things and put them away? 

Or, are they going to have everything already tidied up for you when you get there so you can come in and do the deeper cleaning? Those are questions that you might ask that will help you get a feel for how this family lives.

Some families will hire you at your $25 rate to come in and pick up puzzle pieces and pick up Legos. Maybe they want you to make beds and straighten up. 

If you work by the hour – you can spend the hour any way they like, cleaning whatever they want.

Questions to Ask on the Walkthrough Will Create Upsells

Questions to Ask on a Walkthrough, House Cleaner Burnt OutThe good thing is as a solo house cleaner, you have the ability to upsell. If you see extra projects that are not going to fit into your time schedule, you can recommend a longer cleaning next time to do it.

Of course, the longer cleaning means more money. 

Here’s a secret, never book cleanings longer than three or four hours. Even if a job will take ten or twelve hours to clean. 

While it sounds like a lot of money and it sounds like it would be an exciting job, you’re going to burn out the customer. And you’re going to burn out yourself. That is a long cleaning session. Even in my business, if we had eight-hour days, we would break them into two separate days. 

Break Up the Cleaning Time to Avoid Burnout

Questions to Ask on a Walkthrough, Man Sleeping on CouchEven if we worked eight-hour days, we would stop after four hours and go to another customer’s house for the other four hours.

It breaks things up and changes the pace. It changes the view and everything around you. 

What happens when we clean a house straight for eight or 10 hours, we start getting comfortable and we started getting tired. Our production value decreases. As we get tired, we get bored and our blood sugar levels dip.

We become somewhat sloppy. 

We need that jolt of going to a new place and grabbing some food between jobs. The break allows you to be your best self at every customer’s house. 

Suggest Several Deep Cleans Over Time

Questions to Ask on a Walkthrough, Wiping BaseboardsIf it’s going to take a long time, what you might suggest three or four cleanings before you get their house up to your standard of excellence. 

Customers just hiring you for the first time that hasn’t had a house cleaner in a long time will completely understand that.

Every walkthrough you will get better. You will learn to read between the lines. And you will learn to ask better questions.

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