Can You Raise Cleaning Rates as Kids Get Older?

Can you raise cleaning rates as kids get older? As your relationships with long term clients change, how do you justify higher rates? 

Here’s what you need to know when telling clients your house cleaning rates have changed.

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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. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.

Increase Prices When Kids Grow Up

Price Increase Due to Age, Grandfather and FamilyCan I increase my prices when clients’ kids grow up? There is a house cleaner that called into the show and asked this question:

I have the same client for about six years now. She has four children, all of whom were very young toddlers at the time that I started cleaning. Now they are grown a whole lot more.

And I am wondering if I can raise the price of her cleaning biweekly because of the fact that the children are older, their house is more lived in. But is this something that is unethical, and if I should raise the price, how exactly would I address that to the client?”

House Cleaners Can Increase Prices After Time

Price Increase Due to Age, Parents Reading to Their ChildrenThe answer is, yes. If you have not raised your price in six years, you are definitely due for a price increase. That said, we cannot call it a price increase because the kids are older. Age increase and then charging something to that, like a price increase at any age is age discrimination, and we cannot call it that.

But because of inflation and because of regular price increases all across the board with cleaning chemicals, taxes, licenses, plugins that you’re using for your website, stuff to grow your business, the price of gas, and the price of vehicles, everything has gone up.

Yes, just due to inflation across the board, you will raise your prices between 2 to 4, 2 to 5% per year, depending on where you live and the scope of the job. You will be raising your prices.

Have an Annual Review With Your Customers

Price Increase Due to Age, Man Signing and Woman with ClipboardAt Savvy Cleaner, which is our training company, we recommend that you have an annual review with your customer. And that is a renewable contract at the end of the year, as that is when we raise our prices.

That said, we also do a new walkthrough with the customer. Because when we do a new walkthrough, we’re re-establishing the relationship that we had with the customer when we did our first walkthrough.

Many Customers Aren’t Home While You Clean

Price Increase Due to Age, Man Cleaning StoveNow, often customers are gone when we’re there. They don’t see us while we’re there cleaning. So now they forgot, after a year, why they hired us. This gives us another chance to go back over that initial conversation and have them show us anything that has changed since the last year.

Now, we may be in the loop, but maybe we’re not. Maybe there are things that are bugging them for the last couple of months and they haven’t been willing to tell us. But if we walk through one more time, they can say, “Hey look, you’ve missed this every single time for the last few visits.”

And you go, “Okay, great. Let me make a note of that.” And you reaffirm all the different priorities that the customers have, because as you said, the kids are older, and their priorities have shifted. If you are adapting week by week to new priorities, but your pricing hasn’t changed, then yes, you are absolutely due for a price increase or a price raise.

Talk to Your Customer About Another Walkthrough

Price Increase Due to Age, Walkthrough with Pregnant WomanSo, at this point, get with your customer and say, “Hey listen, a lot has changed in the last six years since I started working here. I would like to go on another walkthrough with you so that we’re both on the same page as I update my policies and procedures.

And I’ll make sure that everything that we are doing matches your expectations because your priorities have changed a little bit as a family, as the kids have gotten older. So, let’s go ahead and do another walkthrough. At the same time, I will probably be giving you a new price based on the walkthrough.”

Give them that heads up and let them know you are going to be doing a walkthrough. You can reevaluate where you are. They can share with you things that you’ve missed. Or things that you can improve on or things that are new priorities for them or things that are not a priority that you’ve been doing for the last six years. It gives you both a chance to air your differences and to get everything out in the open and no surprises.

Send a Notice That Prices are Going Up

Price Increase Due to Age, Woman Reading LetterNow, if there is no walkthrough, what you can do is you can send a notice with your worksheet and say, “Hey, our prices are going up starting December 1st.” And that gives them a whole month lead time. I usually say, give them about a month lead time so that you have one more visit between now and when prices go up.

So if you already know what the priorities are, and you already know what your price increase is going to be, you can leave that on a note and just say, “Hey, December first,” or whatever the day is, “our prices will be going up. Your new price will be this amount per cleaning.

Then they have a choice to either hire somebody new, or they have a choice to figure out how they’re going to pay you or whatever.

Raising Prices Strikes a Conversation

Price Increase Due to Age, Two Women Talking to Each OtherUsually, that strikes up a conversation. And that’s the reason why to do another walkthrough and to have another conversation with them is a good idea. You have to make sure that you’re both on the same page.

There are customers that we’ve had for dozens of years, but here’s the catch, you have to continually renew that relationship, because a relationship with somebody that you haven’t seen for many years, it starts to disintegrate and fall apart over the years.

They have things that are bugging them that they want to tell you, but they haven’t seen you and they’re waiting for the right time. They’re hoping they run into you again. They want to do an in-person. They don’t want to do it over a text. This is a perfect opportunity.000 Savvy Cleaner Spacer Bar 2020Resources

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