How to set your rates for hoarding cleanup, house cleaners wonder. Do you have a cleaning business that caters to hoarders or families with obsessive compulsive freeitis?
If you set your rates for hoarding cleanup right, you can help any family throw away, donate and organize used, aged, free and old stuff.
Explain what you do, charge an hourly rate at a fair price. No need for clients to live in filth or keep stuff they don’t use. Help them give away, regift or donate their freebies and free stuff and clear their messy house.
Listen: How to Set Your Rates for Hoarding Cleanup
Watch: How to Set Your Rates for Hoarding Cleanup
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 to Set Your Hourly Rate
A lot of house cleaners wonder how to set your hourly house cleaning rates. One house cleaner says this, “I just started my own small cleaning service and I’m struggling to try to figure out my hourly rate. At this point, I am doing deep cleaning, organizing, and clutter houses that are horrible. And of course, they don’t want to pay.
Do I do hourly or by the job? Every day is different and I’m struggling with telling my clients, “Well this will cost this much per hour, but that will cost another per hour.”
You don’t understand what it is that you do. This is a huge problem because if you don’t know the services that you provide, there is no way you can price them for the customer.
Start at a $25 an Hour Base Rate
If you are in the United States, that you start out at $25 an hour because right now that’s an average price across America. And it’s a fair price for somebody new to the business and somebody who’s kind of figuring out their way.
It would be easy for you to spend a Saturday or a day when you’re not working and sit down and go through all the different requests that you’ve had.
When you get to a customer’s house and a customer says, “Well do you help me go through toy boxes?” Okay, that’s maybe not a normal request that you get, but you might get it again. So you may want to sit down and write down toy boxes and what does that include.
Some Jobs Have Different Rates
Sit down with a customer go through all the toys with the homeowner and find all the old toys that the family is no longer using.
The kids have grown out of the toys, the toys are broken. These toys are good toys, but nobody’s playing with them anymore and you separate them into piles. And then you decide what you’re going to do with them.
Then you re-organize everything and you find a place for everything so that everything is neat and tidy and the kids can find it. You have to explain your price for this package.
“That’s what that package involves. Here’s how much this package costs.” Go through all the different areas of all the different things that you do and figure out well what does that mean.
If you say, “Well yeah, I can help you with the toy box.” You don’t know what is involved and neither does the customer. But if you sit down and you figure out about how long that’s going to take, you know about how much money that’s going to be.
You Can Charge By the Hour or By the Job
So you have a choice. You can charge by the hour or by the job. For a toy box, for example, that might take you two hours.
And so you might say, “For the toy box project, that’s a $50 project.” If you’re going by the $25 an hour rate that you would be charging if you charged by the hour. But if it takes you four hours and you bid $50, then now you’ve undercut yourself. Does that make sense?
So you need to know how fast you can work and what it is you offer. And if you want to keep it on an hourly basis, if it takes longer, at least you’re covered. At least you’re making $25 an hour.
$25 is Nothing to Scoff At
Now there’s nothing to scoff at for $25 an hour. Most businesses do not have somebody that’s new that comes in and makes $25 an hour. That’s pretty unheard of in today’s society.
And so, that’s great money if you’re able to work every hour of the day. And in house cleaning, you don’t actually work every hour of the day. You work a few hours here and a few hours here.
You might go a day or two and no jobs and then you work a few more hours. So you have to make enough money to survive. But it helps if you break down the services that you provide and know exactly what you’re offering.
Set Your Rates for Messy Houses
So what you may say to the customer is this, “Okay, your house is super messy. So what I’m going to do for today is I’m going to come in and I’m going to clear all the clutter. We’re going to take all the clothes and we’re going to put all the clothes in a pile.
Then we’re going to sort through even the dirty clothes. We’re going to sort through which ones you want to keep, which ones you want to donate, which ones you want to throw away. The ones that we’re going to keep, we’re going to wash. Then we’re going to find a place for those in a closet or a drawer.“
You have to be very specific about what it is you’re providing because if you say, “Yeah we’ll sort through all this stuff.” They don’t know what you mean by that.
Set Your Rates So Customers Know You Did a Good Job
And how will the customer know that you did a good job? They will know a good job when all the clothes are gone through. When you have a pile that goes to the Goodwill, you have a pile that goes to the trash.
If that’s how you explain it, then when you’re done, the customer will go, “Yes that looks like the vision that you explained to me. I now understand. Here’s your money.”
But if customers are not willing to pay, they probably don’t understand what it is you’re selling. And so if you come into a customer’s house and selling is not your thing, you will forever be frustrated in this business. You have to be able to explain what it is you’re selling to them.
Customers Will Pay When They Know What They’re Buying
Now I have news for you. And this is good news. Customers will pay if they know what they’re buying. When you make a promise and keep it, the price is easy.
So you have to make the promise clear. “Here’s exactly what I’m going to do. I have six different packages. Here’s how much this package costs, here’s how much this package costs.” And so on.
Now if you don’t want to price per package, you can say, “I can do this project in three or four hours. So we’re talking $75-$100 for this package.”
You can give a range. And that way it gives you a little bit of free time to make sure that you do the project and do it correctly.
Don’t Undercut Your Price When You Set Your Rates
The easiest mistake in the house cleaning business is because we want the business, we undercut our price. And we say, “Oh I can do it in two hours.” No, you can’t.
And by giving the customer that price, then the customer says, “Oh well it’s only $50.” But then when you’re not finished, then they get ticked off with you and they say, “Well why are you not finished? You’re a lousy house cleaner.”
Even though you gave them a steal of a deal on price, now they feel like you did a lousy job because you didn’t keep your promise.
You Have to Know What You Sell
So what you need to do first is to know what you sell. Number two, know how to present what you sell. Number three, price your products and services correctly. And then number four, set realistic expectations with your customers and clients.
If you come into a house and it’s messy and it’s going to take you 28 hours to clean this house. Then you need to come in and say, “Okay this looks like six days’ worth of work. And so we can break this down into four and five-hour packages so that we are able to accommodate your entire house.
But it cannot be done all in one day. It cannot be done on the weekend. It would be unrealistic to assume that a person could do this in a day or two. Not possible. It took years to build up this kind of accumulation and it’s going to take some time to renovate it and reset it.”
Set Realistic Expectations and Rates
Set realistic expectations with your customers and you can do it in a very polite way. You don’t have to shame the customer. The customer knows why you’re there. They know.
But once you are very clear and you set realistic expectations, then the customer will say, “Well all right. I mean I guess that’s reasonable.” And you can always ask the customer, “How long would this take you if you cleaned it?” And the customer will try to give you some kind of time, “Well I don’t know. Two, three hours.”
“So in two or three hours, you could clean up all this stuff?” “Well okay. It might take a little bit longer.” Be very clear about what it is you’re talking about. Because when you’re clear and the customer is clear, the price is easy.
*** RESOURCES FROM THIS EPISODE ***
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things – #[email protected]$oWh51
The Hoarder in You: How to Live a Happier, Healthier, Uncluttered Life – https://amzn.to/2ocfkw9
Children of Hoarders: How to Minimize Conflict, Reduce the Clutter, and Improve Your Relationship – https://amzn.to/2MX34NM
The Secret Lives of Hoarders: True Stories of Tackling Extreme Clutter – https://amzn.to/2PFA0ZH
Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding (Treatments That Work) – https://amzn.to/2oda1w8
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Permissions To Share
Savvy Cleaner Training – House Cleaner Training and Certification
My Cleaning Connection – Your hub for all things cleaning.
HouseCleaning360 – A hub connecting homeowners with house cleaners
Savvy Perks – Employee benefits for your employees.
Turnover Cleaning Tips – for Vacation Rental and Airbnb Hosts