Depending on the client and nature of the project, a cleaning job can be an involved endeavor or something as simple as doing windows and vacuuming floors. Pricing a cleaning gig involves more than a consideration of the time spent doing the job; you must also account for materials, additional employees and the going rate for this kind of work in your area.
Ask for an accounting of the total work expected. Sometimes, your client may say it's a small cleaning job, but when you get into the scope of the work, you find it is quite large. The best way to do this is provide the client with an itemized checklist of common cleaning duties and allow him to check off things that need to be accomplished.
Set your rate by the project or the hour. In most instances, it is best to charge by the hour so that when it takes you longer to accomplish larger jobs, you get paid accordingly. However, for smaller projects, you can set a price for the project; good examples of these projects might be cleaning small rooms or scrubbing floors only.
Research market cleaning rates in your area and set your prices accordingly. Be competitive and fair in your pricing; if all of the other cleaning companies in town charge $20 per hour, don't charge $50 per hour. You won't get much business that way. According to the Home Biz Tools website, a small cleaning crew charges between $15 and $40 per hour as of 2011.
Consider additional staffing needs. If it's just you, then you can set an hourly rate and work accordingly. However, if you require additional staffing to complete the job, then you need to consider this in the price. You must make sure that whatever price you charge the client allows for payment to additional staff members as well.
Build an additional charge into the first cleaning. This is often the most labor-intensive and takes more time than subsequent cleanings. The Home Biz Tools website recommends charging an additional 10 to 20 percent premium in addition to the base cleaning price for an initial cleaning project.
Lynda Moultry Belcher is a writer, editor and public relations professional. She worked for a daily newspaper for 10 years and has been a freelance writer for more than 15 years. She has contributed to Divorce360 and Revolution Health Group, among other publications. She is also the author of "101 Plus-Size Women's Clothing Tips" and writes "Style At Any Size," a bi-weekly newspaper column.