One of the most difficult things to do in the cleaning business is to tell people how much it will cost to clean their home or business. After all, you don’t know if they will pick up before you arrive, or if you will open the door to a one-bedroom, one-bath “easy” job only to find a year’s worth of pizza boxes and beer cans staring you in the face. Ideally, you will go to the home or business and evaluate the job before quoting a price, but this is not always possible, especially if you work in a large metropolitan area. Fortunately, there are ways to determine how much you should charge for cleaning jobs without relying on guesswork.

Step 1.

Create an information sheet when you take calls from potential customers. In addition to the usual information, such as name, address and phone number, include a few extra questions on your information sheet to help you assess the price.

Step 2.

Find out how many square feet the customer has in his home or business, as well as the number of rooms, including bathrooms. Bathrooms are one of the most time-consuming cleaning tasks, so you’ll need to enquire if any bathrooms have a separate bath and shower, as this can add on quite a bit of cleaning time.

Step 3.

Ask customers to rate the cleanliness of their space on a scale of one to ten, with one being “I just need a few things dusted,” and ten being “You can barely see the carpet because it’s so messy.” Most customers will answer this question honestly, giving you a good idea of how long the job will take.

Step 4.

Determine the distance between the customer’s home or business and your office. You may want to charge a mileage surcharge if a customer is out of your service range, or more than ten miles from your office. A fair surcharge is .50 to \$1 per extra mile. Your service range, along with mileage surcharges, should be clearly identified on your website.

Step 5.

Price moveouts based on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the residence. It’s already a given that the apartment or house is likely to be quite messy, and you will need to clean all appliances. Setting prices for moveouts is advantageous for your business, as property managers will know what to expect when they are considering your cleaning service.

Tip

Sell extra services, such as oven cleaning, refrigerator cleaning and window cleaning. According to The Association of Residential Cleaning Services International, oven cleaning is “rarely included with basic service.” It’s easy to price these items, as you can simply charge \$25 extra to clean appliances and \$5 per window.

Offer discounts to repeat customers, or those who refer new clients.