15 Replies Latest reply: Jan 6, 2020 10:57 AM by bonesxxx RSS

    Cleaning Fees - What do you charge?

    bonesxxx Active Contributor

      I did a quick search and it looks like this topic hasn't been discussed much since 2009.


      I am curious how this group arrives at their cleaning fee?  I pay my regular cleaning person $75 and it's a direct pass-through for me.  However, my regular cleaner was gone over the holidays so I found an alternate person and she charges me $100.  So I began to wonder whether I am underpaying my regular lady...


      For reference, my cabin lists for $160 weeknights and $260 on weekends.  I have a two night minimum and most guests stay for 2-3 days with an occasional (but rare) weekly rental.  It's a 2 BR, 2 BA cabin @ 1,200 SF and sleeps a max of 4 pax.  I've cleaned it myself many times and it takes 2-3 hours for a thorough cleaning -- 2 hours if it was a 2 pax stay and 3 if it was a 3-4 pax visit (due to the extra linens, towels and bath being used).


      I've seen all sorts of 'guidelines' such as $20 x number of BRs x number of BAs, one night rental equivalent, etc...


      But then there was an owner who posted that, when she went to book as a traveller, she was put off by the excessive cleaning fees she encountered and changed her strategy (lowered her cleaning fees).


      So, in a very long winded fashion, I am asking what you charge, what you base it on, and how it's working for you.


      Thank you.

        • Re: Cleaning Fees - What do you charge?
          green_mango Active Contributor

          I'm 3bd/3.5 bath/3100 sq ft/max 10 guests & I pay $225 to my cleaner - this includes laundering all duvet covers, sheets, and bath towels.  There are cleaners that charge less, but they haven't been a good fit.  I charge guests $200 for cleaning as I don't want to go much higher since there's also a $50 property damage protection fee and I make back some of the difference on that.

          • Re: Cleaning Fees - What do you charge?
            scowol Active Contributor

            Great topic.  I think that there are tons of factors that determine the appropriate fee (location, going rate for cleaners, size of property, amenities offered, exterior living areas/furniture to clean, BBQ (or lack of one), bonus/specialty rooms, and any difficult-to-clean/maintain small appliances, gadgets, etc.). 


            Regarding the "other owner put-off by excessive cleaning fees" I would surely be put-off if the property's cleanliness didn't match the fee I had to pay.  If a property charges an above average cleaning fee compared to similar properties in the local area, it indeed better be absolutely spotless.


            I am a remote owner, so I rely on my housekeeper 110% to clean and be my eyes and ears.  When I first interviewed my housekeeper, she toured my property and we went over my expectations (on the high end because lack of cleanliness is a major star-dinging item I see on other properties).  She quoted me a competitive rate and did a solid job upon starting.  However, I decided to purposefully overpay her ten bucks per cleaning.  Yes, I understand that no one wants to pay more than they have to.  But being a remote owner, I need to count on my housekeeper.  If there are issues, I consider this ten bucks an "insurance policy" to get great service.  Ever since, I get VIP service and any request--big, small or urgent is given top priority--always.  My properties are consistently spotless.  The ten bucks is worth tenfold in returning guests, 100% five-star reviews, and peace of mind as a remote owner.  

              • Re: Cleaning Fees - What do you charge?
                bonesxxx Active Contributor

                Sound advice but you neglected to answer the question


                What do you charge?  I agree with you completely and am also largely remote (45 minutes away with a FT day job) so I rely on my housekeeper entirely during the week to do everything from greet guests to cleaning.  I consider her to be more of a business partner than a cleaner (in fact, I got her into the STR business and created a listing for her small cottage next door).


                That said, I've noticed lately that when I go to the cabin, she has missed things - like cobwebs in the corners and I get the sense that, due to the small size of the cabin and the fact that most guests leave it as clean as they found it, she sometimes 'phones it in' and is in-and-out in an hour.  I need to discuss this with her and am considering a raise along with a level-set of my expectations.  Hence the reason for the topic.  Can I get away safely with a $125 cleaning fee?

                  • Re: Cleaning Fees - What do you charge?
                    ohst8er Premier Contributor

                    bonesxxx, many years ago when I had wee little ones, I found a house cleaning company to do a bi-weekly clean of my own home.  They were rather inexpensive, and it was worth it for me to spend time with my babies, rather than spending time cleaning.  I'll never forget the day when I overheard the cleaners discussing, "I love cleaning their house, it's never really dirty, so we don't have to do much of anything." 


                    Huh?  I didn't order the wipe and swipe cleaning, I ordered the CLEAN cleaning.  I suspect that's what you are getting when your guests leave the place "tidy." 


                    These days, the dirtier my house is, the easier it is to see where I HAVEN'T cleaned yet! 

                    • Re: Cleaning Fees - What do you charge?
                      scowol Active Contributor

                      I have a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house, 1450 sq ft with large outdoor living areas. In my marketplace, for my size home and amenities, the going rate (based on multiple cleaning quotes) ranges from $140 to $190.   My housekeeper bills me $185 and I pay her $195 every time to get VIP service/quality.  My cleaning fee on Vrbo is $195.


                      I was previously "subsidizing" the cleaning fee that guests pay because I thought that I would not get bookings.  Two years ago I decided to increase the Vrbo cleaning fee to $195.  I bit my nails worrying that my bookings would dry up.  Opposite happened.  It had, and still has, zero impact.


                      From my own experience with two properties, it seems that the majority of my guests don't pay attention to fees, or simply don't care.  The reason I state that is that the travelers are paying the high Vrbo service fee that averages $370 for my properties (several at $499).  This fee is regularly more than one night's stay.  Perhaps travelers to my marketplace are not sensitive to fees.  Whatever they think, it is never questioned and there's been no impact to bookings.

                  • Re: Cleaning Fees - What do you charge?
                    ohst8er Premier Contributor

                    3 bedroom, 3 bath, 1318 sq ft condo here.  All on one floor EXCEPT one bed/one bath upstairs.  Our previous cleaning crew charged $150, which included the laundering of HER sheets and towels, at HER facility.  So that's what I charged our guests.  No one balked.


                    This past two years we've had a cleaning crew that charges $120 for clean, and launders OUR sheets and towels, at OUR facility (condo).  So I charge our guests $150.00.  This covers what is now MY COST for the sheets/towels laundering and future replacement.

                    • Re: Cleaning Fees - What do you charge?
                      martyp Contributor

                      I started in 2012 and charged $100, a fee that I collected from the guest.   5 years later, I boosted her rate to $120.


                      I have  a 1500 sq ft, 2 bedroom, 2 bath house with a 48' wide deck.  She cleans the house, changes the sheets and towel. She then takes the sheets and towels home and washes them at her home.


                      She then comes back just  before the next renter to turn the water back on, blow the leaves off of the deck, and wipe down the dust.


                      No one has complained about the price of the cleaning fee.


                      Marty Pautz

                      • Re: Cleaning Fees - What do you charge?
                        feibus Senior Contributor

                        3/3 1400 sq ft.  $80 charged to me by my management team, I charge $90 to the guest and the extra $10 covers my "accidental damage" fund (mostly for replacing towels damaged by makeup).  Competitors in my area are charging "administrative fees" of $30+ for... nothing I can see.  So maybe I can raise the cleaning fee a little more.

                        • Re: Cleaning Fees - What do you charge?
                          bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                          I do not think you can compare cleaning fees as it depends on the area and your particular situation.  For instance, we have a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 1,450 sf guesthouse - for which max occupancy is 4 guests.  But we have a pool and hot-tub and my husband drops by on a daily basis to attend to both the pool and the hot-tub. He also cleans the BBQ (charcoal briquettes) after each use if it has been used during a stay.  FYI, we are in an extreme wildfire area. He also picks up garbage if it has been left outside - we have critters that drop by at night so it is necessary.  So there is some ongoing labor involved.  That said we basically charge $160 cleaning fee. We do the cleaning ourselves so on the guest agreement the cleaning fee is lumped into the nightly rates and is not broken out as it is on VRBO. If we had to hire someone we would break it out separately as it would be an tax-deductible expense.  And note...we live on the ranch.  But we are getting out of the business, sooner than later.  We are only booking 14 nights/per year per IRS rules for income tax free money.   We are in a recap of depreciation mode.


                          • Re: Cleaning Fees - What do you charge?
                            hmmmm Senior Contributor

                            The fees will depend on the size of the home, number of bedroom, bathrooms and location.


                            I 100% agree with scowl, that cleanliness is the key to happiness with vacationers.

                            • Re: Cleaning Fees - What do you charge?
                              psphoto Active Contributor

                              Our place is a 3 Bedroom 2 bath house on the Oregon Coast.

                              We charge $150 for cleaning, although our contract allows us to charge more if the house is left extra dirty, which we have done a few times.

                              We normally get charged about $120 by the couple who cleans for us.

                              It's all done using our washer and dryer and bedding/towels.

                              We have a dog friendly house that accepts up to 2 dogs per stay.