You’ve worked hard at getting your name out on the street, and finally you’re gaining interest from potential clients – they want a quote. And now you’re left wondering; “How much should I charge for my cleaning service?”. There really is no right answer, however you don’t want to overcharge by submitting a quote that is significantly higher than the competitors.
Your price could make a big difference between your business and other cleaning companies in this industry.
I’ll be honest and say that setting prices was the most difficult part for me when I started out. Numerous opportunities for quotes kept popping up, yet I had a tough time deciding on a price to charge. Should I charge hourly? Per square footage? or should I charge a flat fee per cleaning visit?
I was concerned with making a buck, but more importantly I wanted to stay competitive right from the beginning. One thing that you should always do, and I follow this religiously – evaluate the job before you quote.
Fresh on the Scene
I’ll never forget quoting my first job. Part of me was overwhelmed to have the opportunity to quote and another part of me was nervous not to mess up. I visited the local office earlier and got a call back for a quote. Rather than giving any numbers over the phone, I promised to drop by and speak in person. Between me and you though, I was stalling and buying time. I had no clue what to quote.
Anyways, I finally got to the office, took a tour with the manger and evaluated the facility and what needed to be cleaned. I took my sweet time and made small talk with the office manager. I asked some important questions to gauge my quote based on the response:
- Do you have a particular time limit that the office needs to be cleaned?
- Are we supplying the cleaning supplies or will you be supplying?
- Has anyone previously cleaned this office?
- What happened to them? How much did they charge?
Based on the four answers to the questions above, I’m quickly able to come to a very rough estimate of what I’m going to charge. Sometimes you won’t get the answer to all four questions, but try your best. The key to asking questions is making them personable and not make the other person feel like they’re in an interview.
What I Quoted
During the office tour/evaluation, the manager mentioned to me that they previously had one of the girls clean the office before or after work. She is no longer with the company, and that’s why they were looking for a cleaning company. The manager also mentioned that they paid the girl $300 per month to clean the office three times per week.
So, based on the above info that I was able to squeeze out of the manager, I went ahead and quoted the following:
Total Billable Hours: 24 Hrs (2 hours per day x 3 days per week x 4 weeks)
Supplies: $50 / month (my cost was $25 roughly)
Total Per Month: $400 + Taxes
In spirit of helping you price your jobs more easier, here are some tips to help you determine how much you should charge for a particular cleaning job:
By the Hour
Pricing by the hour is the norm for charging clients in commercial or residential cleaning scenarios.It’s the most simplest process. You consider how many rooms the location has and how long on average it will take you per room.
It would be wise to give your self some cushion on time, but don’t abuse it either. If you’re hiring staff, don’t forget to multiply this by the hourly rate of your staff to get the total cost of labor then add on the total amount of other expenses.
When I first started quoting the average hourly rate I charged was $15 per hour. A year after establishing my business and having prepared hundreds of quotes, I became more comfortable, and started to quote higher hourly rates.
If at all possible try to determine the going rates in your area. This way, you’ll have a rough estimate on how much fee would be acceptable or whether you can have the same pricing structure.
By Square Footage
Pricing by the square foot is most common in commercial cleaning service. But don’t forget that rates may change depending on the location. To get an estimate on how much to charge, you need to go to the business establishment and check the following:
- Total square feet
- Floor surface type (vinyl flooring, carpet, or ceramic tile)
- Entire area (types of rooms, number of toilets, restrooms, office, etc)
- Specific service required (dusting, mopping or vacuuming, cleaning restrooms, etc)
You may also need to adjust your price rate per square foot as the building size increases. Meaning, you need to decrease your usual rate per square foot if you’ll have to provide service to a building with 13000 total square feet than you would to a building with 4000 square feet.
As a new cleaning business, setting prices will be one of the most difficult and daunting tasks for you. It will take time before you truly become comfortable. You’re in business to earn a profit and make a living. It is not wise to set your prices too low just to attract clients as you will not just be making enough profit. So this won’t give you an assurance that you will be in the business for so long. Besides, you’ll just be hurting the whole cleaning industry and you’ll just have a hard time to raise your rates in the future.
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