How Much Should Hiring a House Cleaning Service Cost

When you are looking for help around the house, the cost can be an important factor. We wanted to share some things to look for when hiring a house cleaning service, and how much hiring a house cleaning service should cost in 2023.

Variables that affect house cleaning prices

There are a lot of variables in terms of the size of each home, how many people live there, clutter, deferred cleaning, pets, and much more. But all of these factors need to be considered when a house cleaning service is providing you a quote, and creating a custom scope of work for your home.

The largest variable in determining house cleaning costs is labor

The biggest cost for any cleaning service is the cost of labor. Whether you are hiring an independent cleaning professional or a company, they probably have similar goals in terms of what they need to pay their cleaning professionals to attract and retain talented people.

Cleaning is actually a pretty complicated job. A cleaning professional needs to understand at least on some level about chemicals and various surfaces throughout a home, safety procedures, detailed work instructions, and even the complexities of navigating a busy urban environment. Cleaning services need to make an investment in hiring, training, and keeping the very best people, and cutting corners here can often have disastrous consequences. Do you want an overworked and underpaid person to take care of your most valuable possession?

Competitive Wages Reduce Cleaning Technician Turnover

In 2023 the average technician wage at Better Life Maids is around $22.50 per hour before tips, PTO, and benefits. We have found that to be a wage that attracts and keeps great people. 
The cleaning industry has a 300% annual turnover rate. That is not the game we want to play at Better Life Maids. We outperform this by a factor of 4X with annual turnover closer to 80%. Still higher than we would like, but one way we are able to keep costs down is that we don’t have nearly as much cost in terms of recruiting and training as our competition.

The hourly rate that a tech wants to make is the starting point that a company would need to charge though. So starting with the average hourly wage of a technician is a good place to begin when determining how much hiring a house cleaning service should cost.

Scheduling Efficiently Lowers Cleaning Costs

Scheduling efficiency is important in determining how much hiring a house cleaning service should cost.

The next variable is scheduling efficiency. Because you are one of many homes they serve, the idea of scheduling efficiency becomes very important. At Better Life Maids schedule to 90% efficiency or above. That means that 90% of a technician’s clock time is billable. We are able to do this due to investments in advanced technology that help us optimize our routes, and we do this through scale, by having enough technicians serving specific areas and not driving all over town. We take into account where our techs live as well, so we minimize their commute. It’s typically not included in the scheduling efficiency, but we think it’s pretty important to keep our techs happy and reduce windshield time as much as we possibly can. This also increases their average hourly wage.

It is not uncommon for a cleaning tech to only have 60-70% of their time billable. So if that tech wanted to make $22.50 they would need to charge $32.14 assuming the higher end of that efficiency range. At Better Life Maids because we are able to schedule to 85-90% efficiency.

How much hiring a house cleaning  service should cost is related to how efficiently a company can schedule its cleaning technicians.

Payroll Taxes are a large part of the cost of hiring a cleaning service

Now let’s talk about those pesky taxes. You really don’t want your cleaning service neglecting them, or you might find yourself classified as an employer and be on the hook. FICA, FUTA, SUTA, & Medicare are the basics. Plus let’s assume your cleaning technician deserves to take some days off during the year, and needs to bake that into what they charge. And you definitely want them to carry insurance both workers comp and liability. It’s easy for that to add up to around 30% in additional costs. It would actually be higher for an independent contractor as this model only shows the company’s share of the taxes. It is doubled for an individual cleaner.

Taxes are a large part of the cost of having your house cleaned professionally. How much hiring a house cleaning should cost is directly related to who is paying those taxes.

Additional house cleaning costs to consider

Alright $34.02, not too bad. But wait. What about transportation costs? Who pays for cleaning chemicals, supplies, vacuums, cleaning tools, cleaning cloths, mops, cleaning and laundering equipment, and even something as simple as a uniform, or the time it takes to procure these items in addition to their cost? None of these are huge expenses on their own, but they add up and a cleaning professional should definitely take these expenses seriously.

It’s not uncommon to hear from a customer that their last cleaning professional quit because they didn’t like the drive. That might be true, but what they probably didn’t like is that they figured out that their scheduling efficiency was too low, the cost of supplies and the time to get them weren’t included in their price, and the wear and tear on their vehicle plus the cost of gas were just too much for what they were charging. 

How much hiring a house cleaning service should cost is affected by the cost of cleaning supplies, uniforms, transportation, and the time needed to procure and maintain those supplies and resources.

The number $43.21 now represents the minimum that a house cleaning service price that a company or individual would need to charge to cover the expenses associated with a cleaning professional servicing your home based on the assumptions above. But if they charged that number, they would find themselves out of business pretty quickly, and this only makes up a fraction of the cost of running a professional house cleaning service.

Additional Cleaning Business Expenses, Overhead, & Profits

There is a great deal of additional expenses associated with providing house cleaning services. Think of all of the time dedicated to scheduling service, every time a customer needs to make a change to their schedule, that is time working, but not necessarily cleaning. Just assuming it’s a solo cleaning professional, they would need to do that every day, plus do the billing, bookkeeping, laundry, clean and sanitize tools, service their vehicle, and you have to account for the time they spend marketing to and selling new customers. For a small business, this can actually be an enormous amount of additional time as a percentage of time they spend in revenue-generating activities. Most small business owners get up early and work late, and don’t have enough to show for it at the end of the day. That is why the failure rate of American small businesses is so high.

And none of that includes any allowance to allow them to grow past a solo operator, so if it is a business, they would need to spend money on marketing, recruiting, training, customer service, technology including hardware and software, facilities, laundry equipment, and many other things that all add up. It is not uncommon for small businesses to have overhead of 50% or more.

At Better Life Maids we have leverage economy of scale to keep our overhead lower, and we invest in the best technology to allow us to operate leaner. One of our best sales “people” is consistently our online booking tool. And we have automated many repetitive tasks such as reminders, billing, and some aspects of scheduling. Our target overhead is around 30% and we operate on a leaner profit margin of 12-15%.

Cleaning businesses have a variety of overhead including customer service, accounting, sales, and more. All of these variables are part of the cost of professional house cleaning. All of these factor in to how much should hiring a house cleaning service cost.

Better Life Maids cleaning hourly rate

In full transparency our hourly rate in 2023 starts at around $61 per hour. To meet us on price, many of our competitors have wages much below ours, and can’t match the benefits, paid time off, and other perks that we can provide our cleaning technicians. Think about just about any other service business you hire, $61 per hour is much lower than a painter, carpenter, plumber, or just about any tradesperson. We have to create our profits with volume, and even though we are a small, local, family-owned business, we are one of the largest independent cleaning services in the US. 

If companies are able to provide service at a significantly lower hourly rate, you have to wonder what they are cutting out. Is it the wages they pay their techs? Benefits? Hopefully not taxes and insurance. Most likely they are neglecting to make a profit. The failure rate of small businesses is over 70% with half of failures in the first 2 years of business. Better Life Maids has been serving our customers for over 15 years and will be able to serve your home for years to come because we pay a fair and competitive wage while keeping competitive pricing.

Don’t cut corners to save money when hiring a cleaning service

And you certainly don’t want to cut corners when hiring people to clean your home. It’s important to ask how much should hiring a house cleaning service cost. We all want to get the best we can for the lowest price, but a home cleaning professional is probably not a hire you want to make based on the lowest price. You want a professional cleaning service that hires and retains great people for the long run. It’s not the same type of job as working in fast food or other jobs considered entry-level. There is a level of trust that must be there, and a level of knowledge and professionalism in terms of quality results, care of the surfaces of your home, and even safety procedures.