How to Price a Cleaning Job so you make a Profit Every Time!
Yay! A potential customer is asking for a quote!
And that’s when the fear starts.
Will I quote too much and lose the job? Quote too little and end up working for almost nothing?
We completely understand because we’ve been there too.
It’s one of the biggest and most jealously guarded secrets in the cleaning world – how to quote so that you actually make money but still win the job!
We are going to share exactly how to quote using two different methods.
But first, an important tip….
Never quote without having a look around!
This goes for houses, offices, windows, roofs, any type of cleaning. Ever.
It’s a rookie mistake to quote over the phone. You know the house that needs a little dusting? It has a HUGE knick-knack display. There’s an hour alone!
The windows that need cleaning? All of them have screens that need to be carefully taken off and put back on. Oh, and a few of them have bars.
See what we mean?
So first of all, make sure you go and have a look around before you quote!
Method One – Time
This method is the best for houses, carpets and small offices.
Before you start to think about quoting, you need to work out how much per hour you would like to make.
This varies from region to region. In a large city, you can often charge more per hour than you can in a country area. So take into consideration where you live and what your competition may be charging around you – but don’t get too hung up about it! There will always be cheaper cleaners, but they are also the ones that don’t last long because they cut corners!
Also think about the type of customers you are seeking. If you are catering to high end, premium customers, you may be able to charge more. If you are promoting to budget customers, you may need to lower your hourly rate.
Personally, we find that good customers are willing to pay a premium for quality, reliable cleaners that they can trust!
It is, however, important to establish a minimum rate per hour that you would never want to go below. This is your ‘take home’ money.
Once you’ve established an hourly rate to charge it’s time to start quoting.
When you first talk to a potential customer, ask LOTS of questions! Make sure you find out exactly what they want to have done. Look for tasks that may take longer to complete and ensure you allow adequate time to complete them.
Then start to work out how long it would take you to clean. You may allocate time to each room (say 15 minutes to a bedroom and half and hour to a bathroom) or as you become more experienced, you can simply work it out as a whole.
For us, our minimum time is one hour for a job, even if it only takes half an hour to do. And always remember to round up to the hour. So, if you think the job will take 1½ hours, round that to 2 hours.
Consider, too, how often you’re going to be cleaning and how dirty the premises may become between cleans. The more often you clean, the less time it will take.
Once you have worked out how many hours it will take, times it by your cleaning rates.
And there’s your quote!
Don’t worry too much about the initial clean. It often takes extra time at the beginning to get everything up to standard. Of course, if there is lots of additional work to be done the first time, you may charge extra as a one off.
Method Two – Area
Now this quoting method is best suited to larger commercial premises and window cleaning.
Sometimes it can be very difficult to simply look at a large office complex and work out how long it will take to clean. So a clever cookie came up with a great idea!
The idea is to quote on square meters (or square feet). So a simple way to do this is to ask for the floor size of the office, add a little extra according to the number of bathrooms, kitchens and store rooms then times it by your hourly rate. For example:
520 square metres times by 50cents = $260. There is a kitchen, 5 toilets and a large meeting room. Add in $20 for extra time, so $280 per week for two cleans (or $280 times by 52, then divided by 12 for a monthly rate of $1,213).
If the manager doesn’t know the size of the premises, an alternative is to add up the ceiling tiles. Generally ceiling tiles are 1200mm x 600mm.
A similar method works for cleaning windows. Count up each pane of glass in the home, times it by a set amount then double it.
As an example:
You count up 30 panes of glass of various sizes. For simplicity, lets say ten are small, ten are medium and ten are large. You’ll charge a little more for each size, so $2 for small, $3 for medium and $5 for large. Then double that amount (cleaning both sides of the windows) – $200
Now these are just examples – you may be able to charge more in the region you live in or less. It all depends on what your market is prepared to pay. So it is sensible to get an idea what others are charging.
Once you’ve worked out your quote…
Time to put it in writing!
Sometimes it’s acceptable to write in on the back of a business card – and this is great for one off cleans like windows or solar panels, or when your potential customer wants a quick answer.
Other times it is much better to put it in a more formal approach like an email or letter that outlines exactly what they are getting for their money and how much each clean. This minimizes confusion and establishes the foundation for a rewarding working relationship!
How do you quote cleaning jobs? Let us know in the comments below!
We are the Kimber family and manage our very own successful cleaning business.
Within six months of starting we were supporting ourselves in Sydney, one of the most expensive places in the world to live.
Over the years we have helped people like you start and succeed in their own cleaning business.
We would love to help you too through our new Start Your Cleaning Biz Community starting soon!