Last Updated on November 8, 2023 by The ZenMaid Team
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We all know that cleaning isn’t just about mops and buckets. It’s an art and a skill. It’s also a business, which means the bottom line matters. Yet, one of the most confusing aspects for cleaning business owners, especially those new to the industry, is pricing their services. You’re not alone; even industry veterans like Shannon Miller have grappled with this challenge. She’s been teaching the ins and outs of cleaning business pricing for years, and some of her best tips inspired today’s article. So, let’s dive in.
Why Pricing is Crucial
Pricing isn’t just a number you slap on your services. It’s a powerful tool that influences every decision you make in your business. From labor costs to profit margins, the rate you set will impact how many clients you can attract and keep. Unfortunately, many folks enter the cleaning business with a flawed pricing approach, often because they consult friends and family who are, let’s be real, not your target audience.
Hourly Pricing: Easy but Risky
When you’re new to the cleaning business, charging by the hour seems like the simplest way to get your foot in the door. You set a rate, you clock in, you clock out — pretty straightforward, right? Even Shannon Miller, who’s now a guru in cleaning business strategies, began her journey charging just $25 an hour. A lot of us can relate to that humble start.
But hold on a minute. While this approach looks easy on the surface, it comes with its fair share of headaches. Let’s talk about those “clock watchers,” shall we? These are the clients who seem more interested in the minutes you’re spending in their home than the actual quality of work you’re doing. You know them — they’re the ones who raise an eyebrow if you finish 15 minutes earlier than expected, and they might question whether you’ve done a thorough job.
And let’s not forget about efficiency. As you gain experience, you’re going to get better at your job — that’s a given. You’ll find yourself finishing tasks faster, optimizing your workflow, and basically becoming a cleaning ninja. Great for you, but potentially problematic when you’re on an hourly rate. Clients may see this newfound efficiency as a reason to pay you less since you’re spending fewer hours on the job.
Lastly, hourly pricing can limit your income potential. Let’s say you become so efficient that you can clean two homes in the time it used to take you to clean one. On an hourly model, that’s just more unpaid hours you’re not benefiting from.
The Benefits of Flat-Rate Pricing
So, what’s the alternative? Welcome to the world of flat-rate pricing. This model is your ticket to a less stressful, more scalable business operation. Why? Because it hands the reins of control back to you.
Imagine not having to watch the clock or justify your speed to clients anymore. With a flat rate, you quote a price for the whole job, not for each tick of the clock. This way, you and your cleaning techs can focus on delivering a top-notch service, rather than rushing through tasks just to please a clock-watching client.
But wait, there’s more. Flat-rate pricing can also serve as a powerful tool to incentivize your team. If they complete their cleaning tasks well and efficiently, they might even get to enjoy a longer break or knock off a little early—without any hit to their earnings. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Square Footage Considerations
Let’s pivot to another crucial pricing factor — the size of the space you’re cleaning. A square footage-based pricing model can be a real game-changer. You see, it cuts through the ambiguity that often clouds hourly rates. Your price becomes directly proportional to the size of the property.
Now, what’s a reasonable rate per square foot? On average, the industry benchmark hovers around 10 to 12 cents per square foot. However, don’t forget to adjust for your location. If you’re operating in areas where the cost of living is through the roof — like San Francisco or New York — then you should definitely be charging more. Think of it this way: the square footage pricing model not only aligns your earnings with your efforts, but also helps you adapt to the market you’re operating in.
Knowledge is power, and being aware of national averages can give you a competitive edge. Right now, professionals in the industry are charging around $55 to $65 per person, per hour. If you’re on a coast, that rate jumps up to about $95 per hour, per person. These figures offer a great baseline to adjust your pricing strategy.
Hitting Financial Goals
If you’re in this business, you’ve got financial goals. Let’s make them tangible. If you’re going part-time and set a flat rate of $600 a day for three days a week, you’ll gross about $93,600 annually. Increase that to five days a week at $400 a day, and you’re looking at $104,000 a year. Achievable? Absolutely. Especially if you’re not underselling your services.
Stand Your Ground
Lastly, don’t be swayed by clients who try to bargain you down. You’re an expert at what you do, and your pricing should reflect that expertise. If you get pushback, remember: a $1 bottle of water can cost $10 at a spa. It’s all about the experience and expertise you bring to the table.
Pricing your services is a balancing act between market rates, your own costs, and the value you provide. It’s also a reflection of your brand’s worth. So take a page out of Shannon Miller’s book and be mindful of your pricing strategy. After all, a well-priced service doesn’t just build your business; it builds your brand.
We’re all here to learn, adapt, and grow. It’s time to set prices that reflect not just the cleaning but the peace of mind, time saved, and the experience you provide. Your bottom line will thank you.
If you found this article helpful for your maid service, you may also like:
- (Case Study) From Laying Off 75 Cleaners to Thriving Post-Pandemic: How Custom Maids Did it
- How to Price Your Cleaning Services
- How to Use AI for Recruiting in Your Maid Service
- How to Get Clients for a Cleaning Business: 21 Marketing Ideas
- How to Raise Your Maid Service Prices With Confidence
This article is based on a presentation by Shannon Miller.
This talk first aired at the 2023 Maid Service Success Summit. The Maid Summit is an annual online event that brings together the most successful leaders in the cleaning industry, like Debbie Sardone, Angela Brown, Courtney Wisely, Amy Caris, Chris Schwab and more. Get free access to masterclasses and workshops to help you grow, scale, and automate your cleaning business to get more leads and profit. Make sure you’re on our email list to find out how to get free tickets to the next event.