How to Give a House Cleaning Estimate

Before you can schedule your first cleaning you need to know how to give a house cleaning estimate. Once you know what your rate is going to be (how much you will charge per hour) and you have a pricing sheet or calculator, you are now ready to give estimates.

There are three types of estimates that you can give your customer. You can give them an over the phone estimate, an in home estimate, or a website or email estimate.

Types of House Cleaning Estimates

Over the Phone Estimate

The over the phone estimate is where the customer calls you and you give them a price over the phone. Once you get used to cleaning and know how long each area will take to clean, there will be little time difference between the phone estimate and actually seeing the home before you clean it.

I have come to find that it really doesn’t matter if I look at the house before I clean it or not. You will not know how long it’s going to take until you actually start cleaning.

To deliver the phone estimate, make sure you have your pricing sheet on hand along with the questions you will ask to get the times you need to give them a price. The questions will basically correspond with the areas of the home you will clean. For example,”How many bathrooms do you have?”.

As you’re asking the questions,write down the times on your pricing sheet. Once you have all the areas and times of the home you can give them their estimate. After giving the estimate, ask if they would like to schedule the cleaning.

If they are hesitant, you can ask if they have any questions

In Home Estimate

The in home estimate is basically the same thing as the over the phone estimate, but you are actually giving the estimate in person at the customer’s home. To give the estimate, make sure you bring your pricing sheet and a calculator.

Have the customer take you on a tour of the house, or you can walk through it yourself. As you go throughout the home, write down the areas and times on your pricing sheet.

Calculate the estimate and give it to the customer. Finally, ask if they would like to schedule the cleaning or if they have any questions.

Website or Email Estimate

For the website estimate or email estimate, you can set up an estimate request form on your website or have customers email you for an estimate. I have a “Request an Estimate” form on my website where I ask the customer to provide their contact information if they want an estimate.

You can also set up a form that asks the questions you need in order to give an estimate. I like just asking for the contact information because it makes it easier for the customer to submit a request.

This method also allows me to ask more thorough questions.

Once I receive their information through email, I email them back with a list of questions about their home.

These are the same questions I would ask on a phone estimate or in home estimate. After calculating their estimate I will email it to them or call them based on how they want to be contacted.

Which One Should I Use

Which type of estimate you use is up to you. There are pros and cons for each one. I mostly use the over the phone estimate and the website request estimate.

I like not having to spend my evenings driving all across town doing in home estimates when I could be home with my family. I will go on an in home estimate if the customer asks and they are requesting a bi-weekly service.

The phone estimate is beneficial for customers because they can get a price right away and they don’t have to wait for you to set up an appointment to meet them. It also keeps you from having to spend your time going out to the in home estimates that might not even turn into a sale.

However, the in home estimate can be beneficial if you are just starting out and have the time because you might be able to impress the customer and make them feel more comfortable. Although, some customers might feel that it is a waste of their time and would rather not have to meet with you in person to get a price.

The website or email request estimate helps you to get those customers that don’t like calling or would prefer to communicate with you through email. Also, if you are not able to take their call it can be difficult to get a hold of them.

I have found that it is easier for a customer to get back to me through email rather than picking up the phone and calling. It also helps you to avoid playing phone tag or not being able to get a hold of them.

In conclusion, the estimate method that brings you the most customers should probably be the one you consider using.

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  1. Cheryl Gould says

    I clean for a living. I like the theory of estimates, however, If I see the home then I get an idea of what I’m getting into. Some people I have cleaned for are particular. They want me to do “everything” which started out being just general cleaning then adding more to the list for the same cost. I call that “taking advantage of”. I have 2 people who only want me once a month and the dirt really builds up which also takes me an hour to clean 1 room. I want to get my money’s worth too! The last home I cleaned took me 7 hours and got paid $75. I felt that I didn’t get paid enough. I recently told this lady I wanted $15/hr. She only wants me once a month. She has 2200 square feet house. So, what would you charge her?

    • says

      Hi Cheryl, I understand your frustrations. I would find out on average how long it takes you to clean each area of a home. Also determine how much time you are going to add based on the square footage. I use 2001-2500 sq.ft. as a base starting point. I don’t add any extra time for homes that fall into 2001-2500 sq.ft. range. I add or subtract 15 minutes for every 500 sq. ft. more or less than my base of 2001-2500. Once you have figured out how long it will take you to clean a home, times the amount with your hourly rate. For example, 3 hours x $30 hourly rate = $90. It takes longer for one-time/first-time, monthly, move-in/move-out, and spring cleanings compared to recurring bi-weekly or weekly cleanings. You will want to add extra time for any cleaning other than a bi-weekly or weekly recurring cleaning. Once you come up with your pricing sheet and know how long it takes you to clean, you can do over the phone or in-home estimates. I would also suggest giving the customer a cleaning task list along with their estimate so they know exactly what you will clean for the price you quoted them at. Never let them add on additional tasks without getting your approval first. If my customers add on additional tasks they will need to ask me first and if I decide to include it in their cleaning I will charge them for the additional amount of time it takes. Hope this helps. Good Luck!

  2. Jackie says

    My friend and I are starting our own cleaning business hopefully within the next month. We want to start residential at first, then move to small businesses as well. Also we want to have eco-friendly cleaning supplies as an option along with the regular selection. Homemade eco friendly if I may add. Do you have any words of wisdom you could pass on? Thank you for your time..

    • says

      Hi Jackie, glad to hear! I would say just go for it! You will learn along the way. Learn as much as you can from others that have started their own cleaning business. I have a lot of great resources on my resources page that you can get started with.

  3. Jeaneen Najarro says

    Hello! I just open a Cleaning Business and Im getting very confused of What Estimate Form to use. There are so many! Can I have a copy of the ones your company use! Thanks so much

    • says

      Hi Jeaneen, Yes, it is a little daunting on how to give customers a estimate. I would suggest timing yourself cleaning your own home or friends and families homes to start with. I have a estimate spreadsheet in my store here that I use to give estimates.

  4. Carmen Santiago says

    Hi Josh
    My husband has a Landscaping Business and charges by the Job
    I am starting with my Cleaning Business soon and would like to know if I should do the same..Thanks

    • says

      Hi Carmen, Yes if you are just starting out you can charge by the job. After you get going you could always offer payment options for customer to pay for service in advance. This option might be attractive if you offered a discount. Example, you could have them pay for a year worth of your service at a discount. Although, you need to keep in mind that once they pay you in advance you are obligated to clean.

      I personally just charge for one cleaning at a time for various reasons. One, you are not obligated to clean for them for the amount they paid you for unless you saved their payment and can pay them back. Two, let’s just say you do not wish to clean for this customer anymore for whatever reason, you are still obligated to clean for them unless you happened to have saved their payment. Lastly, I don’t think it’s worth it unless you have the capital to pay back a customer if you decide to no longer clean for them.

      • Carmen Santiago says

        Hi Josh,Yes I agree I wouldn’t want to charge in advance but I will charge per job I think is better that way..Thanks for your your response..

  5. Twila says

    Hi Josh,
    I am so grateful for this website you have put together. It is full of value. I am purchasing your spreadsheet and was wondering if you would give me the link to your business website where you would send potential clients so I may see an example. Thank you

  6. Jesus Reyes says

    I do my estimate personally, very few are on the phone and assured me explain while we will be according to what customer ask. My houses are between 3,000-7,500 square feet and charge between 130.00-200.00 for regular cleaning. Check in your area what they charge regularly and not sacrifice your body for either, a fair price. I charge $80.00 hour first time cleaning or deep cleaning, regular cleaning can negotiate it. Sorry for my English. I’m still learning, so much success to all of you.

  7. says

    I recently started my own cleaning business and I am having a hard time on what to charge people and how to make a pricing chart. Is there any suggestions of where I could start for an hourly rate

    • Josh Winningham says

      Hi Melissa,

      I would suggest writing down how long it takes you to clean a home and then divide that by 60 and multiply that number to your hourly rate. Your hourly rate would be based on the town or city you live in and what’s the going rate among competitors. The average is about $25-40 per hour.

  8. says

    Me and my girlfreind would like to no the in,s and out,s of how to get started in our own cleaning business. Is there some type of program or classes online line you can take. We will use any resources you may have, to be suscessful. Thank you for your help.

  9. Sansaray says

    Hey Josh,
    I’m trying to figure out whether I would need to charge sales tax per job in the state of Michigan. How can I find this information? Also, I am also comparing per hour vs bid by the job. Do you know whether there is an insurance for liability coverage that I could use to cover for subcontractors? As I am just beginning I don’t believe I can afford employees with the risk that is associated with it, right now. What do you recommend since I provide the products and arrange the time. I just want to make sure that I have the right paperwork so that I don’t come into any legal trouble.

    • Josh Winningham says

      HI Sansaray,

      Cleaning is considered a service it can be exempt from sales tax in some states. I would check with your states tax revenue website to see if you should be charging sales tax.

      I actually charge by the hour and by the job. Basically you figure out how much you charge per hour then figure out the time it takes to clean. Multiply your hourly rate by time it takes to clean and you will have your price per job or flat rate.

      I use liability and bonding insurance and definitely recommend it. I would contact an insurance company (erie, travelers) and ask them about their business coverage’s.

  10. Robin Flow says

    Hello Josh,
    I have just decided that I will be starting a cleaning service and your website has been most helpful! Thank you for all of the great information.

  11. Amy says

    Hi Josh,
    I am new in this area and am trying to get clients. I bought these beautiful post cards and postage stamped them and have had one response so far. I mailed out 200 with a cost of $300 between both the cards and postage. I assumed that would be all I would need to get a few clients. I can’t keep doing that so how can I market myself and save some much needed money? Thanks for your advice!!

    • Josh Winningham says

      Hi Amy,

      Yeah I sent out nice postcards when I first got started and got not one response. They say it takes 8 touches (contacts) for a customer to warm up or recognize your business. Meaning you need to have a consistent scheduling of mailing or passing out marketing materials to the same customer. That can get expensive though if your mailing out nice postcards. Depending on your capital, I would suggest passing them out door to door instead of mailing them. And you can also pass out paper flyers as well. I would pick 1-2 neighborhoods to start with to pass out postcards or flyers in.

  12. Hemawatee unnoop says

    Hi Josh,

    It’s me again. I have just received my receipt. It took a while but all good. I’ve received your email & the attachments as well. All good. I was having a look at the spreadsheet. Man you’re a genius. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. Thank goodness I stumbled upon your website after weeks of Internet search. I can’t thank you enough. My husband & I have extensive cleaning experience & we now thought it was high time to start out on our own. Any starting out tips for us? Thanks in advance:)

    • Josh Winningham says

      Hi Hemawatee,

      Glad to hear! I would suggest letting friends know that you are now in business on email, facebook, twitter, etc. This will help you get word of mouth referrals. Then just make a simple flyer using regular copy paper in microsoft word and pass out in a couple of neighborhoods/offices on a recurring basis. It takes about 8 times for a potential customer to make a decision. I would suggest at some point creating a simple website for customers who look up your business. Book recommendation Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Levinson. I hope that helps.

      • says

        Hi Josh, as I told you earlier I have started my cleaning business. Putting in a lot of effort specially with marketing. My husband & I are doing exactly as you recommended in terms of marketing. I’ve made this simple website with weebly. Can you please have a look & let me know your thoughts? I am still in the process of creating a FB page for the business. Thank you
        Kind Regards

  13. Claudia says

    Hi Josh, nice article. I use to do in home estimate, but some people are sendind messages asking for prices, I have replied offering a free house estimate and they never write back again. So, now I’m gonna start giving prices over email. I’m just not good writer, can you please tell me how to email them polite and professional giving a estimate? Thanks

    • Josh Winningham says

      Hi Claudia, you would want to add a contact/get free estimate form on your website if you don’t already have one. Then add a auto-responder email to that form so when customers submit their information through the form they will automatically get an email back with an estimate script. The email will contain all of the questions the customer needs to answer in order to get an estimate. As soon as the customer emails you back with the answers you can then give them an estimate based on there responses. Hope that helps.

  14. Kaseem says

    Hi Josh, Me and my sister want to start a house cleaning business but we don’t drive. Are their any other solutions to this issue we have.

    • Josh Winningham says

      Hi Kaseem, depending on your situation you could hire someone to just drive you from job to job. You could also hire employees or contractors to clean for you while you run the business from home. I hope this helps.

  15. Cassi S says

    How do you handle it when you give an estimate and the clean ends up taking much longer? I recently cleaned a house with mirrored surfaces and items to dust literally everywhere. Was not very big, but took me twice as long as I thought it would. This client is someone I know, so wasn’t a problem, but wondering what you do with new clients? I especially have troubles estimating first cleans.

    • Josh Winningham says

      Hi Cassi, I would add extra time for initial/first time cleanings. You need to determine how long it takes you to clean a first time cleaning. Also, when you get to the house and determine that it will take longer than projected you need to be upfront with the homeowner that it will take longer than projected based on all of the extra items not accounted for(such as clutter and nicknacks.) Some services will notify the homeowner when they have ran over time and ask for their permission to keep cleaning and charge the customer for the extra time. Personally, if there is an abnormal amount of clutter, nicknacks, and wall frames/pictures I will give the homeowner an option to add or remove these areas/items from their cleaning before I start and charge them accordingly. Also I always inform the customer that I may raise their rate at any time after the initial cleaning based on how long it takes to clean the home on a regular basis.

  16. Maria E says

    Hi Josh! Me and my friend just started this business. But we are not sure how much to charge per house for both. Can you please help us out? Thank you!

    • Josh Winningham says

      Hi Maria, you would just double your hourly rate and divide the time it takes for one cleaner by 2. So if it takes 3 hours for 1 person to clean then it should only take 1.5 hours to clean for 2 cleaners. If your hourly rate is 30 you would double it to 60.

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