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Why Is House Cleaning So Expensive?

Many consumers may be balked at the initial price of housekeeping services. With rates that high, you might be thinking twice about picking up the mop yourself. If you’re still considering hiring a cleaning service, you might be asking yourself: why is house cleaning so expensive? 

House cleaning is often expensive due to the cost of cleaning supplies, location, size, and condition of the residence, as well as adequate compensation for labor. Factors such as the type of service, employment status, and reputation can also influence the price. 

There are many benefits to hiring a housekeeper or cleaning service that can justify the prices. In many cases, consumers choose to balance between doing some housekeeping themselves and hiring the right service. Read on to learn more about what affects the cost of cleaning services and how you can keep your space clean for the best price. 

Understanding why housecleaning is so expensive.

How Much House Cleaning Costs

House cleaning can describe many jobs and services, ranging from large-scale hotel/hospitality housekeeping to freelancers taking gigs in their community. Hiring a cleaning service for a home or apartment typically entails choosing a company, agency, or individual. 

Rates, while highly variable, can be estimated freely using online estimate calculator resources such as Thumbtack

It’s difficult to pin an exact price on housekeeping, as the service fees depend on so many factors. As a general guideline, however, consumers can expect the average cost of housekeeping to be around $170-220 per job. 

Estimate or quote calculators are helpful in compiling the price factors. When choosing a cleaning service, it’s important to understand what they do, what they use, and how they set their rates. 

Factors That Affect the Price of House Cleaning Services

Housekeeping services must consider many factors when setting their prices, according to the professionals at PH Clean.

Beyond their employees’ compensation–or their personal profit, if they’re a solo operation—housekeeping companies often include the following variables when calculating their price quotes.


The location of the residence being cleaned is an important factor when determining the price of a house cleaning job. Location tends to influence the price of house cleaning in two facets: distance of travel required for the servicers and the local industry standards. 

The Effect of Commute Range on Housekeeping Cost

Every house cleaning company is liable to have their own policy on their service range. As a general rule, however, hiring house cleaning services from your local area tends to be more affordable than hiring someone to commute. 

There are exceptions to this rule, however. As the popularity of gig employment continues to flourish, more independent contract housekeepers may be willing to travel for work. 

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How the Local Economy Influences Housekeeping Costs

The cost of housekeeping services can also vary depending on the local economic environment. Minimum wage laws, cost of supplies, and concentration of demand must all be considered when working out the price of house cleaning services. 

Size of Residence

The size of the space needing to be cleaned will have an effect on the price. This is because larger areas require more time, effort, supplies, and personnel. 

According to data sourced from Fixr, a studio apartment costs roughly $65-$90 for a standard clean. From there, prices increase at a rate of roughly $10 per additional room. 

Pricing can also be estimated on a per-square-foot basis. The average cost of a standard cleaning service per 1,000 square feet (92.9 sq m) is $80-$100. Beyond the initial price, estimates increase at an average rate of $50-$70 per additional 1,000 square feet (92.9 sq m). 

Size of the Crew

The number of people required to complete a house cleaning job will dramatically affect the cost for the client. According to another data set from Fixr, the relative price rate of different crew sizes can be measured by hourly, weekly, or flat rates. 

One-Person Crew Rates

A solo cleaner charges an average of $25-$50 per hour. On a weekly basis, however, individual house cleaners can be expected to charge roughly $20-$40. The price of one-time-visit house cleaning can range from as low as $50 to as high as $250. 

Two-Person Crew Rates

A two-person cleaning crew charges an average hourly wage of $20-$30 per person, which puts the hourly total at $40-$60. A two-person crew, if hired on a regular weekly basis, charge an average of $35-$55 per week. For a one-time full residence clean, a two-person crew can be expected to charge anywhere from $80-$300. 

Three or More Person Crew Rates

If you hire a cleaning crew consisting of three or more people, the rates are likely to be higher, however, each member of the crew receives slightly less per hour than a smaller crew.

On an hourly basis, a three-person crew can be expected to charge between $50-$80. If employed weekly, the average price per visit is roughly $45-$75. For a one-time job, a three-person crew will typically charge from $100 to $350. 

Condition of Residence 

The state of the residence to be cleaned may also play a role in fixing the cost of labor. If the house has been kept in poor condition—thus requiring more labor, hours, or a larger crew—the cost of house cleaning will naturally be higher. 

For this reason, many cleaning companies tend to charge a premium rate to clean households with children, pets, or other factors which increase the likelihood of a disorderly house. Party houses, social venues, and short-term rental units such as AirBnB’s are also likely to demand a higher fee for cleaning. 

Different Types of Cleaning Services Have Varying Rates

The most common type of cleaning service is a single visit operation, according to Cleaning Business Academy. However, some consumers hire a cleaning service to regularly maintain their home or workplace. As a general rule, regular employment of the same cleaning service provider will cost less per visit than a one-time job. 

Within the categories of a single visit and recurring service, there are still more subcategories. Heavier cleaning jobs demand more hours and/or effort, therefore justifying the increase in price.

Here’s a breakdown of the main types of cleaning services, along with a general description of what each service entails:

Single Visit House Cleaning Services

  • Basic/routine domestic cleaning: A basic, single visit house cleaning consists of a general clean and tidying of the residence. Customers are encouraged to create a list of tasks they want to be completed, as well as check with the individual or agency to confirm the details of their basic package. 
  • Deep clean: A deep clean entails a more detailed job, which tends to carry a higher price. It’ll ensure that the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies of the house are cleaned, treated, and maintained. 
  • Moving day clean: Similar to a deep clean, a moving day clean entails a thorough, floor-to-ceiling job. The main difference is that, during a moving day clean, the residence is absent of furniture. This allows many of the regular cleaning tasks to be performed swiftly and may present a more affordable deep-cleaning option. 

Recurring House Cleaning Services: 

If you’re hiring a company or individual to clean your house on a regular basis, the pricing options may be a little different. The most common cycles of recurring house cleaning services are weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly. 

It’s relatively common for cleaning service agencies or freelancers to offer an initial deep-clean, followed by a cycle of regular basic cleaning. Typically, if you employ a cleaning service, the per-visit cost should be lower than a single visit job. 

Typical Lifestyle/Cleanliness of the Client

If a residence is messy, requiring additional hours of effort, it’s up to the agency or contractor to work out fair compensation. In the case of recurring service, however, customers with a messier lifestyle and living habits will generally need to pay more per visit than those who keep a generally tidy home. 

Cleanliness and living habits, much like the presence of pets or children, can have an effect on the price of housekeeping. Aside from helping towards a lower cleaning bill, keeping a clean house will improve the property value over time, or at least help you get that deposit back. 

Maintaining a certain level of cleanliness, even if you employ a cleaning service on a weekly or monthly basis, will make your home easier to clean. This results in an easier workday for the housekeepers and, depending on the company’s policy, a lower bill for the client. 

Company/Individual’s Professional Reputation

A well-established company, with years of history and a catalog of satisfied customer testimony, will likely charge more per hour or visit than a newly founded or struggling cleaning company. It’s advisable to do a thorough check of the customer reviews prior to choosing a cleaning company, individual, or recurring package. 

It’s important to remember, however, that newer establishments may offer high-quality service at lower rates. The value of a solid customer-client relationship, especially when it’s founded near the start of a company’s career, can result in excellent quality service at a relatively more affordable rate. 

The Standard Expenses of a Cleaning Business

Any business has operating expenses that must be factored into the price of their goods or services.

House cleaning businesses are no different in that regard. According to Camino Financial, the main expenses associated with running a house cleaning business include cleaning materials, equipment, permits, and insurance. 

Standard Materials and Equipment

The difference between cleaning materials and equipment is that materials are generally not reusable.

This includes things like cleaning solutions, trash bags, disposable gloves, and paper towels. Equipment includes items like vacuum cleaners, launderable rags and towels, carpet cleaners, etc. 

The average cost of operating expenses including materials and equipment, according to data from Camino Financial, is roughly $1000. 

Custom Cleaning Materials 

Some consumers prefer to utilize specific brands of cleaning products. There are a variety of reasons to choose your own cleaning materials, such as ensuring that the materials used are environmentally friendly (source). 

Clients desiring for their cleaning service to use specific materials may be required either to pay extra or purchase the materials themself. To check if your current cleaning service is using “green” cleaning materials, check out the company website or contact the agency. 

Permits Required To Run a House Cleaning Business

There are a variety of permits that may be required in order to run an effective house cleaning business.

Each of the following permits is required in order for the business to be run legally and must be included when taking stock of a company’s expenses. 

  • Fire code permits: This type of permit is required if a company intends to handle, store, utilize, or transport materials potentially hazardous to life and property. 
  • Hazardous material disclosure: A hazardous material disclosure is required in order to supply first responders with accurate and detailed information regarding the potential material threat in case of emergency. 
  • Wastewater discharge permit: These permits specify the guidelines and restrictions around what pollutants can be discharged. It also includes the requirements for treatment facilities, wastewater dischargers, and treatment plant operators. 
  • EPA ID Number: A hazardous waste material EPA identification number serves to identify the handler of any hazardous materials. These can be issued by the federal government via the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or at the state level by the local administration. 

Are Freelance Housekeepers Cheaper Than Cleaning Companies?

While every company is liable to have its own prices, expenses, and standards, some types of house cleaning services tend to be more expensive than others.

Freelance housekeepers are likely cheaper than cleaning companies. Larger companies generally have more logistical expenses and will often charge higher rates. Companies also must take worker compensation into account when setting their prices.

Worker compensation includes factors such as employee health benefits, insurance, and consistently updated licensing.

Final Thoughts 

House cleaning companies can provide an essential service, especially to working-class clients who find themselves without enough time or energy to maintain their own residence.

The price of housekeeping varies depending on many factors, including the location of the residence, condition of the residence, frequency of service, and legacy of the house cleaning business. House cleaning services cost an average of $200 per job or roughly $20-$30 per person per hour of work.

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