How to Quote Cleaning Jobs – Residential and
When it come to pricing a residential or commercial cleaning job for a prospective client it is important to hit the mark accurately with a reasonable price.
In this article we offer some advice on pricing in this industry and offer guidance on how to quote cleaning jobs so that you make the most of the opportunities available to you and maximize profits.
Pricing Jobs too Low
Calling a price that is too low may mean that you get a lot of jobs but if you are not making enough profit from each client then you won’t be in business for long. You’ll also be hurting the local cleaning industry overall and will have a hard time raising your prices in the future as customers may always perceive your services to be cheap. You may even lose jobs due to prospects thinking that your cheap price could reflect a poor level of service.
Quoting too High
Charging too high can result in losing jobs to your competitors. You may get lucky in the commercial or high-end residential market and get away with pricing high but for most of the residential market it is all too easy for customers to get another quote.
Having a cleaning franchise, a well known brand or a premium service can often allow you to get away with pricing slightly higher than the average independent operator. You may also have other ways of proving to a client that your service justifies a higher price than market rates. You can also sometimes get away with higher than average prices if you have an excellent sales strategy.
It is always better to price a little on the high side than it is to price too low. If customers seem to think that your quote is a little high or they want to negotiate then you have some room to drop the price a little.
Pricing by the Hour
Here is one popular method that house cleaning businesses commonly use to quote on cleaning jobs. We have set it out in three steps below.
1) Calculate Total Labor Costs – The first step in pricing accurately is to calculate how much time it will take to complete a cleaning job. No two homes or buildings are the same so the best way to do this is to inspect the property and break the job down into it’s various tasks. Then you can add the times for these tasks together to come up with a total time that it would take an average worker to complete the job.
After you have a time estimate you can then multiply this time by the hourly rate for your employees (and yourself if you are cleaning) to come up with a total labor cost.
2) Calculate Other Expenses – Next you need to add on an amount for other expenses such as travelling time, fuel costs, cleaning products and wear and tear on your equipment.
You also need to allow for money from each job to go towards your monthly overheads such as rent, insurance and advertising. By dividing your total monthly overheads by the average number of cleaning jobs that you do each month you will come up with a figure that can be added onto the quote.
3) Add on your Profit – Once you have added labor costs and other expenses together you can then add on your profit and come up with a total amount to put to the client.
The key with this method is getting enough experience to calculate how long a job will take. After some time you could just incorporate expenses and profit into a set hourly rate that you charge and this will make it much easier.
Pricing by the Square Foot
This method is more common for commercial or office cleaning services. Rates will vary from city to city and will not be set in stone to the same extent that they are for house cleaning.
Rates per square foot will usually decrease as the size of the buildings that you service increase. In other words you might charge half the rate per square foot for a building of 10,000 square feet than you would for a building of 3000 square feet.
For commercial quotes it is important to understand market rates for a variety of building sizes and then be ready to make adjustments for the type of building in question. A dusty warehouse or restaurant will obviously require more time and effort than office space.
Pricing in the commercial sector can be challenging. The secret is to do thorough research to get an understanding of competitor rates and then to focus on continually getting better with your pricing on each job. Intuition and experience will go a long way here.
Other Cleaning Business Pricing Tips
- Always be aware of what your competitors are charging to get an idea of how close your prices are to market rates. Model your prices on successful businesses that have been around for a while as there is a good chance that they have come up with rates that maximize their opportunities and profitability.
- Resist the temptation to quote before you visit a property for an inspection. The information that you got over the phone could be misleading and you may be in for a nasty surprise.
- If a client’s house or commercial building is particularly dirty you may have to consider charging more for your first time clean. It will take you much longer to complete the job if, for example the bathrooms are really filthy and will require a lot of scrubbing down. Once you have done your first clean your subsequent visits will go much smoother as you will have the place in reasonable condition already.
- Even if you are calculating your rate by the hour you should think twice before letting the customer know this. The best approach is to quote on the overall job and then you can work hard and get out of there as quickly as possible. If you tell clients that you are quoting them for three hours a week then they may get upset if they catch you leaving after only two and a half hours. Be ready for many customers to insist on an hourly rate though, particularly in the residential sector.
- There is nothing to say that you have to charge the same rate for each customer. Weigh each customer up and decide if a slight premium or discount would be appropriate. You might quote lower for family in a working class neighborhood than you would for a family in a wealthy area. It is easier to do this if you don’t publish fixed prices.
Pricing or estimating a cleaning job is a skill that improves over time with experience. Getting it right is to walk a fine line between losing a customer or unnecessarily leaving money on the table. Once you know how to quote cleaning jobs you will be consistently earning your maximum profit!