As a property manager, one of your primary roles is to ensure your rental property remains in good condition. This will help attract and keep tenants, retain the property's value, and improve the aesthetics and functionality of your property. One of the aspects you have to think about is cleaning, and consequently, how much to charge your tenants to cover your cleaning fee.

Building Your Own Cleaning Team vs Outsourcing

Before delving into how to set your standard cleaning fees, let’s first figure out how you can go about the actual cleaning. Well, you have two main options: You can build a cleaning team of your own or outsource to another company for their cleaning service.

While having your own team may be cheaper, you will incur high costs on the onset, which may not be cost-effective, especially if your property is small. On the other hand, while outsourcing cleaning services may have an expensive service fee, it takes away the stress of day to day management of property cleaning from your hands.

Whichever option you choose, you then have to figure out how much it will cost you and the total extra fee to charge your tenants go cover cleaning cost expenses. Otherwise, if you don’t set the appropriate cleaning fee for your tenants, you might overspend on your expenditures budget.

If you choose to build your own cleaning team, advertise for cleaner positions, and start booking. Then, buy all the necessary cleaning products, including cleaner’s uniforms, vacuum cleaners, detergents and soap, cleaning buckets, mops, knee pads, disposable gloves, masks, booties, etc. You will also need to develop cleaning protocols and policies for your team.

If you choose to outsource the cleaning services to a professional cleaning company, identify prospective companies, and request for their quotes. Compare their quotes to find an average cleaning fee, determining the ideal price range for hiring cleaning services.

3 Options for Pricing Your Standard Cleaning Fee

Below is a breakdown of 3 ways that you can price your standard cleaning fee for your tenants:

Hourly rate

You may charge the tenants an hourly cleaning rate. Therefore, when the professional cleaner comes in, they log in and logout once they finish cleaning. You then bill the tenant an agreed hourly rate for the number of hours the cleaner takes to clean.

While this option allows you to adjust your fees depending on the scope of work, it can often create room for disagreements about how long the cleaner should take to get the cleaning done especially, if the tenant feels that the cleaner was deliberately slower at doing the tasks, or doing additional cleaning so as to make more. Besides, you cannot determine beforehand how much to charge the tenant in cleaning fees as it is dependent on how long the cleaner takes at every cleaning appointment.

Flat Rate

This is the most common way for property managers to set a standard cleaning fee. The way this method works is that you decide on a specific booking fee based on your cleaning costs.

By charging a flat rate, you lower the possibility of disagreement over price. The downside with this option is that if the work scope increases unexpectedly, you might incur an extra charge to compensate the cleaning company.

Square Foot Rate

With this option, you decide on a flat rate per square foot and charge the tenants depending on the square footage they occupy. With this method, you can determine beforehand how much to charge the tenant for cleaning services.

Factors for Pricing Standard Cleaning Fee for Tenants

  1. Scope of cleaning work. Is the scope of cleaning work only limited to shared spaces, garbage collection or tenants would like cleaning services for their spaces too?
  2. Size of the space occupied by the tenant. Larger space will take a longer time to clean and use more suppliers hence incurring more cleaning costs.
  3. Facilities and amenities in the space. Fully equipped spaces will take longer to clean compared to spaces with fewer items.
  4. Frequency of cleaning. The more often the cleaning is done, the costlier it will be.
  5. How much space falls under common areas such as corridors, open rooftops, and elevators? Decide whether you will pay for the cost of cleaning the shared spaces or you will distribute the cost among your tenants.
  6. Your preferred pricing option. Decide what pricing option works well for you and the tenants.

Step By Step Procedure for Pricing a Standard Cleaning Fee

  1. Evaluate which cleaning option will work best for you
  2. Determine the associated cleaning costs to see if you can absorb the extra expense
  3. Establish the cleaning protocols for your property
  4. Make a reservation with a cleaning company or recruit a cleaning team
  5. Determine your preferred pricing option
  6. Determine your standard cleaning fee for your tenants
  7. Communicate the standard cleaning fees, pricing options, and frequency of payment to your tenants

Tips for Property Managers

  • Figure out how much it will cost to get the cleaning done for the option you choose and use that to set your cleaning fee
  • An appropriate cleaning fee is one that will allow you to hire excellent cleaning services without making the cleaning fee too exorbitant for your tenants
  • Determine the frequency with which the tenants need to pay the cleaning fee. It could be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly
  • Find the right fee structure for you. The standard cleaning fee may vary for different tenants depending on whether some tenants want their spaces cleaned, and the size of their space
  • Check-in with your tenants regularly to ensure that they stay satisfied with the quality of cleaning services and whether they would like any changes to be made
  • Establish a definite cleaning schedule that is communicated to the tenants and the cleaning team

You don’t have to be stuck when it comes to setting an appropriate standard cleaning fee for your tenants. Once you determine who will do the actual cleaning, you can then determine the costs involved, and consequently how much each tenant needs to pay.

Ensure you properly calculate the costs involved to avoid undercharging the tenants and bearing the extra costs. Similarly, do not overcharge the tenants. Clearly communicate to both the tenants and the cleaning team/company what is required of them.