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Are you starting hosting on Airbnb and you are wondering if and how much you should charge for cleaning fees?
How to set up the right price both for you, your guests and your cleaning service?
Which fee should you charge for it? How much should you pay your cleaning service for their work?
Let’s see now the best practices about Airbnb cleaning fees
What is Airbnb cleaning fee?
It is supposed to cover the expenses for cleaning before check-in and after check-out.
This fee can be for yourself to pay for your time if you are cleaning yourself or for the cleaning services that you are hiring.
It also cover the cleaning products and the laundry detergent.
Where can I add the cleaning fee?
Is the Airbnb cleaning fee fixed or variable?
This is a fixed fee that you are choosing yourself and which adds up to your night rate.
Is there commission on the cleaning fee?
There is no commission on the cleaning fee in opposition to the night rate, for which you have a 3% commission.
What is the cancellation policy of Airbnb for cleaning fee?
If someone cancels before check-in then the cleaning fees are always refunded to them.
Should I charge a cleaning fee on Airbnb – Is it compulsory as a host?
Having a cleaning fee is not compulsory. You can decide if you want to add this to your night rate or include it in the night rate directly.
I personally include it in the night rate as I prefer the possible guests to see my full rate upfront, not to discover that I have cleaning fees once they click on my listing.
Some hosts are using cleaning fees to put a lower night rate than competition to have more people click on their listing.
Who is cleaning?
If you have a cleaning service, then you have to adapt either your night rate or add a cleaning fee to the listing according to their fees as well.
If you are cleaning yourself, be sure to have a correct price for your work!
See it as a normal job, would you accept working for $2 per hour? I would guess that you wouldn’t, right?! Then, allow yourself to have a correct wage!
Should I hire a cleaning company or a private person?
Hiring through a cleaning company might help you find a suitable and reliable cleaner more easily. It can also cover the insurance part.
On the other hand, it might turn out to be expensive.
Another way is to find a reliable person on Craiglist or other places for ads. This might take longer because you will run the risk of not finding the right person right away.
In both cases, make sure to do a trial period to help you be sure!
How do I find a good cleaner?
- Do a research in Ecosia on “short term rentals + your area name”
- Make a list in an Excel
- See if they have reviews
- Do a phone interview
- Ask them why their cleaning is better than others / how they are cleaning for STR
- Book your favorite one for a trial cleaning
- Hire the person if you are satisfied, otherwise go to the next person on the list
Should I negotiate the cleaning fee of the cleaning services?
If you are negotiating with a company it’s fine, but if you are negotiating directly with the cleaning person, this won’t be good for your business!
Accept the rates the person wants. Otherwise, you will start on the wrong foot with them.
Pay the person what one asks for to be sure they will work exceptionally.
They are your eyes and ears, they are one of the most important part of your short term rental business!
Should I offer a bonus to the cleaning person to get outstanding cleanliness?
Like every job, working with an incentive is great! Especially, because here you want to be sure that the place will be extra clean!
What you could do, is to offer a bonus of 5% the cleaning fee, if in the review the guest mentions the fact that the place was very clean.
Moreover, you could offer a End of the Year Bonus if the person does great work. It would motivate the person.
Should i pay a fixed rate or a hourly rate for the cleaning service?
As you won’t be there most probably when they will be cleaning, it’s better to have a fixed/flat rate for the cleaning team.
You might pay more if there is not much work to do, but at least you know what you are going to pay each time there is a cleaning. As the time can vary dramatically for each turnover depending on the guests’ cleanliness.
Having an hourly rate would mean being able to record it or to trust deeply the person who does it, so that time theft doesn’t happen.
How often should I clean the windows in my vacation rental?
You shouldn’t be cleaning your windows between each check-in if it’s not necessary.
However, be sure to check at each turnover their cleanliness.
Cleaning the windows should be done at least every other week by yourself or the cleaning service.
Cleaning windows is something that is kind of daunting, so the best is to use one of those new robots which can do it for you.
Smart Window Cleaning Robot Framed Window Cleaner – $271.45
from: TOMTOP Technology Co., Ltd
How long does it take to clean your place ?
Don’t consider only the bedrooms if it’s a homeshare. You also have to think about the bathroom, kitchen and all common areas Airbnb guests have access to. Those places have to be cleaned as well.
If it takes you 3 hours to clean the place then think about how much is the minimum wage in your country. Are you working below or above the minimum wage right now?
Don’t make this mistake to rent on Airbnb but at the end be working for it underpaid! We don’t make it in this goal, having an Airbnb the right way should enable you to be financially independent!!
Check what is the cleaning fees of other hosts in your area
Checking your direct competition is one of the things you need to do when choosing your prices and cleaning fees.
Make sure to check for properties similar to your short term rental.
Cleaning a 500 sq ft flat doesn’t require the same time and money that cleaning a 5000 sq ft property.
Another thing to check is how often they are booked. If they are booked enough for the next month, then you can have a good indicator of how much cleaning fees and even night rate is acceptable for your area.
Do people in your area are charging a cleaning fee? If they do and you just include your cleaning fee in your night rate then you might have a higher price than your direct competition which you don’t want.
What is the average cleaning fee?
This varies depending on your area and your listing.
However, usually this fee is around $20-30 per stay for a private bedroom. Some don’t charge anything like me, some charge up to $85-$200 per stay for a full house.
Is the cleaning fee only for renting the entire place or also for a private room like homesharing?
As I said above, the cleaning fee is not a must, you can have one or not have one. It’s working both for an entire place and for a private room.
I do homeshare in my main property and entire place in another property. I don’t charge an additional cleaning fee for any of my listing.
Should I clean the property during the guest stay in a homeshare/live in Airbnb listing?
Cleaning the common areas to prevent dust, being sure the kitchen/fridge and the bathroom are staying clean is a must in a homeshare.
Cleaning the guests’ bedroom is usually not expected. That’s the difference between staying in a hotel and in an Airbnb.
In fact, most guests don’t like hosts to enter their room during their stay even for cleaning. Most of the times, they will refuse your offer to clean the bedroom.
Never enter a guest bedroom without their permission, even if it’s for cleaning! This is a huge mistake!
What we do is to leave a vaccum cleaner in the common area if the guests want to clean their private space during their stay (for medium to longer stays).
How long should I allow for cleaning for turnovers?
First, let me give you one advice to speed up cleaning for turnovers.
- have a set of clean towels and bedsheets ready for the next guests
Let’s now think about the time required. You always have to think of the worst case possible: the place is a mess, dishes need to be cleaned, there is trash everywhere.
The time needed to clean the place depends of course of how big your property is.
One thing is sure, if you need 3 hours to do a good deep cleaning when the place is in good conditions. Add at least 1.5 hours for yourself or your cleaning team to clean the place in the worst cases.
So the conclusion, ask for a check-out at 10am or 11am latest and a check-out at 3pm. Ask for an extra for a late check-out, early check-in to be able to pay for additional person to clean the place faster.
When is it best to have cleaning fees?
If you are mostly renting for short stays having this additional cleaning fees is a good way to pay for the extra work needed between those bookings.
The cleaning fee is fixed and doesn’t depend on the number of nights the people stay.
If you usually get longer stays, then having a cleaning fee but a cheaper price than the competition is not so worth it.
In that case, it could be more worth it to include this fee directly in your night rate.
If my cleaning fee is included in my night rate, how can I amortize it ?
If it’s included in your night rate then you can either put a minimum number of nights per stay or have a higher daily rate.
If you have a higher daily rate, then you can be sure to cover those cleaning fees as well.
Is having a cleaning fee influencing the guest’s cleanliness ?
Usually guests leave the place very neat and tidy with or without the cleaning fee as an extra.
A few are leaving the place with trash to take out, dishes to wash and a big mess. It isn’t the norm but it can be good to have a cleaning fee in those cases!
Some would even go above and beyond, washing the towels and bedsheets!
You can write in your house rules in your Welcome Book, in your message before check-out or in your rules on the fridge that to clean the dishes, collect and empty rubbish, pick up food and drink leftovers is not included in the cleaning fees.
Tip: Have guests know that they might be charged after check-out if they don’t clean
You can do this taking a deposit from them.
This should be the case if they leave dirty dishes, use extra towels, don’t clean the grill, …
Follow the Gold Rule for any business
Trial and errors is the best way to go.
Once you have chosen to have a cleaning fee or not, and chosen how much you want to charge for it, see how it affects your booking in comparison to bookings from the competitors in your area.
Are you getting regular bookings? Then continue like this.
Are you getting not enough bookings? Then, you might want to check your fee again and lower it.
Are you getting too many bookings? Then, you might want to increase a bit your fees.
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Over to you, do you have cleaning fees? Are you cleaning yourself or hiring a cleaning service?
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I’m Natacha, a French vegan Airbnb host who has been working online for the past 4 years. I help hosts stand out and make more money online so they can have a good work-life balance!