Your Complete Guide to Pricing Vacation Rental Cleaning Services
Owners often struggle with setting a price on vacation rental cleaning. It’s not hard to see why – if you take a look at to top two Vacation Rental sites (AirBnB, HomeAway, FlipKey, Tripping, HomeToGo, VRBO, HouseTrip, VayStays, VacayHero and WimDo ) and you’ll see the fees for cleaning a vacation rental can vary from as little as $25 per booking to $200 per booking.
This price can also vary widely depending on location. The price depends on demand, the quality of clean required by the property’s owners (and expectations of the guests), and the cost of living in a given geographical area.
Another problem with focusing in a cost for the service: vacation rental cleaning takes more time than cleaning a residential home. Cleaning services for Vacation Rentals are often asked to take on additional tasks not traditionally found in a general Residential cleaning request: launder linens, create beautiful staging, and restock amenities for example. This additional focus for your Vacation Rental business increases the time required for the services to be done to your exacting specifications.
All these factors can make it nearly impossible for a cleaning service to assess the time and effort it will take for that reason, we put together this helpful guide to assist you in figuring out the going rate in your area – no matter where you are.
First things first.
It’s time to roll up your sleeves and do some sleuthing. The most commonly cited place to check fees for vacation rental cleaning is on listing sites like VRBO and Airbnb. This makes it difficult to determine how to price YOUR property.
The numbers being shown consistently show a range too wide to be useful. Here’s a spread of fees on the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau, for similarly-sized properties: Cleaning fee priced between $75-$175 per stay.
With rates ranging from $75-$175, it’s quite difficult task to determine a reasonable hourly rate from those numbers.
Something to consider here is that the cost that you are asking your guest to pay are the numbers that owners or property managers, and they often have a little or no padding built in to cover the cost of replacement amenities or small repairs. This is one of the reasons we suggest running your Vacation Rental property like a business.
For example, if a cleaning service charges $30/hour, and cleaning a 3-bedroom property takes about 4 hours, the cleaning service will charge the property manager $120.
The property manager, in turn, might charge the owner $150 to cover the cost of keeping the cleaning calendar and finding an available cleaning service for each job.
And the owner might then ALSO decide to set the vacation rental-cleaning fee on Airbnb or VRBO at $150. This builds in a little extra money that can go toward the cost of bathroom amenities and kitchen staples – or replacing the odd broken glass or missing fork.
How should newcomers to the Vacation Rentals set pricing?
Ask Property Managers.
Most property managers are happy to share this information. Explain that you’re new to offering your property for Vacation Rental and one of the cleaning services you spoke to quoted you a $150 flat rate to clean a 3-bed, 2 bath property.
Whatever their reaction, you now know if your initial assessment or the bids you have been receiving is accurate, too high, or too low. Remember, this is just an assessment. Each service will, or should, have an itemized checklist of what is included in the service. Depending on your specific needs, this could change this pricing from one provider to the next.
You can also call and ask cleaning services for quotes.
Be sure to get a range of prices for your specific property type. In full disclosure, most professional services will want to see the property before giving a specific quote. If you have the time, that is advisable. At CabinCare, we offer a complementary estimate, but we also give ballpark estimates based on the property size. With that said, there are details that you might want while we are on-site that will assist you in staging the property. Everything will depend on the level of service you desire.
Be sure to specify you are inquiring about the cost of a vacation rental cleaning, rather than the price to clean a residential home. You should also ask if this business has serviced short-term rentals in the past. If that business has no experience with vacation rental cleaning, their quote may not be accurate, as they may not be aware of the extra time and services needed for this type of clean.
Hourly or flat rate?
While CabinCare works on a flat rate for services of this nature, usually a Vacation Rental Cleaning partner will offer (or should offer) their price structure based on a flat rate charge per booking. A flat rate is a more advantageous agreement, as the owner of the property will have a better approximation of what the service will cost and will be able to charge a slightly higher rate for the service to the guest. This will allow a buffer that can be kept in a property “slush fund” for when something unanticipated comes up… as it always does.
Remember that some booking will leave the property in such a messy condition that extra time from the Cleaning service might be required. This extra cleaning isn’t a cost you as the owner should bear. Guests who leave an uncommon mess at a property should be charged for the additional hours of labor required to clean it. With that said, it is difficult, if not impossible, to recoup these costs from the guest. The occasional extra costs of cleaning are a part of running a short-term rental business.
In either case, the cleaning service should always be paid for the additional hours worked.
If a property has been thoroughly trashed, a good cleaning service should be provided you with digital photos as evidence of the property’s state upon a guest departure. With these photos the Cleaning Service can provide an estimate of the additional time that may be required to bring the property back to a guest-ready state.