Discover essential tips for setting appropriate vacation rental cleaning fees. Strike a balance between competitive pricing and quality cleaning.

If you're a property owner, you know the difference a pristine and spotless home makes. However, with vacation rental cleaning comes the cleaning fees. How can you determine what to charge?

Guests often complain that hosts use cleaning fees to increase their profits. At the same time, when hosts attempt to DIY their cleaning process, guests think of them as amateurs. This leaves you trying to manage a fine balancing act.

In this article, we'll share tips and hacks for setting a fair cleaning price aligned with the costs involved and the average rental market charges. In the end, you'll be able to have your rentals spotlessly clean at a price that doesn't scare off potential guests.

Why Should You Hire Professional Cleaning Services

While some property owners prefer to clean their rentals themselves, this option becomes impossible when managing multiple properties. Here are all the perks of hiring a professional cleaning service:

  • Save time and manual labor: As property managers, you already have a lot on your plate. Cleaning isn't just time-consuming but also tiring. Hiring cleaning providers will save you time for the things that matter most in your business.
  • Secure quality cleaning: Unlike cleaning your house, vacation rentals need extra care and attention to detail. Guests will be too particular about a spotless home (I mean, who can blame them). At the same time, you might have to welcome 3-4 guests per week, which adds to significant labor.
  • Avoid damaging surfaces and materials: Did guests spill wine on your linens? Perhaps there's a stubborn stain on one of your surfaces? Cleaning professionals will take care of it with their knowledge and skill. This way, you'll have peace of mind no permanent damages occur in your rentals.
  • Access specialized cleaning equipment: Along with cleaning providers' expertise comes their special equipment that makes their job ten times faster and more effective. You might attempt to use your all-purpose cleaner for multiple surfaces, but it won't do the trick. For proper sanitization, let professionals do their job.
  • Ensure guest satisfaction: Who doesn't love entering a house that smells like fresh flowers? Getting under linens that feel like they've never been used before? First impressions matter, and a clean house is the first thing guests will evaluate. So, if you want to secure those 5-star reviews, investing in vacation rental cleaning costs is worth it.
Vacation Rental Cleaning: How to Set the Right Cleaning Fees
Airbnb cleaning fee for vacation rental owner

What Does Vacation Rental Cleaning Cover?

Typically, vacation rental cleaning companies provide:

  • Linen and towel management: Changing, washing, and preparing beds with fresh linens for guests' stay. Also, washing used towels and placing new ones.
  • Disinfection: Sanitizing all commonly touched areas from doorknobs to countertops and mirrors to remote controls.
  • Tidying of living areas: Straightening paintings, fluffing up and organizing pillows, rearranging furniture.
  • Dusting, vacuuming, and mopping: Restoring the property to its original clean state without dust on surfaces or floor stains.
  • Kitchen cleaning: Washing leftover dishes in the sink, restocking supplies, and cleaning floors and countertops.
  • Bathroom cleaning: Disinfecting surfaces, polishing mirrors, and mopping the floor.
  • Trash and recycling management: Emptying all trash bins and throwing out the trash.
  • Restocking essentials: Replenishing toilet paper, restocking soaps, shampoos, and toiletries.
Vacation Rental Cleaning: How to Set the Right Cleaning Fees
Vacation rental property cleaning

What to Consider When Setting Cleaning Fees

When determining cleaning fees, keep the following factors in mind:

  • Size and complexity of your property: Larger vacation rentals with more intricate layouts require additional time and effort to thoroughly clean. For instance, a spacious villa with multiple rooms, high-end furniture, and a swimming pool will take double the time to clean.
  • Property location: Vacation rentals in popular tourist destinations go hand in hand with higher cleaning costs. At the same time, a cabin in the woods or a treehouse is a different type of challenge, as it requires dealing with dirt and debris from the natural setting.
  • Maintenance and wear and tear: If your house is old and shows visible signs of wear and tear, it'll require special attention to clean it without damaging anything. For example, if your short-term rental is a mansion from the 20s, cleaning providers will have to devote extra time to maintain it, and you'll be expected to pay higher cleaning fees.
  • Stay duration: Digital nomads or guests staying more than a week will require cleaning between their stays, ultimately affecting cleaning service costs. Ensure you're setting a cleaning fee representing a smaller portion of the total cost of stay. On the other hand, for a 1-3 day stay, set cleaning fees that don't disproportionally increase the overall booking cost.
Vacation Rental Cleaning: How to Set the Right Cleaning Fees
Airbnb cleaning fees: what vacation rental hosts should know
  • Local market conditions: Conduct market research and determine your area's average cleaning fee. Then, check what competitors with similar properties in size and type charge, and adjust your rates accordingly.
  • Additional services: Want your providers to clean your swimming pool? Got a pet-friendly vacation rental that needs to be cleaned of dog hair after each stay? These are extra services that'll affect your final cleaning fee.
  • Cost of cleaning supplies: Professional cleaners must do more extensive cleaning if your rental allows parties or smoking. Similarly, high-end vacation rentals will likely need specialized cleaning products, which will be calculated in the total cleaning fee.
  • Hourly rate vs. Fixed fee vs. Commission: There are different pricing models for cleaning. You can either pay for your cleaning services per hour, decide on a fixed fee, or follow a commission-based approach, where the cleaning company will earn a percentage of your rental income.
  • Professionalism and quality: Your cleaning company's knowledge, expertise, and years of experience will determine the final cleaning fee you'll pay for your vacation rental. Sure, there are cheaper options in the market, but a quality service can benefit your business in the long run.
Vacation Rental Cleaning: How to Set the Right Cleaning Fees
Airbnb cleaning fee, average cleaning costs

How to Determine Cleaning Fees

Now that you know the key factors that play into the cleaning fees, here's a breakdown of how you can set a competitive rate:

1. Evaluate Your Property

Assess its type, size, location, amenities, and unique characteristics. For example, a 4-bedroom beachfront villa in California will pay a higher cleaning fee than a 1-bedroom condo in Florida.

2. Research Comparable Listings

Observe 10 competitor listings similar to your property size, amenities, and location. Note their cleaning fees and identify their nightly rates. This will give you an indicator of what fees your target guests are expected to pay. If possible, aim to add a profit margin to cover additional expenses and generate extra income.

3. Select a Pricing Model

Take into account your property's specifics, and choose a pricing model for your service providers. Here are the pros of each option:

  • Hourly rate: Works best when your target audience is digital nomads or opts for more extended stays where mid-stay cleans are necessary. An hourly rate gives room for flexibility and fair compensation for cleaning providers.
  • Fixed fee: A fixed fee is preferable for short-term stays with predictable cleaning tasks across all bookings. It can also be beneficial if you offer extra services like concierge or maintenance.
  • Commission-based: This approach is most suitable for luxury vacation rental properties where pricing isn't a critical factor in purchasing. It aligns your rental income with your cleaning fee so that your providers' earnings are directly proportional to your profit.

4. Calculate Cleaning Supply Costs

Consider the cost of supplies needed for your cleaning companies and any specific products for surfaces or materials. Keeping a record of your costs and billables will help you adjust your cleaning fee accordingly.

5. Take Quotes From Local Cleaning Services

Finally, consult professional cleaning services in your area and ask for quotes for complete cleaning plus linens. Use your competitor research as an indicator to know what to expect. Once you pick your provider, add their fee to your total cost per stay.

Vacation Rental Cleaning: How to Set the Right Cleaning Fees
Cleaning fee for the vacation rental industry

Your Turn to Set Your Vacation Rental Cleaning Fees

A set-it-and-forget-it approach to your cleaning fee won't work—you must constantly readjust prices as market conditions evolve. Now, you have the tools to set a competitive cleaning fee for your vacation rental to ensure guest satisfaction.

Once you decide on it, include it in your Houfy listing or adjust your prices on your direct-booking website. Not on Houfy yet? Join a community of over 68,000 hosts and guests who profit from booking directly without middlemen and save more money for other vital investments in your vacation rental property. Get started today!

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