Outsourcing tedious household chores doesn’t just take the stress off your plate and crumbs off your counter — it could also significantly improve your quality of life. That’s according to research by Ashley Whillans, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School. Her studies suggest prioritizing time over money — doing things like hiring a house cleaner or hiring a housekeeper to clean your home — could make you happier by allowing you to spend more time on things you value, like work and family.
The average house cleaning cost, however, can depend on a wide variety of things, including where you live, who you hire, and what you’ll be asking them to do. Here’s what to keep in mind when budgeting for cleaning services.
Factors that can affect the cost of housekeeping services
According to current Care house cleaning rates, the cost of a house cleaner in top U.S. cities ranges from $16.00 to $21.75 per hour. But the final price tag can run the gamut based on the cleaner you hire and how long it will take to clean your home. Some factors that can make house cleaning prices go up or down include:
Location of the home
A significant consideration for what you’ll pay for house cleaning services is where your home is located. The average rate for basic house cleaning in Paris, Tennessee, for example, is currently $14.00 per hour, according to the Care house cleaning rates calculator. Meanwhile, Breckenridge, Colorado, cleaners earn quite a bit more at $18.50 per hour.
Size and condition of your home
The bigger and dirtier your home, the more you’ll pay for cleaning, says Marcos Franco, owner of Mighty Clean Home Roswell in Roswell, Georgia. Larger homes or homes that last cleaned a while ago take more work and require more supplies, which drives up the total cleaning price.
For this reason, house cleaners and housekeeping agencies will often base their prices on the square footage of the home, Franco says, as that can significantly affect the hours they’ll likely need to spend cleaning it.
Some inhabitants tend to make more messes than others, and that can increase the cost of cleaning, Franco says. For example, a cleaner might charge more for cleaning homes with animals or small children because they expect to need to spend more time cleaning up the extra pet hair or splatters.
Type of cleaning
Do you only need a basic cleaning to spruce up the place? Or is your home in need of a bit more elbow grease? The thoroughness of the cleaning you’re booking can affect how much you’ll pay. House cleaners, and housekeepers will often offer varying levels, such as:
Routine/basic clean. This type of service is what you might need to get your usually tidy home ready for guests or fill in the gaps during a hectic month. Cleaners will do surface cleaning, like wiping down counters, sweeping and mopping floors, vacuuming rugs, and cleaning toilets. This is usually the cheapest option. Sometimes cleaners might require a deep clean before committing to a regular basic cleaning schedule to ensure the home is in good condition when routine cleanings begin.
Deep clean. A deep clean is when your home hasn’t gotten much love for a while and needs extra attention. Some services you might get with a deep clean you won’t necessarily get with a regular or basic cleaning include scrubbing tile grout in the shower, dusting individual knickknacks, or wiping down baseboards or the tops of ceiling fans. This housekeeping service is more work and, therefore, more expensive than routine cleaning.
Move-in/move-out clean. A move-in/move-out clean often involves a little more attention to scrubbing down the nooks and crannies of a home, including wiping inside the pantry or cupboards and washing down marks on the walls. This is the most expensive option due to the work involved.
Knowing what kind of cleaning service you need is essential for getting your house where you want it and paying your housekeepers a fair rate, says Jennifer Rodriguez, chief hygiene officer at Pro Housekeepers. “We sometimes get customers who say they just need a regular cleaning, but when we arrive, their homes look like they haven’t been cleaned in years,” Rodriguez says.
She says they have to bump up their rates in those instances, which can get awkward for everyone involved.
Some housekeepers will walk through your home to see what kind of cleaning you need and offer their estimate. Suppose you’re getting a quote online or over the phone. In that case, however, Rodriguez recommends being as honest and accurate as possible about your home’s condition to ensure you understand the cost of the service.
Hiring a service vs. an individual
Going with an individual housekeeper or a cleaning company has pros and cons. Companies are generally more structured — with a team of cleaners and their liability insurance, for example — but they also tend to be more expensive.
Experience of (or demand for) the housekeeper or company
Franco says that more experienced housekeepers are generally more expensive per hour, like in many other industries. They tend to be more skilled, allowing them to charge a higher hourly rate.
As a trade-off, they also are generally more efficient than less-experienced cleaners, allowing them to take less time overall to clean your home — which you might overlook if you’re paying a flat rate. Still, it’s something to consider if you’re paying hourly.
Likewise, on-demand cleaners tend to have less incentive to keep prices low, Franco says, so they might also charge more than other agencies or housekeepers in the area.
Any additional services
If you want deep cleaning services as part of routine cleaning, you can generally ask for that when you book your cleaning service, Franco says, but it’ll cost extra. Depending on the size and scope of the work involved, he says cleaners might charge an additional $40 to $75 per task.
Some examples of past services can include:
Cleaning inside the refrigerator.
Cleaning inside the oven.
Scrubbing along the baseboards.
Washing or putting away laundry, including linens.