How Much Should You Charge for Vacation Rental Cleaning?

Sep 13 2023

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What’s in this article?

If you’re a vacation rental owner or manager, you know the importance of a clean property. But with a clean home, comes a cleaning fee. It’s simply an essential part of ensuring that a vacation rental remains, well, clean, and appealing to guests. So how do you determine the right amount to charge? In this article, we will explore the various factors to consider when setting your vacation rental cleaning fees.

What does a vacation rental cleaning fee cover?

So what does the vacation rental cleaning fee cover? Typically, it covers the cost of cleaning the property after each guest’s stay and may also account for the time and effort required to prepare the vacation rental for the next guest.

  • Disinfecting: Since the COVID-19 pandemic, disinfecting surfaces has gained the utmost priority. Professional cleaning companies use high-quality disinfectants to sanitize all commonly touched areas, such as doorknobs, light switches, countertops, and remote controls. This helps ensure that the vacation rental is a safe and clean environment for guests.
  • Bed and bath linens: Clean and fresh linens are essential for providing a comfortable and hygienic sleeping and bathing experience for guests. Professional cleaners remove the used linens and towels and replace them with freshly laundered ones for the next guest.
  • Restocking essentials: Replenishing amenities is also part of the cleaning fee. This includes restocking essential items such as toilet paper, soap, shampoo, and other toiletries. Guests appreciate having these amenities readily available during their stay, and professional cleaners make sure that they are always well-stocked.

Are professional cleaning services necessary?

While some short-term rental managers and owners may prefer to handle the cleaning themselves, others opt to hire professional cleaning services. Your decision depends on various factors. If you manage multiple properties, hiring professionals can help ensure that the cleaning tasks are consistently performed to a high standard.

Moreover, professional cleaners may have access to specialized cleaning equipment and products that can effectively remove stubborn stains or sanitize surfaces. They have the expertise to clean different types of surfaces and materials, ensuring that no damage occurs during the cleaning process. By hiring professionals, you can have peace of mind knowing that your vacation rental is in capable hands.

Are vacation rental cleaning fees required?

Charging a cleaning fee is not mandatory, but it is a common practice in the vacation rental industry. By including a cleaning fee in your rental rates, you can guarantee that the necessary cleaning expenses are covered without impacting your profits. The transparency of charging a separate fee also helps guests understand the cost breakdown of their stay.

It’s important to note that the cleaning fee should be reasonable and reflective of the actual rental property’s cleaning costs. Setting a fair fee ensures that you can provide a clean and well-maintained vacation rental for your guests without incurring any financial losses.

Regardless of how you choose to structure it, clearly communicating the cost of cleaning to potential guests is essential. This way, guests can factor in the expense when comparing prices and making their booking decisions.

Considerations when determining cleaning fees

When determining the appropriate cleaning fee for your vacation rental, there are several factors you should take into account. Let’s explore a few.

Location, kind, and size of rental property

The location, type, and size of your vacation rental play a significant role in setting the cleaning price. Properties located in high-demand areas or popular tourist destinations may justify a higher cleaning fee. For example, if your vacation rental is situated in a beachfront location with stunning ocean views, guests may expect a higher level of cleanliness (no sandy kitchens!) and be willing to pay a premium for it.

Similarly, larger properties with more rooms or amenities may require additional time and effort to clean, thus warranting a higher fee. A spacious villa with multiple bedrooms, a swimming pool, and a garden will require more thorough cleaning compared to a small apartment.

If your vacation rental is a luxury penthouse with high-end furnishings and delicate materials, it may require specialized cleaning techniques and products, which can increase the overall cost. On the other hand, a rustic cabin in the woods may have its own unique cleaning challenges, such as dealing with dirt, debris, and pests from the natural setting.

Competitor cleaning fee research

Researching your competitors’ cleaning fees can provide valuable insights into industry standards and trends. Third-party platforms such as Airbnb or Vrbo are great places to research similar vacation rental properties. While you should not base your fees solely on what others charge, understanding the range of prices in your area will help you find a balance between affordability and profitability for your vacation rental.

When dealing with third-party OTAs, however, be mindful of additional service fees that potential guests might pay. When it comes down to it, guests care about the total cost more than an individual cleaning fee. And while higher cleaning fees may help cover your expenses, they could also deter potential guests if perceived as excessive. Striking a balance between competitive pricing and covering your costs is crucial to attract bookings and maximize your rental’s occupancy rate.

Analyzing your competitors’ cleaning fees can also help you identify any gaps in the market. If you notice that most vacation rentals in your area are charging high cleaning fees, there may be an opportunity for you to offer a more competitive rate and attract budget-conscious travelers.

Hourly vs. fixed vs. commission cleaning fees

Deciding on an appropriate pricing model is another crucial consideration. Some cleaning services charge an hourly rate, while others prefer a fixed fee per rental or even a commission-based approach where a percentage of the rental income goes towards cleaning. Each method has its pros and cons, so it’s important to choose the one that aligns with your specific circumstances and financial goals.

  • Hourly rate: An hourly rate can be advantageous if your vacation rental requires varying levels of cleaning depending on the guests’ length of stay or specific requests. It allows for flexibility and ensures fair compensation based on the actual house cleaning.
  • Fixed fee: On the other hand, a fixed fee per rental provides a predictable income stream and simplifies the pricing structure. This approach can be particularly beneficial if your rental property attracts short-term stays or if you offer additional services beyond cleaning, such as concierge or maintenance.
  • Commission: Finally, a commission-based pricing method can be appealing if you want to align the cleaning fee with your rental income. This approach ensures that the cost of cleaning is directly proportional to the revenue generated by the vacation rental.

Get quotes from local cleaning companies

Property managers should request quotes from local cleaning companies to estimate the costs associated with professional cleaning services. Comparing the rates and services offered by different providers can help you select the most suitable option for your rental business.

It’s important to consider the reputation and reliability of the cleaning companies as well. Reading reviews and testimonials from their previous clients can give you insights into their level of professionalism and the quality of their work.

Additionally, when obtaining quotes, make sure to provide detailed information about your vacation rental, including its square footage, number of rooms, and any specific cleaning requirements. This will enable the cleaning companies to provide accurate estimates tailored to your property’s needs.

Keep in mind that while professional cleaning services may come at a higher cost, they can save you time and effort, ensuring that your vacation rental is thoroughly cleaned and ready for each and every guest check-in.

National short-term average cleaning fees

In addition to researching local averages, it’s worth looking at national average cleaning fees to gain a better sense of larger trends and expectations.

As of Q3 2021, according to Turno, the national averages for vacation rental cleaning costs were as follows:

  • 1 bedroom vacation rental cleaning fee: $55.93
  • 2 bedroom vacation rental cleaning fee: $74.18
  • 3 bedroom vacation rental cleaning fee: $104.76

These averages vary based on location, property type, and other factors. For example, the state with the highest average cleaning fee for 1 bedroom vacation rentals was New Jersey, whereas the state with the highest average cleaning fee for 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom rentals was Hawaii.

Or consider the difference in the average cleaning fee between a 3 bedroom short-term rental in Hawaii, coming in at a whopping $180.46 average, versus a 3 bedroom short-term rental in Oklahoma, averaging only $65.51. That’s a difference of nearly $115 per guest stay!

Other vacation rental cleaning cost considerations

Aside from the aforementioned factors, there are a few other considerations to keep in mind when setting your vacation rental cleaning fees. Let’s explore them below.

Balancing guest cleaning fees vs. cleaning company costs

Deciding whether to charge guests more than what you pay a cleaning company involves evaluating your overall business strategy. If you aim to make a profit on cleaning fees, it might be worth considering a slight markup. However, it’s essential to ensure that the pricing remains fair and reasonable for your guests.

Safety precautions and cost of supplies

Maintaining a clean and safe environment is of utmost importance in the vacation rental industry. Consequently, incorporating safety precautions and the cost of cleaning supplies into your overall cleaning fee structure is essential. These factors should be considered alongside other considerations to ensure the quality and cleanliness of your vacation rental property.

Determining the appropriate cleaning fee for your vacation rental involves considering various factors such as location, property size, competition, and pricing models. By striking a balance between profitability and guest appeal, you can set a fair cleaning fee that aligns with industry standards and helps maintain a pristine vacation rental experience for your guests.

Frequently asked questions

Are vacation rental cleaning fees taxable?

The taxability of vacation rental cleaning fees may vary depending on your location and local tax regulations. It is recommended to consult with a tax professional or research your specific jurisdiction’s rules to determine if you are required to collect taxes on cleaning fees.