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Having a maid service clean your house on a regular basis -- or complete a one-time deep cleaning -- is a wonderful way to take care of your home without spending hours on your knees with cleaning supplies. Regular cleaning also helps preserve wood floors, furniture, upholstery and countertops. You may be intimidated by the potential cost of hiring a maid service, but before you get discouraged, here are a number of factors that could decrease your price or make it worthwhile regardless.
The average maid service cost is $158, though homeowners could spend anywhere between $115 and $227 for their services. Typically, maid service charges are either by the hour or square footage. Per hour costs are between $25 and $35. Square footage charges depend on the size of your house. For example, an area less than 1,000 square feet averages $120 while 3,000 square feet or more could cost $140.
Some professional cleaning services may do a first-time cleaning by the square foot. This allows the maid service to determine how long it will take to clean your house and to get an idea of what special attention your house may require such as high ceiling fans, fragile antiques, etc. On average, the typical single family home costs $130. Maid service for apartments averages $100 and for businesses around $150.
How often you expect the maid service to come out can also affect your cost. Multiple visits may actually net you some savings. Savings can typically be about $5 to $10 per cleaning. You might be able to get a further discount by paying for multiple cleanings upfront or by signing a contract for long-term service. This winds up saving you anywhere from $50 to $200 in the long run.
Maid services can do a one-time cleaning as well. This can be useful for sprucing up your home for a holiday party, viewings by potential buyers or apartments after a tenant has moved out and before a new one comes in. For the typical home, this cost is normally around $200 to $300.
Other factors come into play when paying for a maid service as well. These factors include the number of rooms to be cleaned, how many bathrooms there are, if you have particular needs for certain types of cleaning products, accessibility to rooms, and travel time to your home.
1. Determine how many rooms you want to clean.
Make a list of the rooms in your house you would like to have cleaned and consider how long it would take you to clean those rooms yourself. Although a maid service may be faster, it is a good way to get a general estimate of the time and cost of hiring someone else to clean for you. The more rooms you have, the more expensive the cost of cleaning services. If you do not have a home that gets dirty quickly, you could choose to have a certain number of rooms cleaned each visit and rotate every time. This way each room gets cleaned within a certain timeframe, and you can save a little on the cost as well.
By counting bedrooms, maid services can get an idea of the occupancy and usage of your home. Higher occupancy often means a bit more cleanup. A large house with only two bedrooms will generally not require as much work as a small house with four bedrooms. A bedroom may have specific cleaning needs as well. For example, a master bedroom may have a walk-in closet that requires vacuuming and dusting. A dresser overloaded with tiny photographs and other mementos will take more time to clean as well.
Bathrooms are perhaps the most involved rooms to clean. They also often use the harshest cleaners. Bathrooms require specific cleaners for specific tasks. For example, a toilet cleaner won't work well on a shower, and a shower cleaner won't work well on a toilet. The sink and vanity will require their own types of cleaners, and mirrors require yet another. Shower doors may need a cleaner specifically for removing hard water stains and soap residue. Floors will also need to be mopped with their own cleaners.
Naturally, the larger the bathroom, the more involved it will be to clean. A master bath might include: a large shower, a bathtub, his and her vanities, his and her sinks, large mirrors, multiple lighting fixtures, and accessories for the tub and/or shower. Some of these may include metallic finishes that require specific cleaners, such as brass or stainless steel. If your sink and tiles are marble, they will require special care because as hard as it is, marble is porous and scratches easily.
Because bathrooms are so demanding in their maintenance, there are some services that clean only bathrooms. A typical price for this service is about $25 per hour.
4. Decide between standard and eco-friendly cleaners.
Think about the products that you want to use in your home. Many people prefer environmentally-friendly, non-toxic products. If this is what you want, you need to be clear about this from the start. Most house cleaners will ask you to supply your own cleaning products or pay for theirs. So if you have specific product needs, it could factor into the price. To see what sort of cost difference there is, compare the common products below:
Window cleaner (32 oz.)
Standard brands such as Windex -- about $3
"Green" brands such as Green Works -- $5.50 to $8
Carpet spot cleaner (22 oz.)
Standard brands such as Spot Shot -- $4
"Green" brands such as Simple Green -- $5
Floor cleaner (144 oz.)
Standard brands such as Pine-Sol -- $14
"Green" brands such as Simple Green -- about $20
Standard brands such as Dawn (24 oz) -- $2
"Green" brands such as Green Works (22 oz) -- $3
As you can see, eco-friendly cleaners cost more. If you want to ensure that only "green" products are used, you should supply them.
5. List any special circumstances such as allergies, antiques, and pets.
Do you have:
Valuable antiques in your home?
High ceilings and require a ladder to dust the ceiling fan?
A cat that is never allowed in the bedroom or a dog that sheds on everything?
Some house cleaners will have things they do not do or charge extra for, so it is best to set appropriate expectations.
Allergies and chemical sensitiveness can also cost you a bit more. Some cleaners, such as "Fabuloso," have a very strong scent that some people find too strong. Bleaches and other common cleaners can also prove to be a bit pungent. While many "green" cleaners don't have scents, dyes or perfumes, they do cost a bit more and you may be required to supply them.
Standard vacuum cleaner bags actually let some dust escape. For most people this isn't a problem, but a person with a severe allergy might require special vacuum cleaner bags to be used. There are too many factors to determine how much this will raise your cost (if at all, as some maid services use only "green" or anti-allergen products). However, to give you an idea:
A 12-pack of regular vacuum cleaner bags costs about $4
An allergen-reducing pack of 3 costs about $7
That's about 33 cents a bag versus about $2.50 a bag.
If you have pets, you will need to let the maid service know. Dogs, in particular, can get very protective of their homes and may need to be confined. Cats are not so much an injury concern as they are an escape concern. If you have a hand-trained bird that does just fine outside of his or her cage, be sure to put them in their cages for their own safety. The presence of pets can also affect your cost if they shed a lot. Depending on the fabrics used on your furniture, pet hair can be very difficult to remove. If your pet has free run of the house, this factor could be present in almost every room.
6. Determine if you have areas that are difficult to access.
If there are parts of your home that are more difficult to access, such as very high ceilings, windows or shelving, your house cleaning service may have an extra charge associated with anything that involves the use of a ladder or difficult-to-access places.
Tall ceilings usually have ceiling fans suspended from them that require a ladder to get up to even if a wand is used. Often a home with high ceilings also has tall or high windows and high shelving. This is not only a bit of extra work to get the ladder in, set up, and back out again, it's also a safety hazard. A maid service will most likely have to use your ladder, and if it isn't in good shape, you could be held liable for injuries. (OSHA has an entire section dedicated just to ladders.)
Multi-story homes require moving heavier household equipment such as vacuum cleaners up flights of stairs. Also, cleaning rails and balustrades can incur an extra cost as does the task of vacuuming the stairs themselves.
7. Find out if your home is located in the service area.
Some maid services will charge a trip fee if your home is outside of their service area. If you want to avoid this, look for maid services that are in your general vicinity. How much this charge is varies widely and can be influenced by such factors as the remoteness of your home, the workload on the maid service, and the cost of gas. Be sure to check what their service area is and shop around. One maid service may have more calls than they can handle and may charge more while another who needs the work might offer a lower trip fee in order to get the business.
There are many maid services to choose from. They range from individual people looking for extra income to full-fledged corporations with nationwide services. Which one you choose depends entirely on your personal preferences.
Independent operators often charge less, sometimes as little as $10 an hour. As independents, you can sometimes negotiate an acceptable rate. Few, if any, will require a contract, and changes to your cleaning schedule are usually not a problem. Many can provide references to attest to the quality of their work and to their personal integrity and honesty. There are websites where individual maids can advertise their services and list their qualifications and specialties.
Maid service companies are bonded, licensed and insured, but they usually cost more, around $25 to $35 an hour. Many require contracts and may or may not be able to accommodate last-minute schedule changes. However, maid service companies have better dependability. If the maid who cleans your house is out sick, they can call in another employee who will have the same qualifications as your regular maid. As with any service, get references regardless of if you're considering a company or an individual and check HomeAdvisor reviews as well as anywhere else you can find them. Three to five should be enough to give you an idea of what level of service to expect.
A maid service can be expected to come to your house and clean. But what does that entail? The standard maid services include:
Vacuuming your floors, but may or may not include polishing them if needed
Dusting surfaces, but if you have antiques or other such items to be cleaned, it may cost you more depending on how fragile they are or if special cleaners must be used.
Scrubbing floors, sinks, and countertops, but if you have old or damaged grout, all a maid can do is clean it.
Some maid services offer other tasks as part of their regular service that most do not. For example, some may load your dishwasher and/or change bed linens. While most maid services will clean your stovetop, some will include cleaning the inside of the oven as well. Some maid services will clean the inside of most standard windows, but the outside is either an extra charge or not covered at all. In fact, most maid services do not cover exterior cleaning. Some will also take the trash out, but don't assume this.
There are things that the vast majority of maid cleaning services do not do. Most will not:
Do the dishes.
Do your laundry.
Wash walls unless it has been agreed upon, and will carry an extra charge. Mini-blinds can also carry an extra charge.
Finally, a maid will not pick up after you. There is a joke about having to clean up before the maid arrives, but there is a reality behind it. If your floor is cluttered with scattered toys, books, games and so forth, she can't vacuum it. An individual who is charging by the hour might do it, but it's going to end up costing you more. However, very few people want to be responsible for breaking someone else's belongings, so it will be seen as your responsibility to pick them up.
While most maid services will need to see what needs cleaning before giving you a quote, here are a few examples prices for many common tasks and some extras:
900 sq. ft. 2-bedroom apartment, 5 rooms
One-time cleaning - $70-$200
Bi-weekly cleaning - $60-$125
1300 sq. ft. single-story home, 7 rooms
One-time cleaning - $90-$300
Bi-weekly cleaning - $80-$150
2200 sq. ft. two-story 3-bedroom home, 9 rooms
One-time cleaning - $150-$400
Bi-weekly cleaning - $100-$180
Window cleaning, interior (exterior if safely possible) - $20-$70
Refrigerator cleaning (including removing and replacing items) - $30
Whole house cleaning is a service that goes above and beyond simply dusting, vacuuming and scrubbing. Whole house cleaning includes cleaning lighting fixtures, switches, outlets, baseboards, air ducts, tiles, grout, upholstery, carpet cleaning, trim, crown molding and a whole slew of services dedicated to giving your house a deep cleaning. Unlike a typical maid service, a whole house cleaning includes moving furniture to get at the area underneath and behind it.
This kind of service is normally used to prepare a home for viewing by potential buyers, post-construction clean-up, or for cleaning up extreme cases such as might be seen with a "hoarder." It is a very involved service and can cost a bit. Whole house cleaning services are normally done on a one-time basis. The cost of having a whole house cleaning ranges from a couple of hundred dollars to a few thousand. Factors that influence this cost include:
Square footage of the house -- A larger house will involve more work. There will be more air ducting, more windows, more walls, more floor space, etc.
Stories -- A multi-story house will require moving heavy equipment up and down stairs. Just as with a regular maid service, this will normally cost more.
Tall ceilings -- Ceilings do collect dust and cobwebs, and lighting fixtures and ceiling fans will need to be cleaned. With tall ceilings, this involves the extra risk of working on a ladder.
Furniture -- Some maid services will vacuum the upholstery, but a whole house cleaning also includes deodorizing the furniture and making it presentable.
Carpets -- Maid services will vacuum your carpets. If you need a deep cleaning, however, whole house cleaning involves shampooing and extraction. This is particularly important if you want to show your house for sale but have pets.
Naturally, a whole house cleaning will cost more than the typical maid service. As a baseline idea of what to expect to pay, here is an example of some prices for a deep cleaning based on rooms. Remember that the prices reflect an average and could change depending on the size of the room, fixtures, appliances, etc.:
Kitchen -- $75 or more
Full Bath -- $45 or more
Half Bath -- $15 or more
Bedroom -- $30 average
Living Room -- $30 average
Dining Room -- $30 average
Other Common Rooms -- $30 average
Home Office -- $15 average
Halls/Stairs -- $30 average
Carpet Cleaning -- $75-$200 for whole house, or $0.25-$0.50 per square foot
Furniture -- Remove stains and odors - $50-$100
Windows -- Normal windows can cost $5 per window, $3 per screen.
Polishing or Waxing -- Average $0.25-$0.50 per square foot. Some companies may have a minimum for this depending on the size of the house.
Should You Hire a Weekly or Monthly Housekeeper or Maid Service?
How often you have a maid service come to your house depends on your needs and your schedule. You might need just a little help staying on top of things, such as if you are elderly or handicapped, or you might need a lot of help because of your busy schedule or because you entertain a lot. Here is an idea of what the various schedules for housekeepers are:
Weekly -- A weekly cleaning is ideal for those with busy lives and lots of social obligations. For these people, even a simple wiping down of kitchen counters and vacuuming can put a crimp in their overloaded schedules. Even those who work at home can find themselves without the time to do much beyond the bare necessities depending on the nature of the work.
Bi-weekly -- As a general upkeep type of service, this is the most popular schedule for many homes. It's ideal for someone who is busy, but not overloaded with work or social commitments.
Monthly -- A once-a-month thorough cleaning provides a good, regular service for your home. While it can be more costly than the previous two options because of the workload involved, it's also often enough for people who don't entertain a lot and who may not have particularly loaded schedules.
Normally, the more often a maid service comes out to your house, the less it will cost you per visit. With such a routine schedule, the maid service will most likely have the cleaning supplies you need so that you don't have to buy them (unless you require certain products due to allergies, environmental concerns, etc.).
Weekly and bi-weekly visits are not only more cost effective, they're also healthier. A routine cleaning of your home reduces allergens, bacteria, and other health concerns for your family. A weekly visit can save $5 to $10 per visit on maid services like Merry Maids costs, not including what you'll save if you don't have to buy your own cleaning products.
Which maid service you choose, company or individual, what level of service you choose, and how frequently you have the maid service come out will entirely depend on your needs and budget. Some people only have certain heavily used rooms cleaned regularly, which saves quite a bit, while others may need their entire house cleaned only once in awhile. Whichever you choose, be sure to have the maid service come out and look at your house, and let them know every special requirement your home may have, from delicate collectibles to potentially difficult-to-reach areas. This way, they can give you the most accurate estimate for your home.