Airbnb has become one of the online kings of the short-term rental, allowing people to bring in extra income by posting spare rooms, vacation homes, and rental properties online for easy booking.
If you are thinking about getting into the Airbnb game, you may have questions about house cleaning services for your guests. Which are the best to book? Should I go DIY? What are the criteria I should be looking for?
In this article, we’ll dive into the world of cleaning. We’ll answer questions about whether you should clean your rental yourself or look to professional cleaning services, plus how to incorporate cleaning fees (and give you a rundown of the different schools of thought around the subject). Finally, we’ll give you a guide for what to look for when hiring a cleaning service.
Brief Guide to Airbnb
Airbnb is the immensely popular online platform where people can rent out spare rooms, entire apartments, or vacation rental homes.
Headquartered in San Francisco, the company was founded in 2008 by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk. What started as a small Silicon Valley startup quickly turned into one of the major successes of the internet age. The company boasted $2.7 billion in revenue in 2017 and employs over 3,000 people.
The company has recently moved beyond just offering Airbnb rentals and is now expanding into the ”experiences” space, where they offer guided tours, biking trips, concert outings, and more for people traveling to new cities. Still, the heart of Airbnb is the rooms and homes that are booked on their platform.
How to Decide What to Charge
When it comes to setting fees for cleaning, Airbnb gives you the power to do it how you want, and there is some internal debate among the Airbnb hosting community about the best way of going about it.
Airbnb gives you the freedom to either set your cleaning fee separate or, as you have total control over the cost of your rental, you can bake it into the nightly price itself. The decision is completely up to you, but there are some questions you should ask yourself before making that decision. Let’s get into them:
Separate Cleaning Fee or Incorporate It Into the Price?
For hosts who like to include the cleaning fee separately, they do so because it allows them to advertise a low nightly cost and then just tack on one cleaning fee per rental. If someone rents the house for a week, for example, the renter will get the low nightly cost and then a one-time cleaning fee tacked on at the end. For example, if the home is a $100-a-night rental with a $50 cleaning fee, then a seven-day stay would cost $700 plus the $50 cleaning fee. Not too bad or surprising for the renter.
The issue with this, of course, is if someone just rents for one night. In that case, a $100-a-night rental with a $50 cleaning fee will result in severely upping the cost of the rental, perhaps beyond what the renter expected. Will they turn away and go find a new listing knowing that the cost has gone up 50% just from the cleaning fee? Possibly.
Likewise, if you bake the cost of the cleaning fee into the price, that will be great for people who are booking for short stays, as there won’t be a surprise fee that jumps out at them if they’re just staying for a short amount of time.
Again, the flipside is true for longer stays. Let’s use the same numbers as above: Say you include that $50 in your nightly listing fee and set it at $150 a night — now if someone is looking to rent for a week, they’re paying quite a bit more for the entire stay, and may go and try and find a cheaper rental.
So, play it by ear. Airbnb gives you the freedom to set prices the way you see fit. If you tend to get people booking for longer periods of time, perhaps a one-time cleaning fee with a lower listing price may help you book more. If you own a popular spot for overnights or weekend renters, maybe try incorporating some (if not all) of the cleaning costs into the nightly rate, so you avoid a surprise fee that may severely impact a one- or two-night rate.
Should You Do It Yourself or Hire an Airbnb Cleaning Service?
Owners of Airbnb rooms and apartments have often asked the question: “Should I clean my Airbnb and save money? Or charge the renter and pay someone to do it?”
The answer totally depends on your situation, your availability, and the type of rental you are putting on the market.
For example: Say you rent a spare room in your house a few nights a month. In that case, you’re really just throwing the sheets in the washer and tidying up after a guest who stayed for a night or two. It might be more effective to skip the cleaning company, thus skipping the cleaning fee, and just do it yourself, especially if the nightly price is on the cheaper side. You’ll be able to keep prices low, not surprise renters with a big cleaning fee, and it won’t be too much work on your end.
If you are renting out an entire home, especially one that isn’t easy for you to get to, don’t overthink it. Hire a home cleaning company and let them do the work. You can charge your guests a fair fee to cover or help offset the costs, and you will sleep easier knowing that your home is being given a deep cleaning by professionals after each guest stays there. Each new guest will walk into a beautiful, clean interior at check-in.
What to Look for in a Cleaning Service
Whether you’re renting a spare room or have a property that’s being run like a rental business, you’ll want to find a cleaning service that treats your home well, and one that doesn’t leave you exposed to unnecessary risk. One that doesn’t break the bank is a good thing, as well.
Here are some things you should look for in a company:
Reliable, Honest, and Insured
When looking to book a maid service, do your research. Reputable companies will have reviews and testimonials online, and websites like Care.com and Yelp will have user feedback and reviews from different companies.
Also, if possible: Find a cleaning company that is insured. It may be tempting to find someone on Craigslist who will offer to clean your apartment at a very low rate. That could save you money, but if the cleaning company isn’t insured and the cleaner were to slip and fall in your rental property, that could leave you liable.
Willing to Provide a Good Rate for Repeat Service
If you are looking to have regular cleaning services for your rental apartment, you should try to negotiate a good rate with the understanding that the business will be steady. Most cleaning companies will be willing to work out a deal with you provided you have regular, or even semi-regular, need for cleaning.
Provide Turnover Services
If your Airbnb listing is a rental property you don’t spend much time at, or isn’t easy for you to get to, you should try to find a company that specializes in rental cleaning services or “turnover cleaning” services. These companies will not only clean your home, but they will replace toilet paper and paper towels, take out the garbage, and provide laundry service, changing the linens on the bed and making sure fresh towels are out for each new guest.
These companies will usually have experience working with property managers and know exactly what to do to make sure your rental property is perfectly set up whenever new guests arrive. They should be able to schedule cleaning ahead of time, or provide quick support if you have a late booking.
TIP: If you’re having trouble finding a cleaning company in your area that will do full turnover service, you should look into an office cleaning company, as they should be able to handle projects of this scope.
Find the Right Airbnb Cleaning Service
When looking for an Airbnb cleaning service, there’s a lot to consider. First off, the price — and how you choose to pass (or not pass) on that price to the renter. Then there’s the matter of finding the right cleaning service.
Follow our guide and ask the questions outlined in this article and you’re sure to find the right company in your area. Your rental will be spotless for every new guest who walks in the door.