Cleaning fees - why & when to charge?

I’m fairly new at this, renting two private rooms. I’m confused about the cleaning fee, why one would charge for this. When I go to a hotel I don’t pay a cleaning fee, indirectly I do in the room rate so why not just roll ones fees into room rental rate?

Here is my concept of cleaning…

If I rent a room for $50 per night (no cleaning fee)
On a one night stay, I make $50, or $50/night.
On a 5 night stay, I make $250 or $50/night.
For a cleaning - how often do you clean each of those units? Once each stay - right? So if you have cleaning calculated into your nightly rate, you may have overcharged the 5N stay. The 1N stay takes a lot more work…

So - say it takes you an hour to clean each unit @ $20/hour.
With a $20 cleaning fee added:
On a one night stay, I make $50 + $20 cleaning. $70 total 70/night
On a 5 night stay, I make $250 + $20 cleaning. $270 total. 54/night
But - if you have five 1N stays, you just spent 5 hours cleaning. What a hassle! You really want the 5N people, because it is so much less work for you to clean for them.

It is really what you want - do you have time to go clean? Or what if you hire out for cleaning to someone else?


Think of it as a discount for those who stay longer than one night.


That’s one of the reasons I don’t charge a cleaning fee. I don’t want to give a discount to people who stay more than one night. I love one-night stays. They are gone early in the morning, which means I have my apartment all to myself all day.

Guests staying more than one night tend to hang around a lot of the time, talking to me, asking questions, taking up my time.

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It used to be that Airbnb showed the listing price without the cleaning fee. Those who charged a cleaning fee included in the price found that they looked less competitive in comparison to other listings which separated out these costs.

I charge a cleaning fee because I need to use a laundrette service to clean the sheets and towels. It’s a fixed price that occurs whether a guest chooses to stay one night or five. That cost is £15.

Let’s say I chose to add £5 to each nightly stay to recover that cost, rather than a cleaning fee.

Guest A stays 2 nights and pays £10 towards the true cost of the laundrette.

Guest B stays 5 nights and pays £25 towards the true cost of the laundrette.

Guest C stays 1 night and pays £5 towards the true cost of the laundrette.

You can see there’s too much variation and in fact most people will underpay or overpay in this model. For me the only workable option was to attach the charge separately.


We don’t charge a cleaning fee. Recently I looked at an Airbnb which had a cleaning fee and a service fee. Service fee was to Ben on call 24 hours. Even though our farm stay is 5 mins away and the other in our backyard I don’t want to be on call 24 hours. I’m in Australia

I’ve set a cleaning fee higher than what I might set for ‘pure cleaning’ to some extent to encourage people to book longer than a night or two.
If I end up with a one night gap between two bookings, and am desperate for it to be filled, I’ll simply lower the base price for that night.

Glad it works for you @Eberhard_Blocher . What about all the cleaning up you need to do on a daily basis then?
My ideal stay is 3N. It’s long enough that they get a feel of the place and my hospitality, but short enough that if there’s any incompatibility, it ends in 3 days!


I am the proud owner of a washing machine, and a vacuum cleaner, so I get along just fine.

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You may find cleaning fees more prevalent in whole house/apartment rentals. We charge what our cleaning company charges to clean the unit.


Hmm, my pride of ownership of said goods is no inferior to yours I’d conjecture. There’s probably more to it than that - I can’t be bothered cleaning the guest area everyday. :slight_smile:

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Another reason to charge a cleaning fee, for me, is that my state and county don’t charge sales tax on my cleaning income. It’s still income on my income tax, but it’s not taxable in my sales tax calculation.


My rental is 1600 sq ft condo 3 BR 2.5 bath, min 3 nights including full kitchen, 2 living areas and a nicely equipped laundry with large capacity washer & dryer. I charge an exit cleaning fee of $50 USD (a 1/3 of what an agency would charge) no daily maid service. For a reasonably clean guest, the unit takes 6 hours to clean including laundry (sheets towels etc).

I’m now rambling. I think my point was that several of my guests have stayed more than one week and expect a “during stay cleaning & laundry service” which I’m not inclined to do for the nightly rate I charge & cleaning supplies are in the unit. I think I need to communicate cleaning fee coverage better.

We have four private rooms in a townhouse with an average nightly rate of $100. We charge a $35 cleaning fee and $10 for second guests. Fees make up 20% to 22% of annual revenue and we run at 95+% occupancy at all times. If there is another fee we could charge to make even more revenue, we would.

The trick is how the fee is marketed. When asked, we explain that our rooms are cleaned to a 10 point checklist – just like Jiffy Lube

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I don’t charge a cleaning fee, I just up my daily rate to cover it. I find it simpler that way and also get no “annoyed” guests when they go to pay for the added charge.

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I charge a cleaning fee because I have to pay someone to clean and do the laundry. The cleaning fee doesn’t cover the entire cost of her services but it offsets it and makes it so my price per night is competitive with others around me

I think the entire concept of a “cleaning fee” is ridiculous. Here are my reasons:

  1. It’s irritating and confusing for guests. Does it mean they don’t have to clean up after themselves? Why should they clean up when they’re paying extra for it?

  2. Hosts use the cleaning fee to make one-night stays more profitable. Understandable. But it’s really nothing to do with “cleaning”, is it? Of course it’s more work, more laundry but guests don’t necessarily get that so it looks like a sneaky way to get more money from them. It would be far better to have a more flexible pricing system that allows hosts to automatically increase/decrease the price based on the length of stay. Or up your overall daily rate to cover the costs.

  3. Some hosts have suggested this should be considered a “preparation fee”. That is: guests are not paying for someone to clean up AFTER their stay, rather they are paying for someone to ensure the space is clean PRIOR to their arrival. WTF?? This is pure nonsense. It’s basically saying ‘my rate is xx but if you want it to be clean then you have to pay me an extra xx’. Ridiculous, right?

  4. People don’t like add-on fees that don’t make sense to them. Airlines stopped doing it years ago because it was so damned annoying (oh you actually want to sit on your seat? That’s another £30. Of course you’ll need a boarding pass: £25. And you actually want to take luggage with you? That’ll be £35 extra etc etc). I know it’s normal in many parts of the US to have lot’s of add-ons for various taxes which is unavoidable, I guess, but this cleaning fee needs to go. It should be redundant: places should be clean before and after guests as a given part of the service. Nobody should have to pay extra for it.


I see no problem with charging a cleaning fee/preparation fee. I charge $15.00. It takes me 3 to 5 hours to clean the guest room and bathroom between guests. I have to do 3 to 4 loads of laundry after each guest. If Airbnb stopped permitting hosts to charge cleaning fees; I bet there would be very few hosts willing to take one night stays.

Airbnb does have an automatic flexible pricing system. Hosts can offer a weekly and or monthly discount.

Airline charges must be different in England than in the U.S. Here, airlines are charging extra for everything they can think of: checked bags, headphones, seat selection, seats with more legroom, unaccompanied minor fee to name a few.

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Magwitch, I largely share your view on this. The other aspect is how it distorts ‘headline’ prices, e.g. you see a place that is cheaper than a place you are considering and think great, then you see the cleaning fee (and often other add ons) and realise its not cheaper which is waste of guests time when looking for a place to book and I find it very irritating.

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I literally do laundry every day. Usually at least 4 beds worth, and I do it all in my home. I have a smart metre that shows me how much electricity and gas I am using, and it is quite terrifying when the washer and dryer are going all day.Then there is all the cleaning. Loos, showers, sinks, hoovering, cleaning all the coffee/tea making stuff. which Even though I have 2 night mins, I have 4 rooms that I host and they rarely all arrive and leave on the same day. Actually, never. I feel totally justified in charging my paltry £25 cleaning fee. It does not cover the cost of the washing, never mind my time and supplies, but at least I feel like i am getting something! I could just up my price and include it, but then my room would be substantially more expensive on first glance than all my competitors, and I am in a very competitive market, all my close neighbouring hosts charge a cleaning fee.


I think this may be the best way to set your cleaning fee. If most of the hosts in your area charge one, then you can too and still be seen as competitive. If other hosts don’t, hopefully they are adding that cost into the rate, which means you can as well.

I agree that from a guest’s perspective, an extra cleaning fee seems like just a way to get more money out of them, and that a clean room should be included in the price. I also agree that from a host’s perspective, it takes a lot of time, energy and money to turn a room/bathroom/common areas over, or a whole house rental, and that somehow needs to be compensated for.