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High cleaning fee?

Hi all, I’m using a management company, and they’re charging a $350 cleaning fee. I have a pool, and the rate for the home is $300+, but I’m wondering if this is reasonable.

Thanks!

What size is the listing? Where is it located?

It’s in Miami. 3 beds and 3 baths. About 1900 square feet.

Seems high to me…

RR

Obviously I don’t know about your situation but I wonder why you are using a management company - but more importantly, why you’re letting them dictate the price?

You should be able to explain to your guests, if asked, how the cleaning fee is justified. Therefore, I would ask the management company to show me receipts to demonstrate that the cleaning does in fact cost something close to that amount.

I say ‘something close’ because there’s nothing wrong with saying “the cleaning costs me $300 then there’s an additional fee for my time in coordinating and supervising the cleaning crew / cleaning materials / laundry or whatever…”

I see nothing wrong with having a cleaning fee that is equivalent to the nightly fee. But check that the management company aren’t ripping you off. You’re in Miami so make sure that the company is using a proper licensed and insured cleaning firm with a good background and good reviews. I’m in South Florida and I know that it can be easy to get people to clean at a very low price so be sure it’s a proper company and that you get the receipts.

If the company are not keen to give you the receipts a) tell them that photocopies will do and b) be very suspicious indeed. Bear in mind that it’s easy to fake receipts so check into the cleaning firm.

Ask to speak to another Airbnb host who has used their services. (Preparing a place as an Airbnb rental is not the average ‘cleaning’.)

About $300 if it includes the pool, all cleaning materials, laundry etc. seems reasonable especially if the cleaners are good, prompt and efficient. Check though that the management company aren’t putting their own cut on the top. Their fees should be separate without them adding their own profit margin to your vendors.

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A high cleaning fee means your listing won’t be competitive on short stays, but will be more attractive to long stays. I’d do some competitive searches to make sure we’re priced in line with similar listings for the booking length of your target market. (ie. If I want long term students, check 30+ day stays vs. 2-7 day vacation-goers)

I don’t have a cleaning fee because I prefer “all-in” pricing with no extra fees.

Also keep in mind that cancellations are paid out according to your policy, but the cleaning fee is always fully refunded. (If a 1-night guest cancelled the day before arrival, you’ll only get the $300, not $650)

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That seems to be on the higher end, but may be reasonable if they are doing a good deep clean and include the pool and laundry in that price.

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It doesn’t include the pool. Presently, I’m paying for the pool to be cleaned. :frowning: I was previously advised as follows, but perhaps I should request receipts: > We keep 100pc of the cleaning fee and use it to pay the cleaners, the inspector and if possible pay for all or part of the guest gift which costs between $10 and $50 (depending on the reservation amount). We need to charge this fee in order to ensure the most critical basic element: delivery of a spotless home. To be clear, cleaning is not a revenue source for us.

BTW, I’m using a management company because I have not rented my place previously, and also because I will be traveling a lot the next few months. It seemed like the service would potentially pay for itself with high reviews, additional bookings, etc., but I am not so sure.

For whole-house listings, a cleaning fee that is slightly less than the nightly rate is fairly typical in my area, so yours seems reasonable.

If your occupancy rate is good and the management company works on commission (i.e. a percentage of the reservation payouts), then I don’t know why you would care.

If you’re new and just trying to make sure the management company is doing the right thing, then search other listings in your area and compare them.

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Okay, what inspector? Does this mean someone who goes round after the cleaners to inspect their work? If so, I’d start to wonder why the cleaners aren’t trusted, i.e. that they might not be a legitimate licensed and insured firm.

Other hosts might do the same thing (vary the value of the guest arrival treats depending on reservation valuation) but I imagine that a similar amount don’t. (For the record, guests staying two nights or two weeks get the same in our apartments. I don’t really see why I should be treated any differently if I reserved for two days as opposed to two weeks if I was a guest).

I’d still ask them for a breakdown of how the cleaning fee price is arrived at. All their fees, in fact.

Only time will tell. Many guests, not all by any means, prefer to have a more personal service. I truly can’t see how a management company can mean better reviews and more bookings. Is it working out well so far?

The management company is doing exactly what you said was ok for the OP

This is what happens when you hire a contractor, they make money on the subcontractors.

The question is for me, is the place worth 600-700 for a night? Likely you will not get shorter bookings with this high of a cleaning fee. Will you even get bookings at that price? And if you do, what part of that are you getting after the manager takes a cut?

RR

I think the inspector is someone on the manager’s staff, who he does not want to pay out if his own pocket. I had thought this would be covered in the 20% that he’s receiving. This was a surprise to me.

Yep. As owner of the property and employer of the management company, the host should be in charge of the finances; determining nightly fee, cleaning fee, additional person fee etc. etc.

After all only the owner knows how much the property is costing to run so can make these decisions. Only the owner knows the mortgage repayments, how much the STR insurance costs, what the utility bills are per annum, how much the property taxes are and so on.

Edit: And bear in mind that the management company said that they made no margin on the cleaning fee. Maybe I’m a super suspicious person but I’d want to see receipts a) for my own records and b) to know who was working on my property and for how much.

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Does that include linens?

It does. They’re taking them offsite for cleaning.

Seems in the ball park, you could check around to try to find someone else. The linen charge could easily be $100 plus of that total.

It takes my cleaner about 4.5 hours to clean up after 4 guests sharing two beds in our 2000 square foot house. That includes stripping the beds and pillows down and washing the protective covers, sheets, and bedspreads which is the thing that takes longest.

It took her 3 hours to clean up after 1 couple whose wife was a self described ‘very clean person’ who vacuumed the house so thoroughly when she left that there was no evidence her 4 dogs had been there.

It took her 8 hours to clean up after the group of 5 that I blacklisted.

I pay her $20 an hour which is high for our market. She is very thorough. She is retired from hospitality and was in charge of guest services for a 5 star luxury resort hotel in a major US city so her work is going to be comparable to a professional cleaner who knows what they are doing.

I think you could hire this yourself. Just my $0.02

It does seem odd, but I’m not sure it matters what bucket of money the inspector’s pay comes from. As long as your occupancy and reviews are good, again, you probably shouldn’t care, but definitely keep an eye on both your occupancy and reviews.

It’s booked through the 17th, but we don’t have any future bookings. It’s been listed for a couple of weeks.

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