Kitchen cleaning / justification for cleaning fee

When it comes to cleaning up after oneself, I think people in general, including guests, fall into one of a few categories.

Those who would never leave a mess behind them, even in a hotel. Their own homes are clean and tidy. Even during their stays, they keep the place tidy, because they don’t like living in a mess. These sorts don’t need check-out instructions- they’d be ashamed to leave a place dirty. They can stay for 2 weeks and leave the place spotless.

Those who are clean and tidy at home, but who figure if they pay to stay somewhere, it’s an opportunity to slack off and not have to do any cleaning. These types may benefit from and comply with a short list of check-out chores like washing their dishes and bagging up the garbage.

Slobs who don’t even notice dirt and mess. Their own homes are dirty and messy. Check-out cleaning instructions will do little good. If they even bother to follow them, they will do a half-assed job, and will resent being asked to clean up their personal messes. They can manage to trash a place out in one night.

Slobs who don’t actually like living in a mess. They either live with others who clean up after them, or have housekeepers. They may or may not follow check-out cleaning instructions, but may benefit from a specific list, like washing their dishes and not resent it,
or may feel they shouldn’t have to do anything if they are paying to stay somewhere.

It’s easier to incorporate cleaning fees into the nightly rate if you have bookings that tend to be the same length of stay, or are willing to have a minimum night stay that means you aren’t having to clean that often (my minimum is 3 nights).

Hosts could still work it into the nightly rate if they have anywhere from 1 or 2 night bookings to much longer. But you’d have to average out your number of bookings and divide that by how much the cleaning costs you (either paying a cleaner or what you value your own time at). Then on the shorter bookings you’d be subsidizing the cleaning costs, but the longer bookings would make up for that.

Since English isn’t my mother tongue would you mind and give an example as to how exactly your welcome could sound like?

Along the lines: ‘Hi and welcome to our studio XYZ in Honeymoontown. We’re happy to have you with us for the next 3 days. I hope you had a good ride and found our place easily. Let me show you your studio which we expect to be treated with respect…’

or how else would you phrase this to make a guest understand the importance of respect towards your property without making it sound like treating them as a child?

I would be very grateful to hear your take on that.

This is like rocket science to me for the following reasons:

  1. Our competition charges between $40-$50 a night, sometimes without a cleaning fee. Their rating is surprisingly high like 4.7+ and even Superhosts/Guest Favorites. For my understanding this puts the bar pretty low (or high?) in terms of working the cleaning fee into the nightly rate without pricing myself out of business so to speak.

  2. Finding a cleaner - the holy grail. We had a couple of cleaning companies at our place and non would be touching STR cleaning with a 10 foot pole. It’s the least popular way for them to do business as they (if they would accept the job) would always have to send someone else to clean the studio because the same cleaner who needs to be guided and trained for each studio is not going to be on stand-by and able to respond to a row of 2 night stays while waiting 2 weeks if someone stays longer. How other hosts are handling this is a mystery to me - of course besides the ones that have fixed check-in/check-out dates and cleaning days worked into their calendar.

I feel like that we should price our studios higher due to the much calmer location compared to most other places. We already try to market it that way and guests do mention the tranquillity in the reviews but since we refuse to price ourselves at the very bottom we don’t get back-to-back bookings anymore like we used to.

Sorry I wasn’t clear. That’s my cleaning fee. If I hired a cleaning service it would be about $150.00. My room rate goes from about $65 in the off season to about $89 in the busy season. (I have lot’s of competition in my market so I keep an eye on the availability and price based on that.)

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This is pretty good, you could personalize it somewhat.

I meet my guests, guide them up here, and launch a spiel about our space. Part of it is “This trailer was built in 1954, its OLD, like a Grandma. It has loose parts, don’t pick at any of those loose parts. Please be respectful towards my trailer, it is very special. I worked on it very hard for three years.”
By this time they are (mostly, some are rude or don’t speak English) following everything I say, with assenting nods. We have had very little damage although just recently a picture fell off the bedroom wall and shattered the glass, and a towel is lost.

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That’s really funny, I love it. I had a housesitter from hell once who emailed me 2 days after I left with a list of 20 things she was going to “fix” around my house. I had to tell her not to “fix” anything, that it was all just fine and worked as intended, just keep the house tidy and look after the dog, which was all I had employed her to do.

Found out when I got back that she was bipolar and had decided to go off her medication and was in a manic phase.


The gist of it is to not pick at the woodwork, and if there’s a loose piece to show me and not throw it away.
Why is this dammm reply box so teeny and hard to use<>???

I say that the place was built in 1949 "so that makes it even older than me’.


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I love your approach and feel pretty confident in pulling this off in German and English - at least I noticed that the ‘nodding’ reactions were there :grinning: - sometimes.

We do have a very mixed selection of guests from all over the world where for most, English isn’t their native tongue nor German. So, very often it boils down to explaining everything in very simple English to make sure they understood everything.

Most annoying is when they don’t seem to be listening at all. For my understanding this wasn’t due to a long travel to our place but rather general indifference towards us and our place. Those guests are the most challenging to ‘keep in check’. On the one hand side, trying to make sure they understand the no smoking rules etc. but then also leaving them alone as this seems to be the only thing that really matters to them.

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WOW, what are the chances???

Yes to this. Guests indifference does happen ( and it is probably not personal, you, or your space related) and they have their reasons for it. I am forever hopeful that at least one of them is understanding my welcome spiel. I get very few questions once I am done. During their stay I only ask if they are ok once and if they are comfortable once, then offer to " come say bye" if that is convenient for us both.

They usually laugh with me after I show them the silver plated flatware and say " its from my husbands family, …my family has the real silver… "

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When I was ready to start building my house in Mexico, a good friend of mine who had a construction company here found me a building crew, although I was going to be my own contractor. They were guys who had just finished work on his sister’s house.

We had a pre-start meeting with the crew, me, and my friend. As Mexican men can be quite macho, my friend said, “Okay, the first thing I need to know is are you going to have any issue taking orders from a woman?”

They all sort of looked down at the table and nodded no. My friend said, “No, I want to hear you say it- ‘I’m not going to have an issue taking orders from a woman’”. :rofl:


That’s how it’s done! :sweat_smile:

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The main issue with the cleaning is that a full house clean or basic clean, bathrooms, dusting, floors, needs to be done regardless between guests. Charging a cleaning fee for the basics, keeps the cost on the lower side, and then i do the laundry and make the beds, clean bbq, fridge, pantry, supplement coffee and tea etc., is done by myself. So, i rely on my cleaners to cover the basics and the detail is myself.

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I really dislike disposable plates and cutlery. I think it makes the place look cheap.
I put the dishes and cutlery etc through the dishwasher. I consider it all part of the service even though i don’t charge a cleaning fee.


Whole house rental here (2 bedroom cottage) . We never meet and greet, we don’t charge a cleaning fee, and have no checkout protocol. We charge above average rates and 99% of guests leave place spotless. My millennial daughter urged me to charge more and get better behaving guests, she was right.


I wish I could see your listing/where your place is located. You’ve hit the jackpot.

I can totally understand that you would be able to up the prices if you have some beautiful beach house on a tropical island. There will always be someone willing to pay your price - just because of the location (given that you as the host are doing everything right).

We’re (unfortunately) ‘just’ located right next to one of Switzerland’s largest cities, close to the airport, in the city center but in a very quiet corner with lots of green (big trees, garden and happy birds). So our guests tend to city hop or are workers who just need a place to crash and have a shower. Competition is fierce (since the accommodation standards are not very high - no need for a spa or pool etc.). I would like to increase our prices above competition average because we do offer tranquillity that almost no other ABB can match. We’re also doing some upgrading around the house (construction) so once that is finished we might go for it and raise the prices.

Guests, adults or children, can come from wildly different backgrounds and might have different expectations of how to use/leave a room/ place on departure. My opinion is as a guest,I prefer to know what a host would like. If it’s in the check out rules, at least I know that particular thing I’m asked to do is something the host would appreciate… and I am fine with that, especially if it’s in someone’s home as opposed to a totally independent let. It’s their home, their standards. If I don’t like the house rules, I can decide that its not a good fit for me. As a host, I can’t be upset if something is not how I would consider I would like it to be- if I hadn’t told guests what I would hope for.
When I travelled in parts of Asia, there were instructions to take off my shoes indoors, which I might not normally do- & in remote towns, where plumbing was not the same as in England, there were written instructions to put waste paper in a bucket beside the toilet, not flushed away. I was glad to be left instructions & happy to comply!


That is very mindful of you and I’d expect that kind of attitude from guests who are knowingly planning on staying in an accommodation provided by a private host, especially if it is in-home as you stated or if it’s ‘on-site’ as in the same or adjacent building, where hosts can also quickly intervene in case of need or provide support for the guest.

There is a personal touch to it and I think many hosts who host like this are making more efforts than a classic accommodation like hotel to make the guests feel welcome and comfortable.

That being said, we have used quite specific check-out rules for our guests in the past and they were rarely followed. As hosts in general, we consider ourselves lucky to have no damage or parties/smoking.

The few guests who tried to follow our rules just couldn’t get it ‘right’ like when we ask to remove the bedding for the wash, they managed to remove the pillow and duvet covers but left the bed sheets on the bed :man_shrugging: or asking them dispose of their trash and they apparently lose force and just put their trash bag on top of our trash bin instead of opening the lid and putting the trash inside (trash bin was clean and empty). We have yet to encounter a guest who would leave actually clean dishes behind. I don’t understand why they even try to clean them when they just either not use any dish washing soap (provided) and/or put them back dripping wet (dish towel provided). Puzzles me.

When we have experiences like this, we might as well just drop the rules altogether and do it ourselves to avoid any annoyed guests when they cannot even follow the simplest directions.

Bear in mind that the rules were not set up to punish our guests but rather a hope to show a token of respect for our place and especially the rates that we charge. Since theses things are not very time consuming, we’ll just do it ourselves and hopefully have even happier guests.

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