All I Wanna Do Is Clean!

Updated on July 27, 2011
J.K. asks from The Colony, TX
15 answers

Both my kids will be in school full-time starting August which means, there's no reason for me to stay home all day long. My life as a SAHM is coming to an end very very soon...:( Our new chapter in life is to start saving for a new house which means, I'll have to go back to work to save more money and at a faster pace. The thing is, I don't want to work in an office. I don't want a 9-5 job. I don't want to get back into corporate america. All I ever wanted to do with my life was to follow in my own mother's footsteps and be a stay at home mom.

So instead of working behind a desk, I figured out what I love to do besides be with my kids...CLEAN! I LOVE TO CLEAN! So I thought about doing that for a living. But, I don't want to start my own business and deal with all the ins/outs of running a company. I just want to clean houses on the side so I can be available to my children before AND after school hours.

My question is: Is there a high demand for house cleaners??? What do families look for in a house cleaner? What should I charge? How should I advertise for this...especially since it would just be "On the side"???

I'm a very honest and hard-working. This would be perfect for me for I take great pride in what I do.
Any advice is greatly appreciated!

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E.D.

answers from Seattle on

One of my good friends cleans houses privately. The flexible schedule is perfect for her because she is a full time student and a mother of two. She has advertised through craigslist, fliers, and word of mouth.

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T.F.

answers from Dallas on

Come see me!!!!! I am in Plano/Allen!!!!

The last time I had a deep clean, I felt like I got ripped off. The owner quoted me $175 for my 4000 sq ft house. I said "ARE YOU SURE" because I NEEDED a deep clean. She assured me yes.

However, before the crew got to the upstairs, they complained and she wanted me to pay $300 instead (more like what I expected for the service I wanted.). Keep in mind, I was not 100% trusting this crew from the get go and I was cleaning right along with them. I just needed help.

That said, I have been quoted $85 /week IF I am consistant weekly. That was by this company I hate but all my neighbors use.

I still desperately need a deep clean and I am willing to spend good money on good service, honest people. I can't keep my house like I used to because I spend many of my hours working from home with our business which is our livelihood therefore it comes first and volunteering at the school for my daughter.

Word of mouth is a great way to get started and after a couple of people rave about you... you'll have a full schedule. My best friend lives in the Colony! Good luck!!

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S.C.

answers from Norfolk on

Cleaning houses can be very profitable. First you need to check your area to see if your need a license and/or need to be insured. Some areas have more of a need for cleaners than others. What you charge will depend on how many rooms you do and how much you do. Will you require that the house be "picked up" and you just clean (wipe, sweep,mop, vacuum, dust, disinfect, etc.) or are you picking up the kids, dogs, husbands messes too before you clean? Are you doing laundry or dishes? changing linens, etc. Are you cleaning every week? Two weeks? Monthly?

Look in your area and call around to see what the going rate is? I think what families look for is honesty, reliability and attention to detail (when you dust put things back where they were, not just in the general vicinity). Clean the house when we are gone like you do when we are there watching.

As far as advertising goes, ask around. Talk to your friends, your child's friend's parents, etc. let them know what you're thinking and ask their ideas and for leads. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to start out.

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D.P.

answers from Pittsburgh on

I agree...call around and get some estimates for cleaning YOUR house to give you an idea of where to set pricing.
Yes! There is a big market for this. You can easily make $500/week by cleaning about 5-6 houses per week, I would think.

Read Guerilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson for ideas to promote your service. Word of mouth is best. You might want to look into getting criminal clearances and some basic business insurance, too.

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J.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

We had a cleaning lady. She started off great, but in the end her methods became sloppy, and the house seemed dirtier after she had been there. She would leave residue and streaks all over the floor (as well as big puddles because she didn't dry-mop) and the shower. She left cobwebs up, and didn't dust properly. I look for reliability, thoroughness, a job well-done and trustworthiness. Good luck, I know one cleaning lady who earned so much she bought many properties and drove a luxury car. She did a great job, and one of the services her clients liked best was when she would leave a lovely meal in the oven or bubbling on the stove for when her clients came home.

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M.P.

answers from Portland on

Call the house cleaning services in your area and see if they'll hire you. Others will run the business end of it. If you're cleaning on the side, you still have to adhere to certain laws, such as paying self-employment taxes, social security, and I don't know what else. You'll definitely want liability insurance coverage and possibly get bonded.

If you decide to do it "on the side" without it being a business those house cleaning services can give you good ideas about how to go about doing that. Tell them you are considering doing house cleaning and have some questions if they'd be willing to talk with you. Ask how much they charge. Pay attention to how they advertise. Pick up their literature.

I've thought about doing this because I love to clean and enjoyed being a motel maid. My plan, whenever I decide to put it in motion, is to work for a house cleaning service long enough to learn the ins and outs of it. Then if I think I would still rather run my own business, I'd do that.

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M.C.

answers from Dallas on

Honest, reliable, and responsible about cleaning PROPERLY, not just a surface clean to get out as quickly as possible. Finding all of those things in one person is hard. We had a house cleaner who was great--really took responsibility for seeing that the house was cleaned right; in addition to your regular vacuuming, dusting, etc she would also rotate through things like the inside of the fridge, the stove vent, the window moldings, etc, that didn't really need to be done every week, but do need to be take care of periodically. Unfortunately, she moved away, and we haven't been able to find anyone as hardworking and responsible since.

In addition to responsibility, you should be sure to clean things in ways that are appropriate to take care of the stuff. For instance, my mom once had a cleaning lady ruin her wood floors by scrubbing them with vinegar. Took the finish off. If you're a professional cleaner, you should know the proper products to use with different items, finishes, etc. And if you're not sure, always ask!

In McKinney, we paid $85 every other week for a 2000 square foot house--3 beds, 1 bath. We have two kids, but no pets. Our same cleaning lady charged our neighbors, with a slightly smaller house but 2 dogs, $100 every week. She'd usually spend from 8am to 2pm or so. That seems to be about the going rate around here (historic district of McKinney) for an individual. Companies charge more.

Congrats on finding something you love to do--and good luck!

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D.B.

answers from Charlotte on

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L.I.

answers from Dallas on

Good for you for having something you know you want to do!

I used to have a cleaning lady that was independent and I really liked her.

Things I would suggest:
1. I know you want to make money, but do try to make the rates as economical as possible - times are bad for a lot of people who would use this service if it was affordable to them.
2. My cleaning lady would clean with my own cleaning products. This was good because since it cut down on her overhead, it cut down on the price, and since I cleaned when she wasn't there it was an expense I already had. Also, I like using Green cleaning products, which many services don't carry, and if they do they are very expensive. It worked out well.
3. Cater to the customers needs. They may want every week, every other week, once a month, just a quarterly deep clean.
4. Make an appointment to see the house before you quote an prices, either for a deep clean or a regular clean - you have no idea how dirty their house is. I once told a company I needed a deep clean and it was very dirty and they quoted me over the phone. I wasn't there when they came, but they called and said it was going to be triple the price and they needed masks! It wasn't THAT bad!!
5. You could make a pricing chart based on square footage of the home, and then have different levels of cleaning, with prices to match. I would still view the home before quoting a price.
6. Have a printed list of exactly what you do and do not do so it is clear to the client and their expectations can be met. If they don't know what you do they don't know if they've been met or not - ex: was she supposed to dust our nicnacs and pictures? Was she supposed to make all of our beds?
7. Any extra touches you can think of that others don't do will set you apart - think about it! :)

Advertising:
1. Word of mouth is always great!
2. Here on Mamapedia!
3. Church newsletter and church bulliten, bulliten boards at church
4. School newstletter, programs, bulliten boards
5. Library bulliten boards
6. Craigslist.com
7. Backpage.com
8. Homeowners association newsletter
9. Join networking groups like on meetup.com

Good luck! )

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J.S.

answers from Dallas on

I'm in need of a housecleaner. Had to fire the last two who worked for big companies. They started out great and slowly slacked off to where it didn't even feel clean when I walked in at night. I'm not a picky, fanatic about clean, but when I pay for something, I expect it to be done right. I had them coming every other week. I have a very small house and an 87 year old mother with Alzheimer's that lives with me. We don't make a huge mess, but the house does get dusty, bathrooms need to be cleaned and floors need to be done. Really need someone honest and trustworthy and I agree with Dawn's comments wholeheartedly. If you would be interested, email me at [email protected]____.com.

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S.H.

answers from St. Louis on

one of my daycare moms began cleaning last fall & all of her slots were filled within the first month! I was shocked! I had no idea that our little town & all the little towns around us could support such an enterprise.

I don't know what she charges, but I do know that she devotes a 1/2 day to each home. She tried adding a 3rd home to her daily schedule & was so exhausted that she quickly ended it!

We had a very snowy/icy winter....& she was surprised that her clients still expected her to clean....even tho' they were home with their kids. She tried this a couple of times & then said no more.....it was too difficult to clean around a whole family home. I totally get that point!

Oh, & as for starting out, she used our local internet classified ads website. It's like Craigslist, but very limited in range. ....Good Luck!

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S.M.

answers from Dallas on

I wish you lived closer to me! I think good reliable cleaners are well worth it! I've thought about doing the same thing only I am terrible about cleaning so I would really have to be taught how to manage the cleaning side of it. and the time management side. so I gave up the idea, but anyone who can do it can certainly do well with it.

best of luck!

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B.C.

answers from Wichita Falls on

A friend of mine does this, and she started by telling her friends to tell their friends. It turned out that TONS of people were looking for reasonably priced, trustworthy house cleaners. She quickly filled her schedule for the times she needed to work, and has time to spend with her daughter when she wants.

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D.K.

answers from Dallas on

Same experience as T F!
If you ever get set to work in Richardson area, please send me a message. I would love to hire someone like you!

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E.L.

answers from Dallas on

I know I'm late jumping on this band wagon but my cleaning lady just no called/no showed today! I have a 1700 square foot house and I live in Richardson. If you want to travel to that area of town and are looking for clients, please pm me.

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