Cleaning Fees and How Much to Charge
Providing a clean and tidy space will make your guests feel comfortable in your home from the moment they arrive. A clean place demonstrates your commitment to providing a high standard of hospitality and will make your guests feel welcome and at ease.
Some hosts choose to cover the cost of a professional cleaner by including a cleaning fee.
Cleaning fees help hosts account for any extra expense they incur in getting their place clean and tidy for incoming guests.
The fee is charged once per trip – not as a nightly fee. For example, if a listing has a cleaning fee of $100, the guest does not pay $100 per night – they pay $100 only once, regardless of how many nights the reservation is for.Consider carefully how much you charge because a big fee can make a one or two night stay very expensive. Getting your cleaning fee right means not losing money by charging less than it costs to have your place cleaned and turned over. Getting your cleaning fee wrong risks losing potential reservation requests because your prices are perceived as too high.
Because the cleaning fee is included in the total guest payment and host payout, Airbnb’s service fees apply on this too. For hosts, this is 3%.
To add a cleaning fee to your listing:
- Login to Airbnb
- In Hosting mode, select Listings from the top navigation bar
- Click on your listing
- Click on Pricing from the menu at the top
- Click the Edit button for the Extra Charges section
- Enter your cleaning fee into the Cleaning fee input box
- Click the Save button
Cleaning fees are not automatically included when making a Special Offer, which should be an all-inclusive price. Keep this in mind if offering a prospective guest a Special Offer for your place.
The Guest's Perspective
Below is a sample listing from a search for a place in New York for one night. It quotes a price per night of $100. When a prospective guest visits the listing page, they see a line item breakdown of the total cost:
Suddenly, their $100 a night bargain has become a $200 burden.
If we compare the total cost for a 1-night vs. 2-night vs. 3-night reservation, we can see that the cleaning fee represents a larger share of the total cost for shorter stays:
The key takeaway here is that you should not over-charge with your cleaning fees.
Over-charging with your Airbnb cleaning fee may scare off potential guests that would otherwise be interested in your place at a more reasonable price.
Whilst the length of a guest’s stay is outside of your control, the cleaning fee is not – it is determined entirely by you.
Therefore be aware of the dangers of inflating your cleaning fee as a means of making a quick buck. Even though you may get away with charging more than the cleaning actually ends up costing you, the additional income you’ll receive needs to be weighed up against the risk of losing prospective guests that perceive your place as too expensive and never end up booking.
Additionally, guest perceptions that they’re being taken for a ride through an exploitation of the cleaning fee may be enough to scare them off consideration of your place when deciding where they want to book.
In addition to keeping things honest, rarely will a small inflated cleaning fee justify the lost income of additional bookings that would otherwise have come through, but never eventuate.
How Much to Charge
So how much should you actually charge? It’s important to remember that whether you pay for a cleaner or do the cleaning yourself, there is a cost (either financial or your personal time) associated with each.
Cleaning fees have become a common feature across most listings on Airbnb. Hosts that do not add a cleaning fee typically compensate with a higher nightly price. Therefore so long as you keep your cleaning fee honest and reasonable, the mere fact of simply having a cleaning fee should have minimal impact on the likelihood of getting booked.
Try keep the cleaning fee as close as possible to the actual cost of getting your place cleaned.
If you’re doing the cleaning yourself, another method for determining your cleaning fee is to do a search on Airbnb for comparable listings (same home type, room and bathroom numbers) in your same neighborhood/city, and seeing how much they’re charging for their cleaning fee. Try not to venture too far north of whatever these cleaning fees are. You will want to make sure however that the reasonable value of your personal time factors into the final amount you arrive at.
An emerging service that’s becoming increasingly popular for Airbnb hosts are cleaning companies that provide their services specifically for short-term rental properties such as those listed on Airbnb.
As an ‘on-demand’ service you’re able to call upon only at the times you have bookings and need your place cleaned, they are a useful and handy service to keep up your sleeve. The downside however is the lack of familiarity with your cleaning and turnover preferences that inevitably results from ad-hoc visits by different cleaners each time.