Host Tips: Should I Charge a Airbnb Cleaning Fee?
Looking back into my recent domestic and international stays on Airbnb, most of the hosts that I’ve stayed with charged an Airbnb Cleaning Fee. Below are some personal data.
Out of the 7 stays in the past 2 months from Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Seattle, and Lake Tahoe; only two hosts didn’t charge a cleaning fee. Three hosts charged less than $50 and the other two charged between $50 to $60.
So, you might be wondering what is my thinking behind if you should charge an Airbnb Cleaning Fee or not?
My answer: Yes, absolutely. I’m going to list my reasons below.
Why Charge an Airbnb Cleaning Fee?
You should charge a cleaning fee because this has been the industry standard. Potential guests are expecting to see a cleaning fee, especially in the home sharing business. And based on my own personal data above, the majority of hosts charged a cleaning fee.
What I also suggest is to take a look at your competitor’s listing(s). Are they charging a cleaning fee? Take a look and get some real data on Airbnb.
In essence, you’re leaving money on the table or potentially losing money (I’ll get to this part a little later) by not charging a cleaning fee. 99.9% of the guests expect to see the cleaning standards of a hotel room, which is very close to spotless. So wait no longer and start charging a cleaning fee now!
How to Charge An Airbnb Cleaning Fee?
Now that we got the cleaning fee out of the way. Let’s quickly go through how you can implement this change. It is actually really easy to do. A quick Google will do the job, but I’m going to list out the steps below to help you.
- Go to Your Listings on airbnb.com.
- Click Pricing at the top of the page.
- Next to Cleaning fee, click Edit.
- Enter your cleaning fee, then click Save.
That was easy!
The next logical question is how much should you charge? Before I jump into that, I’d like to share a personal story of mine.
This was one of the Airbnb that I’ve stayed in Slovenia. I booked this 2 bedroom apartment for two nights, but only one of the bedroom was available. He had locked the second bedroom without letting me know beforehand.
Noticed the cleaning fee? It was only $23.41. In this case, this host clearly did not charge enough to clean this property. Even he admitted to the fact in our texts.
A couple of big mistakes here:
- He did not charge enough to cover the cost of cleaning
- He advertised false description: don’t assume anything about a guest
If you’re a new host, please learn from this example! He would have gotten a 5-star review, instead, I gave him a 3 star. I’m usually very generous with 5-star reviews just because I know and felt the impact of a negative review.
How Much Should I Charge for a Cleaning Fee?
This is a little bit tricky because it really comes down to a couple of things. Are you doing it yourself or are you going to outsource it by hiring a cleaner?
It’s not my recommended method. When I got my first unit back in 2017, I cleaned my only unit for about a month. I quickly grew tired and found it monotonous. It’s also not a great way to spend your time just to save a few bucks on hiring a cleaner. Your job is to scale units and grow your business, not spend time cleaning your unit(s).
Can you imagine if you had 3 units in different locations? How could you possibly clean them yourself? It’d be impossible.
The most efficient and scalable method. Multiple units = multiple cleaners. I’ve hired some good cleaners and bad cleaners. It’s important to separate the good ones from the bad ones. They are literally the backbone to your business, so pay them well.
I treat my Airbnb as a business, so these are the fixed costs:
- Cleaner hourly rate multiply by hours it takes to clean
- Consumable goods like laundry detergent, soap, cleaning supplies, and etc
- The time you spend coordinating with your cleaner
Here are the breakdowns for a 1-bedroom and a 2 bedroom unit.
I charge $100 for a 1-bedroom unit
- 2 hours x $25 an hour = $50 / payout to the cleaner
- 15 dollars per reservation that go to consumable goods
- I pocket 35 dollars for my time spent coordinating
I charge $150 for a 2-bedroom unit
- 3 hours x $25 an hour = 75 / payout to the cleaner
- $25 for consumable goods
- I pocket $50
A couple of things to note about your fixed costs:
- labor costs will be different
- goods will be different
In case you don’t already know, I use Amazon for everything. I bulk order my consumable goods every 4 to 6 weeks on Amazon. I love the convenience of it!
In summary, I charge $100 for 1-bedroom and $150 for a 2-bedroom unit.
Why Not Just Increase Nightly Rate?
Here’s a quick problem with that. As you may already know, Airbnb tends to favor listing with lower prices on their search results. Which means if you’re going to increase your nightly rate to include a cleaning fee, your nightly rate will stick out like a sore thumb. On top of that, Airbnb also favors more click-through-rates. You want people to click on your listing. The more clicks, the better the conversion that you’ll have.
Now, imagine that if your competitor is charging 100 bucks a night and you’re charging $150, who’s going to get booked?
Yup, most likely, not you!
- Charge a cleaning fee, always
- Charge 50% to 100% of the nightly rate
- Calculate your cleaning expenses
That’s it, folks. I hope you’d enjoyed this blog post. Be sure to subscribe because I post insightful blog posts like these weekly!