What is an Airbnb cleaning fee?
Most Airbnb rentals have cleaning fees. First of all, we will define exactly what an Airbnb cleaning fee is. An Airbnb cleaning fee is a one-time fee associated with cleaning your rental after a guest stays in your property. Alternatively, some hosts incorporate this fee in their nightly rate. Importantly, the fee is itemized in the pricing Airbnb provides would-be guests.
How much should my Airbnb cleaning fee be?
Airbnb cleaning fees vary widely, the average is $50, but fees vary widely depending on several factors. Factors such as beds, square footage, extra rooms, number of guests, length of stay, and most importantly, geographic market impact airbnb cleaning fees. A good rule of thumb is to research listings through Airbnb search in the same market as yours. For example, if you have a 3 bedroom private home in Orlando, search for several 3 bedroom homes like yours on Airbnb and average their cleaning fees. If the average cleaning fee falls in a range from $85-125, price according to what you pay your Airbnb cleaning service.
Here's several things to consider when determining how much to charge for your Airbnb cleaning fee:
How big is your space?
A private room may only cost $25-50 to clean, while a full private home with 4 bedrooms may cost as much as $125-150 to turnaround depending on your market. First step is to compare your home to comparable properties on Airbnb search. For example, if you have a 5 bedroom home, look at cleaning fees for other 5 bedroom homes in your market.
Type of property and experience
Compare apples to apples when analyzing cleaning fees. To clarify, a luxury estate is going to have very different pricing than a budget accommodation in a not-so-glamorous part of town. Why? Standard of cleanliness should always be 5-star, but there is a fundamental difference in the expectation of guests seeking luxury accommodations versus budget accommodations.
Location of your market
Know your competition. Compare your property to other properties in your neighborhood or region. Do not compare your New York property to a property of the same size in Detroit. The comparison can be meaningless, because the labor market, rents, and economy are different in both locations.
DIY cleaning versus hiring a professional cleaning service
Cleaning yourself? How much is your time worth. If you are short on time, considering hiring a cleaning service for your rental.
Having a professional do the job can save you tons of time and needless headaches. Your guest will thank you for the clean sheets and higher quality of cleanliness.
Airbnb cleaning fee just another hidden fee?
Beware, guests hate hidden fees. A major criticism of the airbnb cleaning fee is that it is a surprise, a hidden fee that hosts deceive the renter with. Bait and switch? Travelers call it many things, but Airbnb cleaning fees are here to stay. Consumer advocacy group, Elliott Advocacy and USA Today ran articles on hosts using cleaning fees as a way to trick travelers and boost their own income. Agree or disagree, this is a hotly contested issue in the vacation rental industry.
Charging a separate cleaning fee versus including cleaning in the nightly rent
Hospitality industry veterans have long been using a cleaning fee as a pricing strategy, a way to make the nightly rate look more appealing to travelers. To understand, if you itemize your cleaning fee the initial rate travelers compare your accommodation to will appear lower. This is deceiving, but you are at a huge disadvantage if you choose to add your cleaning fee into the nightly rent.
Travelers often complain that Airbnb cleaning fees are just another way to boost host income...
Average Airbnb Cleaning Fees by Bedroom
Here is a quick pricing reference guide for Airbnb cleaning fees.
- 1 Bedroom $70-90
- 2 Bedroom $75-95
- 3 Bedroom $85-105
- 4 bedroom $95-135
- 5 bedroom $95-135
- 6 bedroom $150-200
- 7 Bedroom & Up (Varies)
Are Airbnb Cleaning Fees Taxable? Tax Rules for Cleaning Fees
Yes. In my state, Florida, you are suppose to collect and remit tax on cleaning services that are part of the total booking price you quote guests. The cleaning company does not have to pay tax on what they receive, but you as a manager or host have to collect taxes on the clean fee and remit to the county and state. Airbnb remits taxes to appropriate taxing authority in certain counties and states. Please note, while my state taxes cleaning fees as part of the total booking (not house cleaners or cleaning companies, but that is a different story) your state & county may have different rules.
How to find a cleaner for your Airbnb rental
You have an Airbnb and you are ready to rent to guests, but you are choosing not to clean yourself. What options do you have to find an airbnb cleaning service near you?
- Google search - you can use terms like "house cleaning near me" or "Airbnb cleaning service"
- Referrals and host forums - many hosts on the Airbnb forums are happy to help out
- Maid services - usually the most expensive option, but it can work
- Family, friends, neighbors - you never know who needs some extra cash!
Things to look for in an Airbnb housekeeper
Before hiring a cleaner, be sure to check their background, references, method of payment, and online reviews if they have them. If you have the time, interviewing or meeting your cleaner in person helps! This way, you can set the expectation and show them how you like the property cleaned and staged for your guests.
Cleaning fee as a source of additional income
First off, I don't recommend doing this. If you mark up your clean fee enough to make a profit, you are not giving your guests the best price. Secondly, your cleaner is probably not being paid enough to be kept happy, they will prioritize other jobs over yours eventually. Good cleaners are hard to come by, if you are paying your cleaner $50 and another job that day pays $90, guess who they will prioritize? To remain competitive in your market and optimize your occupancy, the most you should be profiting, if any, is $10-50. In most cases, it is not worth it to try to use the cleaning fee as a source of additional booking revenue, unless you are cleaning yourself.
This is an active blog and I encourage hosts and vacation rental managers to participate in discussion by replying below and subscribing. We want to increase the standard of education for all hosts and that starts with you replying below. If you would like me to let you know what your clean fee should be, reply below and I can help!
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About the Author
John is a vacation rental blogger and former investment banker. He left his full-time Wall Street job at Citigroup after realizing there was a huge market opportunity with short-term rentals and founded Vacation Home Help with Yaya Bonilla. His past experience also includes Hotel Finance at Hilton Hotels Worldwide and Oil & Gas Finance at Wells Fargo Securities. His vision is to see the Flamingo cleaning system become the benchmark in the vacation rental industry thus increasing the quality of short term rentals across the globe. He has been researching cleaning fees since Airbnb "became a thing"