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Why Are Cleaning Fees So High?

5 Jul 2016
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Often when we speak with guests who want to book a vacation rental home, one of the very first things they object to is the cleaning fee.   Why is it so high?  "That's outragious!  I only pay $50 to have my whole house cleaned!" etc etc.  So why are vacation rental departure cleans higher?  After all, anyone can clean right?  It's supposed to be a minimum wage unskilled job that anyone can do.

Nothing could be further from the truth and there are some very legitimate reasons why departure cleans are significantly higher than the typical weekly house clean that you might have at your own home.   

1)  Professional cleaning companies have HUGE workers compensation insurance costs.  30% of payroll is the cost to maintain workers compensation insurance which is a legal obligation to cover cleaning employees.  Its the highest classification for workers comp out of any labor category because cleaning is back breaking physical work involving chemicals.  More claims are filed by cleaners than construction workers!   Every employee deserves to be covered by this insurance and here at Pullen Realty Group we only work with cleaning companies that ensure their employees.   If you have un-insured cleaners working at your property you could personally be on the hook for covering their costs if they get hurt on the job.

2) Vacation Rental Homes have to be driven to.  Unlike hotels where there is a permenant staff that all work on site, vacation rental cleaning companies must drive back and forth to make their rounds.  Mileage and vehicle insurance starts to add up.

3) In resort areas, the cost of living is expensive.  Quality cleaning companies in resort areas must pay more than city in order to retain their best employees year round.  For instance in Tahoe, there is no earthly way local cleaners can survive on a minimum wage.

4) Vacation rental departure cleans include many task items that are not part of a regular weekly clean that you might have in your own home.   Departure cleans have to tackle washing all of the linens and towels for 3 to 4 rooms.   That's the biggest time consuming item in any departure clean.  They also have to do tasks like clean up accidents, remove perishables from the fridge, clean the barbeque, clean the woodstove and take out the garbage.

5) Finally, all throughout Tahoe, any owner or manager of a vacation rental property MUST CHARGE the TOT tax on the clean and this adds another 10% to 13% on top of the cleaning costs.

Cleaning is demanding hard work and it's skilled work.  It's a profession like any other where attention to detail requires finding talent that cares about quality and this is hard to find given the lower wages.   Cleaners are most often than not, the working poor in our communities and so if you like the quality of your clean at the home you are renting, consider leaving your cleaners a tip.  $50 dollars can really make that cleaning crews day.