From cleaning person: "All my other houses, the guests take out the trash!" - How do YOU handle?

Answered!
Joanne-Flynn0
Level 9
Phoenicia, NY

From cleaning person: "All my other houses, the guests take out the trash!" - How do YOU handle?

HI Hosts!

 

Do you ask your guests to remove garbage upon checkout or leave in the house?

 

I am a (super)Host of a cabin and I've also started co-hosting a ski condo.

 

Most guests are 2 nights so I ask guests to tie the garbage bag up and leave it in the kitchen. (if someone is staying longer I let them know there's a garbage bin in garage)

 

For the condo the cleaning person said, "for all my other houses the guests take the trash and deposit in dumpster."

 

I personally don't want the last thing the guests remember as they are leaving to be the trash. For example guests may think and write in a review, "why am I paying $75 cleaning fee and STILL have the take out the trash!"

 

I want to be open minded about this and ask other hosts how you handle.

 

Do guests take trash out for short stays?

 

If you ask guest to take the trash have they ever commented about it in your reviews?

 

Thanks so much host community!

 

1 Best Answer
Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

Unless there is a good reason (bugs, heat etc.) why the rubbish needs to be taken out asap, no, I don't think guests should be required to do it, especially if it's a short stay and ESPECIALLY if there's a cleaning fee. As a guest, I would have no problem taking out the trash and have done so, even when it wasn't required, but if I was charged a cleaning fee and the host expected me to do it (outside of locations where heat and bugs are an issue or there's some other important reason), I would find that weird.

 

I do ask my guests to put their rubbish/recycling/food waste in the appropriate kitchen bins while they are here, because the council requires these to be separated and can impose fines. But, I or my cleaners then take it outside.

 

Taking out the rubbish is just a standard part of a cleaner's job. I have never come across a cleaner who didn't view it that way.

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47 Replies 47
Joanne-Flynn0
Level 9
Phoenicia, NY

Hi @Karen-and-Will0,

 

I appreciate the insight on how you handle it and how no one has complained. That's good to hear!

Lisa723
Level 10
Quilcene, WA

In our basement suite of the house where we live, we do not expect guests to remove trash.

In our vacation homes, we ask them to remove trash and recycling at the end of their stay, and load and start the dishwasher-- because the cleaners may not arrive on that day, and this reduces the risk of mice and bugs.

My 2 cents.

 

As I get closer to activating our rental garden studio here in San Francisco, I have put much thought into making the entire cleaning system more efficient and convenient for guests AND me (the cleaner).  When we travel using ABB we have usually been asked to take the trash out at the end.  But I would have done so throughout the stay anyway.  Sometimes when rushing to leave on the departure morning it has been a pain to add that to the many things swimming through my head.

That said, and after much reading on the subject tonight, I will simply let guests know where the bins are so they don't stress when they have full bags, OR leave them hanging around in the unit.  This is because I certainly don't want lingering garbage smells permeating my newly remodeled and furnished rental.  I mean, drapes smelling like fish isn't a nice thing for the next guest...or me.  lol. At the end they can simply leave it all in the rental and I will take care of it.  After all, the bins are literally out the garden door and 10 feet to the right.  So, by just letting them know where they are for their convenience, I am also letting them know that they don't need too at the end, but could if they are compelled.  Passive aggressive...no.  More like Jedi Mind Tricks.  But it will benefit us all and I would never be upset should they just go ahead and leave it in the unit.  This will justify my cleaning fee but also let them get rid of embarrassing garbage or recycling throughout their stay.  No one wants to be called out regarding refuse.

Sarah977
Level 10
Sayulita, Mexico

@Portia6  It'll be interesting to find out how many guests feel "compelled" to take it out to the bin when it is subtly mentioned. I'd wager it will be in the area of zero 🙂 But hey, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Yeah, I’m expecting the worst and hoping for the best.  Always.  I won’t be upset either way.  Main things I’ll mention are to avoid ants and smells.  They can take from that what the will.  No one wants a bossy property owner dampening their vacation.

Danielle476
Level 10
Toronto, Canada

I absolutely do not ask my guests to take out their trash.  The majority of my reservations are 1 night only, so it's not as much of an issue for me.  I make sure the guests know where the trash chute is, but I would never expect them to remove their own refuse since they're paying a cleaning fee that covers that.  I also dislike it when I'm a guest and a host asks me to strip the bed and place it in the wash.  Excuse you?  If you charge a cleaning fee above $50 (which most do), this should more than cover things like that.  I don't appreciate hosts who use their cleaning fee to increase their bottom line - I charge exactly what my cleaners charge, period.  If I felt I needed more compensation, I would simply raise my nightly prices.  Either way, a guest comes to relax and get away from life for a little while.  I'm not about to make them do my chores while they're there.

Polina65
Level 2
Washington, DC

I am actually now looking at other options specifically b/c of being asked to take out the trash. Mind you, I am by nature a super neat person and leave every property tidy and clean.

But over the years the cleaning fees have been climbing. Almost like an easy way for a host to make extra? One place I just looked at has a cleaning fee $100, a service fee $65, and a "resort fee." And the host STILL wants me to take the trash out. What gives?

Either the exuberant cleaning needs to drop, or don't make the guests clean up. Otherwise the only upside AirBnB has is it's more covid friendly. Otherwise might as well stay at a hotel - they have become increasingly affordable. 

Sarah977
Level 10
Sayulita, Mexico

@Polina65  The cleaning fee normally represents what is paid to the cleaner. The service fee has nothing to do with the host, that's Airbnb's fee. And I don't think that a host has a choice about a resort fee, if the rental is located in a place that charges that. It's a charge set by the resort to use their facilities, not something the host makes a profit on.

 

While I think some hosts expect too much in the way of clean-up by guests, I don't understand why taking out the garbage is some big deal. Unless a guest has left garbage strewn all over that needs to be gathered up, if the guest is clean and has been putting garbage in the trash, what does it take, 3 minutes to take it out to the bin ? 

 

It's usually requested not as some time saver for the cleaner, but because if there is smelly stuff in the garbage, like fish or used diapers, etc, it can really stink up the unit if the cleaners aren't scheduled to go in right away after check-out. And with the Covid cleaning protocols, a lot of hosts want to leave several hours, if not a day, between bookings, so the cleaner or host isn't subjected to breathing the indoor air right after a guest has checked out, until it has time to settle.

 

Hotels also charge for cleaning, you know. You just don't see it as a separate line item, it's included in the room fee. But the hotel owner certainly doesn't pay the cleaners out of their own pocket. Hotels can charge less for cleaning because their cleaners are on staff, they are there all day every day. They also tend to pay minimum wage. A cleaner for an Airbnb has to be somewhat flexible as to scheduling, as the length of bookings varies. Also most hosts try to pay their cleaner well, not just minimum wage. And as you note, Airbnbs are usually cleaned to a higher standard than hotel rooms.

 

Unless you know the going rate for a good cleaner in an area where you book, and how long on average it takes to thoroughly clean and sterilize an Airbnb you stay at, I'm not sure how the cleaning fee can be judged to be "too expensive" or assume that the host must be making a profit on it. Of course, you always have a choice to book something with a lower cleeaning fee or one where it is incorporated into the nightly rate.

 

 

Polina65
Level 2
Washington, DC

@Sarah977 

 

Many Airbnb (and VRBO) properties are now owned by corporations, not private owners. That's neither good or bad, just is. But much like hotels they have lots of financial breaks in property maintenance.

 

In terms of the cleaning person - I'm guessing that it consists of one person that goes back to back to multiple units. Maybe two people.

They give themselves maybe 30 min to clean a studio / apartment where somebody lived for a couple of days. $100 to lightly clean a studio is very generous (you're not deep cleaning an oven from years of cooking, washing curtains and windows). Even if that person spends two hours cleaning a small apartment that's $50/ hour - that's a really high hourly rate.

 

But my guess is, however, that the cleaner  doesn't receive the full $100 for it, and the host/company keeps a portion.

 

If you're staying for a quick weekend and being charged $100 for a cleaning and $65 service fee, then you shouldn't have to collect trash bags. It makes no sense.

 

Add the cost into your daily rates. Don't nickel and dime your customers.....
You wouldn't like it if a restaurant did it. You hate it when a car dealership or airline does that.

Sarah977
Level 10
Sayulita, Mexico

@Polina65  I'm not sure why you keep mentioning the service fee. The service fee has nothing whatsoever to do with the host. Hosts do not set the service fee percentage. It is Airbnb's fee and goes directly into Airbnb's coffers. 

 

Your concept of how long it takes to clean an Airbnb maybe why you think cleaning fees are too high. A half hour cleaning for a studio or 1 bedroom apartment- no way.

 

I spend an hour and a half cleaning my private room/private bath listing. That's one small bedroom and a bathroom. I spend that long cleaning it regardless of whether a guest has been there for 2 nights or a week and regardless of how  clean and tidy they left it.

 

It is very difficult to add the cost of cleaning into the nightly rate, unless a host gets pretty much the same length bookings all the time, which is why most hosts have it as a separate fee. If the cleaners spend, say an hour and a half cleaning, and charge $30/hr. adding that to the nightly rate would mean a guest who stayeed for one night would pay $45, and a guest who stayed for a week would pay $315. 

Because a place normally gets cleaned once per guest syay, regardless of the length of the stay, that's why the cleaning fee is usually  charged separately, rather than rolled into the nightly rate.

 

BTW, I do not charge a separate cleaning fee, but I also have a 3 night minimum stay. So my cleaning time spread out over 3 days is doable when accounted for in my nightly rate. If I allowed 1 or 2 night bookings, it wouldn't be.

Polina65
Level 2
Washington, DC

@Sarah977 

I totally see what you're saying. There are reasons behind the high charges. But then why make your renters do the work?

Btw I think it's lovely that you're so detailed about making sure your property is clean! Signs of a great host.

 

I've hired cleaners before, and I have friends who hire cleaners regularly. We live in one of the most expensive parts of the country. They clean 2500-4500sq foot homes (big homes with multiple bathrooms), spend about 2 hours, and the price is between $120-160.

 

And then I look at renting 700sq foot studio in a remote location for a weekend and the cleaning fee is $100. And I still have to take out my trash, plus some places ask you to strip the sheets.

It doesn't quite add up.

Either the cleaning fee would be lowered or the guests should not have to clean themselves.

Sarah977
Level 10
Sayulita, Mexico

@Polina65  I just think it's hard to judge if a cleaning fee is too high, or whether the host is expecting the guest to do more than is reasonable, unless one is privy to knowing exactly how much the cleaner is being paid or why those requests are being made of the guest. You can't just compare the sq. footage. 

 

A remote listing, even though it may only be 700 sq. ft., may entail the cleaners driving for half an hour to get there. Roads may be difficult to negotiate in winter driving conditions. There may well be no curbside garbage pickup, the cleaner having to load up the garbage when they leave and transport it to the local dump. None of that is free. So there may be added cleaning expenses one hasn't considered, with a remote listing, as opposed to a city or suburban listing.

 

The host may want guests to take the garbage out in a remote location because if it is left inside it could quickly attract rodents which are common to the rural location.

 

Like anything, it's hard to determine if something is overpriced without knowing all the details. One may find a tradesman who charges more than another you got a quote from, but that may be reflected in the quality of service. At first glance, you may think one is too expensive, and hire the cheaper one, only to find that they weren't reliable, didn't show up when they said they would, and did poor quality work, requiring you to have to get it redone 6 months later. So in the end, they weren't actually cheaper after all. 

 

I know there are some unscrupulous hosts who list a low nightly rate to lure people in and then jack up the cleaning fee, definitely making a profit on it. This is, of course, dishonest and sneaky. But for the most part, from what other hosts on this forum have posted over time, it seems like the cleaning fee does usually represent exactly what the host is paying to have the place cleaned. 

 

You mentioned resort fees before- I think you may see these pumped up cleaning fees more with property-managed listings, the types that have scores or hundreds of listings, than with small-time hands-on hosts. Those management companies often have all sorts of added fees in the small print. A lot of them also get poor cleanliness ratings, because guess what? You can't properly clean a 4500 sq.ft., multiple bedroom multiple bathroom home in 2 hours unless there are 2 or 3 people working. You simply can't do more than superficially clean.

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

@Polina65 

 

I don't think @Sarah977 's approach is that different to a lot of hosts (the decent ones anyway). 

 

I spend minimum two hours, often more depending on the size of the room and how messy the guests were, cleaning and making up the bed in one guest bedroom. That's before you even consider bathrooms, kitchen etc. A quick, superficial clean is not good enough. Everything must be cleaned again even in between each guest stay, regardless of if you just did it two days before.

 

I cannot see how anyone could clean a 700sq foot studio on 30 minutes to a satisfactory standard for an Airbnb. It's not the same as having a cleaner do a quick superficial clean at your own apartment. All the linens and towels must be washed. They might even be ironed. Do you think the cleaners could squeeze that into 30 minutes too?

 

On the other hand I see your point about asking guests to do cleaning tasks when they are paying a substantial cleaning fee (personally, I don't charge one. I think it's a given that the place should be properly cleaned and I would prefer it if we all had to include this cost in our rates).

 

However, I think most hosts who ask guests to take out the rubbish do so for good reason. It's so as not to attract pests, create bad smells etc. especially in hot climates, if they or the cleaner cannot get there straight away after check out. It may also be so that they don't miss the rubbish collection. Where I live, all types of waste are only collected on Tuesday morning. If the stuff is not out the night before, then it's going to be sitting there for another week.

Sarah977
Level 10
Sayulita, Mexico

@Huma0  I also don't think it's anything special to spend an hour and a half cleaning my guest space. I don't see how it could be properly done in less time than that, and I don't lollygag about, I'm fast and work efficiently.

 

When people think half an hour is  enough to clean more than just a bathroom (I've even read people say about a studio apt.,"all it needs is a 10 minute tidy up), I can only assume they have no concept of what cleaning entails, or their standards are completely different from mine. 

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

@Sarah977 

 

It's like the lady I bought my house from. She said, "It just needs a fresh lick of paint," while the surveyor's report said, "This property requires a £100,000 renovation," and the bank  said that it was "not in a fit state for rental," so, yes, people's standards are very different! 

 

Like you, I am also not faffing around when I get a bedroom ready. I have a system and an order in which I do things, but things need to be done properly. How would that person who thinks a studio needs a "10 minute tidy up" feel if they booked a place and found the previous guests' hair everywhere, their dirty underwear and socks (or worse) under the bed and drawers or insides of cupboards covered in dust? Would they like a thick layer of dust on the skirting/kick boards or sticky doorhandles? How about greasy fingerprints on the windows? I am guessing not!

 

Polina65
Level 2
Washington, DC

@Huma0 @Sarah977 

Professional cleaners work much faster and more efficiently than regular folks. The house example I gave you - it's two people getting the job done in two hours. 

I bet if you had them clean a 1 bedroom apartment - they'd be done much faster and do a great job. They do this for a living all day every day.

 

All I'm saying is that over the years I noticed the prices on Airbnb's increasing, the cleaning fee increasing, and more tasks being added  to the guests' to do list. In the US market, anyway. Here Airbnb is no longer worth the cost at times. When I stayed in Airbnbs in London, Paris, Rome, Prague - prices were actually competitive (lower than hotels).

 

All of these factors combined in the US market - is why I've stayed in hotels on my recent trips within the US. And on my upcoming trip (which prompted this whole discussion) I'll probably be doing the same. 

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

@Polina65 

 

Yes, it probably does vary from location to location. In London, hotels are generally super expensive, unless you go very basic. There's no way you could get a similar level of accommodation at a hotel for the same price as my listings unless you got an amazing last minute deal or something. On top of that, guests save a lot of money by being able to use the kitchen and not having to eat out all the time.

 

Yes, professional cleaners do work faster and more efficiently than regular folk, but when you have been cleaning and turning over rooms for years and have hosted hundreds of guests, you get pretty fast and efficient at it too. I have professional cleaners who do the communal areas in my house every week. They are the fastest cleaners I've ever had and they are also very good. However, they do not clean the bedrooms because I prefer to do it. No cleaner will do it as thoroughly as me. I know that from experience.

Sarah977
Level 10
Sayulita, Mexico

@Polina65  In general, yes, professional cleaners work faster and more efficiently than "regular folks". But hosts who have been cleaning their own listings for years are not regular folks. We are basically professional cleaners ourselves, even though no one is handing us a paycheck for doing it.. It isn't a job which requires years of schooling and studying, it's a job that requires an eye for detail, caring if it is thoroughly clean, knowing about cleaning and laundry "hacks", and practice. 

 

I can assure you that no professional cleaner can clean my listing better than I can in less time. Like Huma, I do have a cleaner for my house- she comes once every 2 weeks for 4 hours. But I have always cleaned my Airbnb guest room and bathroom myself because I do not trust anyone else to do it to my standards, and it's my reviews and reputation as a host that are on the line.

 

I have had several "professional" cleaners over the years and even the best ones, I have had to teach how to clean properly to my standards. 

 

Being a "professional" in many jobs doesn't necessarily mean they are better at what they do than someone else would be. I know several people, for instance, who are very adept at photography, love doing it, and have their own darkrooms. They take amazing photos, they just don't happen to do it for a living- they just do it because they have a passion for it. But they are just as good and knowledgeable at photography as a professional photographer. 

Jimmie19
Level 1
Mohave Valley, AZ

I would like to know how your able to clean a 4500 sqr ft home in 2 hrs? It takes me 3-4 hrs to properly clean a 3bd 2 ba home. I am wondering if you have a laundering service? That could be the difference. 

Jimmie19
Level 1
Mohave Valley, AZ

As an Airbnb cleaner, the trash is something they ask the guest to take out, as is putting the dishes in the dishwasher & turning it on. However, I don't see the problem with having the cleaners take out the trash but it's important for the dishwasher to be started in order to get the house done in a timely manner. Dishwashers & washing machines/dryers take the most time and sometimes it is what keeps me from turning the house in time for the next guest checking in.  I wish there was a more efficient method of doing the laundry timely. It's tuff if the house doesn't have enough linen to make that turn and we have to wait for the linen to be washed & dried before we can make beds & place towels.  Does anybody else have that same issue? Any ideas that may help?  The other struggle I'm having is every day of the week we work on our own, except Sundays when there is the most check outs. Well on Sundays we are all put together working each house together, rather than giving each of us our own house like every other day. I don't find this effective time management & having 6 people in 1 house can be more problematic. What are your thoughts??

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

Unless there is a good reason (bugs, heat etc.) why the rubbish needs to be taken out asap, no, I don't think guests should be required to do it, especially if it's a short stay and ESPECIALLY if there's a cleaning fee. As a guest, I would have no problem taking out the trash and have done so, even when it wasn't required, but if I was charged a cleaning fee and the host expected me to do it (outside of locations where heat and bugs are an issue or there's some other important reason), I would find that weird.

 

I do ask my guests to put their rubbish/recycling/food waste in the appropriate kitchen bins while they are here, because the council requires these to be separated and can impose fines. But, I or my cleaners then take it outside.

 

Taking out the rubbish is just a standard part of a cleaner's job. I have never come across a cleaner who didn't view it that way.