To clean or not to clean!

Robin4
Level 10
Mount Barker, Australia

To clean or not to clean!

While I do not justify exorbitant cleaning fees, I have come to the realisation through, not just being here on the Airbnb CC but, on other sites I am active with, many guests are unhappy with having to pay a 'cleaning fee' and don't realise why they have to!

 

I host through Airbnb and I have a $15 per guest stay cleaning fee. As you all know that is not a per night fee it is a once only fee for the duration of the stay. I would say to many guests 'Would you consider that ridiculously high?' But some guests consider that even that fee should not be charged!

The second thing is, there is a difference, hosts don’t expect guests to clean the property, they just don’t want the guest to walk out and leave it like a pig-sty! No host expects a guest to prepare for the next reservation to arrive.

 

We don’t expect you to wipe down the walls, the counter-tops, attend to those coffee cup rings on the bedside and occasional tables, checking for insects and spider webs.

We don’t expect you to strip the bed and remove those blood, alcohol or makeup stains from the linens, put them through the washing machine, dry them and iron ready for a future guest.

We don’t expect you to wash the towels and provide new face-washers to replace those that were destroyed by nail polish remover, acne treatment cream and fake tan lotion.

We don’t expect you to remake the bed with fresh linens and put out a new set of towels and face washers.

We don’t expect you to vacuum the carpets, rugs and steam mop the floors.

We don’t expect you to clean the toilet, shower alcove, sinks and taps.

We don’t expect that you will wash, dry and put away the dishes, cutlery, saucepans and glassware that you have used.

We don’t expect you to restock the fridge with a cheese plate, milk, eggs and bacon, fruit juice, a beer and a cider and water from the re-stock facilities.

We don’t expect you to test that the TV, the fridge, the hot water, the DVD player, the air conditioning filter, the washing machine, the smoke alarm, the microwave and hotplate, the electric blankets are all working!

This is what we charge a cleaning fee for! To return the property to the state which the guest enters it in.

We just expect you will put your rubbish in the bin, pick up those used nappies and condoms that were left under the bed and dispose of.

Put furniture back the way you found it.

Leave the property in a relatively tidy state.

That’s all we expect!

 

There are certain overheads that must be covered in order to provide a listing in the first place.

There is a property mortgage to be covered, insurances, council rates and permits, maintenance, breakages, gardening, electricity and gas, water the constant supply of condiments……..This is what you pay for in the listing amount.

It is most unfortunate that many guests do not seem to be able to differentiate between the two!!

The listing amount covers the cost of supplying the property. The cleaning fee covers the cost of continuing to offer it to guests!

 

Cheers…..Rob

75 Replies 75
Michelle1851
Level 10
Littleton, CO

@Robin4 

I charge a cleaning fee and I clean my own place.  I have tried not charging vs charging and bookings didn't change.  In my area, the fee $150 is quite a bit less than others.  I think of it more as an amenity charge,  my guests could go 3 days without going to the store if they wanted.  I leave our condo very well stocked. I do ask all guests to take out the trash and start the dishwasher, I think that is just courteous.  Most leave it very clean, not that it matters, everything must be washed either way.

Elsa64
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

Well, my situation is different, I travel a lot and I offer the days that I'm away.

I actually just charge a fair amount per night, not making any profit as my area is very expensive and hotels around the corner cost at least double of my price; but I'm happy to at least get help with the cost of living there.

I need to hire a cleaner, I also pay for the service KeyNest for the check in . I provide basics like tea, coffee, fruits, whatever is on my fridge that my guest can have. I never charge for those towels ruins or bedsheets damaged   as I think it's part of the cost and just don't have the time to make a fast when this happens .

So, if I don't charge  for cleaning  I actually will be losing money because of all those extra cost .

Just the way it's. ..

Nikki39
Level 4
London, United Kingdom

Rob. You forgot shopping for the fresh suplies (bread & milk)!

Marg11
Level 10
Warwick, Australia

Cleaning fees are always a fascinating topic as we are a budget, metro Airbnb for 1-4 with a QB in the bedroom with en suite & sofa bed in the lounge. The kitchen has a toaster oven with element on top, electric frypan, glass oven, rice cooker, pod coffee, toaster, electric kettle, new fridge/freezer, pantry with basic coffee pods, tea bags, spreads & cereals, some late-night arrival snacks plus we supply bread & milk along with the usual t. paper, paper towels, soap, shampoo, conditioner, tissues, sauces and sealed food left by previous guests.

Our charge $50 a night for two and $7 extra per person with a max. of $300 a week is mostly profit as we own our flat attached to our house. No under twos, no pets, 2-30 day stays and a 95 % occupancy. 

Should we charge for cleaning? 

When guests leave dishes unwashed, bins unemptied, furniture moved, linen not delivered to our front veranda, I politely say in our review that future hosts will appreciate if they read the information supplied, ask questions if they don't understand and comply so that inexpensive stays can be offered.

There is information in the flat about recycling, washing up Aussie style and how to avoid ants etc.

Most guests leave our flat clean so all I need to do is get the washing on, hung out, make the bed(s), put out fresh bathroom linen, vacuum, mop and I can do a few irregular chores like cleaning the ceiling fan covers. My man checks supplies and shops.

I offer cleaning and fresh linen for stays over a week.

After the odd messy customer, it takes a bit longer to erase their stay and prep for the next guests.

As we age I feel a $50 cleaning fee per week would be okay and I could find a possible friend who wants to supplement their pension.

Is that reasonable?

Nikki39
Level 4
London, United Kingdom

I have recently spent time fiddling with various combinations of base price, additional guest charges and cleaning fees over 1 - 4 nights to find a balance that is a price worth my while and a reasonable price for guests.

One of the main reasons is that I have a bed and sofa bed in the room and so can host 1 - 4 people. (I also do 1 - 4 days only by choice). The difference in getting the room ready for 2 guests in one bed or 2 guests in two beds is significant. Previously I had the extra guest charge afteer the 2nd person.  I tried requesting that guests requiring two beds for only two people enquired rather than requested, so that I could add a fee but it rarely worked.

I have changed to the extra guest fee being after one person now but if I kept the base price the same, it was a bit high for one person. However, if I lowered the base price and added a cleaning fee, it made the price still OK  for guests but OK for me too.

Mathew53
Level 1
Aurora, CO

I feel like the frustration is many listings listing low ball prices to fool the metrics for SEO and then pad that low price with an exorbitant cleaning fee. I have seen $45 to $150 cleaning fees while the listing is for $25-$35 per night.

 

This practice should be banned. It is misleading to members. Makes the platform look shady and interferes with fair competition within the marketplace. It is also a point of contention for both guests and hosts. A reasonable fee is for laundry. Everything else should be included in your price. If you are paying a cleaning person $25 an hour...then work out another budget because you are not running the Ritz Carlton. 

@Robin4  You make me feel so good about knee surgery that prevents me from looking under the bed; what goes under the bed, stays under the bed. Ewwww, I don't even want to think about it. Now about that fee; Robin, just raise your nightly price and give no one an excuse to complain about a cleaning fee. I decided not to request a cleaning fee for the simple reason that I do not want to pay for "extras.".. or cleaning, as I consider that the cost of doing this sort of business. I also hate "resort fees" when I book an hotel, since I never use such amenities. I recently had to pay one for a bicycle that I couldn't ride if they paid me ( my knees don't bend far enough). If the drinks and cheese plate, mortgage and insurance, etc., can be prorated into your nightly fee, so can this. You will not lose guests with a small increase, and you will never have to discuss the merits of cleaning fees again. Paying a cleaning fee quite often gives a guest the excuse of leaving things untidy or dirty; after all, they already paid a fee. 

 

 

Nikki39
Level 4
London, United Kingdom

I also think it depends on your set up. As in my reply. 2 guests one bed and two guests two beds take different amounts of work.

Robin4
Level 10
Mount Barker, Australia

@Donna240 

Hi Donna, to put this back in perspective, I have never had a solitary guest make a complaint or a comment to me about my cleaning fee. To try to understand how guests feel I have, when the opportunity has arisen, asked how they feel about hidden charges including cleaning fees, and there are two distinct camps.

1/.....Those who resent them and say they should be in the listing nightly charge but realise that every service comes at a cost, and as long as that cost is reasonable they are prepared to accept them. As I only charge a $15  cleaning fee they are more annoyed with the Airbnb guest service fee than my cleaning fee.

2/....Those who say......'Fine, if I book an economy airline ticket I get hit with seating fees, baggage fees, food and bev fees, it's just the way business works. If I don't want those fees I buy a business or 1st class fare and pay the extra that way'! Their decision to book was based on the value they received not on the way it was priced!

But back to the point, I was not talking in my initial post from my personal experience, I am talking about the number of posts, not just here but on other sites where guests feel taken advantage of via cleaning fees.....and in some instances they are, but most instances they are not. And when faced with the question, 'Would you rather pay for your stay, an inflated nightly charge to allow for servicing costs as the hotels do, or a lesser nightly charge with a once only cleaning fee added'? Almost all will elect the second alternative.

Donna, I do this for a reason, to make me a better host and better understand what the guest wants.

 

All I was trying to illustrate is that some guests think once they tidy up a bit, leave the key on the table and walk out, there is no effort or cost involved in preparing for the next guest! I am trying to show people hear on the CC that there is!

 

Cheers.......Rob    

Marc6772
Level 1
Stanmore, AU

Totally agree. I host my own home which I think is very clean and I charge a fee so they didn’t leave it in a mess. But I’m beginning to think they are insulted by it as every time I host a guest will

make some minor comment about cleanliness despite all the wonderful things my home offers. 

Wendy684
Level 6
Levin, New Zealand

I have only just added a cleaning fee. The minimum Airbnb allowed (why is there a minimum exactly? Shouldn't I be allowed to decide that if I'm cleaning myself?)

 

Up to now I've always believed that it is better to be totally transparent and up front with room prices and to advertise a lower price but add a cleaning fee seems a bit odd. Other accommodation doesn't do that. 

 

However I have a lot of one night stays because of where I am situated and these are more work. More laundry, vacuuming, and even now wearing the linen down so I'm going to have to buy more due to constant washing. 

 

I have a budget room. Not as flash as some of you. I have a paid cleaner comes in does a big clean every few guests and in between I'm cleaning, washing sheets, bathroom, kitchen etc. I could put my nightly rate up a bit but since it's the one night stays that are costing me more the cleaning fee enables me to pass the cost on more proportionately. I will see how it goes. 

 

I suppose the alternative is to have  different rates for 1 or 2 nights,  3 -4, 5-6 and 7+ nights which sounds complicated. 

 

MarceandCarlos0
Level 2
Biscayne Park, FL

I totally agree Cost of Providing a Rental/Property vs the Cost of Managing it. Cleaning fees do need to be charged. I have hosted hundreds of guests and never got any complaints about the cleaning fees. Besides I travel extensively for work and stay at dozens of Airbnb rentals myself throughout the country and I don’t mind paying cleaning fees as they indicate to me that there is a professional service involved, or at least someone dedicated to it, and so I will be receiving a room with fresh linen and towels, a clean bathroom, an fridge free of old food, etc. Gone are the old days when Airbnb rooms were a spare room in the house and sometimes no linen/towels were provided, closets were full of owner’s clothes and personal belongings, and comforters were not washed! a cleaning fee is in my view progress that has been made in the whole process. Even charging a cleaning fee Airbnb rooms are significantly lower priced than 2 and 3 star hotels, and we all know by now the great advantages of Airbnb rentals over inexpensive hotels, and how much economical they can be when compared to business class hotels so I do not mind paying these fees, nor would I offer a room without charging them.

Jo595
Level 1
Christchurch, NZ

I dont charge a cleaning fee.I have never stayed at a bed and breakfast,motel or hotel that does.If I felt that strongly about it I would add it into the cost not have it separate as it would put me off if I was a guest.Whatever works for you and makes you happy in the end.

Michael4601
Level 1
Los Angeles, CA

its really a question of "apples to apples' when guests are cruising through listings to find a place.  If airbnb wants things to be apples to apples then they should not allow hosts to use clearning fees.  But since that option is available, of course as a host Im going to utliize it because it makes my rental rate look lower.  if you are a savvy host you are definitely going to lower your rate and put some into the cleaning fee.

Nikki39
Level 4
London, United Kingdom

Not the only reason to do that though. As Wendy 684 says, it balances charges for number of nights and as I have found, number of guests per bed.

Sarah_Matthew0
Level 5
Whitstable, United Kingdom

We charge one price and that’s it, in my experience guests don’t want hidden costs and it can be confusing, we clean the house ourselves and expect it to be left as it’s found. Generally it  takes 2 people 1.5 hours, laundry takes longer especially in the Winter.

Jo620
Level 4
Wokingham, United Kingdom

Hi Sarah ,

 

I'm new to Airbnb and i have just covered my costs of my cleaning products .I often see fee for cleaning and I respect this when i'm visiting .This will my very first time i will be hosting so wish me well.

Jo

Sarah_Matthew0
Level 5
Whitstable, United Kingdom

Good luck Jo! Happy hosting 😊

Trude0
Level 10
Stockholm County, Sweden

I clean the guest house myself, I like doing it, and I want to make sure the cleaning is done properly (but I have a cleaner who cleans my own house...😂). My fee is approx. $ 50, for a tinyhouse with bedroom, living room, full bathroom and kitchenette - sleeps 4.

 

I used to include cleaning in the per night fee, but started to add a fee (reducing the per night fee), because it made sense to me to charge a bit more per night for guests staying 2 nights, vs for those staying 5-6 nights. Cleaning takes approximately the same time.

 

As far as I can see, the options we have with Airbnb, are discounts in % for stays longer than 1 week, and then longer than 1 month - or is there also an option for us to set the discount terms we like? For instance, can I choose to discount from 4 nights?

Jenny1110
Level 2
England, United Kingdom

I completely agree with the comments made

i have had furniture moved and not returned to original place

mattresses moved from beds then just stood against walls and left

a whole Fortnight of washing up left on the work surfaces to be cleaned up 

filthy oven and hob left

 condoms left in drawers, under bed and In toilet that won’t flush away

sanitary products left in bins in bedroom 

bed linen covered in makeup and coffee, all ruined

i am the cleaner, looking after the property 

it takes 4 hours to thoroughly do a 2 bed 1 bathroom 

including windows