The True Cost of Cleaning


I’ve been in this industry more years than I care to count, and this is easily the most common question. As I brace for the usual comments “It’s just cleaning,” or “anyone can clean,” and smile through gritted teeth – I try to explain for the 1000th time why costs vary. Sometimes you really do get what you pay for, so cheaper is not always better, and expenses vary based on the type of cleaner and the type of business model.

I’m commonly asked;

  • Breakdown of costs
  • If I clean solo or have a team
  • If we supply all the cleaning products
  • And what products I use (supermarket, commercial, environmental etc.)

I wrote this blog to reveal a few truths about cleaning, and help answer some of those niggly questions and common myths around cleaning costs.

Cleaning is a such a varied industry, from big commercial companies like Menzies Group to your sole trader, and individuals operating on a Cash in Hand basis.   

Like EVERY industry, a small few give the rest a bad name. There are a lot of shortcuts that commercial cleaners can take to provide a cheaper price and no matter your industry, there will always be someone out there ready to undercut! Firstly, we need to look at the type of cleaner and service you’re looking for.


Commercial Business: Industry professionals looking for big contracts.

Cleaning Company (ACN): Usually a company with a team of staff, casuals or permanents. Set rates and specific services – higher price point and overheads.

Sole Trader (ABN): Generally working for themselves or have a small team of contractors. Quotes per hour and uses price as a point of difference and has minimal overheads. 

Cash in Hand Cleaners:  No ABN, no insurances, no tax.

Cleaning has a tier system and the price will generally reflect the type of business they are. Fact: “Labour accounts for 55 – 65 percent, not including supervision, management.” So businesses that have higher overheads will be more expensive.   


This can be a bit controversial but the way I see it – you should be paying for the quality, not how long it takes. In my experience and yours too no doubt; the biggest problem with hourly rates is the conflict and responsibility of cleaning results, versus time. Set prices avoid this conflict. I pay my staff and contractors regardless of the time spent.

For JHSC, our focus is quality. There’s no incentive to do a 5-hour job in 2 to make more money. Sometimes corners are cut to save time and money when charging hourly. Our premium service and price point allow us to spend the necessary time completing each and every job.


As a general rule of thumb, you get what you paid for. I’m a business owner and manage both my clients and staff. Gone are the days where I need to worry about underquoting or the ‘competition.’ I remember those days and it’s cut throat and price driven.

You might find an affordable cleaner whose exceptional – but usually, you get what you paid for. When you undervalue a service or someone has to underquote to win a job, it impacts their work and morale, so have clear expectations of what you’re willing to pay and what you’ll get in return for that. If you are paying an hourly rate – then rates upwards of $60/hour/person are very reasonable for a quality cleaning service.  


Trust is a HUGE factor when it comes to outsourcing and having someone in your home. Check out my blog on outsourcing to help you choose the right person for the job.

We’ve all had a bad experience with a service, cleaning is no different. Prospective clients tell me all the time “she’s just cutting corners”, “she was great in the beginning, but…” AND my all time favourite, “I pay for 3 – 4 hours and the neighbours tell me she’s only here for 1.5 – 2hrs.” 

Common sense needs to prevail.

  1. Read the agreement – what are they contracted to do?
  2. What are your expectations and what has been delivered?
  3. What are you paying and realistically – is this reflective of the quality you want?
  4. If you’re disappointed, what options of recourse do you have? Refund, training, new cleaner?


When quoting, I focus on quality and ensuring staff are well renumerated to deliver the JHS premium clean. Here’s a sneak peak into my expenses and how I have to factor that into running my business.

Staff Expenses

  • Staff / Sub-contractors – wages/Invoices
  • PAYG
  • Super
  • Travel time and in some cases per kilometre paid
  • Work Cover
  • Training
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Trade Tools and Equipment


  • Products & Supplies 
  • Public Liability Insurances
  • Advertising 
  • Phones/Internet
  • Office costs
  • Lots of other Office related expenses that are too numerous to name

I offer a “Quote for Service” product which is specific to the value and quality of work, not time spent. I’ve found this to be the most cost effective, and quality controlled way of delivering a service.


Like anything, it’s a mixture of common sense, research, gut feeling and vetting. I hope this helps you understand the industry a little better and make more confident choices when hiring a cleaner.  If you’d like to know more about my services or get clarity around hiring a cleaner, please contact me here 

JHSC | Because life’s too short.