How do cleaners decide their hourly rate?

For many cleaning is a dirty job, for others it can be high paying. So what’s the truth?

Inline with other industries, pay for the cleaning jobs vary depending on various factors:

  1. Type of premises  – Cleaning commercial spaces like offices, medical clinics, gyms are paid differently to domestic / residential cleaning involving houses, apartments etc.
  2. Location – Pay rate varies between different cities and even between different suburbs of the same city. Usually it follow the cost of living index of the city. For example, hourly rate for professional cleaners in Canberra is higher than cleaners in Melbourne. Similarly, within Melbourne, residents from Toorak would generally pay higher to get their houses cleaned than what their fellow residents from northern suburbs would pay for end of lease cleaning in Craigieburn.

In this blog, we will cover the basis used by residential cleaners in Melbourne to decide their pay.

There are a few points that we need to understand when calculating the money an average domestic cleaner earn. We are assuming a cleaner does three * two hours cleans per day he or she works.

  1. Since residential cleaners are generally self-employed, they don’t get paid for the time they spent travelling from their home to client’s and between client on a day. Time spent travelling is an expense that plays an important role in cleaners hourly rate. A cleaning worker who goes to an office for a full day of work would get 8 hours of work while a house cleaner coming to your house for 2-3 hours of clean is spending time traveling to and from every job.
  2. There is no guarantee of three jobs a day, so they need to spend time and money in the marketing as well. This time is unpaid and can amount to an average of 30 minutes a day.
  3. Not every potential customer who contact them hires the cleaner, so assuming a 50% win rate, they would answer 6 calls or emails to win three jobs. This would equate to around one hour each assuming ten minutes per call.
  4. For every job, there is roughly 30 minutes of travel time and 30 minutes of time to meet and greet the customer, understand the requirements, confirm the price, take pictures of any notable area (stained, damaged or too dirty area to manage any unwarranted claims later on). This amounts to a total overhead of one hour per job.
  5. Finally, assuming a cleaner spend an average of two hours per clean and does three house cleaning per day, they would get paid for 6 hours of work, with additional 6 unpaid hours spent in travelling and admin work.

For self employed cleaners, there is no guarantee of full days work, so they can be treated as casuals to help calculate their hourly rate.

While the award rate for casual cleaners is around $30 per hour, considering the additional admin work and cost of cleaning supplies, $40 per hour is a reasonable and fair pay for the hard work that cleaners put in.

However, cleaners prefer to work for larger cleaning businesses to get continuous work, the marketing and admin cost is generally paid by the company that hires that. And adding their profit on the top of cleaners pay and related expenses, $60 per hour is something you can expect to pay when engaging a cleaner.

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