If you’ve ever spent some time browsing on the Airbnb platform, you have probably come across something known as the “cleaning fee.”
If you are a potential guest, you may wonder why a cleaning fee is tacked on to your reservation costs. If you are a host, you may wonder how much is an appropriate amount to charge guests for cleaning.
If you find yourself wondering either of these, look no further!
Here, I will be explaining why cleaning fees are charged additional to reservation costs and how hosts can both determine if they should charge a cleaning fee and, if so, how much they should charge.
What is the Airbnb cleaning fee?
The cleaning fee on many Airbnb listings can usually be found as an additional charge to the total cost of the booking.
It is not dependent on the amount of nights a guest has booked, rather a one time fee that covers all the time and products needed to properly clean between each guest’s stay.
What does Airbnb Cleaning Fee cover?
Whether you host a small room in your house or manage a 10 bedroom cabin in the woods, all spaces require regular and thorough cleaning between each reservation.
In order to fully clean and set your rental, you (or your housekeeping team) will be spending a considerable amount of time and money on cleaning up after your guests.
Even the neatest of guests require cleaning up after, including trash disposal, laundering linens, stocking supplies, vacuuming and mopping floors, and restocking supplies.
In addition to these routine chores, many guests assume you will be cleaning up after them and do the bare minimum before checking out, leaving you with the burden of additional, time consuming cleaning.
By charging a cleaning fee, you are making sure the time and effort put into cleaning your rental space does not go unpaid.
A cleaning fee will help cover the costs of all cleaning supplies, trash bags, linen replacements, and any treats you like to supply to guests during their stay.
If you choose to hire a cleaning service to do your housekeeping, this fee should be enough to cover their rates.
How does the Airbnb cleaning fee affect your listing?
While it may sound great to be able to charge a fee to cover your cleaning costs, it is not always the best option to go for. Some of the problems that may come along with charging an additional cleaning fee are:
- Airbnb rentals are still a relatively new form of lodging in the hospitality business, making up approximately about 20% of the lodging in the current market.
Due to this, many guests who have previously used hotels and motels are not accustomed to being charged an additional cleaning fee up-front.
- There is often confusion surrounding what being charged a cleaning fee provides to the guests.
For people who have previously frequented hotels, a cleaning fee may equate to the daily housekeeping services that hotels provide.
With short-term rentals that are usually managed by individual people (a lot of the time opening up their own homes), this is usually not the case.
During a guest’s stay, it is expected that they will clean up after themselves, no matter the extent of their stay.
- Depending on your local rental market, you may find people are discouraged to book your listing by the additional cost of a cleaning fee.
While this may mean that some people are passing up your listing, it may not necessarily be a bad thing as it weeds out guests who do not really care for the cleanliness of a space (usually these are the same guests who would leave your rental in a less-than-ideal state!).
- Once you make the decision to charge a fee specifically for cleaning, expect guests to hold you to a higher standard when it comes to cleanliness.
As with everything, people want to receive what they are paying for. If you are charging a cleaning fee and not keeping up with a high-standard of cleaning, your guests will be more likely to leave a harsh review.
What Is The Average Airbnb Cleaning Fee?
Of course, there is no one list that will tell you exactly how to price your cleaning fee, as all rentals will differ in size, location, amenities, number of rooms, number of beds, number of bathrooms, and so many other factors.
With that said, here is a generalized list of approximate prices to help you decide what fits your specific rental.
For an average property size with basic amenities, the average prices are as follows:
- One room (in a shared home): ~$25
- One bedroom: ~$40
- Two bedroom: ~$75
- Three bedroom: ~$110
- Four bedroom: ~$140
Again, these prices will greatly range depending on where you are located in the world, the rental market you are in, and the additional amenities you are providing to your guests, such as hot tubs, pools, special access to events and community centers, etc.
Should you Charge an Airbnb cleaning Fee? If so, How much?
Now that you know what a cleaning fee is and some of the troubles that come with charging one, you have all the information to start deciding if a cleaning fee is appropriate for your rental.
To help you make the final decision, there are three main factors to consider:
One of the first places to start when deciding your cleaning fee is to look at your local rental market.
Keeping track of your competing rentals is seriously beneficial, not only for making decisions such as these, but to also monitor what other hosts are pricing their nightly rates for and what amenities are usually being provided in your area.
If you take the time to look at a few listings that are similar to yours and find that none are charging additional cleaning fees, it will be very difficult to find guests who are willing to pay these extra costs.
2. Property type and size
Next, it is very helpful to figure out how much time and money it actually costs to thoroughly clean your specific property type and size.
Whether you decipher this by cleaning it yourself or with a cleaning service, this will help you gauge if you should add a cleaning fee, as well as how much it should be.
Feel free to use the rough estimates provided above if you are struggling to come to an exact number.
3. DIY Cleaning
If you are physically able and live in the same locale as your rental, it may be most effective to clean the rental yourself.
This would depend on how much time you have and how large your specific rental is, but choosing to clean yourself may help to keep cleaning costs to a minimum.
DIY cleans may be an especially great option for hosts with prior cleaning experience or hosts who live in markets with very expensive cleaning services.
For the average, neat guest, there may not be much to clean and an additional fee may not be necessary.
Take note of what types of guests tend to stay in your rental, as this will help determine how difficult cleans will be between guests.
4. Cost of professional housekeeping
When examining your local market, you may find that housekeeping costs are way cheaper compared to the nightly prices of rentals in your market, for example Hawaii.
If this is the case, it may be better to not charge the additional cleaning fee and simply include the fee in the nightly price instead.
As mentioned earlier, it is important to understand that most guests are still new to Airbnb’s format of lodging and are not used to seeing cleaning fees.
By not placing an “additional” fee on your listing, you will most likely have preference compared to your competition (I use quotes because the fee is still being charged, simply as part of the total reservation fee rather than a separate fee).
Location plays a part in your cleaning fee decision in a couple different ways.
First, as mentioned before, your local competition will provide you the information pertaining to if others in your area are charging cleaning fees, as well as what others are charging.
Second, your location will usually determine what types of trips guests are taking to your area.
For example, a rental in Seattle,WA will see a mix of tourists, business travelers, and local residents, all usually staying a short amount of time.
In contrast to that, a rental in Orlando, FL will see guests staying for longer periods of time as it is a highly vacationed area of the country due to the neighboring Disney parks.
Why this matters is that guests staying for short periods of time will have a harder time justifying a one-time additional cleaning fee as it will make up a hefty chunk of their total price, while guests staying for a week or longer are more likely to be able to afford the fee relative to the nightly price.
Airbnb Cleaning Fee for long-term stays
As of right now, there is no way to add additional cleaning fees for long-term stays, for example a weekly charge for changing linens, garbage removal, and regular maintenance.
Due to this, be sure to include these costs in either your one-time cleaning fee or in your nightly rates.
In most long-term stays, guests do not want their vacations interrupted and will supply their own needs, such as toilet paper, dishwasher and laundry detergent, etc.
This should be discussed at the time of booking with guests, as everyone is different and you cannot assume all guests will do this.
If you do find that guests are wanting or expecting periodical cleaning, the Airbnb Resolution Center is a great, easy way to request additional fees during a guest’s stay. Be sure to inform your guest that you will be charging for the additional cleaning and how to go about paying.
As I’ve said a few times now, every rental is special and different in it’s own way; there is no one, set standard rule on cleaning fees and it takes some effort to find what works best for you and your guests.
In the end, it is up to you to implement what feels right!