If you find yourself wondering “Should I charge an Airbnb cleaning fee?” The short answer is, Yes!
Price and Value
In general, a race to the bottom for price is never a good idea. Competing to be the cheapest, is rarely a successful strategy and never a rewarding one.
That’s because price isn’t just what a product or service costs the customer, it is also the perceived value of the offering. If your offering comes across as the cheapest, then subliminally it also comes across as the lowest value. And while there will always be a market for the cheapest, that market is rife with problematic customers. The kind of guest that looks for the cheapest, is often the kind of guest that expects more or finds problems in the hope of a discount.
While there will always be a market for the cheapest, that market is rife with problematic customers.
Now we don’t recommend increasing your price and whacking on an Airbnb cleaning fee in the hope of making your product seem high end. Your price should reflect the value you’re offering guests. If you want to increase your price then increase the quality of your listing and if you want to add an Airbnb cleaning fee, make sure that the cleaning is taken care of to a high level.
Many hosts think that the additional cost of a cleaning fee will make their listing less competitive. It’s more likely that guests see it as value-added. It’s an assurance that the place will be clean when they get there, and to most, that’s worth paying for.
Charging for cleaning doesn’t mean your guests will be extra messy
Another common concern of hosts when it comes to charging an Airbnb cleaning fee is that if guests are paying for cleaning, then they’ll leave the place in a state. We’ve been in business cleaning Airbnbs for years, all of which charge a cleaning fee, and can tell you that this is a false assumption. Whether you’re charging a cleaning fee or not, the expectation of guests is to clean up after themselves. That means cleaning any dishes they’ve used, wiping up any crumbs etc. Fortunately, the Airbnb rating system incentivises people to leave your property in the same condition they found it in.
If you’d like to be sure, make this part of your house rules.
In our experience, almost all Airbnb guests do this. It is very rare that guests will leave so much as a dirty dish out.
So the best thing that you can do to get people to leave your property clean, is to have it clean when they check-in.
If they perceive value in your offering, they will treat it with respect.
If you need any help with cleaning your Airbnb, check out our Airbnb Cleaning Checklist.
Hosts often resist charging an Airbnb cleaning fee because they don’t like “hidden fees” that only appear at checkout. While this focus on customer service is admirable, having a cleaning fee is now the industry standard. People are no longer surprised by the inclusion of a cleaning fee. The majority of hosts are doing it and it is expected. As long as your fee is reasonable it is a perfectly fair practice. Longer stays are incentivised by the cleaning fee as it is proportionately smaller than the rental fee, the longer a guest stays.
The best thing that you can do to get people to leave your property clean, is to have it clean when they check in.
How Much Should I Charge?
One relatively quick and easy way to calculate your cleaning fee is to contact some local cleaning agencies and get a quote for how much they would charge to do your changeover clean, including laundry. Whether you engage an outside cleaning agency or not, you can use this pricing to guide how much you charge for cleaning and even add one or two percent for your own time in arranging the cleaners for each clean. Your cleaning fee should not exceed one nights rental fee.
Was This a Good Idea?
If you’re still hesitant about charging a cleaning fee, we recommend tracking your progress. Introduce a cleaning fee and keep a close eye on how many bookings you get and, more importantly, how much revenue. Do you see a difference in the type or length of stays? Keep in mind that a reduction in bookings at a higher rate, can still constitute an increase in revenue. Is the cost of employing a cleaning services worth having more free time and better ratings from guests?
To summarise you’re probably not going to be losing potential guests by charging an Airbnb cleaning fee. Make your Airbnb more attractive by adding value at every step of the process, then you can comfortably and in good conscience charge what you’re worth. By doing the cleaning yourself or paying someone to do it and not charging the guest for it, you’re subsidising their stay, and there’s no reason to do that.
If you’re unsure about how to add an Airbnb cleaning fee to your booking, follow this link.