Short-Term Rental Cleaning: Independent vs. Cleaning Company

choosing a cleaning company

By the Pro Housekeepers team

There’s one thing short-term rental guests value above almost everything else, and that’s cleanliness! It doesn’t matter how amazing your rental property is if your guests find hairs in the bathtub. Your reviews, and your future as a host, depend on every guest finding your property clean and welcoming.

With so much at stake, it’s important to get your cleaning protocols right. Here are the factors you should consider when choosing a cleaning company for your STR rental property.

Choosing the best cleaning service for your short-term rental property

There are three ways of keeping your STR property clean. Do it yourself, hire an independent cleaner, or hire an established cleaning company. Here are the pros and cons of each option.

DIY Airbnb cleaning

This is the cheapest cash option, but it will cost you the most in time. If you’ve got a flexible schedule and don’t mind rolling your sleeves up, cleaning your rental property yourself makes sense. But if you can’t drop everything to clean between guests, or you hate cleaning, the DIY approach probably isn’t right for you.

Cleaning seems like a simple task. But many hosts learn the hard way that hospitality cleaning is completely different. A hospitality clean means removing all traces of any other guests in the property. This includes elements that at home you’d only complete on a weekly or monthly basis.

During peak season, you may have to complete this clean several times each week. And you’ll usually only have a narrow window between the last guest leaving and the next arriving. There’s no contingency plan if you can’t make that window, and it’s on you to buy all the equipment, take inventory of the property, and handle any damages.

Hiring an independent STR cleaner

Many STR property owners decide their time is better spent running their business. Instead of cleaning themselves, they hire a cleaner to help. Hiring a sole trader is the cheapest way to outsource your rental cleaning.

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Anyone can set up a business as an independent cleaner, so hosts should check they’ve made the right choice. Independent cleaners are cheap to hire but often lack experience. They will also expect you to provide the cleaning materials, and because they’re just one person, their time is limited. That could leave you in a bind if your cleaner gets sick or you secure a last-minute reservation.

Some hosts get lucky. They find a reliable cleaner who is experienced in hospitality cleaning. However, many hosts are not so fortunate. There is no recourse if a sole trader lets you down, and many independent cleaners aren’t properly licensed and insured. If you decide to hire an independent cleaner, always check they’re licensed and insured. Also, ask about their cleaning experience and flexibility.

Hiring a vacation rental cleaning service for your STR property

If you want the most reliable cleaning service for your short-term rental, then look for an established cleaning service. Cleaning companies cost more than independent cleaners, but hosts also get better service. If you value peace of mind, this option could be right for you.

Cleaning companies have wider availability than individual cleaners. Their large staff means they can respond around the clock and cover sickness and absences. Their costs also include equipment and materials, including commercial cleaning equipment. This means cleaning companies can give you better results in less time.

Large companies can often bundle extra services with cleaning. Your cleaners could manage your inventory, report damages, and even handle yard work. And cleaning companies are fully licensed and insured, so you know you’re covered if something goes wrong.

How much does an STR cleaning company cost?

The price of cleaning your short-term rental property will depend on several variables. These include the size of the property and the cost of living. In general, expect to pay about $25/hour for an independent cleaner and $50-$100/hour for a cleaning company.

Some cleaning companies offer fixed-price cleaning packages for short-term rentals. This is an attractive deal for hosts, as it makes it easier to anticipate costs. However, if you do negotiate a fixed price for your cleaning service, make sure it’s still worth the cleaner’s time to do a thorough job at your property.

Before committing to a cleaner, make sure you understand any extra charges they might impose. How much notice do you have to give for cancellations? Will a last-minute booking cost more? What happens if the property is particularly messy? Figuring out these details beforehand can help you manage your cleaning costs.

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How to find a good STR cleaner

Your reputation as a short-term rental host is on the line every time a new guest arrives at your property. And nothing upsets a guest more than subpar cleaning! Finding the right cleaner for the job can be nerve-wracking, but asking a few simple questions can make the job easier.

If you’re hiring a vacation rental cleaning company, ask about their staff.

  • Are they contractors or payroll?
  • What does their hiring and vetting procedure look like?
  • Do they hire people with previous hospitality cleaning experience?
  • What (if any) training do they provide?

Look for experience and accountability. You don’t want your cleaning company to send just anyone to your home. Vetted, experienced cleaners come at a premium but will also provide the most reliable, professional service.

Another way to find a good STR cleaning company is to ask other hosts who they use. If you don’t know any hosts personally, join local host online forums and ask your questions about local cleaning companies there.

Final thoughts

It might be tempting to handle turnover cleaning at your Airbnb rental property yourself, but saving the cash will cost you valuable time. Finding a reliable, reputable cleaning company can take the headache out of guest transitions and safeguard your reputation as a five-star short-term rental host.

airbnb cleaning fees

Airbnb Cleaning Fees: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Airbnb’s cleaning fees are hardly the hot topic you’ll be discussing at your next dinner date (if they are, you probably need to get out more). But, they are important nonetheless. And that is why in this post I’m going to give you everything you need to know about Airbnb’s cleaning fees and how to use them effectively.

Airbnb cleaning checklist

Airbnb Cleaning Checklist: Don’t Miss a Spot

No matter what type of accommodation you offer on Airbnb, cleanliness is of the utmost importance to your guests. If your guests notice one small thing that was not cleaned properly, they’ll let you know if your cleaning standards aren’t up to par. It’s crucial not to miss a spot and our list will come in handy.

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