Airbnb Cleaning Fee: What Is It and How to Build It Into Your Pricing Strategy

how to calculate airbnb cleaning fees

The Airbnb cleaning fee is something that all hosts need to think about when setting up their pricing. But it can be difficult to know how much to charge and decide how your cleaning fee will fit into your overall Airbnb pricing strategy. 

Cleanliness is one of the main things that guests consider when rating your property. So making sure that you set the right expectations – and live up to them! – is essential. 

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through how the Airbnb cleaning fee works, how much you should charge, and what it should cover. Then, we’ll give you some tips on how to 

automate your Airbnb cleaning

What is the Airbnb cleaning fee?

The Airbnb cleaning fee is a one-time, non-refundable fee charged by hosts to cover the expenses of cleaning their short-term rental and preparing it for the next guest. 

It’s up to you whether you want to incorporate cleaning costs into your nightly rates or add a cleaning fee on top. 

Besides accounting for cleaning costs, some hosts choose to add a cleaning fee on top of their nightly rates as a way of earning some extra profit. In other words, they use the cleaning fee strategically and experiment with different amounts to boost their income.

Should you charge a cleaning fee on Airbnb?

There are a few things to take into account when deciding whether or not to charge a cleaning fee on Airbnb. 

How you choose to list your rates has an impact on how guests perceive your Airbnb listing. 

If you decide to incorporate cleaning costs into your nightly price, it will increase the overall price of your rental. Guests may see your prices and think that you’re offering your place at a higher price point than other similar listings.

On the other hand, if you add a cleaning fee on top of your rates, it will appear as a separate line in the price breakdown. This can sometimes turn guests off, because they may perceive the cleaning fee as a “hidden expense”. 

Here are 5 things to consider before you start charging an Airbnb cleaning fee:

1. Do your competitors charge a cleaning fee?

If you’ve read our blog post on building a solid Airbnb pricing strategy, you’ll know that we’re huge proponents of doing market research to determine how much you should charge for your Airbnb. The cleaning fee is no different. Search for similar rentals in your area on Airbnb and see if they charge a cleaning fee at all. If they do, you should probably do so yourself in order to stay competitive.

2. Do you advertise your rental as a luxury property?

The type of rental you have and the audience you’re targeting should also factor into your decision. If you advertise your rental as a high-end property and showcase it as spotlessly clean in your photos, your guests probably won’t take issue with a high cleaning fee. However, if you’re listing a mid-range apartment and trying to attract backpackers, a cleaning fee listed as an additional charge could prevent them from booking your place.

3. Is your property bigger than average?

The size of your vacation rental also matters when it comes to setting cleaning fees. If you have a big property with several bedrooms that can accommodate a bigger group of guests, you can easily justify charging a cleaning fee.

4. Do you want to discourage 1-2-night stays?

One thing you need to know about the Airbnb cleaning fee is that it’s a fixed amount charged per stay, not per night. So, if your cleaning fee is $50 and a guest only want to stay 1 or 2 nights, they may find it too expensive. On the other hand, if a guest wants to stay for 5 nights, they’ll probably find the $50 per stay (which would be $10 per night) rate reasonable. 

Airbnb hosts often use the cleaning fee strategically as a way of “filtering” bookings and discouraging 1-2-night stays. If your business strategy includes a focus on longer stays, you should try charging an Airbnb cleaning fee, too.

5. Do you have a professional cleaning team?

Last but not least, your Airbnb cleaning fee will depend on whether you want to clean your property yourself or hire a professional cleaning team for the job. Cleaning services can be pretty expensive, depending on where you are in the world. So if you choose to go the professional route, you should definitely charge a cleaning fee. 

To find a cleaning provider near you, use a housekeeping app like Properly.

What does the Airbnb cleaning fee cover?

By now, you probably know whether you’ll be charging an Airbnb cleaning fee on top of your rates. Now let’s take a look at what that fee is for. 

Here are the expenses that your Airbnb cleaning fee should cover:

  • The time spent cleaning (tidying the rooms, changing the bedsheets and towels, washing the dishes, etc)

  • Replenishing cleaning supplies and toiletries

  • Occasional repairs/maintenance

  • Professional cleaning service fees (if you’re not doing the cleaning yourself)

It sounds like a lot, but it’s important to factor in all these costs if you want to make a profit from your Airbnb business.

How much should you charge for your Airbnb cleaning fee?

Next, it’s time to decide how much you want to charge for your Airbnb cleaning fee.

What is a reasonable Airbnb cleaning fee?

The average Airbnb cleaning fee is between $50-$100 per stay. However, it depends on a variety of factors:  

  • How much your direct competitors are charging

  • The type and size of your property

  • What expectations you want to set

Let’s talk about the last point. Cleaning fees set expectations. If you charge a high cleaning fee, your guests will expect to stay in an immaculate rental. If the cleanliness of your place doesn’t live up to their expectations, you’ll get bad reviews.

Your guests are also likely to behave differently depending on how much you charge. If your cleaning fee is relatively high, your guest won’t bother to tidy up after themselves. They’ll feel like they’re paying for that service and it’s not their responsibility. 

However, if your cleaning fee is low or you don’t charge extra for cleaning, you can ask more of your guests, like stripping the beds, washing the dishes, or taking out the trash. Just make sure you leave clear instructions on what you expect your guests to do in your house rules or Airbnb welcome letter.

How to add a cleaning fee on Airbnb

Adding cleaning fees on Airbnb is very simple. 

1. Go to ‘Your Listings’. 

2. Click ‘Pricing’ at the top of the page. 

3. Under ‘Extra charges’, you’ll find a box where you can enter your cleaning fee. 

The amount you enter will be applied to every reservation booked after you made the change.

Are Airbnb cleaning fees taxable?

Airbnb cleaning fees are taxable in most jurisdictions. It’s always a good idea to double-check what your local tax laws say. But in general, all extra charges that aren’t optional (cleaning fees, pet fees, extra guest fees) are considered a part of the rental fee and are taxable. 

Refundable fees such as damage deposits aren’t taxable, and neither are optional cleaning fees like laundry services or dry cleaning.

Top tools for Airbnb cleaning

Cleaning is one of the biggest operational costs of running a short-term rental business. It’s also one of the most time-consuming tasks, whether you do the cleaning yourself or hire professional cleaners. Scrubbing toilets and wiping down kitchen counters takes time, but so does managing a cleaning team.

Fortunately, there are ways to speed up your communication with cleaning providers. 

Airbnb cleaning automation tools like Host Tools allow you to send automatic messages to your cleaning team every time you get a new booking, and another one to remind them on the morning of the cleaning day. Host Tools also has a Turnover Calendar that shows exactly when cleanings are scheduled and if there are same-day check-ins.

By automating your Airbnb cleaning schedule, you can save all the time you would spend on back-and-forth emails with your cleaners. 

If you want to see our Airbnb cleaning automation tool in action, sign up for a free trial!

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