A house cleaner asked how to charge for a hoarding job, and the answer comes down to the walkthrough. There needs to be a risk assessment during the job estimate before you know how much to quote.
House cleaners and maids aren’t always the best people to declutter hoarding situations. Many maids and domestic cleaning services don’t offer junk removal. If the house is a mess and you’re not right for the job, don’t agree to do it.
How Do You Charge for a Hoarding Job?
So, here’s the question: “I have a new client today. He’s an artist, and he wants me to clean his bathroom. It’s a simple bathroom with a bathtub, sink, and toilet. But over the bathtub and tile, it’s heavy with mold. He is also a hoarder.”
“He has many pictures all over the house His house wasn’t cleaned in over a year, it’s too dusty, and I don’t know how I can deal with this client. What kind of contract do I need to provide?”
Pricing a Hoarding Job is Tough
“He needs to clean his house only one time a month and laundry too. He lives alone. Can you help me make a contract or how much I can ask for a deep cleaning because I need to scrub everything. And in the kitchen, he doesn’t have much space. There are books and boxes everywhere. It’s too much stuff.”
That’s a tough question. My first question is, should you be doing a job like this? If you feel there are too many concerns, then you might not be the right person for the job.
You Have to Get Rid of the Mold
Now, once you’ve decided to take the job, you first need to tackle the mold. Is there mold in the bathtub, or is there mold all over it? And you said there was mold all over the tile and in the bathtub. So, if it’s all over the bathroom, that sounds like a mold remediation job.
That means is you have somebody who specializes in mold removal come in. Because as regular house cleaners, we’re able to get mold out of the bathtubs, but that’s about it. If it’s spreading, then that’s a much bigger job that house cleaners are not equipped to deal with.
You Can’t Clean Until You Organize
Another thing you mentioned is boxes all over the kitchen. So, it’s going to be difficult to clean the kitchen due to little space. If you’re doing the job, you can’t scrub the kitchen until you can get to the kitchen. Now you might have to have a professional organizer come in and actually organize the home.
So, are you willing to be a foreman of the job? Will you bring in a mold remediation specialist and hire a professional organizer? Then there’s also junk removal, meaning a company comes in and removes large items that aren’t in use.
You May Remove Stuff in Hoarding Houses
Most of the time, you can remove or discard a lot of things in hoarding homes. It tends to be stuff they’re never going to use or that they don’t even want. But that requires a conversation with the homeowner.
The homeowner has to decide what they want to keep and why they’re keeping it. That’s where the professional organizer comes in. The junk removal comes in where they bring in a great big truck and people will come in and get rid of the stuff for you.
Are You Ready for This Job as a House Cleaner?
Right, then the next thing that we want to talk about as a house cleaner, is this a job that you’re ready for? You’re asking me about pricing, which suggests that you don’t have a good scope on how long it’s going to take.
You also mentioned that he wants house cleaning once a month. Once a month for a hoarding house is not a maintained clean. Even if you erase the layers of dust right now, it’s going to build back up by the time you come back next month. That means a deep clean every single time you show up.
You Have to Address Several Areas in a Hoarding Job
Once you determine this man is willing to make a change in his home, you need to address several areas. You’ll need to take care of everything from removing the mold to getting rid of excess stuff.
You said there are lots of pictures in the house and everything has dust on it. That’s several layers of clean, so you’re not bidding a one-time clean for once a month. That could be $300 to $500 depending on the size of the home and expected result.
Create a Series of Cleans for a Hoarding Client
Still, you’re not going to be able to remove mold for that price. You’re not going to be able to have a professional house cleaner come in for that price. And you’re not going to be able to have the junk removed at that price.
So, what I recommend is that you create a series of cleans where you’re going to oversee the project. Then figure out little steps they can take to help get the house in a maintained clean mode.
Bid a Hoarding Job on a Long-Term Basis
In essence, you need to bid on a long-term basis. To start, I recommend you set up at least a three-month contract so you can have a certain number or put it on a budget. Say, “We’ll come in every week for X amount of dollars. That way, we can do so much on this project until we get your home back to a safe standard of living.”
To get the home back to a livable condition, it might need some professional help. For example, the mold remediation specialist who will gut the bathroom. They might even have to take the tiles out. Either way, it’s going to be a much bigger project than you going in to clean.
You Might Need to Turn Down the Job
One of the secrets to house cleaning is being able to say, “I’m sorry, this is out of my league.” Sometimes, you have to acknowledge that you don’t have the training and skills to do the home justice.
So, you can tell the client, “I love the fact that you’re willing to change and upgrade your lifestyle. I’m just not the right person to help you.” Then, you have to walk away.
Charge After Seeing the House
In conclusion, I can’t tell you exactly what to charge because I haven’t seen the house. I don’t know what condition the house is in. And without seeing the house, I can’t come up with a price. And neither can you.
So, all you can do is say, “For three months, I can come in for three hours each week and here’s what I can do at this price.” And you can create a window of time where you will do a certain number of things.
Track Your Progress
At the end of each of your cleanings, break it down and say, “Here’s what we did today. Here’s what we’ll do next time.” That way, the client is on track, and he knows what progress you’ve made and what to expect.
So, you have to be crystal clear about the expectations at every single visit so there are no surprises. Then if you have to hire someone for next time and bring in a specialist from outside, the price might change. And they might have to come to do their own walkthrough so they can give a fair price.
Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hoardingworld
Reclaim Your Life From Hoarding: Practical Strategies for Decluttering Your Home – https://amzn.to/35R1zIU
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things – https://amzn.to/2SXEeme
Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding – https://amzn.to/364zyxT
Treatment for Hoarding Disorder: Therapist Guide – https://amzn.to/3jdbUqn
Treatment for Hoarding Disorder: Workbook – https://amzn.to/3wUQse7