Airbnb cleaning fees: Here's everything you need to know | Smartbnb

Airbnb cleaning fees: Here's everything you need to know January 28, 2020

By Rowan Clifford

Author of Airbn'b'Smart and Smartbnb user

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.

How does Airbnb’s cleaning fee work?

The cleaning fee is a one-time charge that hosts add to the price of their listing for each booking, to cover cleaning expenses.

This fee is added to the overall price of the booking and is paid for by the guest(s). It is not a security deposit, the guests don't get their money back at the end of their stay.

The cleaning fee is the same regardless of how many guests book your listing or for how long (you can't increase it for additional guests or additional nights).

Cleaning fees help hosts account for extra expenses they have getting their listing ready for new guests.

Some of the costs that you could consider in your cleaning fee are:

In the search results, guests will see a nightly rate that includes the cleaning fee divided by the total number of nights in the reservation.

Because of that, you don't have to be afraid that your cleaning fee will give your potential guests a nasty surprise.

Also, when guests submit a reservation request, the nightly rate and the cleaning fee will be listed separately in the price breakdown. It's all very transparent.

What is the average Airbnb cleaning fee?

The average cleaning fee on Airbnb is between $50 - $80, however, this average is somewhat misleading.

With such a huge spectrum of listings from tiny rooms in shared houses, to opulent mansions with 10+ rooms, it’s very hard to find an accurate average.

The best way to find a workable average is to study the cleaning fees of comparable listings within your area, and generate an average from that.

How much should I charge for an Airbnb cleaning fee?

The cleaning fee you should charge will depend entirely on the competitive environment that your listing is in.

Your cleaning fee (alongside your nightly fee) needs to be competitive in order to entice people to book.

To work out how much you should charge for your cleaning fee do the following:

Option 1.

Option 2.

What does an Airbnb cleaning fee cover?

The cleaning fee is entirely at the host's discretion. It should be used to cover the costs associated with cleaning the property and getting it ready for the next guests.

Even though it's an optional fee, it's meant to be used by the host to cover the cost of things like cleaning products, washing linen, paying cleaners and replacing amenities.

Do I have to charge a cleaning fee?

It is up to the discretion of each host to determine whether or not to charge a cleaning fee, although it is worth noting that the charging of a cleaning fee is a common practice on Airbnb.

However, some hosts prefer not to charge a cleaning fee and instead add the fee to their overall nightly price.

Personally, I don’t recommend not charging a cleaning fee as this can leave you vulnerable and out of pocket if you get a lot of short 1-2 night minimum stays.

Are cleaning fees negotiable on Airbnb?

Cleaning fees are automatically added when a guest makes a booking, however, it’s not uncommon for guests to reach out to a host prior to booking asking for special discounts or to request the removal of the cleaning fees.

In my experience, it’s best to avoid negotiating cleaning fees with guests on Airbnb as these types of guests tend to be the ones that are the pickiest, and often cause more hassle than they're worth.

When asked to negotiate fees like this I respond with a simple reply like this:

“Hey. Thanks for reaching out.

Unfortunately it’s not possible to reduce/remove the cleaning fee as the fees are already at their absolute minimum to cover expenses already. So, as much as I’d love to offer you a discount, I'm afraid it’s not possible.

If you have any other questions though please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Thanks,

Rowan.”

If you're a Smartbnb user, you can train the AI component (under Guest Experience) to automatically detect questions about the cleaning fees, and let it send the right reply for you. It’s a pretty neat feature, and you can learn more about it here.

*Cleaning fees are not automatically added to Special Offers. So, if you decide to make a special offer be sure to factor that in when setting an all-inclusive price.

Is Airbnb’s cleaning fee refundable?

If a booking is canceled (regardless of the cancellation policy), the cleaning fee will always be refunded to the guest in full, so long as the cancellation happens before the check-in time.

If however, the cancellation happens during a guest's stay the cleaning fee will be forfeited and will not be refundable (unless negotiated with the host).

Do service fees apply to Airbnb cleaning fees?

Unfortunately, yes.

Airbnb charges its service fees based on the guests' total payment and host payout. Since cleaning fees are part of that, they are therefore subject to Airbnb’s service fees.

How do I change my Airbnb cleaning fee?

Changing your cleaning fee is a simple process that can be done via the Airbnb host dashboard.

To change your cleaning fee do the following:

  1. Go to airbnb.com and click on Your Listings
  2. At the top of the page, click on Pricing
  3. Next to 'Cleaning fee', click Edit
  4. Enter the cleaning fee you would like to charge, and click Save.

How to use the cleaning fee to discourage shorter bookings

Setting higher cleaning fees can be a way of discouraging shorter term bookings and getting more long term bookings. For example:

A single night's stay with a $70 cleaning fee is going to feel pretty steep. However, a $70 cleaning fee for a week-long booking is just $10 per night.

Use this tactic with caution however, as you don’t want to price yourself out of the market and lose bookings as a result.

Test, and re-test

It’s going to be difficult to hit the sweet spot with your cleaning fee first swing.

So, play around a little and test to see if increasing your cleaning fee affects your booking rate over time.

The more you test, the better your fee structure will be, and the more competitive/enticing your listing will become.

Conclusion

There we have it. That wasn’t too painful, was it?

Alright, it probably was a little painful, but at least you’re now armed with everything you need to know about Airbnb cleaning fees, and how to use them effectively.

You should now know exactly how the cleaning fees on Airbnb work, how much to charge for your listing, and how to compete like a pro to get more bookings.

We got there in the end…

And, who said talking about cleaning fees couldn’t be fun!

Rowan Clifford is a serial solopreneur and founder of Airbn’b’Smart, where he writes tips, tricks and hacks for savvy Airbnb hosts looking to maximize their earning potential with minimum effort.