How long does it take to clean apartment turnovers?

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by Tom Watson on January 25, 2015

Way back when I first started my cleaning business I landed a lot of apartment complexes.

This wasn’t by accident, it just happened to be one of the markets I wanted to target once I got a little experience under my belt.

There was a lot of good and bad to cleaning apartments, but on the whole it was good for me and my personal situation. I knew this could be a tough market, but I wanted to increase my revenue and reinvest those profits into other areas. So all in all, I had a plan going in and I stuck to it until I was able to reach my goals.

How long does it take to clean apartment units?

Anyway… one of the questions I get asked quite a bit is “HOW LONG does it take to clean the units?” This isn’t a real easy question to answer because the number will vary from one extreme to the other depending on three variables. One… what condition is the unit in? Two… how fast do you (or your employees) work? Three… what size is the unit?

So in a nutshell, I can’t really sit here and tell you EXACTLY how long one will take to clean. You’ll going to have to find that out for yourself once you get started. I will say that units will take anywhere from two hours to eight hours to clean on the whole, with the average being somewhere in the middle.

The vast majority of the time you spend cleaning apartment turnovers will be in the kitchen and bathroom. I would say it’s probably like 75% in total. This is because the oven and fridge can be time-consuming in the kitchen and the bathroom is just as bad in some ways with the shower / tub enclosure, toilet and sink being an issue in most cases.

While the number of bedrooms does matter, on the whole each added bedroom doesn’t add all that much time. I never told the apartment manager that, as I always wanted more money for each bedroom. The more the better! Generally more bedrooms means more money anyway, but try to get as much as you can.

 Track how long it takes to clean apartment units

I created a real simple form that you can download if you are interested in keeping track of how long it takes to clean apartment turnovers. I used forms like these when I first got started to help me keep track of this info in a organized manner. It’s nothing fancy, but as I always like to say… “keeping it simple always beats complicated”.  To go to the download page CLICK HERE.

Well I hope this form helps you out in some small way. At the end of the day you have to just jump in and start cleaning to see how long a task takes. In the beginning of your career, tracking HOW LONG various cleaning related tasks take is very important. By doing so you get to ZERO IN on how long things take, and once you know that pricing a job becomes much easier.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kathy January 25, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Tom, we recently got a cleaning job at a surgical building and they have iQ natural sheet flooring (johnsonite) it’s a new building and they want us to also take care of the floor. If you could give us some information on the initial cleaning of the floor and how much to charge to maintain it its about 4000sq feet. Thank You Five Star Custom Cleaning

2 Amanda January 25, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Love your site. This is a great article, as we have thougt aout doing apartments ourselves. We have a carpet cleaing and repair business and 90% of our work is from apartments. We considered doing the cleaning along with the carpet cleaning if the renters wanted.
The reason you would charge more for an extra bedroom is simple; more bedrooms equals more people. More people equals more dirt and grime in the main living areas. Cleaning that extra bedroom will take no time at all, but the bathrooms and kitchen will probably take longer.
Well, thank you for your blog and podcasts. We ejoy them ad hae learned quite a but because of them.

3 Tom Watson January 25, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Hi Kathy! Too many variables for me to tell you how much to charge, but I can refer you to the ISSA chart (which helps people determine how much of a given task can be done per hour). Here is the link for that…

As far as care… here is a possible link that may help. Down the right hand side is a link for care of this type flooring (if this is indeed the correct type)…

4 Tom Watson January 25, 2015 at 4:10 pm

Thanks Amanda! Appreciate the comments very much.

5 Terry Clark January 25, 2015 at 8:29 pm

Thank you!

6 Keshia January 27, 2015 at 2:18 pm

Hi Tom,

What is a good way to get contracts with these apartment complexes and what is the base fee to charge to clean them? Should you base it by the hour or by the sq. footage. Thanks.

7 Tom Watson January 27, 2015 at 2:22 pm

Hi Keshia! All I ever did was mail them a letter (these type letters are in my courses, just so you know), along with a business card to every single apartment complex near me. I then waited for the phone to ring, then went out and gave an estimate. You will bid according to HOW LONG the cleaning will take (just listen to what they need done). You do not bid by square foot in this case.

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