Airbnb vs. Residential Cleaning

September 14, 2021

When starting your cleaning business, there are many things to consider. Are you looking to be an Airbnb or residential cleaner? Let’s break down the differences.

Airbnb vs residential cleaning
Photo by Filios Sazeides on Unsplash

When starting your cleaning business, there are many things to consider. Are you looking to be an Airbnb or residential cleaner? Let’s break down the differences.


As an Airbnb cleaner, you will have to be more flexible with your schedule as bookings will not be consistent. The length of stays will vary depending on the guest. Therefore, as you will be booked after each stay, your cleaning schedule will vary. On the other hand, residential cleaning will be more consistent. The homeowner will likely create a set schedule such as weekly or biweekly cleaning. If you have more flexibility in your schedule, Airbnb cleaning may be an option for you. 

Additionally, you will likely have a shorter window for cleaning in an Airbnb. You will possibly have a few hours before the next guest arrives. Therefore, you will have a brief period to clean and stage the home. If you don’t have the flexibility to arrive during the short window that the hosts allows, being an Airbnb cleaner will be difficult. As a residential cleaner, the homeowner will likely be more open to the date and time of cleaning.

How can you secure bookings?
If you’re looking for Airbnb cleaning, use TurnoverBnB to find a new cleaning project. This highly-rated app easily connects cleaners with Airbnb hosts. Additionally, its automated scheduling makes it easy to stay organized.


Using a flat rate is popular in Airbnb cleaning as hosts must charge their guests a cleaning fee. If a host decides to hire a cleaner instead of cleaning the property themself, this fee will be influenced by what the cleaner charges. If you charge by the hour and go over the expected time, the cleaning fee set by the host will not be able to cover your services. Therefore, charging a flat rate in Airbnb cleaning is the recommended option. On the other hand, using an hourly rate is more common in residential cleaning. However, in either type of business, flat or hourly rates can be used. When deciding on how much to charge for your cleaning service, there are many factors to consider such as the time it will take to clean and the rates of competitors in your area. 

Cleaning Process

As for the cleaning process, one of the main differences is the frequency of cleaning. In an Airbnb, you will likely be required to clean items such as the coffee maker after every stay. The length of a stay can vary from one night to over a month. Therefore, it is possible that you will be cleaning the coffee maker once every few days for sanitary purposes. However, this will likely only be done once a month in a traditional home. Additionally, deep cleaning of things such as scrubbing the oven will be done more frequently as many guests will come through the home. For example, an Airbnb host may require you to scrub the oven once a month. However, a homeowner will only require it once every six months.

Another big difference between Airbnb and residential cleaning is staging. As an Airbnb cleaner, it is your job to prepare the home for the next guests. Therefore, staging and preparing the home will be a requirement. This entails making the bed, fluffing the pillows, and refilling supplies. Unlike a residential home which would be completely fine to look lived in, an Airbnb must look spotless and brand new. Therefore, it’s important to remember that Airbnb cleaning requires the extra step of staging to prepare for incoming guests.

Where To Clean
Finally, in residential cleaning, there will be a few off limit areas. For example, the homeowner’s personal drawers. As an Airbnb cleaner, you will likely look through all drawers to ensure that a guest didn’t leave anything behind. However, in a residential home, looking through the drawers would be like looking through their personal belongings. Therefore, it is important to establish boundaries with the homeowner to know where you should and should not clean.

Additionally, it is likely that an Airbnb host will provide a to do checklist. On the other hand as a residential cleaner, you will likely have the flexibility to use your own cleaning process. However, since an Airbnb host relies on you to provide the best experience for their customers, they will likely have more guidelines to follow. This is important to consider if you would rather have more freedom in running your business.

Specialized Cleaning

In comparison to Airbnb cleaning, it is likely that a homeowner will be looking for a specialized cleaner. Many homeowners will hire services such as carpet or grout cleaning. It is more likely that an Airbnb host will be searching for an everyday cleaner. Although a homeowner or Airbnb host could be looking for either type of cleaner, this is important to consider when starting your business. Therefore, if you’re a specialized cleaner, residential cleaning is the way to go.

Although there are many factors to consider when deciding between Airbnb and residential cleaning, hopefully this guide created a clear distinction between the two and will help to make your decision. Start-up Costs for Running a Cleaning Business provides more information on the next steps to starting your business.

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By Kehvee Teshima