The Top 3 Most Effective Cleaning Compensation Plans

Published on March 3, 2023

Whether you're looking for ways to improve employee retention, or you just want to utilize the top cleaning compensation plans in the industry, this article will tell you everything you need to know to get started.

In addition to discovering the most effective cleaning compensation plans for your business, you’ll also uncover how to:

  • Improve job efficiency
  • Immediately improve employee retention
  • Motivate cleaners to take pride in their work
  • Establish a positive reputation for high-quality services
  • Hire and keep the top local talent happy in your business for many years to come

Plus, these simple cleaning compensation plans are easy to implement in order to instantly maximize retention.

1. Hourly Compensation

One of the most common cleaning compensation plans is hourly compensation.

Keep in mind, regardless of their performance, you'll be paying cleaners the same rate. This means, exceptional and poor performers alike will get paid the same rate.

Ultimately, hourly cleaning employees get penalized for working faster and more efficiently. 

Additionally, they won't be rewarded or motivated to provide outstanding work that exceeds expectations.

Even though there's nothing wrong with hourly compensation, here are some pros and cons to consider:

Hourly Wage Pros

  • Easy to understand and explain
  • Simple accounting and compliance with local laws
  • Provides employees with stable incomes (assuming hours are consistent)

Hourly Wage Cons

  • Encourages “clock-milking”
  • Doesn’t push employees to work faster or better
  • Your only leverage/motivator is threatening to fire people

Should You Choose Hourly Compensation?

Since hourly compensation is easy, most cleaning businesses choose this option.

However, it's important to consider other cleaning compensation plans to choose the best one for your cleaning business.

2. Piece-Rate Compensation

Simply put, piece-rate compensation is when you pay cleaners for each completed job. 

Depending on the size and difficulty of the house, it could be a flat-rate, percentage of the invoiced amount, or another variable.

Paying a piece-rate compensation plan encourages speed and efficiency. However, it can also be a double-edged sword. 

Take a look at a few pros and cons to consider when deciding on piece-rate pay:

Piece-Rate Pay Pros

  • Encourages speed and efficiency [insert 3-5 pros]
  • Cleaners have the potential to maximize income
  • Can control costs for the business

Piece-Rate Pay Cons

  • Could lead cleaners to “hurry” on to the next job
  • Potential for tax issues
  • Can be unpredictable for cleaners

Should You Choose Piece-Rate Pay?

Employees may have a tendency to cut corners, so they can move on to the next piece-rate job.

Although, by implementing solid quality assurance plans, a piece-rate cleaning compensation plan might be the perfect option for your cleaning business.

Since it makes both the employees' and employers' jobs easier, piece-rate pay can be a great choice for independent contractors.

However, here are a few key differences between an employee and an independent contractor:

  • Employee:
    • Told when and where to work
    • Told how to work with detailed instructions and training
    • Receives benefits (e.g. paid time off, seemingly permanent work, etc.)
  • IC (i.e. independent contractor):
    • Already knows the work and receives little instruction
    • Given specific jobs and chooses their own schedule and materials
    • Doesn't receive standard employee benefits (e.g. paid time off, seemingly permanent work, etc.)

If you classify all of your employees as ICs for tax purposes, while also giving them employee benefits, then you can get into serious trouble with the IRS and your state’s tax agency.

Be sure to consult with a CPA (i.e. certified public accountant) if you have any questions or doubts. Remember, the IRS imposes a lot of rules to protect workers from being mistakenly identified as ICs.

3. Hourly + Performance: The Happy Medium

There is a third performance-based cleaning compensation plan that may be the right fit for your cleaning business.

Using this model, you'll pay your cleaners a flat hourly rate, while also providing opportunities for bonus incentives based on performance.

Here's how the hourly and performance pay system works:

  • Offers a base hourly rate
  • Provides bonuses based on customer feedback
  • Offers rotating bonuses based on performance

Based on the schedule or rate you set, cleaners get paid extra for receiving positive client feedback. 

You can offer this as a bonus on their check or additional PTO (i.e. paid time off). For instance, 25 5-star reviews could equal an additional day of PTO.

In addition, rotating bonuses are the powerhouse of this system— allowing your cleaners to solve your problems.

For example, if you’re having trouble with complaints about kitchens not being spotless, then you start a challenge for your team. 

The cleaner with the most perfect kitchens at the end of the month gets $200.

A system like this is best supported by constant client feedback so that you can gauge employee performance.

Plus, you can use Service Autopilot's automations to send routine automated surveys to launch and track your surveys via email or two-way texting!

A performance system for cleaning company compensation is adaptable to your business because it allows you to turn anything into a challenge.

Budget for bonus incentives on a schedule that works best for your cleaning service business to address the problems you're facing.

Easily Implement These Cleaning Compensation Plans With the #1 Cleaning Software

With the best cleaning service software, you can easily implement one of these cleaning compensation plans.

In addition, you can use Service Autopilot to streamline everyday tasks, such as:

Plus, you can use automations to track your team's job performance using automated surveys via email and/or text.

With Service Autopilot, there's no limit to the growth and success your business can start achieving today!

Grow Your Cleaning Business... Faster (and with Less Stress)

Instant invoicing

Better scheduling

Manage your clients and employees all in one system

Start Software Tour

Use These Top Cleaning Compensation Plans to Improve Employee Retention Now

While there's not a one-size-fits-all approach to cleaning compensation plans, you can modify any one of these for your business.

By implementing these simple cleaning compensation plans, you can:

  • Find and hire the best cleaners in your area
  • Streamline efficiency and improve time on jobs
  • Improve employee job satisfaction and quality of work
  • Establish a positive reputation for being the best employer

Now, you can choose between these top cleaning compensation plans to instantly improve employee retention, grow your business, and become the leading cleaning service provider in your area!

Related: 5 Ways to Navigate the Cleaning Hiring Shortage

Originally published June 28, 2018 11:56 AM, updated Mar 3, 2023 12:01 PM


Cody is a copywriter with Service Autopilot. He was writing before he could read, dictating stories to his mom. Of late, he distills business principles and practices learned from his ever-increasing trove of books and his year with SA Support into digestible blog posts designed to provide maximum value to service industry business owners.


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