Do You Have to Clean Your Apartment Before Moving Out?
Technically, you don’t have to clean your apartment before moving out.
It’s common for apartment lease agreements to require a move-out cleaning to get your security deposit back in full. In other words, if you want an extra few hundred dollars back in your pocket — and if you’d like to avoid getting hit with additional charges — it’s probably wise to ensure your apartment is thoroughly cleaned before you move.
You don’t have to do this cleaning yourself, however. For those who don’t have the time or ability to conduct their own move-out cleaning, hiring a professional cleaning service is a helpful investment. It certainly was for me.
Below, I recount my experience hiring professional move-out cleaners so that you know the pros, cons, and what to expect.
How I Found an Apartment Move-Out Cleaning Service
When you search online for professional cleaning services, you’ll likely get local results showcasing various cleaning companies in your area. This was my case.
I live in Orlando, Florida, so a quick Google search for apartment move-out cleaning led me to numerous businesses near me that could perform this service. I reviewed the cleaning companies shown to me on the search engine results page, checking specifically for their prices and reviews. These criteria were most important in my situation.
That said, there are several factors to consider when choosing a professional cleaning service, including cost, location, services offered, and ratings. When hiring cleaners for your own apartment move-out cleaning, make sure they check all the boxes.
Finding “The One”
I ultimately decided on a local business, called Super People Cleaning, that offered move-out cleaning services.
I knew the professionals at this company would be the right fit for my scenario because their services were at my price point, they had dozens of 5-star reviews, and they were available to do the cleaning on my preferred day.
My Experience Working With Move-Out Cleaners
Once I selected the company I wanted to do my apartment move-out cleaning, I quickly got a glimpse at what it’s like to hire professional cleaners. Read more about my experience below.
In my first conversations with the owner of Super People Cleaning, I was very impressed by how helpful and responsive he was. He thoroughly described the services included in the move-out cleaning, as well as additional services I could pay for.
After an easy booking process, the apartment move-out cleaning company checked in with me a couple of times to make sure the date and time we agreed on still worked for me. They made sure all my questions were answered and expressed extreme gratitude for my business.
For cleaning companies just starting out in the business or those looking to gain more clients, instilling trust in your customers from day one can easily turn into repeat business. The next time I need a move-out cleaning, I know who to call.
Similarly, for renters looking for an apartment move-out cleaning service, reviews can be an invaluable way to learn more about a business’s responsiveness, customer service, and reliability. Read reviews before hiring, if possible, for an optimal experience.
Two employees from Super People Cleaners arrived at my home on the day of my apartment move-out cleaning and gave me a friendly greeting before grabbing their supplies and coming inside.
Before any of the cleaning took place, one of the two cleaners — who was actually the owner of the business — walked through the apartment with me, asking questions and taking notes. The walkthrough allowed him to confirm the services I requested and make sure both he and I were on the same page.
What Equipment Did My Apartment Move-Out Cleaning Service Bring?
I was quite surprised at some of the equipment the cleaning service brought with them to my apartment. I expected to see cleaning solutions, rags, and a vacuum, but they also toted along a couple of other items to help make their work easier and of higher quality.
The equipment used for my apartment move-out cleaning included:
- A step ladder
- Garbage bags
- A vacuum cleaner and mop
- Chemical cleaners
- Small towels and rags
- Face masks
- Rubber gloves
The cleaners used heavy-duty toolboxes to bring in their supplies, as opposed to a standard carry caddy.
During the Cleaning
As the professional cleaners worked, they moved efficiently yet maintained extreme attention to detail. The pair cleaned the apartment from the top down, starting with the ceiling fans and air vents and ending with the floors. This was to make sure that absolutely no specks of dust and dirt remained.
I noticed that during the cleaning process, the cleaning business owner stopped every 30 minutes or so to quickly take before and after photos. I later learned that these photos are typically sent to clients throughout the service if they’re not home while it’s taking place.
Also, about halfway through the cleaning, the Super People Cleaning owner walked through my apartment with me so I could see the quality of work. He also took the time to explain the cleaning process and answer any questions I had.
After the Cleaning
When the two employees were finished cleaning, I was given one final walkthrough of each room so they could highlight the thorough job they did. Upon first glance, it was clear that my apartment was vastly cleaner than before, with a noticeable fresh scent, sparkling appliances, and floors free of debris.
Of course, after the cleaners left, I walked through each room again with a more scrutinous eye. Still, there was not a speck of dust in sight.
Before the Super People Cleaning team was done at my apartment, however, the business owner politely asked me to give their company a review on their Google My Business page.
While I would’ve liked to further inspect the cleaning job before leaving the review, I could tell that the two did an excellent job and were extremely kind and easy to work with. I happily left a positive review, and the cleaners were delighted as good reviews help them get more customers and recognition.
How Long Did My Apartment Move-Out Cleaning Take?
I was surprised to discover that my move-out cleaning would end up taking over three hours. Since my former apartment had only one bedroom and one bathroom, I did not expect the service to take much longer than a couple of hours.
That said, I was paying a flat rate and not by the hour, and considering the high caliber of work, I was not displeased at how long it took.
How Much Did I Pay for My Apartment Move-Out Cleaning?
In total, the cost for my apartment move-out cleaning was $200 plus tax. Keep in mind that this was for a 750-square-feet apartment and that prices will vary significantly based on numerous factors.
Part of this cost was due to the various à la carte services I chose to get, including interior oven and refrigerator cleaning and patio cleaning. The cleaning company considered these to be “extras,” meaning they aren’t normally part of a standard cleaning and were an additional cost.
According to Home Advisor, the average cost for a professional apartment move-out cleaning is $110 to $350.
How Much to Tip Move-Out Cleaners
It’s custom to apply a 20% tip to any professional services you receive. For example, the tip for my $200 move-out cleaning equated to $40. However, some people choose to tip more if they believe the work was above par.
A Professional Move-Out Cleaner’s Top 3 Tips for Quality Service
After my apartment had been cleaned, I spoke with the owner of Super People Cleaning for a few minutes to learn his top tips for running a cleaning service. His insights are highlighted below.
1. Communication Really Is Key
The owner of the move-out cleaning company confidently stated that this number one tip for running a service business is having great communication with clients.
He recommended sending the customer a text:
- To confirm the appointment
- The day before the cleaning, saying “see you tomorrow”
- On the way to the appointment
- After the cleaning to thank the client for their business
This was the type of customer service I got from this cleaning company, and it made me feel at ease with the professionals I chose to hire.
2. Provide Updates as You’re Working
As previously mentioned, several times throughout my apartment move-out cleaning, the cleaning professionals showed me the progress they had made. For example, once the pair had finished cleaning my small patio, the business owner walked me through the space, showing me the dirt-free windows, door frames, and floors.
In cases where the client is not home during the move-out cleaning, the owner of the cleaning business noted that likes to text clients ‘before and after’ pictures of the work he and his team has done. “Throughout the process, send them pictures, and let the customer know how it’s going,” he commented.
He’s also able to use these photos as marketing materials for the company’s website and social media platforms.
3. Ask for Reviews in Person
Cleaners: It may seem a little awkward to ask for a review from your customer on the spot, but it can be an effective way to get positive feedback — especially if you’ve already built up a good rapport with the client.
Once you’ve completed the cleaning, show the client all the hard work you just did and ask them whether they see any surfaces or items that need further attention. Once you’ve gauged their satisfaction verbally, you can politely ask them for a review on your website, social media pages, or Google My Business page.
Make sure you respond to the customer’s review, when applicable, so they know you took their feedback to heart.
Should You Hire Professionals for Your Apartment Move-Out Cleaning?
If a friend or family member asked me whether they should hire a professional cleaning service when moving out, I’d confidently reply: yes!
When moving, not only do you have to think about cleaning but you’ll also likely need to consider organizing, decluttering, packing, renting a storage unit, and more. Removing one thing from your to-do list by hiring move-out cleaners can be a huge stress relief during a fairly stressful time.
Still wondering whether professional move-out cleaners are worth it? See for yourself — hire a trusted cleaning professional near you.
Article written by Stephanie Kidd