Welcome to October’s series on 31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas. In this series, I’m highlighting simple and legitimate ways you can earn extra cash in the next three months for those of you who could use a little extra cash to help you pay for Christmas — or just for your living expenses if you’re in a tight spot right now.
If you’ve found a great way to make extra cash before Christmas that doesn’t require an outlay of cash upfront, please email me your tip. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!
Guest post from Lindsey of Faithful Homemaking
A couple of years ago, an acquaintance called me and asked if I would like to take her cleaning job while she was in the South for the winter. I hadn’t cleaned professionally before, so I didn’t know what to expect. But once I started, I quickly found that cleaning can be a wonderful way to earn extra money.
Since then I have acquired three more cleaning jobs and have passed a few others on to my friends.
How to get started:
Talk to someone you know who cleans office buildings or homes. See if they have any jobs they can refer to you. If you aren’t able to clean regularly but need a little extra money, perhaps they would let you sub for them when they are sick or on vacation.
If you don’t know anyone in the cleaning business, make ads and flyers and pass them out to friends, neighbors, and local businesses.
Purchase some supplies:
Office buildings usually stock the cleaning supplies, but my residential clients prefer that I bring my own. I look for BOGO sales and coupon deals on cleaning solutions and stock up.
I make sure to have clorox wipes, clean rags, toilet bowl cleaner, Dr. Bronner’s soap, glass and window spray, bathroom cleaner, and disinfectant spray on hand. I also carry a little bucket for mopping and my Norwex cloths, which I LOVE!
Also, there’s no need to spend a fortune on cleaning tools. I use my faithful old Dirt Devil vacuum that I’ve owned for 10 years and it works great.
Hone your cleaning skills:
If I’m not sure how to clean something, I ask my fellow cleaning friends for tips or google it. I also occasionally watch cleaning videos on YouTube.
After cleaning sinks, counters, and toilets I will buff with a clean, dry cloth to make them extra-shiny. I prefer to dust with my Norwex dusting mitt and mop most floors by hand to be able to get the corners of the floor. I also try to be smart about my cleaning. If the building/home doesn’t truly need dusting every week, then one week I will dust, the next I will clean blinds.
Some office cleaning jobs require that you carry insurance. Some residential homes are too filthy to handle. Some employers may expect more hours out of you than you can give or may not compensate you fairly.
Consider carefully each opportunity that comes your way. Will you have childcare during the hours you need to be cleaning? Will you be required to clean during late hours in areas that could possibly be dangerous? Will you be expected to be “on call” or will it be a set weekly time? If you have a baby keeping you up at night will you have the energy to handle even one cleaning job?
Most office jobs require that you come in when their business is not open, which means early mornings, evenings, or on weekends. Most residential clients want you to come in during daytime hours to clean when they are away at work. Figure out which option works best for your schedule. I only take jobs that allow for my husband to be home with our kids so we don’t have to pay childcare. I also don’t want to clean lonely office buildings when it’s dark out, it creeps me out!
How much to charge?
You don’t want to charge too low and be taken advantage of. After all, cleaning is hard work, it takes a lot of energy, and you are giving of your time to do it. But neither do you want to charge too high and lose all your possible-clients to other cleaners who charge less.
Figure out what the going rate is in your area. In my area people will pay at least $20 an hour. Office jobs generally pay $25-$30 an hour. Some businesses prefer to pay by the job. This is really nice because if you are motivated and fast you can get even more money per hour.
My friend, who also cleans, takes her teenage son with her and he helps gather all of the garbages. So she is able to do a 3 hour job in 2.5 hours and make really good money to help feed her 3 teen boys! Cleaning provides an excellent wage considering the flexible hours and the fact that you don’t need a college degree to do it!
If you are committed to excellence in your work, the jobs will continue flowing in via word-of-mouth recommendations. At this point I work 3-4.5 hours a week and bring in $60-$95 per week.
The kids get to spend time with Daddy while I’m gone and that little bit of extra money helps our tight budget out so much! I also enjoy being able to get out of the house and listen to music or have some quiet time while I clean.
Lindsey Swinborne is a homeschooling mom of four who lives in Wyoming. She loves photography and is thankful for her cleaning jobs which helped her fulfill her dream of having a DSLR camera. She blogs at Faithful Homemaking.