The hourly wages approach is a straightforward method for cleaning company worker pay. But it’s not the only option.

What is piecework?

Piecework compensation is based on a set measure of production rather than the actual time spent. For example, in manufacturing, a worker might be paid for every widget they make rather than the time spent making the widgets.

For example, a dog owner might pay their dog walker for each walk, not the actual time spent walking the dog.

This means paying your workers for each house they clean. If the rate is $50 per house, that’s what you pay whether the house takes two hours or five hours.

For some cleaning companies, piecework is a fantastic system for paying cleaners. For other companies, hourly pay is a better fit. Only you can decide what’s best for you. In this article, we’re breaking down the pros and cons of piecework for you to consider.

The pros of piecework for your cleaning company

There are a few great benefits to paying your workers per house rather than per hour.

Piecework shines a spotlight on your best workers.

It also filters out the mediocre ones. Good workers are highly motivated by piecework pay. Therefore, they will find the most efficient way to clean a house to earn more money in less time.

On the flip side, lazy workers are no longer rewarded for dawdling and dragging out the clock. You’ll find out who your best workers are very quickly.

It’s easier to set prices when you know your labor costs.

We talked about why you should charge a flat fee rather than an hourly rate in a recent article. Piecework makes it much easier to set prices because you know precisely what you need to pay your workers without the ambiguity of hourly pay.

As you become more efficient, you can take on more customers.

Your best workers will figure out a way to get things done faster.

Some may be happy with a shorter workday—but others might be eager to keep working and earn more. For example, a crew might handle four houses per day instead of three.

As a result, you may find that you can fit a few more houses into your schedule each week. More customers mean more revenue so that you can grow your cleaning company.

Customers won’t be watching the clock.

In our article about flat pricing, we talked about the annoyance of clock watchers. If you’re not charging—or paying—by the hour, then your customers won’t worry about how long you’re taking.

The cons of piecework for your cleaning company

A piecework system has a few drawbacks. Some are very solvable with trial and error, while others come with the territory.

You’ll want to do a little quality control upfront.

Piecework can inspire very efficient work. However, an overzealous cleaner can get a little sloppy in pursuit of haste. So in the early days of using this system, it’s critical to make sure everyone is still doing quality work.

Do a few site visits yourself and ask your trusted customers for feedback. Your team will eventually find an efficient sweet spot, but it might take a little time.

You might need to replace a few ‘mediocre’ workers.

Not everyone is motivated by the piecework system.

Some people prefer hourly pay because they want to dawdle and stretch out every task. But, in some cases, these folks can come to see the benefits of piecework and become great at it.

But sometimes, you’ll find that some of your cleaners just aren’t a good fit for your cleaning company anymore. It can mean a negative experience for you both, but you need good workers if you want to grow your cleaning company.

It may take some time to perfect your pricing model.

If you’re new to the piecework approach, you might struggle at first to set up optimal rates. It might take a little math—and a little trial and error—to get it right.

Make sure you’re tracking everyone’s hours and running the numbers. Check out communities like Reddit to get advice from other cleaning company owners. Organize your data, do the math, and trust your gut.

You’ll find the right equation.

Piecework can be an effective pricing model for cleaning company worker pay. Take the time to run some calculations and explore your options.

You may find that piecework is the key to taking your cleaning company to the next level.