Can I charge a premium for after hours commercial cleaning work?


Just a short question.  I’ve always felt like I should be able to charge a premium rate for night or weekend work. However, when I bring this idea up to other carpet cleaners they act like I’ve hit on their mother!  What did you do and if you did charge more, how much over your regular rates was it and did you get any resistance?

Perplexed in Toledo


Good question, Perplexed.  Let’s break my answer down by industry segment.  For example, commercial work … they expect you to do it after hours.  So I did not break out a separate charge.  BUT our production level was high enough we almost always made more per hour than we did on our day time residential work which we also then shared with our commercial crews.  So in a round-a-bout way we did charge a premium for commercial.  But our customer didn’t realize it!

Residential?  This gets a little trickier.  I would set my minimum pricing higher for after hours work and if they kick offer them the option of waiting and having it done during normal working hours.  (Hopefully when I had a truck out in their neighborhood.)  But of course all these “rules” go out the window when you are dealing with a “preferred customer”!

Charge more for emergency water damages that came in after hours? Absolutely. For years, we didn’t charge extra for “after hours call-outs”. Then one day I finally got smart.  We started charging a 50% surcharge for work where we received the call AND responded between 5 PM and 11 PM workdays and 8 AM to 5 PM on Saturdays. We charged an 80% surcharge on work between 11 PM and 8:00 AM on work days and between 5 PM Saturday and 8:00 AM on Monday.

I cringe to think of the money I lost over the years by not making this one simple change … Of course, we didn’t have the internet back there for me to check with other people across the country.  You have such an incredible resource with the internet, Perplexed, and in SFS we’re happy to be your “partner for success”.


P.S. Don’t tell me this can’t be done. I charged these “up-charges” on hundreds of restoration losses over a ten year period and I didn’t have ONE adjuster peg me on it. (We didn’t charge extra on the equipment rentals, only on the actual emergency services.)

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