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Deb, Other/Just Looking in Minneapolis, MN

What should I charge to clean foreclosed homes?

Asked by Deb, Minneapolis, MN Tue Jun 9, 2009

I recently moved from Texas to Minnesota, I am trying to start a business of cleaning foreclosed homes, new construction clean up and eviction clean ups. I was an agent in Texas and a landlord but never really had to use this service. Since the market is slow right now I thought I would try to get this up and running. I am all ready to get started but can not find any info on pricing. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks! :)))

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Prices vary greatly on foreclosed homes. Some require minimal cleaning; others require a 30 ft dumpster! Check the prices for a dumpster rental in your area and the price per pound for disposal at the local landfill. Begin locating tow companies that will tow away abandon vehicles. Some will do it for free if they can salvage parts from the vehicle. Where will you dispose of old carpet if it has to be removed? Local carpet dealers may be able to point you in the right direction as some landfills will not take carpet.

You will have to determine your price based on the hours required for each job as they will vary greatly. As an agent you probably have seen the mess some occupants leave behind. Best of luck in your start up!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 9, 2009
That's a loaded question. I've contracted with companies based upon the square footage, and some simply just charge a flat fee. In my experience, distressed properties are notorious for surprises; animals, spoiled milk in the fridge, furniture, and many other treasures. I would encourage you to evaluate each job individually. You can estimate and give a high & low range if you feel cornered by the question.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 9, 2009
There are sometimes large costs involved here that you might want to check out first. Minnesota is quite a bit pickier about how trash is handled than Texas is (I used to live in Dallas) and regulations are tighter and more abundant here.

What you call "cleaning" is called "Trash-Out" in these parts, so you might want to google that term and the word Minnesota and see what you find.

My husband was considering doing this too, but he decided against it because of the possibility of handling hazardous materials and the extensive costs involved. Dumpsters and storage space get expensive quick.

To be best of my knowledge, you do not have to be licensed to pick up "normal" garbage, but then what do you do with it? You DO have to be licensed to do certain kinds of Trash Hauling and Disposal. In other words, once you clean out the house, how you handle the trash is critical. That can be VERY costly and require multiple licenses.

Another consideration is what kind of trash is it? If you have chemicals, carpet, appliances, car batteries, used oil, flourscent light bulbs, paint, electronics equipment, moldy drywall, asbestos, items painted with lead based paints, etc. many of these are considered hazardous, or they need special handling, or they may need to be recycled. Hazmat handling gets expensive fast and recycling of many items is expensive.

You will need to be insured and bonded, or most REALTORS® in this area will not want to work with you.

Minor repairs may be needed, but are not generally considered to be part of a "trash out", however as a REALTOR® I like to have one company that can handle multiple items in addition to trash outs, like snow removal, winterizing, re-keying, etc. If someone has a company that only does trash-outs I am less likely to do business with them unless they are much less expensive that my preferred supplier.

You might consider working for a trash-out company for a while to learn the ropes and see if you even like doing it. Maybe check out someone like JJO Enterprises in Andover.

Starting a new business is a big risk. Please check with the Minnesota Secretary of State office to find out more about hazmat disposal and handling, trash hauling, and trash disposal licenses and fees in our state.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 11, 2010
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