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How Much Should I Charge?

Okay so, last week I had to drive 650 miles to go clean up a relative’s house because he has been admitted into a retirement home. The house was absolutely DISGUSTING! There was garbage everywhere, (you couldn’t even see the floor,) layers and layers of dust, mouse and rat feces everywhere, old food, MAIL as far as the eye can see, about 20 years worth of newspapers and magazines, the grossest bathroom EVER!, hand smears all over the wall, grime all over the cabinets and counters, a fridge with maggots, and a pantry with cans that exploded because they expired in 1986. The house is about 2000 sq. ft. and it is in Pennsyvania. The whole week I was there, I slept in my car. There was soooo much garbage in the house it filled a semi-trailer sized dumpster. I just want to know how much should I charge for the work that was done? How much would it be if it was professionally cleaned?

Depends on whether you guys talked about money prior to you going out there. If it wasn’t discussed (and because it’s for family it’s unlikely anyone would expect to pay you), then you’re SOL as far as compensation goes. The fact that you would have to give the “family rate” might not be worth the trouble you’ll cause everyone and yourself by asking for money after the fact.

But since you asked, that kind of clear-out is similar to the kind of work that gets done to a foreclosed home to make it ready for market, which runs $1000 to $5000 per house. You aren’t a professional, though.

If you did talk about money prior to starting, don’t ask for more than about $250 or $300.

Manual Trash Compactor