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Employee Costs

How Much Do Commercial Cleaning Companies Pay Their Employees?

July 21st, 2021 | 8 min. read

How Much Do Commercial Cleaning Companies Pay Their Employees?

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If you’re looking at hiring a commercial cleaning service, the first question you’ll probably ask is: how much does a commercial cleaner cost? It’s a valid question but it can be complicated to answer. 

The short answer is: it varies. But, the full cost of engaging a commercial cleaner is almost $40 an hour. So, what drives the price? Well, this includes wages, leave entitlements, on-costs, and allowances. These factors influence the price of a commercial cleaner.

At In-Tec, we have over 27 years of experience quoting commercial cleaning services for clients in all types of industries. 

We understand that the process of hiring a commercial cleaner can be overwhelming which is why we’re here to help. 

There are other cleaning companies out there who, unfortunately, shortcut. In other words, they underpay their employees. However, here at In-Tec, we pay our cleaners fair wages according to the Cleaning Services Award [MA000022]. We treat our employees right and want to make sure that our competitors do the same.

So, here is a full breakdown of how we value and pay our cleaners. 

What Aspects Influence the Cost of a Commercial Cleaner? 

Since the cost of commercial cleaning can vary so widely, the cost breakdown we’re going to provide you with assumes that you want a consistent cleaning service that will provide you with a high-quality job. A commercial cleaner can cost you anywhere from $35-$70 an hour. This estimate depends on the type of cleaning service you’re seeking as well as employee wages, allowances, and on-costs.

Employee Wages

As you can see, the range we have provided is quite large. You can very well go with the $35 an hour cleaning service, but they likely won’t be able to give you the same quality of work that the $70 an hour cleaning company would. They may also be underpaying their staff and withholding their oncost and leave entitlements. 

With that in mind, we have provided a few examples of the hourly pay a commercial cleaner earns based on the following (note – these numbers are based on the Fair Work Pay Guide Cleaning Services Award [MA000022] and do not include leave entitlements or oncost charges): 

  • Full-time/part-time worker
  • Day/night rates
  • Weekend rates 

The hourly rates are used by an employee-centric commercial cleaning service model. 

Day/Night Rates 

The time of day that the cleaner works can determine the hourly cost. If you need your cleaner to come after office hours, then they will be paid a night hourly rate. The night hourly rate comes into effect after 6 pm and ends at 6 am. It’s important to note that if any part of the cleaner’s shift falls into the 6 pm – 6 am time slot, they will still be paid the night rate. For example, if a cleaner starts at 5 pm and finishes at 7 pm, the 5 pm-6 pm slot would still be paid the night rate. 

Or, if you’re looking for a cleaner to work during office hours, they will be paid the day rate. 

Full-Time Cleaner 

Day rate (Monday to Friday) – $21.71

Night rate (Monday to Friday) – $24.97

Saturday – $32.56

Sunday – $43.42

Part-Time Cleaner 

Day rate (Monday to Friday) – $24.97

Night rate (Monday to Friday) – $28.22

Saturday – $35.82

Sunday – $46.68 

It’s also important to mention public holidays. As we all know, most public holidays tend to fall on a Monday. If a cleaner usually works Mondays and does not work the Monday public holiday, then they are paid their usual rate. However, if a cleaner physically works the Monday public holiday, they are paid double time and a half which can cost between $50-$60 an hour.

Leave Entitlements 

Just like any other worker, a cleaner is eligible to receive leave entitlements. This is set out by the Fair Work Act 2009 and the Cleaning Services Award. Though there are many leave entitlements, here are the most popular to consider.

Annual Leave

Each cleaner is entitled to annual leave of up to 4 weeks per annum. 8.44% is payable on top of their wage. For example, if a cleaner is working a 1-hour part-time shift at the night rate, they earn $28.22. On top of this, you need to add their annual leave entitlement which is $2.35 per hour.

Leave Loading

When an employee takes annual leave, they receive an extra 17.5% on top of their normal wage for the period they have taken off work. Leave loading was originally designed to compensate employees on annual leave as they would not have the opportunity to work overtime during their leave. If we use the same example as above, the cleaner would be entitled to $0.41 on top of their wage.

Personal/Carers Leave

This type of leave entitlement enables a cleaner to take time off to help them deal with many circumstances that may arise such as family emergencies, personal illness, and caring responsibilities. We ensure employees receive 10 days per annum of leave and make a provision of 3.85% of the cleaner’s wage as there will be a need to engage other employees for these times.

Compassionate Leave

Cleaners are permitted 2 days per annum of compassionate leave when immediate family or a member of the cleaner’s household develops a life-threatening injury or illness or passes away. We ensure that the employee receives the 2 days of leave and make a provision of 0.77% of the cleaner’s wage. This is because, during their period of leave, another cleaner will need to be engaged for these times. 

So, by looking at the example we have been using, the true cost to engage the cleaner for 1-hour would be $32.28.


As per the Cleaning Services Award, here are the most important allowances cleaners receive that are specific to the cleaner’s job (note – these aren’t included in the calculations above). These are payable on top of their usual wage.

Toilet Cleaning

Cleaners receive a toilet cleaning allowance if they were to clean toilets for a majority of their shift. For instance, if a cleaner had a 4-hour shift and worked 3 out of the 4 hours cleaning toilets, they would be paid the allowance rate. Cleaners can receive $2.96 per day, and up to a maximum of $14.57 per week. This allowance is very common for cleaners and one that you may have to take into account when looking at the cost of hiring a commercial cleaner. 

Broken Shift/Split Duties

If a premise is requesting a day cleaner to be on duty from 9 am-12 pm, and then don’t want the cleaner to come in again until 3 pm-6 pm, the cleaner is entitled to a split duty allowance. As the 3-hour gap can often be a nuisance for cleaners, they are thus compensated with $3.78 per day, and a maximum of $18.89 per week.

Vehicle Allowance

If a cleaner were to use their own vehicle to carry their cleaning equipment when travelling to a site, they are paid $0.80 per km on top of their usual wage. The employer must also pay the cleaner for the time spent travelling between sites. 

Leading Hand

This allowance is for an employee who supervises other employees. For example, if you have a large premise that requires several cleaners, a senior cleaner will be placed in charge to direct and liaise.

Leading hand allowance - 1 to 10 employees to supervise

$49.50 per week

Leading hand allowance - 11 to 20 employees to supervise

$63.69 per week

Leading hand allowance - over 20 employees to supervise

$77.88 per week


What Oncosts Are in Addition to A Commercial Cleaners Wage?

Oncosts are costs that are added to an employee’s salary that must be included in the full employment costs of a new or existing employee. These additions are discussed below to give you a better understanding of what each is, and how they contribute to the overall cost of a commercial cleaner.


Superannuation (or super) is money that is set aside in your nominated super account for when you retire. Your employer directs a percentage or contribution of your salary into that nominated account which earns returns – a benefit for when the cleaner retires. Currently, all workers receive a super contribution rate of 10% of their earnings. This will increase a further 0.5% every year until July 2025. This is specified by the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992.

Long Service Leave 

Long service leave is when an employee has worked for an employer for a prolonged period and is entitled to full paid additional holiday. For cleaners, the portable long service leave is paid to Qleave. As cleaning can be a transitory workforce, (cleaners come and go to different jobs) employers register the cleaners with this scheme so that their leave is transferable. The current rate is 0.75% of the cleaner’s ordinary wage. This is specified by the Contract Cleaning Industry (Portable Long Service Leave) Act 2005.

Worker Compensation Insurance 

If an employee becomes injured at work, they are entitled to an insurance payment. The compensation covers two aspects: 

  1. Wages while they aren’t at work
  2. Rehabilitation and medical expenses   

The insurance is paid to WorkCover Queensland and is 4.64% payable on the cleaner’s wage, super, and long service leave. 

Payroll Tax

Payroll tax is a state tax that is assessed on the total wages you pay to your employees. Once you reach a threshold of over 1.3million annually, a calculation occurs for your payroll tax. The current payroll tax rate is 4.75% payable on the cleaner’s wages, leave entitlements, super, and long service leave.

How Much Do Reputable Cleaning Services Pay their Employees? 

Many people don’t realise that commercial cleaners are entitled to the same leave privileges and on-costs that any other worker in another industry would receive. And as you can see, many different factors can affect the price of a commercial cleaner.

The most important factors to take away from this article are the allowances and working hours as these are based on what you are requiring of the cleaner. If you want your cleaner to work after office hours, then you must consider that they will be paid the nightly rate. If you need your cleaner to work predominantly in the bathrooms during their shift, then they will be paid a toilet cleaning allowance.

Other things could influence the cost of a commercial cleaner, but hopefully, these are a couple to get you thinking. 

So, you may be wondering, ‘what should I expect to pay for a cleaner that will do a good job, be appropriately paid, and get the right entitlements?’ Well, the full cost of engaging a cleaner after considering their leave entitlements and on-costs is actually very close to $40 an hour. 

In-Tec is here to help answer your questions, so schedule a call with one of our expert team members.


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