Running a Rental Business

10 Key Areas to Explore When Interviewing Cleaners for Your Vacation Rental

Vacation rental cleaners play a special and sensitive role in your business – they access and work on your property without you present. As with other trusted service providers whom you allow into your home, hiring an Airbnb cleaning service involves learning about their experience, their business makeup, and any other services they may be able to provide you.

By The Turno Team

Last updated: December 15, 2023

Top Vacation Rental Cleaner Interview Questions 

Asking about various tasks and hypothetical situations during a vacation rental cleaner interview, including the cleaner’s willingness and/or ability to do certain tasks and any extra pricing these tasks may require will set you both up for a successful business relationship. 

Taking time upfront to determine if a cleaner’s experience and methods align to your expectations will help you better manage the turnover process and avoid unpleasant surprises for you, your cleaner, and your guests. 

Here are some essential questions for rental cleaners and good conversation starters to help you in your decision-making and hiring process: 

Experience and Background

Questions:

  • How long have you been cleaning vacation rentals or Airbnb properties specifically?
  • Can you provide references from other vacation rental owners you’ve worked for?
  • What makes cleaning a vacation rental different from cleaning a regular residence in your experience?
  • Have you dealt with properties that have unique features or requirements?
  • Can you describe a challenging cleaning scenario and how you overcame it?
  • Have you ever faced a situation where a guest was unhappy with the cleanliness of a property? How did you handle it?

Why it Matters: A cleaner with varied experience and familiarity with vacation rental cleaning standards and their unique demands will be better equipped to handle different property types and unexpected situations.

Red Flags: No experience, negative feedback from references, unwillingness to discuss previous experiences in detail.

Good Answers: Sharing demonstrated experience during a vacation rental cleaner Interview, positive feedback from past clients, specific examples of dealing with unique properties or overcoming challenges.

Gloved hands with a soapy sponge and spray bottle

Understanding of Standards

Questions:

  • Are you familiar with the Airbnb host cleaning guidelines and other standards set by vacation rental platforms?
  • How do you handle high-touch, high-traffic areas and ensure they are sanitized properly?
  • What products and equipment do you use? Are you comfortable using specific products if we request them?
  • How do you ensure established cleaning standards are met consistently?
  • Are you aware of and do you follow any eco-friendly cleaning practices?

Why it Matters: Hiring Airbnb cleaning services is a vital component to running a successful vacation rental business. Consistent adherence to high cleaning standards ensures guest satisfaction and safety as well as promotes quality maintenance of a property.

Red Flags: Unfamiliarity with Airbnb host cleaning guidelines or other vacation rental cleaning standards; using non-approved or harmful cleaning products; lack of understanding about the safety importance of sanitizing high-touch, high-traffic areas.

Good Answers: Demonstrated knowledge of best practices; willingness to adhere to platform or owner’s guidelines; use of approved and eco-friendly products.

Availability and Flexibility

Questions:

  • What is your availability for cleaning, especially during peak times or quick turnovers?
  • How do you handle last-minute bookings or changes in schedule?
  • Can you accommodate same-day turnovers if necessary?
  • How do you prioritize multiple cleaning tasks, especially during peak seasons?
  • What is your backup plan in case of unforeseen circumstances or scheduling conflicts?

Why it Matters: The vacation rental market can be unpredictable. Asking these essential questions for rental cleaners sheds light onto their ability to adapt to changes directly affects your ability to accommodate guests and maintain bookings.

Red Flags: Limited availability; unwillingness to adapt to changing schedules; lack of a backup plan.

Good Answers: Flexibility; demonstrated ability to manage multiple tasks; having reliable contingency plans.

Smiling airbnb cleaners as they clean a vacation rental kitchen

Specific Tasks and Details

Questions:

  • What is your method for managing laundry, including all sheets and towels? Do you prefer to turn laundry onsite or remove linens and launder for the next turnover? 
  • Do you restock any supplies, such as toiletries, coffee, or other guest amenities?
  • How do you ensure all appliances are clean and in working order?
  • What is your approach to outdoor cleaning of items like walkways and porches, grills, patio furniture, etc.? 
  • How do you handle and report damage or maintenance issues you notice in the property?

Why it Matters: A meticulous cleaner ensures all aspects of the property meet vacation rental cleaning standards and are consistently guest-ready.

Red Flags: Overlooking appliances or minor details; hesitation in handling essential tasks.

Good Answers: Familiarity with a comprehensive list of tasks; detail-oriented cleaning of all areas; prompt reporting of potential concerns and recognized issues.

Communication and Reliability

Questions:

  • How do you typically communicate with property owners or managers?
  • In the event of an emergency or if you can’t make a scheduled Airbnb cleaning, what do you do?
  • Can you provide an example of a time when effective communication with a property owner/manager prevented or resolved an issue?
  • How do you confirm cleaning schedules and any changes to them?

Why it Matters: The established standards in the Airbnb host cleaning guidelines serve as foundational expectations for host, cleaner, and guest. Effective communication is crucial for a smooth operational relationship between the cleaner and property owner and results in a happy guest.

Red Flags: No established communication methods; inconsistent communication; unresponsiveness.

Good Answers: Clear communication channels; regular updates and confirmation of schedules; prompt responses.

Pricing and Billing

Questions:

  • How do you structure your pricing? Is it per hour, per job, or some other method?
  • What is your pricing for additional services like deep cleaning, hot tub/pool cleaning, trash removal and recycling specifics, or other special requests?
  • How do you handle billing and payments? What methods of payment do you accept?
  • Are there any circumstances under which additional charges would apply?
  • How do you handle situations where additional cleaning time or supplies are needed?

Why it Matters: Pricing structures matter when hiring Airbnb cleaning services. Transparent and reasonable pricing shared upfront during the vacation rental cleaner interview ensures there are no hidden costs and mitigates potential disputes. 

Red Flags: Unclear pricing structures; exorbitant rates; hidden fees.

Good Answers: Transparent and detailed pricing structure; clear communication regarding additional costs.

gloved hand and microfiber cloth on a wall

General Cleaning Business 

Questions:

  • How do you ensure the security of the property during and after cleaning?
  • Are you a solo cleaner, part of a small team, or a larger multi-crew company? 
  • Are you bonded, licensed, or certifed? 
  • Do you carry general liability or workers comp insurance?
  • Can you provide evidence of insurance and any certifications you hold?

Why it Matters: Addressing potential problems, ensuring the security of the property, and having insurance are essential questions for rental cleaners and fundamental to protecting your investment.

Red Flags: Lack of insurance and business licensing; avoidance of discussion about their team structure; disregard for property security.

Good Answers: Insurance and licensing details; conscious practices to maintain property security; provision of certifications.

Feedback and Continuous Improvement

Questions:

  • How do you handle feedback and criticism from property owners or guests?
  • Can you give examples of how you’ve made changes or implemented feedback from clients or guests to improve your services?
  • What’s something you wish more vacation rental property owners or managers knew? 
  • How do you stay updated with the latest cleaning technologies and methods?

Why it Matters: A cleaner’s willingness to receive and act on feedback indicates a commitment to continuous improvement. When hiring Airbnb cleaning services, it’s important to know that the cleaners you bring in are capable of upholding vacation rental cleaning standards and ready to serve as on-the-ground partners to your business. 

Red Flags: Defensiveness or disregard for feedback; unwillingness to adapt or learn.

Good Answers: Demonstrated adaptability and desired learning; specific examples of improvements made based on feedback.

Personality Fit

Questions:

  • What do you enjoy about cleaning vacation rentals specifically?
  • What personal values do you bring to your cleaning services?
  • How do you manage stress or pressure, especially during busy seasons?
  • What do you believe sets you apart from other vacation rental cleaners? 

Why it Matters: Finding a cleaner whose values align with yours will make for a better working relationship. Hosts who take the time to interview vacation rental cleaners before hiring Airbnb cleaning services lay the foundation for success, both near- and long-term. 

Red Flags: Mismatch of values; lack of enjoyment or negativity towards the job.

Good Answers: Alignment of values with your property’s ethos; examples of effectively managing stress; passion for delivering high-quality service.

Scenario Questions

Questions:

  • What would you do it you arrive to clean a property and the guests are still there past the checkout time? 
  • If you find a property in disarray with damages after a guest’s stay, how would you handle it?
  • If you find lost property of guests, how would you handle it?
  • How would you deal with discovering a potential safety issue while cleaning?

Why it Matters: These essential questions for Airbnb cleaners assess the cleaner’s judgement, integrity, and problem-solving skills in real-world situations.

Red Flags: Lack of responsibility; disregard for property or guest belongings; neglecting safety issues.

Good Answers: Following protocols; promptly addressing and reporting issues; seeking guidance when necessary; responsibility and integrity.

Boost Cleanliness Ratings With Vacation Rental Cleaners

Making an informed decision when hiring Airbnb cleaning services is worth the bit of time and effort it takes. Investing a few minutes to interview a vacation rental cleaner allows you to evaluate a cleaner’s responses and guage their fit with your expectations and property needs. Asking these essential questions about vacation rental cleaning standards, experiences, and methods will help ensure that the cleaners you hire match your business and property goals.

The Turno Team Avatar
The Turno Team , The Turno Team researches and publishes articles designed to provide short-term rental Hosts, Property Managers, and Airbnb Cleaners with insightful, useful resources. Articles written by the Turno Team cover a wide range of STR interests, from the latest industry data and best practices to real-world, practical advice on running efficient, revenue-generating vacation rental businesses in an ever-changing market. Here at Turno, we’re always looking for original ideas and hot new topics. Have something you’re curious to learn more about? Interested in authoring a guest blog? Drop us a line at [email protected].