What Does it Cost to Clean a Hoarder House?
Initial Cleanup or Cleanout
The initial step in tackling this project was to remove the garbage and anything physically attached to the structure (eg, cabinets, carpet/flooring, tile, etc). This required dumpsters. A lot of dumpsters.
Clean out and Dumpster Costs
Dumpsters are paid for in advance and cover a certain amount of weight or tonnage. If you go over that weight cap, then each additional ton (or half ton) will incur an overage charge. Here’s a pricing example:
Drop-off fee for a 40-yard dumpster: $825.00 which included an allowance of 4 tons of garbage. Each additional ton is $125.00. And tax is extra!
Each of our eight dumpsters weighed approximately 5 tons (some a bit less, some a bit more).
So, the cost per dumpster was = $825.00 + $125.00 (1 ton overage *$125.00) = $950.00 + 3.5% sales tax = $983.25
Each dumpster (at $983.25) times 8 dumpsters totaled approximately $7,866.
We spent nearly $8,000 removing garbage from this unit!
Unfortunately, we also had to pay labor costs…
On average, it was 3 guys working 5-6 hours a day (until each dumpster was full).
Each guy earned about $250.00/day and it took approximately 11 days to remove all the garbage and return the home to ‘broom clean’.
$250/day x 3 guys/day x 11 days = $8,250.00.
So how much did it cost to remove the garbage from a hoarder house?
We landed at $16,116 ($7,866 in hauling and $8,250 in labor.)
The subject property is about 1,250 sqft of livable space. To which we had another 600 sqft of basement and a few feet in the attic. Let’s say 2,000 sqft all-in.
If we take the $16,116 in expenses and divide it by 2,000 sqft we arrive at $8.00/sqft.
The clean-out cost approximately $8.0/sqft (in case anyone on the internet is looking for this figure).
At this point the property was broom clean, meaning the garbage was completely gone.
Anything that wasn’t a wall or a piece of structure (floor joist, subfloor, etc) has been removed in preparation for next steps.
Fumigation and Extermination Costs
After the property was fully clear, we need to call in an exterminator. The exterminator sprayed the property for various bugs, set mouse (and rat traps) as well as put bait stations both inside and outside the property. Beyond the first pass-thru, they came back 2 more times in the first month to replace/reset the traps and check the bait stations.
The cost for exterminator or fumigation services was approximately $750.00.
The cost on a square footage basis is under $1/sqft.
Ozone Generator to Disinfect and Remove Odors
Next, we rented an ozone generating device and let it run over night. First downstairs, then upstairs. This is meant to kill any bacteria, fungus, small bugs, etc. The cost for this was nominal.
Duct Cleaning Company to Disinfect and Remove Odors from HVAC
Afterwards, we hired a duct-cleaning company. They were responsible for doing a few things: 1) vacuuming anything out of the ducts that didn’t belong there (virtually anything from personal belongings to rat droppings to dust/hair) 2) sanitizing the entire system by squirting a bleach like liquid into the air intake and allowing the furnace/blower to circulate the cleaner throughout the entire house.
While it doesn’t sound particularly pleasant, it did leave the home smelling quite nice!
The cost for this service was around $350.00. Again, under $1/sqft.
Regular Cleaning Costs
Once the garbage was removed, home was fumigated and it was ‘broom clean’ – the property needed to be cleaned. Every square inch of the property was sprayed with vinegar. After it dried, everything was vacuumed and then mopped. Walls included. Then for extra good measure, it was sprayed with more vinegar.
I was quoted approximately $3,000 for this service by the fumigation company – but opted to do it myself.
Total Cleaning Costs
The total cleaning costs for this hoarder house was approximately $20,000 or approximately $10/sqft (total space, not livable).