Hoarding is a behavior generally characterized as the collection of items such that the living space of an environment is tough to use. There are many different types of hoarding behavior and each type of hoard can be approached differently in order to have more effective results. Palmetto Commercial Services has completed over 650 hoarded homes and provides consultation services to families affected by hoarding. We generally meet at the home and develop a comprehensive approach to deal with the environment. We have worked numerous cases where government agencies are involved, but we are not required to report hoarded homes to these agencies. We have completed state, local, and federal background checks on each one of our technicians. On most bids, we can generally have a written quote back to the family within 24 hours. Scheduling can be complicated, as weather is a factor, but we try to prioritize jobs by the urgency of each case.
Below is a blog article we produced in 2013, describing possible costs involved in completing a hoarding clean up job.
Hoarder cleaning is unique in that there are so many different elements involved in them. Many times, what some people consider hoarding is actually clutter and disorganization. Homes affected by hoarding are normally labeled as having lost some, most, or all use of functionality of its rooms.
Because of the factors involved, the costs of hoarder cleaning services vary greatly. Some people choose to hire day laborers and pay them about $10 per hour until the job is complete. However, the worker’s backgrounds are not checked, personal protective equipment (PPE) is not supplied (and many times not used), the workers have little to no training, the workers are not licensed, bonded, or insured, and the job could do additional damage to the person suffering from the hoarding disorder. Additionally, if a hired hand is injured on the job, a lawsuit could be filed against the homeowner when performing hoarder cleaning jobs.
Some of the factors that are involved in the price of hoarding cleanup is the presence of biohazardous material. Biohazardous material can be defined as infectious agents or hazardous biological materials that present a risk or potential risk to the health of humans, animals or the environment. Most biohazard cleaning companies offering hoarder cleaning, but not all hoarding environments containg biohazardous material. Biohazard cleanup is extremely specialized and requires a high degree of training, specialized knowledge, and specialized equipment. Many biohazard cleaning companies charge between $200 – $300 per employee hour plus costs (PPE, disposal fees, mileage, per-diems) while remediating the biohazard threat. Because of the specialization of these services, hoarding jobs containing biohazardous materials cost significantly more than hoarding environments without biohazards present.
Another factor that can greatly increase the price of hoarding jobs is the presence of hazardous materials. Similar to biohazardous material, hazardous materials pose a risk to individuals and the environment. A company that specializes in dealing with hazardous materials must be hired to remove them and this type of service is extremely expensive. Hazmat companies can charge $200 – $400 per employee hour plus costs while working in a hazardous material environment.
The simplest of hoarder cleaning jobs are limited to a trashout, or a removal of all items from a room or house. Trashouts are generally faster and cheaper than an entire hoarding cleanout. As long as PPE is worn and OSHA guidelines are followed, trashouts can cost as little as $35 per employee hour plus the cost associated with the job (PPE, trash containers, disposal fees, mileage, per-diems, etc).
Working with an individual that has a hoarding disorder can be challenging and time consuming, as making and sticking to decisions is tough for them. If many of the items in the home need to be examined prior to throwing them out, the pace of the work slows down significantly and therefore the cost rises. Also, as the person with the hoarding disorder makes more and more quick decisions, they tend to become overwhelmed, and sometimes cannot continue until the following day. Out-of-town companies typically charge per-diems, as they are required to pay per-diems to their employees. Per-diems are allowances for food and lodging for employees when working outside of a certain range from the company’s office. Most companies will charge as little as $35 per employee hour plus costs. So, out-of-town companies tend to cost more on jobs that take longer than local companies.
Container costs must also be considered when cleaning a hoarder’s house. There are many roll off container dumpster companies and each one has different pricing models. Many companies have 10, 20, and 30 cubic yard roll off containers, and each container has a weight limit. If the weight limits are not observed, the price of the containers increases. The prices of the containers can range from about $175 to over $450, depending on the contents of the containers and the length of time they will be used.
Many people assume that the cost of actually cleaning the home is included in the price of a hoarder cleaning. Some companies will include the cleaning costs, while some will offer a line-item cost. Once the debris has been removed and the biohazard threat has been eliminated, the cleaning process can begin. Hoarder cleaning costs can range from $.75 per square foot to $2 per square foot, depending on the amount and severity of cleaning involved.
When getting a quote for hoarder cleaning, consider the above factors. The lower the threat to an individual’s safety, the lower the cost of the job. Also, local companies tend to cost less than out-of-town companies because their cost of doing business tends to be lower. The presence of hazardous and biohazardous material will significantly increase the cost of the job, and factors such as the number of roll off containers used and the detailed interior cleaning will affect the cost of the job, which in turn will affect the price. In short, hoarder cleaning can cost anywhere from $35 per employee hour to $80 per employee hour plus the costs involved with the job.