Cleaning Up or Cleaning Out: Is it Worth Hiring a Housekeeper to Do Your Dirty Work?

Housing Finances household equipment

According to a recent survey, American adults spend an average of 13 hours a week doing household chores.

That’s not quite part-time job territory, but it’s pretty close! If you’re time-crunched and have always longed to ditch the duster to spend more time with your family or catch up on your favorite shows, it may be time to hire some help.

Before you decide to throw in the towel (literally), run through this quick checklist to help with the decision:

Count the cost.

House cleaners generally charge $15-$45/hour. Location, pets, lifestyle and extra services can significantly raise your rate, so ask for a detailed estimate!

If neither Fido, your kids (or your spouse) are housetrained, you’re going to be looking at the higher end of this range.

Calculate your worth.

We know your personality is priceless, but what’s an hour of your time really worth?

Use this handy calculator from our friends at LearnVest to find your personal hourly rate. Then, track the time you spend cleaning for one week and calculate the amount you should “pay” yourself.

Use this number to weigh the cost benefit of hiring a cleaner instead of biting the bullet and doing it yourself.

Ask your friends.

Hiring a house cleaner is a lot like hiring a contractor: personal recommendations are solid gold!

Ask around – chances are more of your friends, neighbors or coworkers have house cleaners than you realize. Get their opinions, ask about rates in your area and try to rustle up a phone number or two.

If your friend trusts the cleaner, you probably can, too!

Consider independent vs. corporate cleaners.

On average, large service companies charge over 50 percent more per hour than local, independent cleaners. But you’ll be covered if an iPad or your favorite necklace goes missing.

Corporate services are licensed, bonded and insured, plus they typically run background checks on their employees.

If you do opt for an independent cleaner, it’s best to hire one who has been in business for at least six months and can provide 3-5 references.

Separate your needs.

Make a short list of chores that you really need done. Most of your requests are probably standard when it comes to a company’s cleaning regimen, but a few tasks (dishes, ironing and making beds) can cost extra.

You may want to consider splitting the list: heavier cleaning for the cleaning service, and lighter, everyday upkeep for you and your partner.

BrightNest is a free site that provides tools and tips to homeowners to help them save money, get organized and keep their home in great shape.


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