Not only does outsourcing tedious household chores take stress off your plate and crumbs off your counter, it could also enhance your quality of life significantly. That is according to research by an assistant professor at Harvard Business School, Ashley Whillans. Her studies suggest that by doing things like hiring housekeepers to clean your home, prioritizing time over money could make you happier by allowing you to spend more time on things that you value, such as work and family.
However how much money you spend on housekeeping services can depend on a broad range of things, including where you [UPDATED] live, who you hire and what you are going to ask them to do. When budgeting for home cleaning services, here’s what to keep in mind.
Factors that may influence the price of housekeeping services
According to 2018 Care.com data, house cleaners in the U.S. earn an average hourly rate of $16.27. But, based on the cleaner you hire and how long it will take to clean your home, the final price tag you pay can run the gamut. Some variables that can make the price of housekeeping services go up or down include:
Location of the residence
Where your home is located is a big consideration for what you’ll pay for housekeeping services. According to Care.com data, average rates in Paris, Tennessee, for instance, were $12.50 per hour in 2018, while cleaners in Breckenridge, Colorado, earned almost twice that.
Your home’s size and condition
According to Marcos Franco, owner of Mighty Clean Home Roswell in Roswell, Georgia, the bigger and dirtier your home is, the more you will pay for cleaning. It takes more work and requires more supplies for larger homes or homes that have not been cleaned in a while and that drives up the overall cleaning price.
For this reason, Franco says, housekeepers and housekeeping agencies will often base their prices on the home’s square footage, as that can have a major impact on the hours they will probably need to spend cleaning it.
Some residents tend to make more messes than others and cleaning costs can increase, Franco says. For example, housekeepers may charge more for cleaning homes with pets or small children, because they expect they will need to spend more time cleaning up the extra pet hair or splatters.
The cleaning type
Do you just need some basic cleaning to spruce up the place? Or is there a need for some more elbow grease at your home? How much you’ll pay can affect the thoroughness of the cleaning you’re booking. Housekeepers will frequently offer different levels, such as:
This type of service is what you might need during an especially busy month to get your usually tidy home ready for guests or fill in the gaps. Surface cleaning, such as wiping down counters, sweeping and mopping floors, vacuuming rugs, cleaning toilets, will be done by cleaners. Normally, this is the cheapest option. Cleaners may sometimes require a deep cleaning before committing to a regular basic cleaning schedule to ensure that when routine cleanings begin, the home is in good condition.
A deep clean is when, for a while, your home has not had much love and needs some extra attention. Some services that you may get with a deep cleaning that you will not necessarily get with a regular or basic cleaning include scrubbing tile grout in the shower, dusting individual knickknacks, or wiping ceiling fan tops. This kind of housekeeping service is more work-related and therefore more costly than regular cleaning.
A move-in/move-out clean often requires a little more emphasis on scrubbing down a home’s nooks and crannies, including wiping inside the pantry or cupboards and washing down marks on the walls. Due to the work involved, this tends to be the most costly option.
It is essential to know what type of cleaning service you need to get your house where you want it and pay a fair rate to your housekeepers, says Jennifer Rodriguez, chief hygiene officer at Pro Housekeepers.
“We sometimes get clients who say they just need regular cleaning, but their homes look like they haven’t been cleaned in years when we arrive,” says Rodriguez.
She says they have to bump up their rates in those instances, which can get awkward for everyone involved.
To see what kind of cleaning you might need and offer their estimate, some housekeepers will come and do a walk-through of your home. However, if you get a quote online or over the phone, Rodriguez recommends being as honest and accurate as you can about your home’s condition to avoid misunderstandings about the service’s cost.
The more housekeepers come to clean your home more often, the lower the usual price, Franco says. That’s because the cleaners are able to maintain the condition of the home during each visit, requiring less work for them.
Hiring a service vs. a person
Going with an individual housekeeper or a cleaning firm has its advantages and disadvantages. Companies are generally more organized, for example, with a team of cleaners and their own liability insurance, but they also tend to be more costly.
The housekeeper or company’s experience (or demand for)
More experienced housekeepers are usually more expensive per hour, Franco says, like in many other industries. They tend to be more professional, and that helps them to charge a higher hourly rate.
They are also generally more efficient as a trade-off than less-experienced cleaners, allowing them to take less time overall to clean your home, which you might not notice if you pay a flat rate, but if you pay hourly, it’s something to consider.
In-demand cleaners also tend to have less incentive, Franco says, to keep prices low, and so they may also charge more than other agencies or housekeepers in the area.
Any Extra Services
If you want some of the deep-clean services as part of routine cleaning, when you book your cleaning service, you can usually ask for that, Franco says, but it’ll cost extra. He says that cleaners might charge an extra $40 to $75 per task, depending on the size and scope of the work involved.
Examples of one-time services may include the following:
- Inside the refrigerator cleaning
- Inside the oven cleaning
- Scrubbing the baseboards
- Laundry, including linens, washing or putting away
Tips for saving money on services for housekeeping
There are a few things you can do for families on a budget to save on the cost of one-time or routine cleaning. Some tips on cost-saving include:
The more time cleaners spend on collecting items from the floor or counters, the longer it takes to clean them. If you pay hourly, it can save the cleaners time by scooping up toys or documents beforehand (and you money).
If you want to pay less overall for housekeeping, but you still want regular service, consider adjusting the schedule to allow more time between cleanings, such as moving from once every two weeks to once every three weeks.
Tweak the frequency:
The extra time may not make a huge difference to the condition of your home, but over the course of a year, it can reduce the amount you will pay.
Offer your own supplies:
The cost of cleaning supplies might include some of the costs associated with housekeeping services. In exchange for a lower rate, ask your cleaner if it is possible to use your own materials. This can be particularly helpful if you are specific about the types of products used in your home, as some cleaners may charge for cleaning supplies that are non-toxic or environmentally friendly.
Because housekeeping service prices can vary so much, gathering estimates from a variety of people or businesses can help you find the best fit for the budget of your family. And if you’re not sure where to start, check out the housekeeping calculator at Care.com to get you started.