Most people like their homes to be clean, but when it comes down to breaking out the mop and bucket, the vacuum cleaner, the wood polish, sponges, and bleach, do you really have the time or inclination to dive in?
If you feel like groaning just reading about tidying up, it could be worthwhile to hire a maid or cleaning service.
There are many factors to consider when thinking about hiring out this task, and that’s where this guide will come in handy. Read on to learn:
• What’s the difference between a maid and a cleaning service?
• How much does hiring a maid or a cleaning service cost?
• What are the pros and cons of hiring a maid vs. a cleaning service?
• What are the alternatives to hiring a maid or cleaning service for your home?
What Do Maids or Cleaning Services Do?
Maids and cleaning services take care of basic tasks such as dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, disinfecting the toilets, cleaning the sinks and bathtub/shower, and taking out the garbage.
There are typically add-on services available: laundry, changing the sheets, and doing the dishes for starters. Some of these could be included in the cost depending on the maid or cleaning service.
“But, I can (or should) do all that myself!” you may be thinking. In which case, you are likely wondering, “Is hiring a maid worth it?”
If a spic-and-span home is high on your checklist for maintaining a house, a little research can help determine if a cleaning service or maid is right for you. Read on for more detail which can assist you as you make your decision.
How Much Do Maids Cost?
According to HomeAdvisor, a maid can cost $15 to $40 per hour on average. Some may charge a flat fee depending on the size of the job — around $100 for a 1-bedroom apartment, or $130 to $390 for a 2,600-square-foot house.
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How Much Do Cleaning Services Cost?
Full-service cleaning companies can charge between $100 and $300 per job, or anywhere from $50 to $90 per hour. Some companies will go by the size of your home, charging an estimated $90 per 1,000 square feet.
The prices for a maid and a cleaning service can greatly vary, depending on where you live, the frequency and level of cleaning you want, and the urgency of the job.
Things to Consider When Hiring a Maid or Cleaning Service
When deciding if maids or cleaning services are worth it, you’ll benefit from addressing a few questions about your monetary situation, schedule, and level of desired cleanliness.
The first step in determining if you can afford a maid or cleaning service is to create a budget for beginners if you don’t already have one up and running.
If you’re wondering how to clean up your finances and make a budget, consider using the 50/30/20 rule. This means putting 50% of the household income toward necessities or musts, which typically includes housing, utilities, food, and debt; 30% goes towards wants, like dining out and entertainment; and 20% get spent on retirement and savings.
Once you see how much cash you have coming in and going out, you’re better able to assess if you can afford to pay for cleaning from that 30% that covers “wants.”
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How Valuable Is Your Time?
A good way to decide whether hiring a maid is worth it is to remember this saying: Time is money. If paying a maid $20 an hour frees you up to make $50 an hour while working, the cost might be worth it to pay someone else to clean. You’ll come out ahead financially.
Schedules (How Often Are You Home?)
If you work long hours at the office, outsourcing your house cleaning will allow for more downtime, resulting in a better work-life balance.
However, if you are someone who works from home or you or your spouse are a stay-at-home parent, a cleaning service can be disruptive.
How Often You Need Your House Cleaned
Frequency of cleaning will matter. If you can live with having a maid come once a month or every-other-week instead of weekly, you’ll save money.
Worth noting: Do you sometimes list your house for renters? If you rent out on Airbnb, you’ll be asked to adhere to Airbnb’s cleaning protocol standards. A cleaning crew is helpful for a quick turnaround between renters.
The price of a maid or cleaning service can go up depending on what is required of them:
• Level of mess. Do you entertain frequently or have small children? It may take longer to clean up the aftermath. Or what if you haven’t done a deep-clean in ages? That too many make cleaning take longer.
• Area of mess. Does the whole house always have to be cleaned? You can save money by only having the common areas and bathrooms tidied up.
• Pets. Vacuuming dog and cat hair can add many minutes to a cleaner’s timesheet.
• Are you a neat freak? A deep-clean or super detailed job will cost more than basic dusting, vacuuming, and mopping.
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How Good You Are At Cleaning
If you are a disciplined and effective cleaner who loves getting your place spotless, there may be no need to hire someone. That said, there might be times you get too busy to clean or want some help tidying up before the holidays or a houseguest’s arrival.
If you’re the kind of person who ignores dust bunnies or the sight of a broom stresses you out, perhaps you should outsource household tasks and enjoy some time elsewhere.
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Cleaning Services vs Maids: What’s the Difference?
Maids typically tend to cost less than a cleaning service. A maid usually works alone, while a cleaning service can be a crew of two, three, or more who clean simultaneously.
An independent maid keeps 100% of the earnings, while a portion of the money for a cleaning crew goes to the service provider.
There are other key differences between maids and cleaning services:
Pros of Hiring a Maid
Here are some of the perks that can make hiring a maid worth it:
• Lower costs. An independent maid can be less expensive than a cleaning service. Fewer workers can mean cheaper rates.
• Price flexibility. You may be able to negotiate cleaning add-ons more easily (and affordably) with a personal maid.
• Familiarity. The same person comes to your home every time. This can provide a sense of comfort and trust for you and your family.
• Personal recommendations. You can get referrals from someone you trust — a friend or a neighbor.
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Pros of Hiring a Cleaning Service
If you’re considering getting help tidying up around the house, a cleaning service can be worth it. They come with several benefits:
• Vetted employees. Full-service cleaning companies check their employees’ backgrounds, so you don’t have to.
• Set standards. Many companies train their employees to uphold a certain level of cleaning criteria.
• Faster service. Since cleaning services are composed of crews, a team of workers can get the job done faster than an individual maid.
• Customer service. If a job isn’t up to snuff, professional companies will deal with any complaints you may have.
Cons of Hiring a Maid
• You’ll do the vetting. The responsibility of getting references and background checks on the maid candidate will fall to you.
• Longer cleaning time. Since a maid usually works solo, they might not be as fast as a cleaning service with multiple workers.
• Unpleasant boss duties. If the maid is not meeting your cleaning expectations, it will be up to you to address the problem and possibly, terminate the arrangement.
• Inflexible schedule. If the maid has a lot of clients, there could be fewer timeslot options available.
Cons of Hiring a Cleaning Service
• Higher prices. In most cases, a cleaning service crew costs more than an independent maid.
• Lack of familiarity. The company could send different people every time.
• Add-ons can be costly. Since the company sets the prices, you could spend a lot more for a deep-clean of the fridge. A maid might not charge extra if the job can get done within their hourly time frame.
Alternatives to Maids or Cleaning Services
Maids and cleaning services are generally the route most people take when hiring help, but there are a couple of other options:
• Gig-based workers. Apps and online services such as TaskRabbit and Fiverr feature a variety of folks willing to do odd jobs, including house cleaning. Whether they pursue this full-time or as a low-cost side hustle will vary, but you may well find affordable options.
• College students. If you live near a campus, check the online or physical job boards. Students are generally eager to make extra dough.
• Your kids. Shelling out for an allowance can be a lot cheaper than a cleaning service.
Tips for Saving Money on Cleaning Services
There are a few things you can do to potentially reduce the cost of a maid or cleaning service:
• Shop around. Interview more than one maid or get estimates from multiple cleaning services.
• Make the terms clear. Clarify exactly what tasks need to be done, so you won’t get charged for any unexpected add-ons.
• Consider a trial run. It can be a good idea to try out a maid or cleaning service for a month or so before committing to a long-term agreement.
• Inquire about fees. Ask to make sure there aren’t any hidden fees. Some cleaning services may tack on a processing fee if you pay with a credit card vs. direct deposit.
• Look for promotional deals. Cleaning services will occasionally run specials — package deals and referral bonuses.
• Tidy up before they come. Keeping your house orderly in between appointments allows the hired cleaner to perform more efficiently.
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If your messy home is stressing you out, a maid or cleaning service can take some of the weight off your shoulders. As long as you can justify the extra expense, hiring a professional can help declutter your home and improve your mood, plus leave you with more free time to enjoy your favorite pursuits.
Are maids better than cleaning services?
Both are good options if you need help cleaning your house. Typically, a maid can be cheaper and can be someone you see regularly and build a relationship with; however, a cleaning service can get the job done faster and may have more professional training and customer service.
Is it safe to hire a maid or cleaning service?
To feel secure, it’s a good idea to get recommendations (and check them) for a maid or cleaning service. Cleaning service companies generally vet their employees for you.
Should you hire a maid if your house is not very dirty?
Whether to hire a maid depends on how clean you want to keep your house and how much time you are willing to personally spend on it. Even if you’re a regular duster, a maid can help with tasks such as cleaning out the fridge and oven, as well as heavy-duty vacuuming, and/or window washing.
Photo credit: iStock/Tatiana
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