Housekeeper question

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Nomad, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    I am fortunate and grateful that we can afford a housekeeper. We had one every other week. Then, I got very sick and I asked her if she could come for a few hours on the alternate week. She does a house nearby on the alternate week and finishes around 4:30 and comes for two hours. I didn't know what to pay her, so I calculated her hourly wage and pay her for two hours of her work. She was only coming when I called and when I needed extra help due to health issues.

    However, then she said that wasn't fair, she wanted it to be more regular and I agreed to that.

    However, she started staying an extra 30 minutes to an hour on the alternate weeks and recently, I put a stop to that and told her that I just wanted and appreciated the two hours. (When she stayed longer, I paid her more)

    Well, here are my questions...

    When I asked around about what people were paying their housekeepers, I was blown away by the answers. Some were super low, some wouldn't say and one was very high. So, I chose a number a little high of the middle.

    I have a friend or two with BA degrees and a fair amount of experience working jobs that do not make as much as she makes per hour and I don't know what the tax situation is etc.

    1. Does anyone know what a typical rate of pay for a mid to large size city is for a housekeeper? My home is relatively large, but she only does two bedrooms and two bathrooms. No children and one small dog.

    2. Do you think it's fair that I pay her PER HOUR based on what she is making per hour on her regular cleaning day? She does much much less work on the day she stays only two hours.

    by the way, I give her ironing to do if she wants it ...of my clothes. If I'm sick and can't do it, she can do it after she is done and wants to. My local dry cleaner charges $4 a piece for women's clothing, which is nuts. So, I hand wash a lot of my shirts and iron them. If I'm not feeling well, I hand wash them and give them to her to iron and pay her $2 an item which is unheard of in my area. A friend of mine pays .50 per item.

    Anyway, I told her yesterday no more extra time on the alternate days. Just two hours like we originally said, at her rate of pay, plus any ironing if available and if she wants it, and that is extra money.

    She seemed disappointed. But, I think I was fair. ??? I really appreciate her a lot, but I actually like cleaning my house and don't wish to be lazy.if I'm not sick, I don't want to have someone else do this work. I'm trying to be reasonable. Oh well. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.
  2. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    If it were me, I would call around to different cleaning services and get quotes for hourly and then for 2 BR & 2 Baths. That way you would have some documentation to back you up.
  3. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    I pay 60$ a week but if I had a chain cleaner coming it would be much more. I think what you are doing sounds reasonable.
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Around here it's $20-$28 per hour. Unless you have some other arrangement.
    We have a housekeeper where I work and we pay her a set amount each month for whatever hours it takes her to do that job.
    I just recently figured out she makes about 40 an hour. She's been there forever and does a fabulous job. She will do any extra work with a smile.
    I pay $20 an hour now for my home.

    I know someone who irons and she charges $2 too.

    Paying her the regular amount for the two hours is the usual where I live.
  5. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have a 4 bedroom 3 bathroom home and pay my housekeeper $75 dollars per visit. She usually stays about 2 hours. For that, she cleans the kitchen and bathrooms (3), dusts, vacuums, changes the sheets, and makes the beds.

    I live in a suburban area close to a large city. I am lucky, though, because my friends with similar size houses pay a lot more. I know one of them pays a housekeeping team (2 people) $130 per visit.

    My housekeeper also does a whole house deep cleaning each fall and spring and charges $150 per visit for that.

  6. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Thank you guys!

    I might be underpaying! I am so frustrated. I tried so hard to get a handle on it. I'm paying her $16 an hour, plus the $2 for each ironing piece (but truthfully most of the ironing pieces are kinda simple)

    When I inquired, one person told me $60 for about four hours. Another said $75, but had started off with $60 and had given her raises after many many years. Another told me $100, but she did lots of ironing for no extra money. Most people wouldn't tell me. does she do all that work in two hours? Does she move very fast? you live in a large city? Is $20 likely the typical rate per hour for a home? Does she also iron?

    I'm thinking maybe I need to up it to $18 ???? Funny thing is that people around here tend to be secretive about this subject. Weird, huh???

    Thank you again.
  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Nomad, I live an hour from San Francisco in the North Bay. Everything here seems to be expensive. I think $20 to $25 an hour is probably the typical rate here, likely more in Marin County and SF. No, that doesn't include ironing.

    I can't imagine anyone cleaning a house the size of Kathy's in 2 hours, that's remarkable. I have 2 bedrooms and 2 baths and it takes 4 hours! But she also spot cleans the carpet as needed, cleans out the frig when needed, will check in the cabinets and make sure it is the way I like it....... and she will do extra stuff all the time without being asked and still stays in the 4 hours, she is a hard worker and I really like her a lot. She just comes and does her thing, I no longer have to tell her what I want, she just knows what to do. I trust her which is important since they are in your home, often when you're not.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Well, I would think New York area and San Francisco areas would be the top priced areas and other large cities being slightly less. Just guessing though. Geez. I really appreciate your input. I wish people weren't so secretive.

    Our last housekeeper did steal from us and it caused lots of stress. It took awhile for us to figure it out. Eventually, it became clear. Letting her go was very difficult. And it took me a long time to trust another person. This person has given me no reason not to trust her. She is good, not great, but does a good job, is pleasant, shows up on time,clearly tries her best and is always polite, etc. I do like her a lot and appreciate her very much.
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Nomad, what would be the reason for secrecy when someone you know asks you a direct question about it? I can't figure that out. I can see if someone is bragging about it, that would be tacky, but geez, what's the big deal?
  10. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Wow, stealing from you, that would be really crummy. And not finding out for awhile, I would feel so disappointed and violated.
  11. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    The thievery thing was terrible. It was very subtle. I started noticing little things missing and husband thought I was just misplacing things. But, I pointed out to him that:
    1. I wasn't misplacing things prior to the housekeeper's arrival
    2. We had housekeepers before and nothing ever was misplaced or gone and gone for good!

    So, I started getting angry at husband. But, then he bought me a gold cross when we went on vacation. She admired it. I put it on my make up table. After one of her visits, it disappeared and so did a shirt that husband loved on me. I never saw a man go so nuts. He searched the house, BUT, he ripped apart th bedroom BIG. TIME. All the drawers, every inch of the closet...every little thing. We called the dry cleaner (although I hadn't worn it recently or sent it to the dry cleaners). Everything was searched and double checked. You should of seen DHs face when he realized the items were stolen. It is a real shock. We didn't call the police...I just told her that we couldn't afford a housekeeper anymore, but later a local policewoman chastised me for not reporting her.
  12. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I wish I had a housekeeper.

    We don't, but the neighbor does. He pays $60 for one visit a week. She works really fast. It seems like she done in about two hours.

  13. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yup, my housekeeper works fast. She has it down to a science. However, she doesn't do any extras like cleaning out the fridge or ironing or spot cleaning carpets.

    But she does saves lives. Literally. She was at our house when difficult child overdosed on heroin. When she heard husband screaming difficult child's name, she quickly called 911 and then took turns applying chest compressions until the EMT's got there and administered Narcan.

    She has a job for life now.

  14. mom_to_3

    mom_to_3 Active Member

    You know one thing I have learned is if someone is working for you and you really like their work, pay them well and compliment them. You will have a trusted helper for as long as you like!
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  15. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    mom_to_3, I completely agree with you. I am a big believer in acknowledgement of a job well done or conversely, of not rewarding a job NOT well done. But, let's face it, we all like to be acknowledged and complimented and appreciated, at least I do. I tell the housekeeper, or anyone who works for me at home, or at my job, where I do all the hiring and interactions with vendors, and as a result of years of making sure everyone is made aware of how much I appreciate them, I have a whole crew of people I can call upon for help with any number of things I may need, from a handyman, contractor, plumber, healer, you name it. And, more often than not, I'm even given a break. I have always believed if you treat people with respect and appreciation and you recognize their worth and you value them, you will have an ally and a helper forever. I feel well supported with those around me and I have fostered that over time. I couldn't do any of it without them, and they know it.
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    My mom has someone come in for a half day every week. Used to be every other, but they upped it recently. I think they pay her $60 or a bit more. We are in a smallish city and this woman cleans for many of the university faculty that we know. She has cleaned for my folks for over ten years. Her salary increases have usually been my parents' idea and not hers. My dad and mom also give her 2 weeks paid vacation and when she has needed surgery they paid their normal rate for those weeks also because they felt it was fair. They know her other clients and my dad guilted many of them into paying for sick time also because she has cleaned for most of them for at least 10 years with never a problem. Most of the other clients would still be paying her the $40 a half day that she got 20 yrs ago if my dad hadn't realized it and put a guilt trip on them over it.

    My idiot addict exsil runs a 'Christian cleaning service'. She tries to charge $20 an hour but no one pays her that to clean. She has a couple of clients who pay her roughly that but she 'cleans' in lingerie and doesn't really do any cleaning for these single guys. I will let you just understand what she does for that $$ but it has nothing to do with cleaning. I know because a neighbor's son hired her thinking he was getting a cleaner but she stripped to a thong (and she weighs about 280!) and scared the koi out of him. He tossed her out with-o paying her because he didn't want THAT, he wanted someone to dust and vacuum and mop and scrub!
  17. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Ach, I'm jealous of those prices. Around here home cleaning is about 50-60 bucks an hour. With your kind of prices I could maybe explain myself why I would need to hire someone to help (I do hate cleaning.)

    Or maybe not. I would end up cleaning myself before the cleaner would come (how could I let a stranger to my dirty home? ;)) and it would be socially unacceptable anyway. We only use cleaning services for elderly or disabled, for rest of us it would be a sign of laziness, lack of practical skills (cardinal sin in my neck of woods), wasting money and being a show off. Our economists try to tell us we are being silly and we should do just that and pay for services instead of cleaning ourselves, painting our own walls and houses, doing our own garden work, doing all the small and moderate house repairs ourselves, trying to fix our own cars (and moaning when it is not possible anymore with newer cars), cut our own hair and so on and gathering all the friends and relatives to help when moving instead of hiring moving company and so on. That would be good for our economy and help the service sector and create lots of employment especially for those who don't have skills that are marketable in our current economy. And we all nod and agree that it sounds smart and people should use more services: And then in the next chance absolutely decline of paying for something we can do ourselves :D
  18. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    I called an agency a long time ago and I think it was about $35 an hour. I suspect they pay the workers much less. I'm going to do my best to find more information. I spoke on line with an actual house cleaner who told me she charges about $15 an hour, she is in my same state, but in a much smaller city. So, I suspect $18-$20 an hour is the proper rate for my area based on what I've read here and the little info. I have for my own area. I think people are secretive about it here because I live in a somewhat snobbish and competitive area and they don't want to be seen as paying too little nor do they want to appear as if they are being taken advantage of. It has little to do with doing the right thing.
  19. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    It's really odd how, when I was working 40 hours a week, I could zoom through my house and get loads done in about 2 hours.

    Now that I'm semi-retired and have loads of time available for cleaning the house it seems to take me ages and ages.

    Why do I waste so much time now that I have a large amount of it and yet I managed to do loads in a small amount of time when I didn't have much of it?

    Ho hum ... now then... must make a pot of tea, read the paper, chat to my neighbour, do some knitting, browse the internet... and then clean the house.
  20. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Well-Known Member

    Our cleaner comes every other week and we have a three bedroom two bath home. But she doesn't clean my room. She sweeps, mops, dusts and fully cleans the two bathrooms. I pay her 40 per visit and it would normally take her two hours but we talk a lot so thank goodness I don't pay her hourly!! Lol