What you Need to Know About Hiring and Paying House Cleaners

Here are some tips about hiring and paying a housecleaner.

cleaner

 

PAYMENT PRACTICES:

It can be hard to come up with a standard rate that applies to house cleaners. Some of the many variables to consider while calculating the price of a house cleaning are outline below:

  • Size: what is the size of the apartment/brownstone? How many bathrooms?
  • Duties: what duties do you expect? Some duties might cost you extra such as washing windows, cleaning the refrigerator, microwave, and oven; washing windows, laundry and changing beds.
  • Supplies: some cleaners bring their own cleaning supplies, others expect you to buy the products they use.
  • Frequency: how often will the house cleaner clean? Do you want a cleaner to come once a week, every two weeks, or on demand? Expect for a price increase under the assumption that the place is dirtier.
  • Tenure: employment length is a confounding variable as well.
  • Hourly versus set rate
  • One cleaner or two? Sometimes house cleaners come in pairs to clean minimizing time which can affect payment. 
  • Payment resources: Si Se Puede! Women's Cooperative, We Can Do It! Inc. the women-owned, women-run business designed to create living wage jobs, has a comprehensive guide about rates to pay. We encourage you to consult this as a reference to guide you: https://www.wecandoit.coop/newpage

 

HIRING PRACTICES:

Some factors to consider when you are ready to hire a cleaner are outlined below. Discuss these things before arranging payment.

  • Outline on the job responsibilities: be very specific if you have ways you like things and ask what they need. Do you like your floor mopped and air-dried or do you want it dried? Are there certain cleaning products you want the person to use? Do they need kitchen gloves? A toothbrush for cleaning?
  • Be transparent about payment: always be up front whether or not you’ll pay them every week. PSP often hears cleaners say that they show up to the apartment and find the household is on vacation and they don’t get paid and it hasn’t been discussed. Also discuss raises; it gets more expensive to live in NYC - so please give your cleaning person a raise! If you haven't given your house cleaner a raise in over a year, it may be time.

 

HOUSEHOLD SAFETY:

Please read our comprehensive guide about Home Safety with Home Help, that includes tips like:

  • Check references: get two (or more) recommendations for any person who you will have in your house on a regular basis. We spoke with Jerry Galante at the 78th precinct who emphasized the importance of double checking references for people recommended online - there is more scope for fraud.
  • Check ID: ask for at least one form of identification from the person. Tell the person before they come to your house that you'll expect it. Scan it for your records. If the person is not willing to provide it (or says, "they forgot"), then don't hire them. Get the address of the house cleaner as well.
  • Get emergency info: ask for an emergency number for the person. It could save their life or could help you track down a problem person.
  • Minimize apartment access: keep access to your apartment limited and inventory your keys. If you can have a neighbor/friend/super let in a cleaning person, do this rather than giving out your key. Even if your cleaning person is trustworthy, if your key falls into the wrong hands the consequences can be costly.
  • Be smart about valuables: keep valuables out of sight and use a police engraver to mark your valuables.

 

 

MEMBER'S COMMENTS ABOUT WAGES:

 

Rates as of August, 2017:

1500 Square Feet Plus

  • We have the same space [1800 square feet] (except 1.5 baths) and the same asks, and we pay our person $120 per visit. She does a great job. However, it's more of an occasional cleaning as opposed to a regular thing, for whatever that's worth.
  • That's about how much we have space wise [1800 square feet] (plus a finished basement) and we pay ours $180 every two weeks, and she does an excellent job. I thought it was a bit high too but she spends about 6 hours cleaning and it is quite a big space to tackle (esp with all of our 9 month olds stuff).
  • She doesn't do sheets or laundry or anything outdoors either. I paid someone else $130 but it was a very surface level clean and I never noticed when she came to the house, so it was worth it to pay a bit more for a much better deeper clean. But do let me know if you're able to find someone you're happy with that will charge less.
  • We also have a 3bd, 2 bath [1800 squaree feet] with a similar set up (no laundry or yard duties), but we use one of our bedrooms as an office space and wouldn't require the cleaning person to clean that room. We were quoted $240 a week. I was really taken aback by that amount as after $500+for a deep clean, I wasn't floored by the result.
  • Needless to say, I decided to clean my house myself and spend the money we would have spent on a cleaning service on phenomenal cleaning equipment instead. I find it cathartic to clean anyway and now my house is up to my standards.
  • We have the same setup/square footage [1800 square feet] and pay $200 a month. She also occasionally changes our sheets just in the master bedroom (not our kids'). We've been working with the same housecleaner for about 9 years now and she's only raised the price 2 or 3x times in that time period. I always balk at the price too, but she has a key to our house and has been very trustworthy, etc, so I rationalize it as paying a premium for trust. (Altho maybe it's not a premium and it's the going rate!! I'll be looking for responses to your question!)
  • We pay $160 every week for 1950 sq ft over 3 floors, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, changing one bed. She cleans the insides of our microwave, fridge, coffee pot, but no laundry, no yard work. She spends most of the day and pays excruciating attention to detail, but I think what we pay is high, I personally would not go to $180.
  • We live in a similar space [1800 square feet] and pay our cleaner $25/hour. We ask her to do as much as she can in 4 hours and pay her $100 each time she comes (every other week).
  • Our cleaning woman charges $200 for ~3,000 sq ft (3 floors of a brownstone.) She comes weekly.
  • We pay ours $170 for a 3 br 2 storey rowhouse with 2 baths (and extra toddler messes sometimes). It takes her about 6 hours and she does fold a few loads of laundry also

1500 Square Feet

  • We have 1500 4-bedroom with 2 bathrooms and are paying $150 weekly. It seems like a lot too but it does take her awhile to clean. She doesn't have other responsibilities but does fold laundry if it is in the dryer.  Her family has been cleaning for us for 14 years.

1000 - 1500 Square Feet:

  • We pay $100 for 1100 sq feet. Our cleaning person (Yaji, who I recommend, if you need a new name) charged $20/hr, and we did an initial 'test' to see what it would take, and it came to $100, so that is what we do now.
  • I have 3 bedrooms and 2 baths in a one leave apartment. Not as big as yours. Maybe 1,200 sq feet. I get charged $135. I found someone through the Si Se Puede cooperative. I recommend it for asking how much your place costs. I feel like the cooperative establishes fair wages. As a comparison, a private company charged me $195. Which was stiff price and they did a poor job.
  • We have a 1300 sqft apartment with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Our cleaner changes the sheets for one bed and does laundry for 2 adults and a baby, dishes, bathrooms, etc. We pay her $100 weekly. My parents both use her for similar size or larger apartments in Manhattan twice weekly and pay under $150 I think.
  •  $140 for 1400 square feet floor through.
  • I pay my cleaning person $130 every other week and she does all the laundry for a 2 bed, 1 bath.  And I add $40 when she does an additional bed and bath in the basement.  But we're only 2 people in the space so it's not super dirty…

1000 square feet (approximately one bedroom):

  • We have a 1 bedroom apartment with a loft space that we use as a second bedroom (not sure of the exact square footage - maybe 1000 sf) and our cleaning person comes 1x per month and charges us $135. She definitely charges more than many other cleaning people, but she does an absolutely amazing job and I know it takes her a long time to do it - she doesn't have time to do other jobs when she comes to our place.
  • We have about 1k sq ft. One bathroom, the kitchen, and 5 other rooms (not sure what to call them all, but 2 are used as bedrooms, one is basically our kids' playroom and a library, one is a living room, and one is an office/guest room; two of the rooms are rather small). No changing linens, no doing laundry (& no yard work). We pay $140 for every other week.
  • I pay $110 every other week for a women I've had for 8 years. 1000 square feet and she does my laundry.
  • We pay $100/week for a 2br/2ba, no laundry or yard, bed only every other week or so, little under 1000 sq ft. Maybe $180 is not that crazy? 
  • We do every other week for a two bed one bath 1000 sq ft single level apartment and pay $90. Changing linens but no laundry.
  • For us, we've had the same cleaner for 5 years and paid her $85 for an 1100 sq ft 2br/2ba apartment 2013-2014 in Cobble Hill and $65 for a 700 sq ft 1br/1ba in 2015.  In 2016 we bumped that up to $80 b/c 1. it's in Gowanus and she's coming from NJ on public transport.

Less than 1000 square feet:

  • We pay $120 for about 800 square feet (2 bed, 1 bath) every two to three weeks. I remember a thread awhile back that made me think that was pretty standard.
  • My cleaning person chargers $25 an hour. She spends 4 hours cleaning a small 900 sq ft 3 bedroom with 1 bath and we pay her $100.
  • We live in a 950sf 2 bedroom with one bathroom and we pay $140 for cleaning. It amounts to about $25/hr. We do get the bed made. We also really like our person and she's been with us for 4 years, so we raise her rate periodically. She started at $125.
  • Our space is maybe half the size [900 square feet] and we pay 120 every other week. 2br one bathroom apt.
  • Our cleaning lady gets $100. We have a two bedroom place and she does launders our sheets, towels, and floor mats. Our apartment is approximately 900 sq feet. Our last cleaning lady for a 1 bedroom apartment got $80 for same duties.
  • We have about 700-800 sq feet I think (2BR, 1 bath), same responsibility as you (no laundry, or anything else, just standard cleaning), and he works for about 5 hours and charges $100.

 

By the hour:

  • Figure 20/25 an hour. We've paid $300 for a weekly cleaning for a three story house. Two women from approx 9-3.

 

On paying by the hour:

  • “I believe your space [1800 square feet] could easily taking 6 hours or more to clean. Also, when you have a cleaning every other week it is a much different job than when cleaning is done weekly. Most people underestimate the hard work of this job. I have helped my cleaning woman get jobs over the past twenty years and she stopped taking jobs priced by the hour. Some weeks the same home may take 5 hours and others it might take 7 hours. It is hard to price cleaning for a large place by the hour. Also, people sometimes forget (not that you do) that cleaning people depend on the money for rent, etc. So, getting paid by the hour for a large place and not knowing one week to the next how long and how much you get paid seems a bit unfair. There are cleaning people for $15 or $20 an hour. Those that are dedicated charge $25 - $30 an hour and price their jobs accordingly. Sounds like you have a professional who is dependable and thorough.

 

From 2016:

  • “I have given my house cleaner a raise yearly for the last 6 years. I pay her a set price of $150. Sometimes it takes her 7 hours, sometimes 8, sometimes 6 (when she's really energetic). If you pay by the hour the person may work longer to make more money.”

 

From 2014:

  • “My housecleaner charges a weekly rate of $110 for a 1 bedroom/1.5 bedroom."
  • "I pay $100 as I am a stable regular client for the last 4 years. My cleaner charges more for a bi-monthly clean."
  • "She does not do my laundry. My cleaner charges extra for laundry. Some cleaners charge hourly. It takes my cleaner 5 hours to do my place. min $15 per hour would be another guesstimate of mine."
  • I know in LA, cleaners bring their own supplies, etc. i think in nyc, because of mass transit, etc. unless you are using a service, you would provide cleaner, vacuums, etc.”

 

From 2010:

  • “I pay $70 for a weekly person to clean my 2 bedroom apartment.”
  • “I asked around about this question recently, and the most common rate seemed to be around $20/hr.”
  • “I pay $15 an hour and she stays for 5 hours.”
  • “For a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment - $125 every other week.
  • For every week - $100.”
  • “Ours comes in once a month & we give her $60. I feel like she is really reasonable, because we have a pretty large place (1200sf) but that's just a sense -- I don't really know what the going rate is.”
  • “$15/hr.”
  • “We pay $90 for a 2 bedroom with office, 2 bath apt. she does beds, all cleaning, etc every 2 weeks. I think it's a bit high but given the square footage being large and what it would take me to do it, I am fine with it.”
  • “We Can Do It! womens' cleaning cooperative charges $85 for a standard one bedroom, approximately 1,000 sq ft apartment, but I found a woman who will do the same space for $60, although there is very little for her to do in the bedroom - - mostly just vaccuuming.”
  • “$100 every 2 weeks for a 1.5 bedroom.”

 

Related resources on PSP:

Reviews of House Cleaner Services

Home Safety with Home Help

 

Further Reading on the web:

13+ things your house cleaner won't tell you