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Is it worth it to pay for a cleaning service?

Have you ever wondered if it was really worth it to pay for a cleaning service? In today’s post I answer that question plus give you some pointers on how to find a great cleaning service.

Wow! You all blew me away with your comments and encouragement on my post last week on Why We Hired a House Cleaner.

Many of you asked if I could write a followup post on how to find a good cleaning service. So, in this post, I wanted to answer some of your questions about that and share some things we considered when adding this expense to our budget…

How Much It Costs

Cleaning services vary depending upon the size of your house, how often you have them come, and how long it takes them to clean. Some services charge by the hour while some services charge a flat fee.

I’d say that a going rate is somewhere around $20-$25 per hour, based upon what I’ve heard from people in different parts of the country. But of course, that can depend upon many factors.

We have had cleaners both at our home in Kansas and at our home in Tennessee. In Kansas, we paid $125 per week and we went with a cleaning company (The Maids) that has franchises all over the U.S. They brought in a team of 4-5 people and cleaned our home in 1.5 to 2 hours.

In Tennessee, we are using a really small local-owned company that only has 2-3 teams and they usually send 3-4 people to our home each week and clean it in about 1.5 to 2 hours, sometimes a little longer. We pay $100 per week.

In both cases, they deep clean the bathrooms, vacuum/mop all the floors, dust all surfaces (tables, light fixtures, ceiling fans, etc.), clean all of the mirrors & glass, vacuum and clean the furniture, clean all the kitchen countertops and kitchen table and chairs, clean the stovetop, clean out the microwave, collect & take out the trash, strip the beds and re-make them, and probably other things I’m not thinking of right now!

Basically, for $100 per week, our entire house gets a thorough cleaning by a team of professionals who do a really detailed job!

Where to Find Good Cleaners

Not all cleaning companies are created alike, sadly. I can say with certainty that we are spoiled with really, really good cleaning companies — and we had to search to find them!

When we were first considering hiring on regular cleaners, we interviewed a few different companies and told them what was important to us. Then, we’d have them do a test cleaning.

Unfortunately, some of the companies were not thorough at all. Or, it would be hit and miss. One week, they’d do a great job. The next week, it’d be a different team of people and they’d do a really lackluster job.

I say all of this to be upfront and honest with you that finding a great cleaning company is going to take some effort. But don’t give up after one try! Some suggestions on where to find cleaners:

Ask your friends. If you have friends who use a cleaning service, ask them details about their service. Are they detailed and thorough? Are your friends happy with the job they do? This is how we found our cleaning service in TN! And we’ve since referred them to multiple friends!

Ask on a local board/site. If you are a part of any local sites — such as Facebook Groups or Mom’s Groups — ask on there for recommendations.

Look online. If you don’t know anyone who uses a cleaning service you’re interested in, go search online for reviews. Check their social media to see what people are saying about them, look on Yelp, etc.

Check Groupon. We’ve had mixed results from buying Groupons for cleaning services, but it’s an inexpensive way to test it out and see what you think of having cleaners and what you think of a particular service.

Hire a detail-oriented friend who loves to clean. Have a friend who loves cleaning, is really thorough, and is someone who is looking for some extra work? Consider hiring her! I’d start out with asking her to just help for a short time period to see if it’s a good fit for both of you before you make it a long-term thing.

How to Vet Potential Cleaners

Once you’ve found some possible cleaning companies, then it’s time to vet them to see if they are a good fit. Here’s what I would suggest:

1. Call & Do An Initial “Interview”. Call the company and talk to them. See how professional they are on the phone, how quickly they return phone calls, and how thorough they are in the answers they give you about their services. If they are unprofessional from the get-go, there’s a good chance they will not be a company you want to work with.

Some companies will come out and meet with you, explain their services, let you know details on what they offer, and talk to you more about your cleaning needs. If the company offers this, jump on it as it’s a great way to get a better feel for the company and their level of professionalism and attention to detail.

2. Have Them Do a Test-Cleaning. If you are impressed with your initial interaction with a company, book them to do a one-time cleaning. Ask if they have any new customer specials they are running or see if you can get a discount for being a first-time customer. It never hurts to ask!

3. Stay Home While They Clean. For the first few times, do not have them come and clean while you are gone! I repeat, do not have them come clean while you are gone! This is not only smart because you know nothing about this company or who is in your home, plus it’s helpful to get a feel for who will be cleaning your home, should you decide to hire them to regularly clean.

4. Inspect Everything When They Leave. As soon as they leave, go through and inspect every single room. Look to see if there’s anything they missed, anything they left out, or anything that was left undone. This will give you a good idea whether they are a company you are interested in having come in regularly or whether you need to vet another company.

We’re super picky, so it’s taken us time in both houses (KS and TN) to find a crew that was incredibly dependable, reliable, fast, and really thorough. But both times, we found one after 3-5 tries. And it’s the best. Thing. Ever. Seriously.

Having a clean house is really important to me but I just can’t do it all! So it’s one of many areas where I delegate so that I have a life and sanity!

Should You Hire Cleaners?

First off, my advice is to ask yourself, “Why am I wanting to hire cleaners?” Start off with the why.

For us, it started out because I was working full-time hours, Jesse had his law firm, we had three young kids, and I wanted to have a clean house and my sanity. I knew that something had to give.

Jesse and I did the math and realized that in less than one hours’ time, I could easily make what it would cost to pay for cleaners every week. And they would save me at least 5 hours’ time. So for less than the cost of one hour of me working, I could save five hours each week!

When you consider it in light of that, it was a really good return in our investment! I am always looking for ways to maximize both our time and money — and this really made sense for our family. And it has continued to make sense for us.

However, if our situation changed and our income was drastically reduced, we know that having cleaners would be one of the very first things to go. They allow me more breathing room in our week and help me have more joy in my life because our home stays cleaner. They are a luxury, not a need. I try to always remember this and never get too attached to having them!

Your family is very different than our family and your situation is very different than our situation, so I can’t say what would work for you. But I can suggest some questions for you to ask yourself:

Can you afford cleaners in your current budget? If not, can you tweak some things around so that you could have them come occasionally? If not, then I’d say that you shouldn’t even consider it right now.

If you can afford cleaners, would hiring them relieve a lot off your plate or would it stress you out more? For some women, having people come in and clean their house is actually more stressful than stress-relieving. You know yourself and what works for you. If you’re not sure, try it for a week or two and see how it feels. Does it work and bless your family or is it just stress-inducing?

Is a clean house the most pressing thing in your life right now? For some women, having a house that isn’t really clean isn’t stress-inducing. Instead, it’s the food prep that’s causing stress or the laundry or the kids’ activities or a growing business. Maybe you need to look at streamlining your outside activities or hiring a mother’s helper to help with laundry or food prep or hiring a virtual assistant to help with your business.

What could you outsource so you could be more present for what matters most and pour your time into what brings you the most life? If you’re in a season where you have more wiggle room in your budget, are there things you can outsource instead of cleaning that would give you a better return on your investment?

Do you have too much on your plate and you just need to say “no” more? If you don’t have the wiggle room in your budget to hire a cleaning service, perhaps you need to “buy” yourself more wiggle room in your schedule by just saying “no” to some of the commitments and activities that are sucking your time and your life.

Ultimately, it comes down to deciding what is right for your family and your budget in your season of life! Remember this: there are always options. Your schedule is not the boss of you. Your calendar commitments are not the boss of you. And you don’t have to feel any bit of guilt if you can’t “do it all!”

Choose what is best for you and your family — even if it looks very different than what other families are choosing!

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  • Lea says:

    I have a good friend who owns a cleaning company and she recommends remembering that you don’t have to have an entire house package to hire cleaners! She has clients that just want dusting, or bathrooms, or the kitchen and one woman who simply hates to vacuum so hires them to vacuum the one room in her home that has carpet! These cost significantly less than an entire house package and can save your sanity just as much!

    Thanks for all the information, Crystal!


  • Melissa says:

    Are you home when they’re cleaning? If so, does that make you feel strange? We only got a cleaning service once when we moved into a new apartment that really needed a scrub down. However, I felt strange being there while other people were cleaning.

    • It depends! When we are first using a cleaning company, we always, always stay home. But once we feel really comfortable with them and they’ve proven trustworthy, we aren’t always home.

      If we’re home, we’ll usually just stay in one part of the house — like the office — so that we’re not in the way.

  • Pamela says:

    Having cleaners is absolutely on my “someday” list. It’s not a priority right now, but that’s ok. The other thing I’d love to completely outsource is nail care – I LOVE having pretty nails but hate doing them myself, lol!

    • I have a few friends who have learned how to do gel nails with the special light machine and they will do each other’s nails. Maybe you have a friend that would love to do your nails and you could do something for her in return — making it a very inexpensive win-win for both of you?!

  • FunMomma says:

    Remember that the people who do the actual cleaning tend to make minimum wage. Not to mention this is hard work. If I hired a cleaner or cleaning service, I would first look to see the cleaners made a fair wage.

    • Yes! That’s a great thing to check on — and one reason I love using a smaller company now because we’ve gotten to know them and we know that they are doing well financially as a result of being able to clean houses! We’ve loved being able to pass their name on to others and have them hire this same little company, too!

      • Maxine says:

        Hi there,

        I’m a senior citizen and do not feel like cleaning anymore. I would love to hire a small upcoming cleaning service. I sure hope their in Michigan! I’m not far from the University of Michigan. I would love to hear from you & thank you kindly for reading my mail.

        Have a great day,

  • Karen says:

    I hired friends to do heavy cleaning during a tough twin pregnancy and then continued that through their toddler years. Then I stopped because I wanted to make sure my kids knew how to clean and felt we could handle it. Now with 3 teenagers homeschooling and super busy schedules with activities we have cleaners again. We decided to do every other week. This way my teens and I still do all the heavy cleaning every other week and then they only need to tidy the alternate weeks. I like a clean organized house. We have a husband/wife who do this full time. We pay $120 for 2-3 hours of cleaning. It is a really nice perk that my husband encouraged us to do and I’m grateful for the help.

  • lyss says:

    I like that you said “They are a luxury, not a need.” Since you can afford it, I think it’s awesome! I actually cleaned a few houses during college. Not something I enjoyed, but a little extra cash was nice. : )
    I’d rather clean my own home. But something I would totally splurge on if I had money would be those meal delivery boxes, like blue apron. Cooking is often a drudgery to me, so if I had room for luxury, that would be something I would try. Quick, fresh meals that you don’t have to plan and shop for? Oh, why do you have to cost so much? lol. Maybe one day…

  • Dana says:

    We are looking for cleaners right now. My schedule is packed with work, homeschooling, a 30 hour/week internship, and my final semester of grad school. My husband works full time and is also a pastor. All of that to say–my house is falling apart and I can’t handle it anymore! It’s one of the major sources of stress in my life. We can afford to hire someone now and we are finding someone within the next few weeks!!

  • alexa katz says:

    Omg… Having cleaners is absolutely on my one list. It’s not a priority right now, but that’s ok. The other thing I’d love to completely outsource is nail care – I LOVE having pretty nails but hate doing them myself.

  • Ju says:

    I had a cleaning business and another business during my college years; it was great money and to me the smell of Murphy’s Oil Soap is the smell of MONEY! Ha, great memories.

  • $100 a week is a great deal! I had a cleaner come once month, but got discouraged because my two littles would mess up the house within the hour, and I felt like I did a lot of time “prepping” the house before hand.

    I might try hiring a house cleaner again.

    Back in 2012, when I first started reading your blog, I remember you wrote a post about how you don’t make your own tortillas. You made an excellent point that you don’t pursue money activities that don’t interest you if it doesn’t save you at least $20 an hour. That lesson has stuck with me and has helped me be much more efficient with which money-saving tips I implement.

  • Laura says:

    Good post! I’ve had cleaners and been the cleaner. My friend and I helped each other clean our homes for a little bit. That was fun but didn’t work well. A clean house is a big deal for me since I’m not naturally a clean person. We don’t have cleaners anymore, but I would like to start again one day.

    • Rae says:

      My girlfriend and I switched cleaning each other’s houses every Monday. That evolved into not just cleaning but decluttering, gardening, sewing, painting or whatever needed doing. We got to chat and visit and we always made a nice lunch on ‘our’ day. It worked really well for us for many years. She has moved away, and I do find that by not having that regular, consistent help things tend to pile-up and I don’t stay on top of my housework like I used to. I have recently been contemplating paying for some extra help, but feel I have to do more decluttering and organizing before that can happen.
      I think I would also check with my insurance company before committing in case of breakage or loss. Unfortunately I know someone whose long term cleaning lady stole a significant amount of jewelry from her.

  • Peta says:

    I am homeschooling my 5 kids aged 9 months to 7 and I would LOVE to have a cleaner! It would be way out of our budget unfortunately. So I make do with cleaning as much as the house as I can on Saturday mornings with my husband.

  • Aimee Hadden says:

    Love this, Crystal! Having a maid clean our home has been on my list for the past 2 years. I recently returned to work (part-time) and realized that I could work 2 hours and pay someone for 4 hours of cleaning. Having a clean home is a priority to me (we have 3 small children) and I realized we needed help. We’ve hired a lady (recommended by a friend) to clean bi-weekly and I am super excited. I’ll definitely be using your tips on inspecting the work!

  • Chelsea says:

    We don’t have enough wiggle room to hire cleaners (as amazing as that would be!!) but I did outsource meal planning because that was taking me several hours a week and in the budget! I also started using online grocery pick up, even though I pay $5 extra, because it saves me time at the store to pick up the items on our meal plan. Now I have more time for homeschooling and cleaning and it gives me more room to breathe. ? If you can’t afford cleaning services, but something needs to give, get creative to find services you can afford!

  • Sandy says:

    I live in the Milwaukee, WI area and I charge $25 an hour and bring my own supplies, but will use your supplies if preferred.

    I agree with hiring someone for a one time cleaning to try the service out. It allows you to see the quality of work delivered and if you aren’t satisfied you have no further obligation. Also, I find clients prefer I come while they are at work or are away from home. I have one client who works second shift. I have a key to her condo and I clean on Friday night. I just lost my Saturday client who moved out of state. At first, they preferred not to provide a key, and they liked me to come in the morning before they left for the day and I locked up the home when I was finished. After a couple of months they got to know me better and felt more comfortable to then give me a key.

    I am a single middle-aged woman and clean to save for my retirement. I think it’s important to say while you are hiring someone to clean your home you are also helping someone to support their family or build their savings.

  • Amy says:

    My awesome cleaners were highly rated on Angie’s List. That can be a good source of info as well!

  • HokieKate says:

    I went back to work full-time two years ago with two young kids. A lady from church was looking for houses to clean, and so she’s been cleaning our house every two weeks for two years. She comes while we’re at work, and I don’t know the precise number of hours she’s there, but she spends much of the day at our house.

    But baby #3 is coming next month. I really resonated with “If you can afford cleaners, would hiring them relieve a lot off your plate or would it stress you out more? ” While I am working, I appreciate the cleaning service. Once the baby is born, though, I am hating the idea of having someone else in my home. I could easily afford to pay her during my maternity leave, but I don’t want to be home when she’s there or try to be out of the house until she’s done.

    • Beth says:

      Of all the times I would want a cleaner it would be around the time of a new baby, ha ha! We live in a developing country and have had a housekeeper come for about 2-3 hours a day 3 days a week for the past three years. At first it felt weird being home (in a small apartment) while she washed dishes, did laundry, and cleaned the floor. But once I figured out a routine for the time she was there it wasn’t so strange. She was busy and so was I. I just made sure I was busy doing something that wouldn’t be in her way. You could claim the time your house cleaner comes as “grocery shopping day” or “computer work time” or “activity with the kids time” or “visit my mom (or whoever)” time.

  • Amy says:

    We’ve had cleaners for years, with two full-time work out of the home parents, so thank you for acknowledging that it’s all about priorities and not a “bad” thing if you can afford it!
    I have an unrelated question – I love your rugs, bedspread, etc. – any tips on good places to buy similar ones? Thank you!

  • Linda says:

    Wow! You can easily make $100 in less than an hour?! I agree that it makes total sense to hire a house cleaner to save yourself 5 hours’ time a week. I’ve toyed with the idea to have one come in monthly, but just can’t bite the bullet. Too much pride or something. 🙂

  • Misty Gorman says:

    I would also like to say that this is a great way for mom’s to make extra money! I am a teacher that decided to stay at home for a short time. I cleaned houses on Fridays when my husband was off and made a great side income. I charged a certain amount per room and was slightly cheaper than commercial cleaners. Now I am on the other side of that hiring a friend of mine when I can. It is imperative if you work full time. You CANNOT do it all.

  • Mel says:

    Sounds great! Having a team come through and complete the cleaning in a couple hours is ideal! Do they wash the sheets or just replace the dirty with clean ones? Either way making beds is one of my downfalls so it would be so nice to have someone do that . Are you able to specify a time slot and day? I would want to be gone once I was comfortable with the company

    • Yes, you’re able to specify a day and time slot. We usually communicate via text if things need to be adjusted or if they are asking if they can change the time.

      They stick all the sheets in our laundry room and we take care of washing them.

  • Kerry says:

    I want my kids to learn to clean too. How do you still teach them this important life skill?

    • Such a great question! There are PLENTY of cleaning chores for every day still. 🙂 My kids help with dishes, cleaning up the kitchen, emptying trashes, quick vacuuming, picking up their room, quick cleaning the bathroom, picking up the main areas of the house, and doing pretty much all of our laundry!

  • Natalie Stachon says:

    Hey Crystal! May I ask where you got your beautiful living room sofas and the adorable “Choose Joy” banner? Thank you so much!

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