I had a full-time job while going to graduate school full-time for my MBA. That schedule led to many busy days and little time to keep my home as clean as I would have liked. Even though I was living on a tight budget, I realized that my time was too taxed to do everything, and I decided to give myself a few extra hours each month by hiring a maid.

A maid can be a great way for you to save time and keep your home cleaner than if you had cleaned yourself. However, a maid is also a luxury that no one really needs. Continue on for tips on deciding whether a maid is right for you and your budget.

Key Takeaways

  • Busy households often come to the conclusion that there is just no time in the week to clean the house, and so hiring a maid or cleaning service is in order.
  • Before hiring a service, it is useful to quickly calculate a cost-benefit analysis since maid services can be expensive, averaging more than $150 for each visit.
  • Even if a maid fits your budget, you'll still need to think through if you want a stranger alone in your home and whether she does a good enough job.

What Does a Maid Cost?

According to home services site AngiesList, house cleaning services typically charge between $25 – $35 per hour. Some home cleaning services charge by the square foot, rather than the hour. HomeAdvisor found that most homeowners spend between $112 – $226 per visit, with an average at $152.

If you have a maid come more often, you can typically get a small discount of $5 – $10 per visit. Weekly visits will cost less than monthly visits. On the very high end, some people pay as much as $333 for a larger home and on the low end some households can be cleaned for $50.

What Is Your Time Worth to You?

Everything we do in life has a cost. Sometimes those costs are financial, other times you give up other assets, like time, when you make a decision. What you give up is called an opportunity cost. (For additional reading, see: The Role of Opportunity Cost in Financial Decision Making.)

You can use opportunity cost as a method to decide what your time is worth to you. Maybe you make $20 per hour at work, or $50 per hour, and you consider your time to be worth that much. If your time is worth $50 per hour and the maid charges $25 per hour, you will likely find a maid worthwhile.

However, if you decide your time is worth $15 per hour and the maid charges $25 per hour, you should clean your home yourself, as the cost of the maid is higher than how you value your time.

When I have had a maid come clean my home in the past, she typically came to the house during my work hours. I did not have to give up a minute of free time cleaning my home, as I would come home to a clean home once or twice per month.

Do You Want a Cleaner Home?

Some people are better at cleaning than others. If you clean your home regularly, or at least every once in a while, and are still unhappy with the results, a maid could be worth a shot.

Even when I did have a maid coming once a month, I would do a quick cleaning every week or two in between visits. I did a light cleaning of the kitchen and bathroom, and waited for the maid to come for the deep cleaning and scrubbing.

My home was cleaner after the maid visited than it ever was when I cleaned. Not only did I get to keep my time outside of work for enjoyable activities, I also had a cleaner home than I ever had before.

Consider Your Budget

If you have any outstanding credit card balances or high interest loans, you should focus on paying those off first before looking to spend on a maid. The same goes with meeting other priorities including your basic living expenses, emergency savings and retirement savings.

A maid is not a need, it is a want, so make sure your needs are covered first before you add house cleaning to your budget. (For more, see: Budgeting Basics.)

Independent vs. Corporate Maid Services

If you decide you can afford a maid and want to hire one, you have several options to consider. One of the most important is deciding between an independent maid or one who works for a larger home cleaning company.

Independent maids generally cost less, and 100% of the money you pay goes to the service provider. However, an independent maid may be less reliable and not have the same insurance as you will get through a service.

Maid services typically have more flexible scheduling, as they have an entire team of cleaners. But even if you find one person that you really like, your maid may change from visit to visit going through a service, while you know who is coming every time when you hire someone directly. (For related reading, see: The Beauty of Budgeting.)

The Bottom Line

Maid services can save you precious time and help you keep your home cleaner than it would have been otherwise, however, they come with a significant cost. If you can afford the cost and find it worthwhile, there is no reason not to hire a maid. Just make sure you have your finances in order before you spend the money.