To Tip or Not To Tip? The Guide to Tipping your House Cleaner.

how much to tip a house cleaner

Exactly how much do you tip your house cleaner?

In this guide, we are going to review etiquette for tipping your help around the house.  There are different schools of thought here, so the answer is "It Depends".

  • First, the traditional approach.  This is hiring someone directly and paying them a tip at Christmas.
  • Second, the agency approach, where tipping is generally accepted.
  • Finally, the "Uber" approach.  This is that tip is not required, and paying Homekeepers more.  

At TIDY, we take this last approach, but you should adjust your tipping to your circumstance.  Tipping has now become an important part of our everyday life in the US. Most of us know how much to tip a wait staff or a bartender. But there is no ground rule on how much to tip the maid. 

TIPPING ETIQUETTE FOR TRADITIONAL OR AGENCY MODELS

Hiring a professional house cleaning service can be daunting sometimes. It can be akward to figure out how much to tip a professional house cleaner.  Although most house cleaners charge by the hour for the job, you may have to tip them for the service. Is there a hard rule?  No.  Some agencies and individuals live off tips.  

Most often, tipping is not as necessary as tipping your waitor or waitress.  However, many agencies pay only minimum wage, and their Home Cleaners rely on tips to make a bit extra.  If using an agency, go ahead and ask them.  They should provide information about how much to tip.  Generally speaking, a good rule of thumb is to tip $10-$20 per service.  Most services rely on tips to pay their workers over minimum wage.

How much to tip if I hire a House cleaner directly?

If you hire someone directly for a one time or infrequent cleaning, most etiqueete professionals say you should tip.  $10 to $20 per cleaning is a good ballpark range.  

If you have a home cleaner year round, it is probably not necessary to tip each time.  Instead, you can give a cash bonus or gift at the end of the year.  This is a nice way to show your appreciation and make the house cleaner feel good about his or her service. Again, it is always up to you whether you want to give some cash or gift to the maid or not. 
 

The Uber Model of Tipping

Some newer companies explicitly say "Tip is not required."  They take the approach of making sure home cleaners make more money per hour.  This allows home cleaners to feel more comfortable that they will make a living wage.  It allows clients avoid akward interactions and fumbling for cash.

Alternatives to cash

Some homeowners prefer to give something other than cash to the housekeeper. In such cases, you can choose a gift or a gift card instead of cash. If not, you could also choose a thoughtful present to show appreciation to your house cleaner as well.  We've heard of people giving fresh-baked cookies, hand-knitted scarves, or even a nice bottle of wine. If you know your maid really well, you can choose a gift based on her personal taste too. Tickets to a theme park or event are nice because they help the home cleaner splurge on a fun event for themeselves.  A handwritten thank you note is also an inexpensive way to show your appreciation. 

The final word, when yould you tip a house cleaner?

If you really want a number, here are some recommendations.  The bottom line is:

  • If you've hired them directly, $10-$20 per service OR $100 during the holidays.
  • If you are working with the agency, ask them.  $10-$20 per service is probably appropriate.
  • If you are working with a newer service, like Uber or TIDY, there is no need to tip.

Why don't I need to tip at TIDY?

At TIDY, tipping is not required.  Homekeepers make significantly more than traditional home cleaners.  Although we don't ban tipping, the vast majority of clients do not tip.

Is tipping the right thing?

It isn't exactly right and wrong, but cultural norms are shifting.  Many people are moving to a simpler model where you don't tip.  Here are some articles that highlight some of the debate:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBTfj2lN6sQ
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/16/opinion/why-tipping-is-wrong.html?_r=0

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/02/18/i-dare-you-to-read-this-and-still-feel-ok-about-tipping-in-the-united-states/

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-22/tipping-is-coming-to-uber-and-it-s-going-to-be-awkward

 

What do you think?  Do you like tipping?  Is it akward?