At what income should you feel comfortable hiring a cleaner?
There’s no better feeling than coming home to a sparkling clean house or apartment.
Although with many Canadians' hectic lifestyles, finding the time is often challenging. That’s when it might be time to hire a cleaner. But how do you know if you can afford one?
Let’s start with figuring out how much it will cost. There are a few main ways to hire a cleaner in Canada; some will be much different in price than others.
- Hiring an individual cleaner (that you don’t know): This is where you can hire someone on platforms such as Kijiji, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace. The main advantage of this is that it will be a lot cheaper. Depending on where you live, you can find people as cheap as $15 - $30 an hour. There are a few disadvantages of this, though. You’ll have to carefully vet your cleaners, as they likely won’t be insured. You’ll also have to put in a lot of work to find the cleaner, interview them, and manage them.
- Hiring someone referred to you: Ask your social or professional network if you know anyone who would like to clean for you. You can charge the same as the first option, around $15 - $30 an hour. I like this option better than the first one, as it isn’t a complete stranger so that you would have more peace of mind.
- Hiring a cleaning company: This is the most expensive option but is the one that requires the least amount of effort. It can be anywhere from $25-$60 an hour. Some companies will charge you a flat rate, for example, $100-$140 for a one- or two-bedroom condo. You won’t have to worry about criminal background checks or insurance, as the company should have those things covered, and you can be confident they’ll do a professional job.
At what income can you afford a cleaner?
Now that you know how much of a rough cost it will be, here are some tips for figuring out whether or not you can afford a cleaner:
- Follow the 50/30/20 rule: This rule states that you should spend 50 per cent of your income on needs such as housing and food, 30 per cent on wants (like a cleaner), and 20 per cent on savings and paying off debt. An example is if your take-home pay is $4,000 per month, and you have $1,200 left over after spending $2,800 on your savings and necessities, you should easily be able to afford a $25/hour cleaner.
- If you have a way of earning side income: For example, if you can freelance or pick up a side gig and make $50 an hour, it would make sense to hire a cleaner at $20 an hour so you can focus on your other income.
- How often do you want cleaning done: If you aren’t sure if you can afford a cleaner, maybe start with once a month and see if it fits your budget.
- How much savings you have: Ensure that you have adequate savings before hiring a cleaner. At least have emergency funds for three-six months of expenses.
You don’t have to be wealthy to hire a cleaner; it just has to fit into your overall financial strategy. There’s no magical income level where it’s OK to hire a cleaner. Having a cleaner will have a different value for every person. Carefully assess how badly you want a cleaner and see if it fits within your budget.
Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder and former financial advisor. He writes personal finance tips for thousands of daily Canadian readers on his Wealth Awesome website.
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