20 answers

How Do I Handle Tips for a Cleaning Service?

I've never been one to like having a cleaning service or maid help with my housekeeping, but we recently decided to try it. We signed on with one of the more expensive services; they use eco-friendly cleaning supplies, are family owned, have low turnover on their teams, and the gals who come do a great job.

So my quandry is on how to tip the ladies who come into my home... We're already paying about $30 more for each visit than several other services charged and it puts us at the top of what we had wanted to spend on cleaning each month. I have always been a good tipper, but here I feel like it already costs so much... Is there a protocol on how to tip people from a cleaning service? Thanks so much!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences. Keeping your advice in mind, I had a candid conversation with the service owner. He told me in no uncertain terms that tips are rarely given. He said their turnover rate is low because his staff are paid well and they don't rely on tips. I plan to make a note of my team's birthdays and also to remember them at the holiday season. Thanks again!

Featured Answers

tips are optional. Don't feel at all obligated. I have cleaned houses for years. I receive gifts in the way of unwanted things, food/meals, an occassional gift for my birthday, holidays, etc. My clients have become my friends so I get more sometimes than someone hired from a service in the way of the above mentioned "tips"

My experience has been that it is customary to tip the equivilant of 1 cleaning total split amoung the crew at Christmas time.

More Answers

I used to own a cleaning business, and never expected, nor received, compensation (i.e., tips) above and beyond what I charged my clients. The expection to that was around the holidays or if they asked me to do something above and beyond the basics for which they hired me (i.e., windows, etc.). To the best of my knowledge, the only time you are expected to tip a housekeeper is when you are staying in a hotel.

I've never used a service, just an individual and I have most of the perks you describe (eco-friendly, local person, same person for a long time). I don't exactly tip a percentage, but I make it a point to always round up when paying her, to the next half or full hour's worth of pay, depending. Then I write my check out for an extra hour's worth of work around her birthday and then two hours' additional pay at Christmas. My help is so good, efficient and flexible that I want to make sure she feels appreciated. (She has said she prefers to work for clients who openly say when they are happy with things, so make sure you're doing that.) She helps with organizing as well as menial scrubbing so I think she's worth it and I budget to avoid eating out when I know I'd like to have her come and work for awhile.

Will you always have the same person cleaning your house? If so, let her know you can't always afford to tip cash, but you'd love to leave her a plate of brownies, or a gift card for a cup of coffee, maybe a bottle of her favorite lotion now & then. I don't know if that's socially acceptable, but if she sees that you'd like to make the effort & you appreciate her work, you just don't have the cash to give her cash... that might be enough, that you're making the effort.

I also was not aware that you are supposed to tip a cleaning lady. From what I have seen with others as well, you just give them the check for the payment, so I guess I already feel like I am paying them.

Hi K., just a gentle suggestion that if you feel that you are spending too much that you can't tip the people that are making $8 an hour or something, you are using a service that is too expensive for you. When I can afford housecleaning services, which I can't right now, I tip about 7% of the service cost per person. They always seem happy with that so I would say that's a good place to start. Even 5% per person would be reasonable, I would think. BTW, I used Messywork and I think they did a great job and are very reasonable.

Hi K.,
I currently have my own housecleaning service. I work by myself. Depending on the client's wants I use eco-friendly cleaners at no extra cost. I don't expect tips each time. Many of my clients tip me around the holidays and some even leave me a little gift or gift card for a dinner around my birthday, but I certainly don't expect them to tip me each time. Some have never tipped me, but have kept me employed for years. I don't expect them to ever tip. I usually protest except at the holidays. I am just working to support me and the kids and I just appreciate the monthly business on a consistent basis. I don't think you need to tip each time. Of course, now your quandry will be how to stop now that you have started. You can just be honest and explain that you want to reward them for the great job that they do, but didn't really mean for it to be a tip each time. Good luck.

Becuase the same person comes for me each time I dicided to give a Christmas Bonus each year. I have done this the last few years. I pay what I pay for a full cleaning service - but you could do whatever you wanted.

Hi K.,

My mom owns a cleaning service and she appreciates tips, but usually only gets them at Holidays and around her birthday (she has had the somve clients for over 10 years).

You certainly do not need to tip a cleaning service. I agree with all the ladies who said Christmas time is a good time to tip them. But beyond that, no. This tipping bit for services rendered has gotten way out of hand in our generation. They charge enough. Enough is enough.

We have also used Messy Works and loved their service- and we were able to get the same lead girl each time. She has had several partners over the years.
We tip about 20% each time instead of doing a year end holiday tip witch is customary to be the same as a cleaning per person.
They do offer to use cleaning solutions that you supply if you want to go 'green'.

Hi K. - I dont tip every time they come unless I'm asking them to do something above and beyond their normal duties. Once a year around the holidays is enough.

tips are optional. Don't feel at all obligated. I have cleaned houses for years. I receive gifts in the way of unwanted things, food/meals, an occassional gift for my birthday, holidays, etc. My clients have become my friends so I get more sometimes than someone hired from a service in the way of the above mentioned "tips"

I wouldn't hold back on tipping your housekeeper because you think they will do a better job than the other agencies. It makes no sense. It's not their fault you went over budget and I would tip them exactly what you planned on tipping the others when you were budgeting for this.

Hi K.! I own a green cleaning biz in the Boulder/Broomfield area & do the cleaning myself (no crew), & I do not ever expect clients tip at all. I just charge what I feel is fair (which does happen to be more than some due to the supplies I use & my attention to detail) & do not expect anything additional. Most of my clients will just 'round up" (ex: if the clean is $81, they leave me $85).
Anyway, to answer your question...I wouldn't go all out for a tip, if you leave ANY at all. I feel that the owner's should be responsible to paying the crew a fair wage. I would say that leaving a nice note of THX/appreciation would suffice. I always love those & that goes a long way ;O)
Hope this helps...it's great of you to even be concerned!
~J. (owner, The Green Cleaner)

I helped my friend get her service going and we only had one client that ever gave us tips regularly. If we had done something extra nice for a client or if a client noticed that we had done an especially good job we would sometime have treats left for us and one client would always leave a beverage for us to take but none of those things were expected. It would be like if you went to work and your boss gave you a tip everyday because you came to work.

As someone who used to do housecleaning back in the day, I would encourage you to tip well if you are happy with the service. Although you are paying more for "green service" (which I applaud you for!) you can be assured that the people that are actually cleaning your house are not getting rich. I too, consider myself a generous tipper if the service is good, and if I go out to an expensive restaurant, I still give 20%+ if the service was good, even if the total tip seems kinda high-- I just factor it in. I also tip the maids at hotels. I feel like we tip everyone else-- waiters, taxi drivers, hairstylists, etc., why shouldn't we tip the people that do the dirty work and clean our rooms/houses, esp. if they do a nice job? People in this line of work (usu. women) make a lot less than most professions, and while a tip is not going to balance the monetary scales, it will show your appreciation, which is huge, esp. when she is scrubbing your toilet week after week! :)

My experience has been that it is customary to tip the equivilant of 1 cleaning total split amoung the crew at Christmas time.

I didn't know you were suppose to tip the cleaning person - they're already getting paid by the service...

Interested in other opinions since I've been having a cleaning person come for almost a year and have never tipped her once (the service is pretty pricey itself)....

Thanks...

When we signed up for a similar service, the owner told us us at our estimate that tipping was not expected, but certainly nice around the holidays.

No I don't think you need to regularly tip your housekeeper, they make hourly wages unlike a waitress who gets $2 or $3 and then tips. Housekeepers do not expect tipping and in some cases their companies don't allow it. A few companies we talked to told us under no circumstances were we to tip, if they did extra work there were extra charges built in. We went with a private housekeeper and I love her and on occasion I slip her a little extra she is always shocked and asks why more money and I say I just want you to know I really appreciate all the hard work you do for me. it doesn't happen all the time just when she's done a really great job or a really gross job like making all my toilets white again--I didn't even know that was possible! You bet I threw in a tip for that!! I know that if her schedule gets busy she will keep me on as a client over someone else if I truly appreciate her hard work. For the companies who charge you to stand on a stool to dust your chandelier trust me the cost is built in, skip the tip.

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