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Tips & Bonuses for Housekeepers

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Advice about Miscellaneous Things > Tips & Bonuses for Housekeepers


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Tipping the housekeeper every time?

Nov 2009

Hi, I pay my housekeeper to clean $85. She comes in and does an okay for for about 3 hours bi-weekly. I usually give her an addiitonal small tip, but she expects 20% tip. Can anyone help on tipping edicate for maids? I consider it a regular job for which we have an agreed upon amount. SHould I tip her each time? and it is standard to tip 15-20% Thanks Confused about maidservice


I have never heard of tipping on a regular basis for a housekeeper. We give a holiday bonus (essentially double pay that week, although I'd be interested in learn what others do as I groped around a bit to come to that number). I also gave a tip -- 25% -- when me and the housekeeper had a miscommunication (both at fault) about the time of day she should come by on one particular occasion. It was not something she expected or asked for. Sounds like you need to renegotiate her regular fee. Anon
Really? A housekeeper who EXPECTS a 20% tip? AND she does an ''okay'' job? Is she a sole proprietor of her business? If so and she expects 20% extra then she should increase her rate by 20% - according to my calculations your housekeeper already makes $28.33 an hour, which is pretty darned good. However, if she is a subcontractor for a cleaning company and she has to split her pay with someone else, then a tip would be nice, though never, in my mind, expected! When I had a garden maintenance business I received tips only at Christmas time and by no means from all of my clients. I now provide a different in-home service, subcontracting for someone else, and I have regular tippers each time I come into their home, I have Christmas time tippers, and I have people who never tip. While I appreciate tips naturally, I don't expect them. I give our housekeepers a big tip at Christmas time and have tipped them spontaneously on a couple of other occasions. They don't expect it and they do a FANTASTIC job. ** Maybe I'm out of touch with current reality?
If your housekeeper works for an agency, then I think tipping is in order. If she works for herself, I think not. We don't tip, but at the end of the year, we pay our housekeeper double for her last cleaning of the year. This is customary in some Latin American countries as a kind of end of year bonus, so we like following that. monika
I rarely tip my housekeeper and she doesn't act like she expects it. I give her a bonus at the holidays. Then, I give her a tip if I ask her to come on a different day ($20) or do something extra ($20-$40, depending). I pay $120 for every other week cleaning. (Our house is pretty big and has three bathrooms to clean.) If your housecleaner expects a tip every time, what she's really saying is that her rate is $95-100, not $85. And if the quality of her work is relative to your tipping, I would be annoyed. Maybe if you can afford it, you could agree on a raise and that she do a good job all the time? E.g., ''I would like to start paying you $XX each time, but here's what I'd like to see done.'' Tell her it is easier for you to budget it if you know exactly what you'll be paying her each week.
Do your hire your housecleaner through a service? If so, then yes, you should tip, because a significant part of what you are paying goes to the service, not to her. If you think she should be doing a better job to earn a tip, tell her specifically what you want done. And then if you still aren't happy, find someone else.

If you are hiring her as an individual, however, it seems really silly to tip on top of the agreed amount. Maybe she thinks tips are treated differently for tax purposes or something? Or maybe her husband lets her keep her 'tips' for herself but her base income goes into the family pot? Who knows. But if she wants $100 each time she cleans, then she should set her price at $100, not $85 plus a ''tip'' (and then complain that the ''tip'' isn't large enough). Tell her you need to know the price she wants to be paid, including ''tip,'' and then decide if it is fair. Tipped off


Good question. My main question would be whether she works for an agency or is independent. If she works for an agency, then I might be more inclined to tip as she only gets a small percentage of what you pay as her wages (like tipping in a restaurant). If she works for herself, I would be less inclined to tip. I have someone coming in 1/week for the past 5 years. We pay her $80/week as we agreed up front. Someday soon, I should probably offer to raise it (or she may ask). Anyway, no tips have ever been requested. I do still pay her on week's when we are on vacation...even though the house is pretty clean and give her a ''bonus'' just before the holidays (try to do it just after Thanksgiving so it can make a difference for her Christmas shopping budget) of usually about $200...so I guess that would be a tip...though a pretty small one if you looked at what was paid all year. Perplexed too
I don't think it is normal to tip a housekeeper each time they come, especially if they charge a flat fee. I would tip someone who works for a company like Merry Maids, since you know they are getting so little of the amount you are paying the company. And when I pay people hourly I often round up a few dollars. I do give a yearly bonus. It sounds like you are not very satisfied with this person's work and you are paying over $30/hr counting the tip. I recently recommended my excellent house cleaner on the household list. She charges by the job but it comes to about $20/hr. If you would like her info please contact me. Deborah
I had a housekeeper for about 2 years. We agreed on a set amount for each time she came (sometimes she worked 3 hours, for bigger jobs and deep cleaning more). I never tipped her during the year and she didn't expect it. I did give her a holiday bonus for both of the years she worked here. Tipping is for excellent service but not in this department. I especially would be put off by her expecting it. DiAnn

Christmas tip for the housekeeper

Nov. 2003

Would it be appropriate to tip the household cleaner and how much? Would xmas be the only time to tip or should one tip more often? (I'm new with having a housecleaner). anon


I tip my house cleaner 1 week pay plus small gifts and gift certificates for the GAP for her kids.
The standard for tipping is one month's salary. anon.
I really like the tradition of tipping people who serve us. I feel like if you can afford a service, you can afford to be generous. Last year I had a housecleaner (this year I can't afford one!). She came twice a month and each visit was about $50.00. So at Christmas time, I gave her an extra $50.00 in a Christmas card. She was a bit surprised and very pleased, and I enjoyed doing it. anon
Whenever someone is performing a service for you, it is appropriate to give a gratuity. The only time you don't do this is if the person providing the service is also the owner of the business they represent. anon
I give my housekeeper a yearly bonus of two weeks' salary. I pay her $60/week so a couple weeks before Xmas I give her $120. I also pay her for the week of Christmas though she does not come to clean. She has been working for me for almost 8 years and she is great! Berkeley mom
I used to give end-of-year cash bonuses to babysitters and housecleaners, but then I found that they preferred gifts! It was a little surprising to me at first. My first year with a housecleaner I gave a VERY large cash bonus, and it wasn't even acknowledged! But after I started giving gifts (I found homemade mementos were often preferred the most), I would get a big smile and a thank you, and comments would be made afterward about how much they liked it. I also think gifts are more personal, whereas cash seems a little cold. What I try to do instead is pay the very highest rate I can afford all year round, rather than paying a little low and trying to make up for it with a cash bonus. likes giving gifts
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