Cutting The Cleaning Lady?


by Stephanie Berenbaum – revised  January 14, 2014

Our friend Cathy absolutely adores her cleaning lady, Mary.  She currently pays her $100 per week to clean her four bedroom home – and always looks forward to Monday nights when her bustling house is shiny and organized!

The problem? Like so many of us, Cathy needs to cut down on her household expenses.  So, as much as she hated to do so, she told Mary that instead of having her come once a week, she would like her to come every OTHER week.  With three kids – and a less than helpful hubby – Cathy was bummed about cutting back on cleaning help, but felt it was the prudent thing to do.  She looked forward to seeing her monthly cleaning expenses go down from $400 a month to $200 a month…

Mary told Cathy she understood her need to cut down, but – if she was only coming once every other week, she’d have to charge more than $100 per visit.  Her reasoning was that if cleaning had been building up for two weeks rather than just one, she’d have a lot more work to do in the space of one visit.  Though Cathy planned to clean the house herself on Mary’s “off week”, the reality is with three kids and work, she probably would have a hard time keeping up…

So – what would you do? Is it fair for Mary to want to charge more for a bi-monthly schedule? Or in this economy should Mary be more understanding of her employer’s situation? Is there a compromise that could be reached? What would you do?!

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4 Responses to “Cutting The Cleaning Lady?”

  1. Olga says:

    In this situation, it is very tricky being, I myself am a working mom with a hubby and 3 girls and you would think girls would be cleaner right… not really, and not getting the house clean one week the work sure piles up… I think Cathy has to be more realistic and understand, that not even she would do the cleaning of 2 weeks for the price of one… Cathy should look at any other expenses she can cut out of her budget, making a list of all expenses to see where she is spending money that she can cut out completely or somewhat to come up with that 200 savings a month. Hair, nails, entertainment, believe me once you put it down on paper you can find many things one spends money on that are not really needs but wants.

  2. I wonder how many hours the cleaner has been working for $100.

    Maybe the cleaner would take a little less as a compromise, if it was explaned that her other exenses were also being pared down too..

  3. Simone says:

    I have two schools of thought here.
    First is the hours. if Mary the cleaning lady is working the same number of hours, then why should the price go up? But she also needs to let Cathy know that it’s possible that less will be done because 2 weeks of laundry takes more time to do than one week, etc.
    But also, it doesn’t take any more time to vacuum a room or mop a floor that has two weeks of dust, rather than one, etc.

    That said, I think it’s not fair of Cathy to do this to Mary without at least a month’s notice. Mary counts on this income for her bills, and now she needs to look for another two days work.

    I think that Cathy should give Mary a month’s notice so Mary can try to get another client. Also Cathy should understand if certain things don’t get done when the new schedule kicks in. But I don’t understand why Mary’s rate should go up by 60% if she’s putting in the same amount of hours.

  4. MIsty says:

    I actually agree with all 3 of the previous posts. Cathy should sit down with her hubby and children and explain that if they cut Mary out to every other week, then they were going to have to help take up the slack. Cathy should give Mary 1 months notice, at least, so that she can find another client. Perhaps there are other areas that can be cut down on or back on so that Mary could still work one day a week, every week.

Any Thoughts?

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