Do I Hire a Maid or a Housekeeper?


Published on October 25, 2019

Do you need a maid or a housekeeper? What's the difference anyway? Here's an overview of the the differences to help you decide who to hire. Share on XWhen you employ someone to keep your home in order and do household chores are you hiring a maid or a housekeeper?
That’s a tricky question to answer. The terms maid and housekeeper are often used interchangeably and have evolved into different roles in different regions.

Here’s an overview of the differences between the two positions.


In the same way that the term “secretary” is rarely used these days – replaced with ‘personal assistant’ or ‘executive assistant’ – a maid is now commonly referred to as a housekeeper. In fact these days some housekeepers would be offended if you called them a maid as the term may be considered derogatory and old-fashioned.

The dictionary definition of ‘maid’ is ‘a female domestic servant’. Perhaps this gender specific term is why a ‘housekeeper’ is more often used to describe a role for men and women.

In many parts of Europe a maid holds a much higher status than that of a housekeeper – often taking on many more duties than cleaning. A European maid may also be responsible for cooking and be in charge of other household staff. In this case the maid (or butler) is the head staff member of the household with all other staff reporting to them.

A maid in the UK usually provides a basic cleaning service and should not be confused with a housekeeper. Here a maid is used in commercial settings; cleaning areas such as offices and schools or you might use a maid privately to clean up a rented house at the end of a tenancy. In a private home you might employ a maid to make short, regular visits, rather than employing him or her full time.

So while the definition of a maid or housekeeper depends on who you’re talking to, the tasks and responsibilities involved are often the same. What’s most important is that the employee is comfortable in their role.


A housekeeper, on the other hand, can either live in or live out. They generally spend more of their time working for one family within one property or estate:

  • A live-in housekeeper can be a full- or part-time staff member at a property for a principal or family. Their employment package might include accommodation either on the grounds of off-site.
  • A housekeeper is a professional that cleans, tidies and ensures your home and property is well cared for.  This is a popular choice for properties in need of flexibility and security provided by a live-in housekeeper. They can assist with errands, cooking, childcare, and security when the property is vacant.
  • A live-out housekeeper can also be a full- or part-time professional. They clean, tidy and manage laundry along with other duties. Such as cooking, shopping, pet care, and childcare.
  • A live-out housekeeper is a popular choice for properties that don’t have enough space to house a live-in housekeeper, or for properties that don’t need full-time support.

So which one do you need?

If you’re still not sure whether you need a cleaner (maid) to visit you once or twice a week. Or a full-time housekeeper to dedicate more time to looking after your home? Then here are some considerations to help you decide:

  • The size of your property
  • The regularity you need them to visit
  • Do you want someone to live in or live out?
  • Tasks and duties other than cleaning
  • Your budget
  • How much flexibility do you need from them?
  • Do you need them to travel with you or look after your property when you are away?
  • Do you need them to do extra duties such as childcare or housekeeping?

How can Polo & Tweed help?

At Polo & Tweed we are highly experienced at matching the right maid or housekeeper to the specific property and the needs of the family or principal. You’ll find it extremely helpful to talk through your requirements with us. So we can advise you on the best route for your recruitment needs. We can also guide you on paying appropriate market rates.

Let us take away the stress of recruitment to help you find a long-term member of staff. Whatever your requirements, we’re here to help. Please drop us a line to discuss your housekeeping needs with one of our professional consultants.

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