Housekeeper: Full time or part time?

Published on May 9, 2016

Life is busy.  Schedules for the children are full and in between running the home, managing the Nanny and the social diary you know it’s of utmost importance to keep the home in tip top condition. But frankly there aren’t enough hours in the day and it’s time to get some additional help in the house.

It might already be generational, with the housekeeper(s) in the homes being part of the history of the house itself, or it may be a new avenue that you are stepping down.  Whatever the case, the decision to hire either a full time housekeeper or part time housekeeper can dramatically improve the time you have to dedicate to other tasks at hand.

So how can you decide if you need a full time housekeeper or a part time housekeeper?

Definitions – part and full time housekeepers

A housekeeper is generally considered part time if they do less than 30 hours a week for one client.  Part time housekeepers will generally have multiple clients as they will need to work with different families and homes in order to have a full time salary.  They also tend to have a slightly higher hourly rate, as they have to take into account travel.

A full time Housekeeper will generally only work for one family (although in some circumstances they may take on ad-hoc flexi work outside of their set hours) and their hours will be upwards of 40 hours a week.  Full time Housekeepers can be either live in or live out, and the package will be reflected accordingly.

Size of the property

The size of the property is a big variable for deciding whether you need a full or part time housekeeper.  If the property in question is not your main residence then it’s probable that you may only need a part time housekeeper.  However, if you regularly use this small property, then the traffic, dust and dirt will be considerably higher than if you use it occassionaly, which may warrant a full time housekeeper.

As a general rule, if the property is 3 bedrooms or less and used as a secondary residence or infrequently, then a part time housekeeper will be sufficient.  If the property has 3 bedrooms or more, or is a primary residence, one should consider having a full time housekeeper.  It is important to remember the difference between a cleaner and a housekeeper. Know that for a Housekeeper to do their job properly and ‘keep house’ they need the time to do a thorough job.

Family Size

This links directly to the size of the property.  A single male or female principal primary residence may only require a part time housekeeper if they live alone, have no children or pets and have infrequent guests.  That being said if you live in a 10 bedroom property it is likely you will need a full time housekeeper in order to ensure that the rooms are aired and kept fresh regardless of the usage.

For a family home, with children and or pets, it is more than likely that a full time housekeeper will be required.  Regardless of the use of the property, it needs to be appropriately cared for.  Properties that have less use can get a certain ‘stale’ feel when not being regularly used, so it’s vital that the housekeeper keeps the property fresh and aired.

Lifestyle

The amount of entertaining you do will also affect your need a full or part time housekeeper.  The more entertaining and guests you have coming to your home, the more traffic through the property, and thus the more cleaning is required.

If you have guests regularly, the guest rooms will need to be changed, aired, and prepared for the next guest’s arrival.  The housekeeper should always work to the standard of your tastes. If, like most clients, you expect your home to be presented in the best light, the housekeeper needs the time to clean and prepare the room for the next guest.

Additional duties

To make life easier, you can ask your housekeeper to perform additional duties outside of housekeeping.  These can include pet care (e.g. taking the dogs for walks), cooking and even childcare.  Be wary though – the more duties you require your housekeeper to do, the more time they will need to ensure that the house is kept to the highest standard.  So consider the additional duties carefully and if they are a key part of the role, then consider hiring a full time housekeeper. It is likely they will need all the hours during their working week to ensure the home is cleaned to the highest standards and their additional duties are completed correctly.

 

It can be a complex decision to ascertain if you require a part time or full time housekeeper, and the best way to start planning for your next hire is to clearly outline the duties you need the housekeeper to perform and then the standard at which you want the tasks completed.  This will help give you clarity, but if you still need some advice you are more than welcome to call us anytime – we give advice to clients day in and day out, and if you did decide you needed further support to hire the perfect housekeeper, then we can also help you.  We look forward to hearing from you.

2 comments

  1. Michelle says:

    Hello I used to work for a company cleaning homes. I was sent to this home once a week for 3 hours of general cleaning. After I quit that job I continued to clean for the same house. Now I seem to be cleaning up messes after children and young adults when this job was for an elderly person. I don’t have enough time to do the general cleaning because I’m cleaning up messes all the time messes that people should be cleaning up after themselves. I’m hired for 3 hours I’m paid for 3 hours but most of the time I am there about 4 hours sometimes four and a half hours a week. It’s so bad to the point where I don’t even want to go to this house anymore I only stay there because of the elderly person that I have become close to. I have also taken on care for the elderly person when adult children and grandchildren are there and won’t do certain things for the mother and grandmother that I end up doing for her as part of the cleaning time. I leave every week feeling very taken for granted and used. The adult child does not believe in letting her children clean up after themselves I guess I am expected to do so. Which I have to do in order to do general cleaning first. Thank you for any advice you can give me have a great day.

    • mm LucyChallenger says:

      Hello Michelle, Thank you for writing to us. It sounds like you are having a challenging time, but remaining professional and focused which is fantastic. Our advice is that good communication is key, the family might not realise that there is a problem, and if you don’t explain it to them they don’t have a chance to help you. Do you have a contract or formal agreement with them? I would personally recommend that you arrange a time to meet with the family (outside of your working hours) and just sit down and explain your frustrations. Make sure you don’t make it personal, just focus on the positive and how much you want to help the family but you don’t feel you can achieve your tasks in the set time, and would they feel comfortable with you extending your time (paid) or allowing you to be flexible if they need you to do more tasks each day. Hopefully once you’ve had a positive and honest conversation with them, you can all put a plan together to make it work – you should be paid for your time, and in turn the family if they can’t afford to pay you more, then they should respect the hours you are scheduled to work and let you stick to it. Good luck!

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