How Much to Pay a Housekeeper

Parent Q&A

House Cleaner - typical rate and low much time? Dec 9, 2020 (9 responses below)
2019 Housekeeper rates May 20, 2019 (8 responses below)
  • Hi:

    I'm looking for a house cleaner.  We had a house cleaner who was great in terms of cleaning, but she worked too quickly and her team regularly broke valuable items, and then denied breaking them, or failed to disclose.  We just had a new house cleaner come to our home a few weeks ago, but she only stayed for two hours, which didn't seem like enough time to clean our home, and did not do a very good job, and I think she overcharged us.

    I'm curious what a typical hourly rate is for a housecleaner, how long we can expect the person (or team) to stay, and for recommendations.  We have a 4 bed-3 1/2 bath in Oakland, two messy teenagers and an infant.  We'd like to hire someone in the near term.  Would appreciate any guidance people can provide.


    We're currently paying a flat $150 for a 2 BR/2BA clean every 2 weeks, though I know she charges more to new clients. ~$30-35 an hour per cleaner for weekly cleaning is about as cheap as you'll find for good cleaners around here, last I looked; I suspect prices have since gone up due to COVID. Some cleaners can and do charge more. Depending on how messy your teens are, how many stairs you have, and whether you're having the cleaner tidy as well as clean, run laundry, wash dishes, etc. I'd expect your house would take 4-6 people-hours on a weekly basis. 


    We have a wonderful house cleaner named Jennifer for our 2 bedroom/1 bath. Her team takes about 2 - 2.5 hours to clean our home (she has 2-3 people total in her team) and charges us $100 per cleaning session. Both my husband and I think she does a WONDERFUL job, very thorough. They even clean our shower curtains when they get the pink stuff on the bottoms. 

    I would be happy to refer you, if you're interested. She's looking to take on a few clients. Feel free to respond to this message, and I can send you her phone number.

    Our housecleaner charges $160 to come every other week. She came by and gave us an estimate based on house size. She spends 3-4 hours by herself or about 2 hours when she brings her niece with her. She has availability, message me if you want her contact info. 

  • 2019 Housekeeper rates

    (8 replies)


    I would like to get an idea of how much a housekeeper should get compensated. I was reading previous threads but they are quite old. What do you pay your housekeeper, how big is your home, and do you have a minimum time requirement that they must stay in the home for? I know some cleaners work alone and will obviously need to stay longer, and others work as part of a team. 

    Thank you in advance. 

    RE: 2019 Housekeeper rates ()

    Our house has 2 bedrooms, 1 bath. Our long-term, highly trusted expert cleaner comes every two weeks and works alone. She's welcome to take as much or as little time as she needs; we've been her clients for more than a decade and she knows better than we do what needs to be done. We pay her $170 plus transit costs.

    RE: 2019 Housekeeper rates ()

    I think most housekeepers charge by the house, not by the hour. My long-time housekeeper typically does one house in the morning and one in the afternoon, but I think on some days she has 3 houses if they are smaller. Most of her clients are weekly but she does have some that are every 2 weeks. I pay my housekeeper $150 each week. It takes her and her two helpers 2.5-3 hours to clean my 5br 4ba house, so that works out to $50-60/hour split three ways. I try to give her a raise every couple years and I'm probably overdue.

    RE: 2019 Housekeeper rates ()

    We pay our house keeper $150 every two weeks for about 3 hours of cleaning. Our home is single story, 3bed/2bath. Took us a long time to find someone who accepted Venmo payments (and hot cash-only which is such a hassle!). Let me know if you need a referral. :)

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Seeking a cleaner who reports income to IRS

May 2015

Hi BPN families,

I am desperately seeking a weekly landscaping company and a high quality, bi-monthly home cleaning service that declares income and/or is willing to work with a 1099 IRS Independent Contractor/Miscl Income tax form. So far, everyone I have dealt with wants to be paid in cash and will not provide an invoice. I am very willing to pay a living wage ($13-35 per/ hour DOE).

Thank you in advance for any leads!! B

Unfortunately, your issue is probably your price point--that's at the very low end of the going rate for both housecleaning and landscaping in the East Bay, so you're going to have a tough time finding anyone who will work over the table for those rates. Try bumping up your pay.

Going rate for housecleaning seems to be $30-$50 an hour (although most cleaners charge by the space rather than by the time--but for instance, we have a 1200 sf home that takes about three hours to clean, and we have paid or gotten quotes for cleaning from $90-$150 for biweekly cleaning, which is on par with what our neighbors pay).

We pay $50 per hour for our landscaper (although admittedly, he is an actual landscaper and not a mow-and-blow service--you can probably find those for less). That was on the low end of the quotes we got, and most of the people who charged less were not on the books.

These services are in high enough demand that you probably will not find people willing to work for a whole lot less. (Also, just for reference, the City of Berkeley's living wage, as defined for city vendors, is actually $16 if you are not providing health care for the employee, and that's assuming you are paying the employer taxes...if you want someone to file as an independent contractor, factor in another couple of dollars for employer taxes they will have to pay. So you're looking at closer to $18 per hour as a living wage--and again, that doesn't take into consideration the going rates in the market for these services.)

See how it goes if you up your offered rates, and hopefully you will find someone-- good luck!

My solo housekeeper does report earnings, but I pay her more than $35/hour. Your best bet is to go with a licensed cleaning business, but I'm guessing that's more than you want to pay. For gardeners, you need to go with a licensed business, not an individual, if you want invoicing. Most landscaping companies that provide weekly garden maintenance services will be more than $35/hour. In my neighborhood in Berkeley, $35/hour might get you a mow-and-blow team that doesn't invoice or do taxes or pay its workers legally.

As a 1099 employee, I want to let you know that the taxes on $35/hr can bring someone below a living wage, depending on how they file deductions-- especially living in the Bay Area. A gardener with a legal setup (business license, worker's comp, etc.) may cost nearly double that to cover the cost of paying taxes and insurance for themselves and their staff. I don't judge your desire to hire an extremely low-rate employee but I think it's unrealistic to expect them to report it. Good luck!

Earlier Advice about pay

Cost for a 2 bed/1 bath craftsman

Jan 2009

I am wondering what a reasonable price for a good house cleaner is. We currently have someone who does a good job, but seems a bit pricey. We have a 2 bed/1 bath craftsman with lots of wood detailing. They do the basics (no windows or laundry) and also oil our wood detailing and clean out the fridge. It takes 2 people about 2 hours. We pay $90 every 3 weeks. Does this sound about right? Jennifer

Berkeley 2bd/1ba + small cottage w/bath, one woman, 4-5 hours every other week, yes interior windows, infrequent fridge, no laundry (well, putting the sheets and bath mats in front of the washer). In Dec her rate increased from $80 to $95 for the job. We decided to keep her despite the increased cost. Assigning value to my time

A 2 bedroom home, with fridge cleaning. At 90 dollars is pretty cheap. If the people who are cleaning your apartment are efficient and do a good job is good. 2 hours of work though sounds rushed, but it sounds like the house might be an ''easy house'' but even so, the fact that they clean your fridge and there is alot of wood makes up for the price. Wood if you dont know how to properly clean it, and i dont mean just dust it and pass the towel with cleaner on it, can get pretty nasty. Also its pretty much only once a yeah its worth it.

My mom does this for a living and she charges about 120/house on average, no fridge cleaning, if its every week. The longer the intervals the more expensive it is, and let me tell you, even a ''clean'' house is dirtier than it looks, and its almost an art form. you cannot cuantify the hours work for the end product because even though it only takes them 2 hours to do, someone cheaper/ hour say 9/hour will take about 6 hours or more to clean the house and will not clean fridge and may end up charging you the same if you want in only once a month... ex. house cleaner. mario

You're certainly in the ballpark. We've used Cooperative Cleaners in Berkeley for about 15 years. Current cost, for our 2 BR, 2 BA space (they don't do the second floor) is $90. It is a very efficient and hardworking crew of 3, and they take about an hour and a quarter. john

i think what are they charging you it's about right. because they are 2 people and take about 2 hours. clean it's a really hard job...but if you are not happy with their job you should talk about it with them if you do not see any improvment let them go. i used 2 persons to, they are sisters and they are great, you shoud gived them a try...their name are wendy and veronica you can call them at 925-848-4375 good luck anon

You're paying $22.50 an hour. I live in a much, much poorer area and cleaners are $20/hour. I'm jealous - what a great price you get for the area. And they clean out your fridge too!

I pay my housecleaner a flat rate of $120/week for my 5-br,4-bath house, which works out to about $26-30 and hour, since it takes her between 4 and 5 hours to clean. She is a very thorough cleaner, for example she sweeps and then damp-mops all the floors (3,000 sqft). This pay may seem like a lot, but she can only clean 2 houses in one day, so if she only works 5 days a week, and she spends 8-10 hours a day at work, and everyone else is paying her the same rate I pay her, then she is only making about $12,480 a year, with no benefits. She lives in Oakland and is a single parent. She is an excellent cleaner and I would feel really bad about trying to get her below 12K just so my much larger budget would be slightly reduced.

That sounds about what we pay, and we only get our fridge cleaned out a couple of times a year, and no wood to oil. i say it's fine. Andrea

We pay $75.00 per week for 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and a big family room. I think you're paying too much. I assume you clean in between, so that they don't have 3 weeks of cleaning to do. In that case $90.00 might be reasonable. anon

So if you are paying $90.00 per visit for 2 hours for 2 people, that's $45.00 per person at about $22.00 per hour. And do you pay them taxes? I'd say if not, then it's a good deal since no one in the east bay can live off $10.00 an hour. How much is it worth your time that someone cleans your house and well? We pay abt. $110 per 4 hour visit for 1 person - no laundry or even wood detailing, just basics. She is a single mom with 2 kids and breaks her back for people who don't or can't clean their own houses. We don't pay her taxes and she probably has no social security. So i'd say we are getting a ''deal''. I end up paying her an extra 10 bucks just because. grateful that someone can clean the house

We pay $80 for cleaning our 1.5 BR, 1bath apt (about 950 sq foot) once a month, does not include fridge, or windows. So I think you are paying about the right amount. also curious about housecleaning cost

I have an excellent housecleaner who is very thorough, pleasant & reliable. I pay her $20 hr. + $5. for gas. If you have 2 people for 2 hours that is $80 at this rate + a little extra (for gas?). Sounds as if you are in the ballpark. Happy Grandmother

Paying a housekeeper on holidays/vacation days

Dec 2007

I've had the same housecleaners for almost ten years. It's a small business run by one woman. They come weekly and do good work. They're not cheap -- 3 women charge $120 for an hour and 1/2 in my Albany-sized well-kept three bedroom home.

Initially, when they started working for me, they did not charge on the rare occasion I was out of town on their cleaning day and did not need their services. More recently, they've asked if I pay for my day even if I need to cancel (which I rarely do, only once or twice over the summer or over Christmas). Sometimes, they've been able to reschedule, othertimes I've gone ahead and paid them anyway. They depend on the work and I want to be fair.

This year, for the first time ever, they wanted to work on Thanksgiving Day. This has never happened before. It wasn't a possibility for us (I had family visiting). They were unable to reschedule during that week and wanted to charge me anyway. This didn't sit well with me considering that there was no precedent. However, I really do want to be fair. They do good work and I trust them with my home. Wondering if anyone can point me to any resources regarding this issue or has any thoughts or experience with it? want to be fair

Your house cleaners are taking advantage of you. Hourly workers are not entitled to pay when they do not work. As long as you give them sufficient notice that you will not need them to come (24 hours is sufficient, 48 hours preferable) there is no reason for you to pay them for cancellation. Frankly, they are also overcharging you, but that's another issue. anonymous

How I have handled the vacation thing with housecleaners - sometimes I just give them plenty of notice and don't pay them. If I go away on the spur of the moment, and it feels unfair to just cancel and take away a job they were counting on, I figure out something they can do instead of cleaning the bathroom that doesn't need to be cleaned because I wasn't there messing it up. An extra job not part of their normal routine, like cleaning out the fridge, or washing the front steps. This seems fair to me - after all, when your boss goes on vacation, you don't get a day off, do you? Fran

- Wow, maybe I'm just really out of the loop, but it seems like your housecleaners are way out of line here. First of all, I can't think of any professional that charges for a day of work if you cancel with enough notice for her/him to reschedule new clients. For them to charge, regardless of how far in advance you cancel, sounds like a deal-breaker to me. But then, to demand to work on a holiday and receive payment whether or not the holiday schedule works for you? Um, no. You're the client here. I can appreciate that you trust these housecleaners with your home (and that's very important), but frankly, these guys sound a little too controlling and demanding. Just my opinion. anon

I've had the same housekeeper for 12 years. I currently pay $105 a week which I think is low for a 5BR house. I will be giving her a raise in January. My housekeeper comes faithfully every Thursday and in 12 years has only missed maybe 3 days due to illness, and she gave me notice, and offered to come on a different day. When Thursday falls on a holiday (like Thanksgiving) I pay her for that day. If I am on vacation on a Thursday, I pay her for that day. Only once in 12 years has she herself taken a vacation, and I paid her for that day. She always offers to reschedule, but I just do the clean-up myself that week, because if she comes to my house on a different day, it means she has to work on Saturday or Sunday and takes time away from her family. If I don't pay her, her monthly income takes a hit. Housekeeping is not one of the more lucrative professions. Housekeepers cannot themselves afford to have a housekeeper. I also give her a Christmas bonus every year. This year I am giving her and her sister, who has been coming with her during the last year, $100 each. If you have a good housekeeper that you like, I think a day or two of paid days off and a year-end bonus is in order.


We have a housecleaner who comes and cleans our small house once a week for $40. We quite often go away for a couple of weeks at a time and when we do we give her the full amount for the weeks we are away, but tell her that she doesn't need to come. (We figure that since she has committed that time slot to us, it's not fair not to pay her for it even if we don't use it, since she can't easily make up her income.) This summer we are going away for 6 weeks and one of us is having second thoughts about paying her for the whole time we're away, even though, obviously, the above reasoning still holds. I am curious to know what other people do in this situation.

I agree that you should pay your housecleaner while you are away; she certainly counts on the income and can't make it up easily without giving up your slot to another family. The way we handle it is by asking our (wonderful) housecleaner to do a BIG clean while we are away for long periods (usually one month, once a year), top to bottom, more than the usual.... i.e., inside the fridge, accessible windows, baseboards, fans, venetian blinds, carpets, whatever really needs doing that isn't done as part of weekly cleaning. We make up a list jointly in advance. She usually comes twice while we're gone to get this done.... so she is being paid for two visits for no work (getting a much needed and much deserved break) and, in exchange, we come home to a sparkling house. -Dm

It is unreasonable to expect that your housekeeper would keep your space in his/her schedule if you are not willing to pay for it. If you do not pay, he or she should be free to find someone else to work for -- permanently if need be. You pay for the continuation of service, and in appreciation of the working relationship you have established. -Dana

How many hours would you expect for $60?

Nov 2005

How many hours would you expect a housekeeper to work if you paid them $60.00? I'm usually not home when my housekeeper comes and was surprised one day when I was that she only works two hours. Does that sound right to folks? I don't want to talk to her about it if that's appropriate and I fully admit that I might not know what is. Thanks! Curious

If your housekeeper comes once a week and is able to really keep up on the cleaning, 2 hours should be fine to keep everything tidy. We have a once a week cleaner and we pay her $100 (she charges $80 and we tip $20). She works about 2 hours sometimes a bit more. If she misses a week then it usually takes her 3 1/2 hours to clean. We keep the house picked up so that she can focus on the scrubbing of all surfaces. SHe doesn't have to pick up after us so it saves time for the actual cleaning. anon

I pay $60 for a 1000 sq ft house. I could care less how long she's long as it's clean. That said, the woman who cleans our house needs nearly 3 hours, but we're messy. If she's not doing a good job, then you need to talk to her. If you want to pay her hourly, then you need to talk to her. But if you're satisified with her work and your house is as big or bigger than mine, you're getting a deal. What's $60...tappas and drinks at Fondas? --happy someone else does the cleaning

Curious, Usually you pay someone per house, not necessarily per hour. It all depends on what your initial agreement was with your cleaner. My housekeeper charges me a flat rate based on the size of my town house and the task she needs to do. So at times based on her dayly work load, she might bring a helper and is finished sooner, but the results are the same, as if she would have come alone and lasted 4 hrs. What size is your place for which she charges $60. I guess the qts is: Are you satisfied with the work that she does? Whether it be 2 hrs or more? Ginelle

Hi, I pay our housekeeper $80 per week (for a 4 bedroom 2 story house) and for that she mops and vacuums floors, cleans bathrooms and kitchen spotlessly, changes bedlinens, puts away toys and ''straightens up'', and throws a load of laundry in. Occasionally she cleans the oven or sweeps the patio, when needed. It usually takes her 2-3 hours, depending on how dirty the house is :-) I figure if the house is clean (and it's always spotless when she leaves) she's doing her job. How fast or slowly she does it isn't really my concern. anon

I pay my current housecleaner $70. She works with another woman and I believe they get our small 2 bdrm/1 bath house clean in under 2 hours. I don't look at it as an hourly rate, but as a ''per house'' rate. I don't care if they take 2 hours or 2 minutes - as long as they get the job done decently. If your housecleaner is like the majority of housecleaners, she's unlikely to have a full schedule of homes. She's also probably illegal, has no health insurance, no retirement plan, no car, is sending money to family in another country, and not necessarily ''raking in'' $60k or more a year. Working Woman

I work alongside a housekeeper in my current job as personal assistant and nanny. She works for the family two days a week, 8am-4pm. She is paid $100 a day (possibly under the table). The family aren't at home to know when she comes and goes, but she rarely leaves early and even then she makes sure her work is complete. She does laundry, low windows, ironing, as well as vacuuming, dusting, kitchen clean up, stripping and remaking beds and cleaning out the frige (of old leftovers & wiping it down). So she has a lot to accomplish in two days which makes leaving early a rare option. Perhaps your housekeeper doesn't have enough to do and when she is done she leaves? Check with her about this! Maybe paying in a different way (besides hourly) is the way to go. good luck!

I'm sure there is a wide range in what different housekeepers charge, but I pay my housekeeper $50 to come once every 2-3 weeks and clean our 1 bedroom apartment and she stays for 4 hours.

I pay $70 for cleaning every other week. Our house is 3 beds/2 baths. No pets and two kids. I am a stay at home Mom so I am kind of in and out as she works. Most days she comes at 9 and leaves around 2:30. I know she takes a lunch break, but my guess is that it isn't longer than 1/2 an hour, so she basically works pretty darn hard for five hours. Julie

I pay for results, and don't care how long it takes. Are you happy with the results? If not, then I would definitely say something -- point out what you'd like clean that isn't getting clean. But if your house is clean to your satisfaction when she's done, then I would let it go. Anne

For $60, you should be getting AT LEAST 3 hours of work. (I pay my cleaners $20 per person per hour, but I suspect that's on the high end of the going rate.) I don't know anyone who pays their cleaners $30/hour!!! Sara

My housekeeper works about 2 hours every other week and we pay her $100. My previous housekeeper did the same for $80. anon

We also pay our housekeeper $60 and she is supposed to stay 4 hours, but I think she rarely does. And our person is not thorough, so for us her shorts stays are a problem. Does your person do a thorough job? If she is just super efficient and high energy I don't think you necessarily have a problem on your hands. If she is really staying only 2 hours and is not doing a thorough job it would be reasonable for you to ask her to stay longer. anon

I clean houses and I charge about $25/hour. It's really okay to ask your housecleaner what her rates are based upon. If she's good and you feel that you're getting your money's worth, then it shouldn't matter if she waves a magic wand and it's done in a second! (if only I could do that!) If you feel that you're not getting your money's worth, talk to her. Also, if there are specific things you want done, most people (myself included) really apprectiate a written list. Best of luck! cleaningdetail

For $60.00 your housekeeper should be working from 3-4 hours, depending on her hourly wage. If she's there for 2 she alone, or working with someone so actually 4 hours of work is getting done. In 2 hours (or whatever time it is) is she doing a good complete job? That's really the question at hand. If she quoted you $60.00 per time to do specific jobs and she's doing that, then she can work for 15 minutes, if she can get it done as agreed on. Hope this helps, anon

I'd recommend that you think about this as a salaried service, as opposed to an hourly wage service. If for $60 your home is as clean as comparably sized homes for which their owners pay $60 per cleaning, then the price is right. If you are not happy with the quality of the work, or you're paying a lot more than others you know whose houses are about as big, then you may be paying too much. I don't think it matters how quickly your housekeeper works, if s/he is providing the service you expect. Otherwise, you're penalizing her/him for her/his efficiency.

Until recently, we had a housekeeper who took about 6 hours to clean our house. The quality was fair. We recently switched, and now have someone who does a better job, always does some ''extra'' task, and does all of this in a little more than 1/2 the time it took our former housekeeper. I'm delighted to pay more on an hourly basis for better service. Lisa

We pay our wonderful housekeeper $100/week. We take taxes out, pay into social security, etc., we give her a few paid weeks off each year and give her an annual bonus. She works about 3 or 4 hours each week. I think $60 for two hours is probably pretty standard. Anon

Try to look at it this way: You are contracting for a service. How long it takes your expert contractor to perform such service is none of your business, assuming they perform adequately.

Why should an efficient businessperson be penalized for working faster than the average schmoe? Think about it - if you required a certain number of hours for this, perhaps they would give you the same work, but just find a way to do it slower. That's ridiculous, and isn't treating your housekeeper like the professional s/he is. You only have cause to discuss it if the work is shoddy or not up to par. Good luck

What's the going rate for 2BR 2BA?

Jan 2005

I currently pay $55 every two weeks for our cleaning lady to clean (surface only, not in depth, no sheets/bed making) an 1100 square foot home (2BR 2BA). I've been paying that for 3 years, at least, and wanted to find out what the going rate for something similar would be. I don't believe she will ever ask for an increase, yet I want to be fair and give one if appropriate. What do others pay? Thank you Jennifer

We used to live in an 1100 sq foot cottage (2 bdr/1 ba) in Berkeley, until recently. Our cleaner charged us $65 for dusting bookshelves, walls and furniture; throughly cleaning bathrooms; kitchen(even appliances incl fridge); windows; blinds; mopping all floors and vacumming all area rugs; putting sheets in the dryer and then on the beds; and taking out the garbage and recyling. anon

We pay $60 for a comparable job -- our house is a little larger overall but has only one bathroom. The cleaner we had before the current one charged us $70. anon in Albany

Our housecleaner (a man) charged us $85.00 per time (two times per month) to clean about 1400 sq.' of house. He recently raised his prices (after 2 years) to $112.00 per time. That seemed a bit high, but we loved and trusted him. AFter about 3 months of paying the new rate we had to let him was just too much. We're now trying to do it ourselves, along with the kids helping. As soon as it gets to be just me, we hire someone else. Seems like $65.00 to $85.00 is about the going rate, depending on size of house. anon

We pay our housecleaner $110(she comes every other week). Our house is 2000 sq ft, 2 1/2 bathrooms. It takes her about 5-6 hrs each time and we have 2 young messy boys. She has been working for us for 4 years. She is excellent and wonderfully reliable. anon

I notice many ask the going rate for housekeepers / services, hoping to pay as little as possible. I have an alternate idea.

Why not consider how many hours a person works for X number of dollars, and figure out what sort of life they can lead based on that? This may sound confusing, but the point behind it is this: Why is it okay for us to pay as little as possible, many times slave wages where people can barely support themselves, and yet we indulge ourselves in our own lives? This is not a judgment of those struggling financially; instead it is food for thought for those who can afford life's extras. Regardless what someone's expertise is, they deserve to be able to support themselves. Don't you think? Do you think it's really okay that someone works full-time but still must live in poverty? If those who have plenty do all they can to undercut others, how can we create balance and loving in this world? For our children and future generations.

It is hard for me also to part with my money, but instead of trying to pay ''competitive'' wages [which is code for ''only as much as I have to in order to hire you''], I endeavor to pay fair and living wages. I pay as much as I can afford, while trying to be fair to everyone involvd.

Best of luck to all who are unsure what to pay for services. anon

Is $100/wk a fair cost for 2br/2ba + ironing? April 2004

I wasn't able to find any current information on housekeeping rates in the archives, but I was curious to know if $100 for a 2 bedroom/2 bath home seems like a fair deal for cleaning. Two people can clean our 1,900 square foot home in 2 hours. This also includes ironing. I thought this was a little high, but just wanted to see what you think. Thanks!

$100 seems a bit high to me. I pay my house cleaner $80 for my 3 bedroom 2 1/2 bathroom house. It is also about 1900 square ft. She does not do ironing but folds clothes. Anon

Last time I checked around, less than a year ago, the going rate for individual cleaners was in the $15-$25 per hour range. I got quotes of between $60 and $100 for my 2+ bedroom, 1 bathroom approx. 1200 square foot Albany home (no laundry or ironing). Cleaning services or larger companies tend to charge more.

I pay $75 for one housekeeper to clean our ~1800 sq. ft. 4 bdrm/2 bath house (2x/month). She does an excellent job (usually stays about 4 hours) and even does extras at times (of her own accord) like windows, pulling out furniture to clean under it, etc. $100 sounds a bit high to me. My housekeeper, Jeannette, is looking for more work, so contact me if you'd like her contact information. julie

I have a 3 bedroom/3 bath in about 1900 s.f. in Piedmont. I have an excellent housecleaner who cleans top to bottom bi-weekly for $70 a pop. I used to use her once a month for $85 a pop. It takes her about 4 hours to clean the whole house solo. We loooove her. She dusts even the highest shelves which we would never see. Last week, she cleaned out every little circle in our XL rubber bathmat. To be honest, $100 sounds high for a 2 BR/2BA in the same space.

$100 for a 2 bedroom/2 bath seems a tiny bit high but not unreasonable for a legit service. If you live between S. Richmond and N. Oakland, I recommend our service, Natural Home Cleaning,, 510 - 532 - 6645. Our 3BR/2BA 1600 s.f. house is $90. David

What's the going rate for 2.5 hours?

June 2003

I recently hired a housekeeper just for a one-time trial. She works for my neighbor and was looking for a few extra hours. She charged me for 3 hours though she worked 2 1/2 dusting, mopping, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom and she stopped to chat frequently. She did a pretty good job, but didn't entirely clean up after herself. Since I've never done this, I'm wondering what is standard protocol. Am I being overly fussy? And what is the going rate for work like this? Thanks in advance! Kate

we pay our housekeeper $20/hr. for a 3 hr. clean up. some people charge by the job, but i like to pay by the hour, and that way i can ask her to do whatever we need done within a time limit. seems fair for both of us.

We pay our housekeeper $12/hour and it takes her 5 hours to clean our house, for a total of $60. I think that's about average based on what friends say they pay.

I noticed several posts recently regarding paying the housekeeper by the hour or by the job. I think its important to clarify why you need to pay a housekeeper by the job. If you pay your housekeeper hourly, she becomes your employee! If she is paid by the job, she is an independent contractor. As an independent contractor, she has a job to perform and gets paid the same amount, whether it takes her 1 hr or 3 hours. You put yourself in murky waters by insisting on paying her hourly. In the event that something goes wrong, she has recourse to file a complaint with the Fair Employment and Housing, and then you have trouble with having not paid her taxes, social security contributions etc. . . Someone who has learned

Earlier Advice about pay

some examples of pay from 2001 newsletters, most in Berkeley...

  • Mine cleans a 3000 square foot house (the bottom floor being all hardwood) for $80, every week. It takes a good person about six hours to do the job right
  • We pay $70 for our two-story, medium-size house twice a month
  • she charges $60 to clean one bathroom, kitchen, living room, dining room, two bedrooms, one small study
  • I pay her and her helper $50 for 4 person-hours of cleaning (2 people working 2 hours)
  • she cleans our small house once a week for $40.
  • She normally charges about $50 for 4 hours work
  • I pay $50 every week for about 2 1/2 hours of work


I feel that unfortunately, the $50.00 for one day is too little. You may be able to find someone for that amount if you keep looking. Due to the fact that you only want them for one day, you are more than likely finding that you need to pay an additional premium. Most of the people doing this type of work want stability and want to work as many days as possible. There is no incentive to come to someone's house for only one day, for there are also travel expenses incurred if nothing else. If you have friends who are also looking for day housecleaning services, perhaps you can join together and offer several days of employment at your desired rate, rather than just one day.

I've found reliable housecleaning for our not very big 3 bedroom place costs $70-$85. I figure with transportation time (since most of the house keepers end up on public transport), the time cleaning etc, I am paying about $12 an hour, which is fair. Add to that the inconvenience of us only wanting housecleaning once every two weeks, I want to be generous enough for it to be worth it for the house cleaner to come regularly, when she can probably get a job every week for that day.