4 Things to Consider Before Hiring Household Help
Hiring someone to walk our dogs felt a little weird.
But our hectic schedules and dwindling free time made it a health necessity for our Australian shepherds. We were lucky enough to find a great guy on the next block via our neighborhood Facebook group. The dogs get exercise. Tommy the Dog Walker gets paid. Our guilt gets assuaged.
All in all, it's proved a great investment.
We're not quite ready to solicit a cleaning crew, but there's something to be said for the efficiency and financial efficacy of hiring help when the math makes sense. Hiring someone to clean your house, mow your lawn, or watch your kids can help you maximize your time and balance needs and budgetary concerns.
For some consumers, considering the opportunity costs can make the concept of hiring help not just palatable, but a sound investment. Even if you’re off the clock, your time certainly has value. (See also: That Age-Old Conundrum: Time vs. Money)
Here are four things to consider when it comes to outsourcing your more domestic demands.
1. Figure Out What Your Time's Worth
This isn’t just a question for entrepreneurs and others who could be making money, crafting a business plan, or otherwise turning their time into future returns instead of scrubbing dishes. What is an hour of your time worth when you’re at home? If you can find someone to work for less than your self-styled rate, outsourcing some of your chores might be a sound investment, even if the return is simply quiet time for family, relaxation, and recharging.
Consider whether your time could be better spent making money, improving your work-life balance, or otherwise tilting the scale.
2. Budget and Prioritize
Obviously, affordability has to be a consideration, too. Subsisting on tomato soup in order to retain your housecleaner probably isn’t the savviest investment, for your wallet or your mental and physical well being. But if the idea of hiring help sounds appealing, consider going over your current expenditures with an eagle eye. Look for needless expenses and ways to curb frivolities.
You can also consider honing in on the most-hated chore. Maybe it’s cleaning the bathroom, walking the dogs, or maintaining the lawn. Depending on where you live and the size of your home, none of these services may break the bank each week, especially if you’re using only one.
3. Forget the Stigma
Deciding to spend money on domestic help or a personal assistant might inspire blank stares or derision from colleagues and even family and friends. There’s no reason to feel guilty, even when someone offers a tactless response along the lines of “Must be nice.” That said, start bragging about your new laundry-folding assistant, and you get what you deserve.
I don’t think hiring a dog walker signifies we’re living on Easy Street, but you can never really gauge reactions.
4. Find Legit Help
Utilize reputable sites and resources or rely on word-of-mouth when it comes to hiring help. Ask for references and, when applicable, insurance and surety bond information to ensure you’re protected against damages or loss. There can also be tax considerations depending on how much you’re paying an individual each year, so check with the IRS or a tax professional. Be sure to set duties and expectations at the outset and evaluate results on a regular basis.