(Closed) Awkward Situation with my cleaning lady…. What would you have done?

posted 4 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 2
437 posts
Helper bee

Barbiestylez: I would have asked her to clarify as to where she came up with her total, reminding her that you thought you’d remembered agreeing on $10/hr (which, btw, is a quite a bit lower than the going rates that I’ve seen in my area). I’m all about giving extra where/when it’s due and I think it’s great you did. However, you may have wanted to let her know each time you did it, that you were doing that as a courtesy for the extra detail she put in. 

Since it’s too late now, I’d just firm up the price before she comes over again… “Hey, I was thinking since your last visit… And I wanted to be on the same page so that no one gets shortchanged.” 

Sounds like she is basing her new totals off of what she was physically getting paid from the get-go and not taking into account a “tip”. If she continues to expect that, maybe look around? I do agree that’s pretty steep.

Post # 4
1251 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

I guess I wouldn’t have asked her what I owed her given that you’d already established a price per hour (which I agree is too low) and then you were happy to tip on top of that? If she worked 2.5 hours then it’s $25 plus the tip you want to give as per your agreement? In future I’d just keep note of the hours she’s worked and pay her accordingly – if she questions the amount then you can just reference your original agreement of $10 an hour plus tip.

Post # 5
4031 posts
Honey bee

Barbiestylez:  Did you ask her why she was asking for $90? Especially because you agreed on $10 hour. My guess is that maybe she was basing it off your previous pay. Did you clarify before that the extra was a tip? Before she cleans again, you should definitely establish a set hourly rate.

Post # 6
330 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I would’ve just said “oh, I guess I misunderstood, I thought we agreed on $10/hour.”  Whenever I get in situations like that, I find blaming it on a “misunderstanding” sort of lets everyone deflect blame while still sorting out who thinks what and why.

Honestly, if you have her back, I’d set very firm ground rules up front about what you pay her and stick to that. $10/hour seems low, but if she agreed to it, that’s not your problem. If she wants to undercharge, that’s her business. I wouldn’t make a habit of tipping anymore, either.  Our cleaning lady is a godsend, but we don’t tip her regularly.  She comes every three weeks, so the cleaning closest to Christmas we leave her double what we normally pay, and we bring her little gifts if we go away or something, but that’s the extent of it.  We don’t feel a need to tip when she keeps 100% of what we pay her, which sounds like your situation too.

Post # 10
931 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2013

So being that she said $11-12/hr, did she give any justification or reasoning for charging you $90 for 2.5 hours? 

This is a situation I could so see myself getting into. I would have done exactly as you did, then wondered why all of the sudden I was getting something I didn’t bargain for!

Post # 12
1019 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I think unless you will have a regularly changing list of specific things for her to do each visit, that you would be better off doing a flat rate with a written agreement on exactly what she’ll clean every visit, every other visit, etc. 

Even better, if you hired someone who charged a more reasonable rate (10-12 is sooo low) and had liability insurance, bond, etc. If this lady gets injured in your home or leaves a burner on the stove and burns the place down, it’s going to be on you to fix it. And with a professional, there is a contractor agreement that clearly states she’s responsible for her own taxes, to ensure the IRS never comes knocking looking for your tax witholdings classifying you as an employer. There are likely a good deal of contractors who are self employed and still offer that personal touch but have all of their licensing and insurance, and they would probably be more clear about their prices and what it includes. 

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