# How to calculate one or two person rateSeptember 28, 2019 9:46 AM   Subscribe

If I hire a house cleaner under the terms that it's \$30/hour per person, and she has said she may or may not being a coworker, if she brings a coworker, what should I pay if she comes alone? I would think on the one hand, \$30/hour/person is what we agreed to. But if I'm saying the job could be worth \$60/hr, shouldn't I pay that if I'm basically saying that she's doing a two-person job herself?

I want to be a fair employer but I also can't afford to be as generous as I would be if I had unlimited resources because my resources are pretty limited.
posted by bleep to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I keep going around and around because both numbers feel right to me, I can't figure this out.
posted by bleep at 9:48 AM on September 28, 2019

If it takes two hours for her to work alone - that's \$60. If it takes two people one hour, that's \$60. So, I'd ask for a time estimate and then see if they are running the calcs in the same way.
posted by amanda at 9:53 AM on September 28, 2019 [12 favorites]

If she's alone, presumably the work will take more hours of time to finish than if two are attacking it simultaneously so I imagine in the end you'll probably be paying similar amounts. So for instance if she is alone and takes six hours or the pair takes three hours, you'd pay the same amount if you keep it to \$30/hour/person. I don't think you should offer to pay more per hour for solo work.
posted by vegartanipla at 9:53 AM on September 28, 2019 [8 favorites]

Can't two people clean twice as quickly? This isn't a situation where there is a lot of dependencies. So if she is doing half the amount of work in 1 hour why would it make sense to pay the same amount?
posted by muddgirl at 9:53 AM on September 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

As far as I can tell, professional house cleaning with one person instead of two just takes twice as long.

You could also agree on a fair flat rate and let her decide whether she wants to bring someone to share it.
posted by the_blizz at 9:55 AM on September 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

Be clear in your definitions about what needs cleaning and to what extent. Two people could presumably clean twice as much in one hour, but do you need twice as much cleaning? If your task list could be accomplished by one person working for one hour, then two of them should only need half an hour each. She shouldn't get to bring a co-worker and still take the full amount of time to accomplish the tasks. If she thinks the work is actually equivalent to twice as much time (person-hours) as you do, that's a separate discussion. As it stands, \$30/hr was the agreed-upon rate for the cleaning services you requested.
posted by teremala at 10:03 AM on September 28, 2019 [3 favorites]

Ah, maybe the problem is that I'm mixing up flat rate and per hour rate. I wanted to do a per hour rate because the flat rate thing got weird with my last cleaners but I still only want my house cleaned for a fixed number of hours no matter if it all gets done or not.
posted by bleep at 10:11 AM on September 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

She shouldn't get to bring a co-worker and still take the full amount of time to accomplish the tasks. If she thinks the work is actually equivalent to twice as much time (person-hours) as you do, that's a separate discussion. As it stands, \$30/hr was the agreed-upon rate for the cleaning services you requested.

Ok this is clear & simple enough for me to understand, thank you everyone!
posted by bleep at 10:13 AM on September 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

30/hour is a decent rate esp. since house cleaners have to pay their own benefits - FICA/Soc. Sec., insurances, time off, transportation cost & time. etc. Add a tip when you can.
posted by theora55 at 10:34 AM on September 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

I think what you can do is to ask her not go over a certain number of person-hours without clearing it in advance. It will be easier to know what that number is once she has done your house a couple of times.
posted by metahawk at 1:04 PM on September 28, 2019

If you're paying \$30 an hour that's plenty of pay for her to hire someone else and not charge for her help. If she brings another person ask her if shell accept \$40 an hour. That way it doesnt tax your budget and she still gets a fair rate.
posted by The_imp_inimpossible at 2:15 PM on September 28, 2019

The job is worth \$30 an hour per person, in my opinion.

If you pay 2 people \$30/hour to clean the house for 2 hours, the house is getting 4 human-hours of cleaning and should be cleaned more deeply (like more laundry or dusting or whatever).

If you pay 1 person \$30/hour to clean the house for 2 hours, the house is only getting 2 hours worth of cleaning so I wouldn't expect them to clean under things or go deep, it would be more of a mop the centre of the room and get out.

I usually pay my cleaner \$50 to clean for 2 hours.
When she brings a friend, I pay them \$25 each to clean for one hour.
The house is equally clean both ways.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 5:51 PM on September 28, 2019

If you just want 2 hours tell them up front. The amount of cleanliness takes time too. If you give me an hour to clean your house, I'll wipe it all down for you, but you're not getting the scrubbing you would get for two hours. As long as the cleaners know the rules, that should be fine.
posted by xammerboy at 9:09 PM on September 28, 2019

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