Is Your Time Really Worth More Than It Would Cost to Hire Help?

Is your time worth more than it costs to hire help?

One of the arguments for hiring help around the house (usually house cleaners and folks to mow the lawn) is that your time is worth more than what it would cost to hire help.

The argument

The argument goes like this: If you currently make $25 per hour, and you can pay someone $15 per hour to mow the lawn, you’re actually either saving money or making more money by hiring someone. The same sort of thing can apply to hiring companies for bigger jobs too, such as hiring painters to paint your trim.

This certainly can be the case if you have a limited number of hours available to work. For example, if I pay someone $60 to clean the house, and I spend that time working when I would have otherwise been cleaning, I could conceivably earn more than I spent. So it’s certainly possible to essentially save money buy hiring help.

The truth may vary

But what if I have the cleaner come while I go out to the movies? I’ll be spending money on housecleaning and on entertainment. Or what if I just avoid cleaning until the dust bunnies began breeding in the hallway instead of hiring someone? Then money doesn’t enter into the equation, except maybe as an expense for allergy pills.

It’s not always about the money

I hate cleaning, and so I would like to hire someone to clean our house on a regular basis. It’s not a money-saving or a money-making endeavor though. It’s a convenience or a luxury. Me not having to clean the house and gaining some time to do something else instead is what I find worthwhile, and I’m OK with just saying that instead of trying to rationalize things away. Money is a tool, so use it for what matters to you.


  • We used to pay someone to mow the lawn, but now that we have a decent mower, I do it myself, mostly because I find the experience rather zen.
    However, I have promised myself that when I reach a 6 figure salary, I WILL hire a cleaning service. Neither C nor I like cleaning (though I do like a clean house), so it will take one thing I don’t like off my to-do list and allow me to replace it with things I do like.

  • I have to admit I would rather work and make money rather than cleaning. I can earn more money while working and at the same time avoid cleaning since I hate it and I can’t stand the dust due to my asthma.

  • kip

    I think it ends up being what makes sense for your budget and tasks that you are willing to pass on. I also believe that if you are disciplined in your spending that you will look at the costs associated with various services. The flip side is that one hour of labor to clean your apartment may not really be worth the $100 you get charged by a cleaning service versus the $200 a service will charge for your 3 bedroom house every 2 weeks. The reality is that if you do the math on it then the $5000 a year to keep your house clean seems worth it. I find that when I write out the larger number it sort of peaks my interest a bit more in figuring out a way to save. The truth is that rich people stay rich by keeping costs as low as they can, focusing on their ROI for what they do.

  • It’s definitely not about money to us, lol. We have a biweekly housekeeper and a biweekly lawn service. It’s a total of like $2750 a year for those services, but I look at it as an affordable entertainment expense.

  • My husband uses this excuse sometimes–“I’ll just work more.” (He gets paid by the hour and can work as many as he wants.) Yeah, that doesn’t happen very often.

  • If I got the extra time, I’d rather do it. I don’t know but i always grab any chance of mowing the lawn when I have the chance.. If I don’t, if I’m too busy, yeah, I can always pay someone.