Multi-million dollar companies may outsource work to keep costs low, but some families are also looking to outsource daily chores.
Could this work for you?
Tasks around the home such as cleaning, ironing, dog walking and preparing meals can be assigned to professional agencies to allow for more quality family time or help a return to work, but is it worth the cost?
Outsourcing for busy people
With more women returning to work while raising a family compared to the past, some mothers are considering outsourcing housework to help manage work and home life, said Angie Kelso owner of Platinum Housekeeping.
“In the 50s and 60s mums stayed at home and they saw that as their at home career and they were proud to do their housecleaning. But today it’s very different. Most mums are working and they don’t have the time to spend doing their household chores, so outsourcing is a good idea, especially if you have children,” she said.
More than one in five families with children has two employed parents, according to ABS statistics in 2011.
About 34% of families have one parent in full time employment with the other in part time employment.
How much does it cost?
The cost of housekeeping varies depending on the size of your property and the tasks you would like completed.
The types of families who hire help around the home differ but almost all are time poor, said Joy Vess managing director of housekeeping agency Absolute Domestic.
“It’s people who are double income families and that can range anywhere from the high executives, male or female, or the ordinary families who need help around the house,” she said.
Rates can also vary between companies and your location. Domestic cleaning help can cost from $20-$33 per hour.
While many of Vess’ clients have domestic help weekly, some request cleaning services up to two or three times a week depending on their needs.
Other outsourced chores can include dog-walking and garden maintenance.
Dog walking can cost up to $45 for half an hour of walking and training which can give your pet exercise and mental stimulation, said Rita Nemeth owner of dogwalking business Good Doggy.
Alternatives to childcare
24% of children under 12 attended formal child care in 2011 which includes arrangements such as after school care or child care centres.
But the high costs of childcare, which can be magnified depending on the number of children in the family, can make outsourcing childcare to an au pair a more affordable option, said Stephanie Prenzlau inbound au pair manager at American International for Foreign Study (AIFS).
“Childcare is not always well organized and is expensive. Sometimes you put your child on a waiting list and they still don’t get childcare…When you think that the average family spends $500 per child for a full time day care spot per child, it is very reasonable,” she said.
The majority of AIFS’ host families are middle class families with two working parents who provide the live in au pair with accommodation, meals and some extra spending money.
The cost of an au pair is about $280 per week for six months.
Although some families turn to nannies for child care to avoid early morning rushes to child care and the restricting closing times of after school care, it doesn’t always mean families are comfortable with outsourcing the supervision of their kids, said Jennifer White customer liaison at Melbourne’s Leading Nanny Agency.
“If you don’t work you feel guilty, if you do you feel guilty. It’s just our culture…That’s what you feel as a mother sometimes. That’s the hardest,” she said.
Nannies can cost about $20-30 per hour depending on the agency, experience, and the tasks they will complete. Nannies’ tasks can include preparing children’s meals, collecting them to school, driving them to afternoon activities and helping with homework.
The personal supervision and guidance of a nanny in your own home can also be more economical if you have more than one child, said White.
Could you outsource?
Outsourcing household chores may not suit all lifestyles or be affordable for all tasks or families.
But for those that do choose to employ help around their home, there can still be some stigma attached to outsourcing jobs that may have been traditionally undertaken by members of the household, said Vess.
“I’d have to say that some people would still try and qualify why when they have to dial us for a clean up…I know busy professional women who still do their own housework because their mother did and they think it’s expected.”
Written by Charmaine Wong, Yahoo!7 Moneyhound – Fetching you a better deal.
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