The short answer is yes, and between 15-25% or $20 per service. The long answer is if your cleaner works for herself, makes above average on an hourly basis, and it’s a standard service, tips can be motivating but she is generally not expecting it. However, if your cleaner works for cleaning company, our survey results indicate that tips are highly appreciated.
See our Key Takeaways from a survey we recently conducted.
We surveyed 290 house cleaners and cleaning companies in our network to find answers to common and sometimes awkward questions: Do you tip house cleaners? If so, how much, how often, and when is the best time to do it?
- Only 20.7% of house cleaners expect a tip every time. This shows most cleaners don’t expect it. But, half of the remaining 79.3% say they expect a tip when job is harder or longer
- When asked for a tip amount, 41% of respondents report $20 or more is appropriate. However, 27.2% of respondents also report “Anything is fine.”
- Nearly 80% of respondents report that tipping offers motivation and improves the cleaning experience for everyone involved
- Tipping 15–25% is appropriate for one-time jobs
- Monthly tips or end-of-year bonuses are more sensible for recurring cleaning services
- One-time jobs generally call for higher tips than recurring services
- Service quality should factor into how much to tip your service provider
- Online reviews, refreshments, and small gifts are other thoughtful ways to say thank you
About This Survey
We reached out to cleaners registered in the Anita’s network by displaying a short survey in their Anita’s Pro mobile app. We let them know the purpose of the survey is to learn about the tipping concept in cleaning culture and the expectations professionals have when walking into a job.
As our respondents were cleaning service owners, we focused only on those who worked in the field because they see and feel the effect of tipping first-hand and would be able to provide more valuable insights.
Of those, 189 (65.2%) respondents were individual solo cleaners, 89 (30.7%) respondents operated a service with fewer than 5 employees, and the remaining 12 (4.1%) respondents operated a cleaning company with more 5 or more employees.
Q1: Do you expect to receive a tip?
Q2: What is the right amount for a tip (per person)?
Q3: Do you work harder if you know you’re getting a tip?
So, Should You Tip Your House Cleaner?
A professional house cleaner typically won’t expect a tip. But while it isn’t a requirement, a 15–25% tip is often an ideal way to show appreciation for an extraordinary job.
House Cleaners Don’t Expect a Tip Every Time
You don’t have to sweat giving a tip every time with a house cleaning service. Unlike bartenders who often need the extra money to make a living wage, your cleaning person won’t rely on it as part of their income or take it for granted during routine cleaning services.
In our survey, 39% of respondents said they didn’t expect a tip. Roughly the same percentage said they would anticipate one if the job was particularly challenging or more demanding than expected. The final fifth of respondents felt tipping was standard practice.
Tipping Is Appropriate When They Go Above and Beyond
With house cleaning services sitting in that vague tipping realm, there is such a thing as doing it too often. Tipping the same person every week, month after month, can make the gesture lose meaning and cost you excessive money.
In these instances, you can reserve tips for when your house cleaner goes the extra mile. Among respondents that stated they might expect it under certain conditions, the following were typical situations where tipping your house cleaner would be more customary:
- A one-time deep cleaning service that was more time-consuming or complex than initially laid out
- A weekly house cleaning visit that involved a larger mess than usual
- The house cleaner works on a holiday or weekend
- The cleaner was accommodating a last-minute rush job
- The cleaner came particularly early or late to fit your schedule
A tip also makes sense if you need extra housekeeping services that weren’t part of the initial deal. In basic terms, consider tipping when you feel your service provider has to step outside their comfort zone to accommodate you.
Tipping Can Impact Performance
It’s easy to lose faith in the virtue of tips at a time when payment screens awkwardly thrust the option in your face with nearly every transaction. More people than ever are reluctantly tipping in places where it was traditionally never part of the deal. You may not do it everywhere. But there’s a good chance you tip more now than you did without the prompts.
It can feel like tipping loses its value. Tipping a fast food worker for your 10-second interaction doesn’t feel like it impacts anything other than your wallet, especially now that it’s almost an expectation. Plus, there’s the dissonance in feeling like your tips allow employers to justify underpaying their staff.
The difference is that tipping for a house cleaning service isn’t a new concept. House cleaners understand that a tip isn’t guaranteed, so they’ll often make the extra effort when they feel they might receive one.
When asked if they work harder when they think a tip is coming, 79% of our survey respondents said it lends added motivation. A quality cleaning service will meet your expectations every time. But you can’t discount the positive effect of a meaningful token of appreciation.
Cleaning Service Employees vs. Self-Employed Cleaners
One of the most critical factors in deciding how to tip is figuring out who you’re hiring. There’s a difference between tipping a self-employed cleaning lady and tipping rotating employees from a cleaning company.
The most obvious difference is that solo cleaners set their rates, letting them ensure the job is worthwhile. Employees of cleaning companies are limited to what their bosses pay them, so a tip almost always makes sense if they meet your standards.
Cleaning companies also take a cut of client payments to cover operations and other expenses. Self-employed cleaners manage some overhead that they work into their prices, but they rarely have the costs of a larger company. For several reasons, it’s generally more appropriate to tip a cleaning employee a bit more (and more often) than a self-employed cleaner.
Tipping Cleaning Company Employees
Tipping a cleaning company employee at the end of the job is a welcome and thoughtful gesture. But before you hand over some extra cash, researching the company’s policies is a good idea.
Some cleaning company employees must follow a particular process or cannot accept tips. Check the company’s website for a tipping policy. You can typically find information in their FAQs or Terms and Conditions. If you still can’t find information, call the company ahead of time and ask.
Tip: When presented with an electronic tipping option, ask your cleaner if a percentage goes to the maid service company account to pay for processing fees or operational expenses. If so, remember to have a cash tip next time. The added perk to cash is that cleaners don’t risk losing a percentage to payment portal fees from companies like Square, Stripe, etc.
Tipping Self-Employed Cleaners
You generally don’t have to tip self-employed cleaners as much as a cleaning company employee, but the situations that call for it have some similarities. A tip makes sense for a one-time deep cleaning service or when your cleaner goes above and beyond.
That second point is an essential distinction in the value of tipping a self-employed cleaner. A cleaning company often sets limits around an employee’s scope of work. If you want a cleaner to do a little extra, their employer’s policies may not allow it, no matter how much you tip.
A self-employed cleaner has far more flexibility, so a tip could help you work out an add-on. Even though cleaners may include an extra fee, we’ve already seen that tipping can impact their enthusiasm going into the job.
One-Time Cleaning Service
While there’s no hard and fast rule, tipping is generally the right move for any one-off cleaning. These first-time, one-time projects are usually more demanding for the cleaner. It’s a new environment, and they’ll need to take more time than in a house they know well, so they’ll appreciate a larger tip at the end of the job.
Of course, you should only tip if you feel that a job is well done or that the job requirements were met.
Recurring Cleaning Services
Tipping etiquette changes for recurring services, such as weekly cleanings. You can tip at the end of each job, but we generally don’t recommend it when you use the same housekeeper. It sets a high expectation for every service call and can cost you more money than necessary.
Rather than give extra cash every week, consider tipping monthly. Alternatively, offer a small tip each month and a larger one at the end of the year. The exception is if you have different cleaners with every visit, as you may get with cleaning agencies or even cleaning companies. In these cases, you can tip at the end of each service.
Consider tipping as you set your budget, and stay within your means. If you can’t swing a monthly tip, any cleaner will see an annual cash bonus as a lovely gesture.
How to Tip Your House Cleaner
While there’s nothing wrong with a check or credit card, cash is often the easiest and ensures your tip goes where you intend. If you have multiple cleaners, try to tip them individually. When you aren’t home, a tip in a marked envelope on the counter will suffice.
How Much to Tip House Cleaners
A standard tip of at least 15–25% of the total bill is a generally sound practice. For a house cleaning in Los Angeles, where an average cleaning may run $140 to $190, a $20 to $30 tip would be appropriate.
That approach jibes with feedback from our survey respondents, as 41% stated $20 or more is appropriate. Still, over a quarter of respondents said any amount is also reasonable. With that in mind, do what’s best for you and your cleaner. Tip what you can, when you can, but don’t ever feel the need to exceed your budget.
Start Small and Increase Later
If you’re unsure of the proper tip amount to start, err on the lower side and adjust as you go. You don’t want to give more than you can reasonably justify or afford and have to backtrack later with smaller tips.
Assess the Quality
Assess the quality of the work before offering a tip whenever you can. You shouldn’t tip carelessly and devalue the connection between the work quality and the bonus. At the same time, you don’t want to regret giving someone a tip when they miss items on the checklist or do a poor job.
Leave a Review or Email the Owner
Online reviews are one of the best services you can do for cleaning companies and independent house cleaners – and it doesn’t cost a dime!
Reviews are gifts that keep on giving. Roughly 93% of consumers who shop online make decisions based on reviews. A few kind and specific words about your experience mentioning your house cleaner by name only take a few seconds, but it can profoundly affect their future business.
Offer Refreshments and Tip Alternatives
If you’re tight on cash or decide to tip monthly or annually, there are still considerate ways to thank your cleaner with each visit. Refreshments and other tokens of appreciation go a long way.
That doesn’t mean you can offer whatever leftovers are in the fridge. You should put in a little effort and stay conscientious of the situation. A few ideas to get the ball rolling include:
- Offering cold drinks on a hot afternoon
- Supplying fresh coffee for an early morning cleaning
- Buying pizza during a deep cleaning that runs late
Individual preference is critical when deciding what to offer. And there’s nothing wrong with simply calling your house cleaner and asking what they like! A talk about stocking up on a favorite drink for them to grab from your fridge is a great way to break the ice with your new service provider and help them look forward to the appointment.
Do You Tip House Cleaners Each Time?
Although it isn’t required, tipping your maid service is recommended. But you should only do so if they meet your standards and do an excellent job of making your home sparkling clean. Meanwhile, a monthly or annual bonus usually makes more sense when you have regular visits from your cleaning lady.
How Much Do You Tip Self-Employed House Cleaners?
Self-employed house cleaners are less likely to expect tips for their service. If they go above and beyond, offering a bit extra makes sense. And as you build an personal relationship with your cleaner over time, holiday extras and occasional tips become perfectly reasonable.
What Do You Give Your House Cleaner for Christmas?
As you get to know your house cleaner, look for hints into their lifestyle to get ideas for Christmas gifts. Gift cards or personal care products are popular options. When in doubt, extra cash is always a safe bet. Consider a holiday bonus of 50–200% of what a typical service costs. If your bi-weekly cleaning costs $200, anywhere from $100–$400 would be appropriate.
How Much Do You Tip a House Cleaner If Your Bill is $500 or More?
A 15–25% tip is still appropriate for a more expensive cleaning bill because the value should be the same. If the service costs are significantly higher than your initial quote, don’t stress over the need to tip. Tipping is meaningful to home cleaners, but it should never put you in a tough financial spot.
How Much Should You Tip House Cleaners?
While the general rule is to tip 15–25%, always ensure you assess the quality of the service and the circumstances. Feel free to tip if it’s a one-time deal or if you’re working with cleaning company employees. But when the service is lackluster, tipping doesn’t send the right message. And if you have a recurring service, it becomes unnecessary for every cleaning visit.
There are several factors to consider before deciding to tip a house cleaner. By following the tips we’ve laid out, you can be confident closing out every cleaning service.