Should you tip your home cleaner?

This blog on whether you should tip your home cleaner is my opinion on the situation based on my experience & many articles I have read on the tipping situation within the restaurant industry.

Just a quick overview of when I started questioning the tipping situation even before Tremendous Maid: Since I worked in management positions at four & five stars hotels and resorts we have always battled with the question of whether the hotel should implement a mandatory tip per room for the benefit of the housekeeper/s who serviced that room during the guests stay. In the residential cleaning industry we have contemplated the same.

For example: The housekeepers in some hotels earn $8 to $15 per hour depending on their tenure and location. Some of the maids I supervised were making $9 an hour and cleaning 15 rooms which is extremely hard labor. We always used the restaurant waiters as the example of why our housekeepers should receive a tip because the only difference was the waiters were able to speak English and were trained to make the menus items seen as if they were a piece of art:

A waiter at a hotel (which i wont disclose the name for confidentiality reasons) could easily make $70k to $80k in tips per year at a high-end restaurant. Our housekeeper would earn $25k or so. The big difference was that the waiters spoke English.Our housekeepers 90% of them or more did not speak English.

You would think that because a guest is staying at a 4 or 5 star hotel that they would leave a tip for the housekeeper but that was not the case. However, I understand that most of the USA servers don’t work in luxurious restaurants and hotels –and I have come to understand what it means for waiters and other minimum wage employees out there? (here is an article on the situation) –I definitely agree with some of the points on this article and why tipping should be removed or restructured and higher wages should be provided to all staff.

Moving on, initially when we opened Tremendous Maid we wondered if we too should implement a mandatory tip and we decided against it.  Instead we have been increasing wages for our maids / home cleaners and commercial cleanerjps on an frequent basis. Also most of our clients receive weekly / biweekly service and a mandatory fee on such a high frequency wouldn’t make sense. So we have left the issue alone. Recently, I found this article on JP News to be fascinating. Article is about 3 Gatos and how they have implemented a 3% Back of the House Fee for their kitchen staff as a means to move towards employee income equality. Here is the article on JP News. It has been such a controversy with the JP community and a lot of pushback from residents. I think they have done the right thing by being open about it and writing the letter for their customers so there is zero surprise.

This is another article here discusses the tipping situation in restaurants and what some restauranteur are doing about it.  Wouldn’t it be better to increase wages for everyone within a company instead? Cooks works just as hard and a dishwasher jobs is extremely hard. At The Hotel School at Cornell Univ, I had to take a class in Restaurant Management, during every class we had to transition from one position to another and one night i was assign the dishwasher position for the evening—i wanted to die. Seriously it was the worst position ever!

My point is that we as entrepreneurs and customers should think things thru and figure out how together we compensate our employees properly for their jobs…and customers should be willing to put themselves in our employees position soBathroom Cleaning by Tremendous Maid less complaints and more progress is made. Customers sometimes don’t know what it takes to put a service or product together and make it available to the market place. I urge everyone to be more understanding. The article on JP News has a lot of insights –make sure to check the comments as well and responses from 3 Gatos owner –i think they did a great job with some of their responses to the community / customers.

Tip for your Home Cleaner? We do not make it mandatory but some clients do provide tips and they can do it in cash or via credit cards. The average tip amount we see clients give our maids / home cleaner is $10 per cleaner.  Because the tips we managed are coming to us via credit card, that means that whatever the tip amount the cleaner receives less after paying taxes, etc.

Almost over 95% of the tips receives are coming from clients receiving a one time cleaning such as a move-in or move-out cleaning or a one time deep cleaning / spring cleaning. Regular clients know that tips are not expected and are discouraged. Maids working for themselves or for a residential cleaning company will not expect tips from regular clients…In the summer (the peak of the season when Sept 1 is around the corner) a team of 3 maids could make in tips $5 to $10 and as high as $20 per maid when they are doing a move-out / move-in cleaning. That doesn’t happen everyday and they do not expect it.

When a client seriously asks for suggestion on tipping –we simply tell them to tip whatever amount they want since we don’t have a tipping policy. Tips are not based on a percentage of the total bill especially since some cleanings can be as high as several hundred dollars for a one time cleaning / move out or move in cleaning.

Any thoughts on this topics? I find it fascinating…share with us here.