Live-In Maid vs Live-Out Housekeeper

June 27, 2012

Hiring a live-in maid is a bit more complex than hiring a housekeeper, since the person you hire will be living with you and must be incorporated into your family life. 20% of housekeepers are willing to be live-in maids so there is definitely a chance for a family to find their perfect match. The effort of going through the search is worth it if your situation requires the assistance that only live-in housekeepers can provide.

There are many situations where having a live-in maid is very convenient and worthwhile. Perhaps you’ve just had a baby, but both you and your spouse work. Maybe an elderly parent has come to live with you, or a health situation is requiring extra care. A live-in maid can reduce the stress on the family and be very valuable.

What to consider when hiring a live-in maid

  • Decide what you need to have done
  • Consider an agency or online company
  • Interview process
  • Prepare an employment plan
  • Obtain and Check referrals
  • Trusting your housekeeper
  • Verifying information

Decide what you need to have done

Every housekeeping job will slightly vary depending on the family and maid hired. Pay should be adjusted for additional services that require more time and skill. Families should discuss which services will be done by the live-in maid. Live-in housekeepers can do anything live-out housekeepers can, often at a lower price (since the family will be providing room and board).

Here are the most common tasks requested by families:

  • Bathroom cleaning ( 86% families requested)
  • Kitchen Cleaning ( 86% families requested)
  • General Room Cleaning ( 71% families requested)
  • Dishes ( 51% families requested)
  • Surface Polishing ( 46% families requested)
  • Oven Cleaning ( 46% families requested)
  • Refrigerator Cleaning ( 40% families requested)
  • Change Bed Linens ( 40% families requested)
  • Cabinet Cleaningleaning ( 40% families requested)
  • Taking out trash ( 35% families requested)
  • Window washing ( 35% families requested)

Online Website or Agency

  • Consider contacting an agency or online company that specializes in live-in maid services
  • Using an online company gives families a much wider selection of maids to choose from in their area
  • Families who are searching can refine their search by indicating their preferences
  • Maids that are part of agencies have already gone through screening


  • Each live-in maid prospect needs to be carefully interviewed.
  • Families are looking for an organized and responsible person yet someone who will become a vital part of your family.
  • Housekeepers from agencies should still be interviewed in case the family’s standards are different from the agency’s
  • You will need to find that balance between being the employer of this person and being able to get along with them.
  • Write out a list of personal attributes that you want in a live-in maid so that you have a standard to use when interviewing.
  • If you have children or elderly relatives living with you it is important that the housekeeper is able to live comfortably with them as well.

Preparing an Employment Plan

The following are items to include in your employment plan

  • Timing of pay (bi-weekly, weekly)
  • Who will provide the supplies or equipment? ( 7% of employers prefer their maids to bring their own - some live-in maids might be required to still buy their own materials)
  • Benefits package
  • Salary incentive plan based on job performance (optional)
  • Daily work schedule (including days off and vacation/holiday time)
  • Grounds for dismissal or termination of the contract

Obtain and Check Referrals

  • Always obtain and check referrals, even if you have used an agency.
  • It is especially crucial for live-in housekeepers to be safe and respectful employees!
  • If a live-in housekeeper does not have any references, any kind of informal experience with friends and family should be stated
  • Live-in maids should definitely reach out to former employers and colleagues for references if they are not already explicitly stated on their resume or profile

Trusting your Housekeeper

  • Do not hire anyone you do not trust or that you believe to be dishonest.
  • Even if all the information checks out, listen to your gut feeling and don’t hire anyone you aren’t comfortable with.

Verifying Information

  • Verify the information provided if you feel the need to do so.
  • Get a background check or hire a local investigator.
  • The cost of the background check will vary depending on the depth of information you want.
  • Less than 1% of housekeepers have a criminal background check already done so it is up to the families to make sure their live-in maid is safe

The Pros of a live-in housekeeper

  • A valued live-in housekeeper lightens your workload and helps you to enjoy your home, ensuring every day that it is clean and presentable , comfortable and well organized.
  • Live-in maids do not have to spend time commuting, allowing for more time with your family
  • Many families pay live-in housekeepers a lower wage ( between minimum wage and $15 ) because they provide room and board
  • Live-in maids or housekeepers are a very convenient asset for a household and over time can become a “member of the family”
  • Both live-out and live-in housekeepers can sometimes take on additional tasks such as helping with the children, walking the dog and helping in times of emergencies.
  • Combined roles such as housekeeper/nanny and housekeeper/cook are also possible, but in all guises, the housekeeper uses a hands-on approach to provide essential domestic assistance for the entire household.

The Cons of a live-in housekeeper

  • As with any live-in employee a live-in maid can sometimes feel invasive to a family’s privacy
  • Providing accommodations for a live-in maid can be too costly or bothersome for some families
  • Because a live-in housekeeper will be around the house 24/7 , if a family member does not get along with them it can be especially problematic

Deciding to hire a live-in housekeeper is a very big decision. There are many benefits and drawbacks and families should deliberate carefully to ensure that they are making the right choice. Live-in maids can be very valuable for some but are definitely not a good fit for every family.

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