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Time is Money: Knowing When (and When Not) to Pay Someone Else to Do Your Chores

By Andrew Seale

Published June 27, 2016 • 4 Min Read

The growth of handyman-for-hire and household task tackling services combined with busy schedules makes outsourcing some of those cumbersome chores an easy choice. Whether it’s an arduous painting job, yard work or something as simple as grocery shopping, hiring help be it from a traditional handyman or online service can be well worth the cost, giving you more time and less stress.

While everyone understands that time is money, not all solutions offering to chew through your chores are worth the price tag.

Here’s a breakdown of four odd jobs and whether it make more sense to outsource or roll up the sleeves.

Cleaning the House

In the past, maids and house cleaners were reserved for the wealthy. But with online startups elbowing their way into the space, finding someone to scrub that chrome and show a little vacuum love to your place is becoming inexpensive.

A traditional maid service in most cities will run you anywhere from $15/hour to a $125 flat fee for a three-hour deep clean of a one-room bedroom apartment. With an online catch-all service like AskforTask you’ll pay $25 an hour.

The verdict: Skip the task apps and go straight to the professionals, especially if the space is larger. With the cleaners providing their own supplies, outsourcing is definitely the better choice.


Between the riveting task of quite literally watching paint dry and the soreness that comes from putting those otherwise sedentary “paint roller muscles” to use once every few years, it’s no surprise there’s a wealth of options and price ranges for most budgets when it comes to hiring painters.

Bringing on a professional painter can run anywhere from $0.80 per square foot to upwards of $2.25 per square foot. It usually includes the cost of supplies with the exception of paint which can be anywhere from $40 to $80 a gallon. A service like Jiffy, which offers on demand helpers, costs $100 for the first 1.5 hours and $65 for every additional hour, not counting paint.

The verdict: Skip outsourcing and host a “Pizza/Painting Party” Try sandwiching the monotonous task of painting between two widely enjoyed activities and you may find yourself with a good-sized crew.

Grocery Delivery

Most major grocery stores have offered deliveries to seniors and those with disabilities for years but more recently, a new cohort of delivery services offering not just groceries but everything from organic to fully-curated meal plans in a box have entered the market.

Grocery Gateway, one of the larger delivery services in Canada delivers orders over $45 for a $9.99 delivery fee (+ HST).

The verdict: With Google’s Express delivery service and Amazon Fresh slowing making their way into Canada, digital grocery shopping is looking like the way of the future. If you can devote the time you’d spend grazing the super market shelves and waiting in the checkout, why not submit an order online and have it delivered when you’re around?

Lawn Maintenance

Keeping pace with the seasons can feel like a fruitless task. With summer en route, the days of mowing, weeding, gardening and landscaping are just around the corner. If the prospect of devoting a Saturday afternoon to yard work makes you cringe, you might feel inclined to outsource.

On Craigslist or Kijiji classifieds, hiring someone to mow your lawn can cost from $30 to $40 an hour to $90 a month. Jiffy offers lawn maintenance for $40. Pruning, hedging, and garden clean up starts around $55.

The verdict: It’s your lawn, own it! If you want to outsource some of the grunt work like mowing the lawn to a neighbourhood teen for $15, feel free. Otherwise, take your time with it and enjoy, there are worst ways to spend a weekend then out in the sun.

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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