Get More From the People You Pay


In this economy, your boss has asked you to take on more work, so why don’t you do the same with your household payroll?

That’s a fancy way of saying, maybe it’s time to ask your cleaning person, babysitter, or even the kid who rakes your leaves to take on an extra task or two.

Yes, but you have to sweeten the deal, says Judy, 38, who got her Brooklyn contractors to make minor repairs to her staircase while they were repaving her driveway.

“After discussing what they’d normally charge for the stairs, I mentioned that I had a network of friends who also needed work done. I told them I’d be happy to give them referrals, if they could cut me a deal.”

Of course, if your add-on isn’t really asking for much more, it’s fine to be casual. Doris, 52, asked her cat sitter do a little light cleaning while she was out of town (since, really, what else is a cat sitter doing?).

And then there’s…honesty. Mention to the person that their fee has become a challenge. Suggest adding on an extra task every other time they work for you, so you get a little more for your money.

Says one DailyWorth reader: “Trust me when I tell you that ALL service providers are going through a lean time. Most will negotiate rather than risk losing a job.”


Out of the Box
To find the going rate for babysitters, housekeepers, and pet care in your area, visit Or try (but mind the “last updated” dates!)


Who’s the boss? Do you feel comfortable asking for more or better service?


The team here at DailyWorth understands that this post has offended some readers. Some interpreted what we wrote as a bid to “take advantage” of others. This was not the intent or the meaning of this post. We value the comments that alerted us to this misunderstanding, and we deeply regret any miscommunication.

As a community of women who talk money, at times DailyWorth will post things you disagree with. It’s part of our mission to explore challenging issues, and we look forward to the debates that emerge. As always, thank you for speaking up and vocalizing your opinions and helping us learn from you, as we do every day.

Amanda Steinberg, founder & MP Dunleavey, editor-in-chief

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