Personal Assistants to the Rescue
Out of time? You’re not out of luck. You can hire a personal assistant to take care of daily chores such as cooking and cleaning. Can’t afford an assistant? There are budget options available.
You may be great at time management, but there are still only 24 hours in a day. Personal assistants (concierge services, cleaners, painters, personal shoppers, chefs, etc.) are becoming increasingly popular because “people are fed up with not having a life.
You may also want to consider the economic advantages: If you earn more per hour than you’ll pay for the service, you benefit financially. And if you don’t, sometimes the expense is worth it for tasks you can’t do well yourself. Keep clicking to see the range of personal services that you can hire out along with some low-budget options.
All-in-One Concierge Services
“We’ll do anything and everything the clients needs as long as it’s legal and ethical,” says Aline Goulet, owner of Toronto-based Concierge by Request. Tasks could include grocery shopping, gift shopping, finding a tutor, and more. These services prefer 24 to 48 hours’ notice but will accommodate an emergency if at all possible.
Rate: Bizzy Butler, $35 to $40/hr depending on the task, with a three hour minimum. Concierge by Request, $40/hr., no minimum. The cost of any items purchased (e.g., groceries, a gift) is added to the hourly rate.
Molly Maid will clean inside homes, tackling chores such as bathrooms and kitchens, vacuuming, dusting, making beds, washing floors. “We design a cleaning package based on the client’s needs,” says Kevin Hiles, marketing manager of Molly Maid. You can hire them as needed or on a regular schedule.
Rate: Cost varies depending on the home, but the average in Canada is $87 for about 1.5 hours.
Budget option: Hire an independent cleaning lady. They charge from $10 to $25/hr. Ask friends and family if they know of one or search local online classifieds such as Kijiji.
A personal chef, such as Corinna Murray, owner of Personal Thyme in Calgary, plans menus, grocery shops, prepares meals at your home, packages and labels the food, leaves heating instructions and cleans up afterwards. “Everything I do is completely customized [to dietary restrictions and taste],” Murray explains.
Rate: $40/hr., with a minimum of five meals. Cost of preparing five meals is approximately $500 (food included), but varies depending on food costs.
Budget option: Try a meal assembly service, such as SupperWorks. The meal assembly store does all the shopping and prep work for pre-set menu items and you simply assemble the ingredients into dishes at the store, then take them home to your freezer. It takes approximately two hours to assemble 12 entrées. Each entrée serves 4 to 6 people. Cost: $309 for 12 entrées or $168 for 6 entrées.
Need a bedroom painted or your backyard deck touched up? CertaPro Painters has painters across the country who will take on interior and exterior jobs. Cracks and holes are filled, surfaces sanded and areas primed as well as painted.
Rate: Rates vary depending on square footage and the complexity of the job (i.e., angled walls). And CertaPro generally handles larger jobs-several rooms or an entire house. A job of 500 square feet would cost approximately $1,550 (including paint). One full day of work is typically required. Use CertaPro’s online estimator () to get a quote.
Budget option: Hire student painters through Student Works Painting. Rates vary depending on the room. Typically, it will cost you $250 (including paint) for a 120 sq. ft. room. Note: the painting season for students is April to September.
At CanadianSitter.ca, parents can look for a part-time or occasional babysitter from the more than 3,000 experienced college or university students. Parents search for a sitter by location, then interview, screen and hire a good match. Reference letters are often posted on the sitters’ profiles.
Rate: Membership to the site costs $39.95 for 3 months; $79.95 for the year. Babysitters typically cost between $8 and $14, depending on age,
Budget option: Ask family members to pitch in occasionally for free or hire a neighbour’s responsible older teenager for $5 to $10/hr.
Don’t have time to go shopping or don’t know what looks good on you? A personal shopper, such as those at Style Impeccable, can help. The personal shopper first meets with you to determine your style, goes shopping for you and brings pieces to your home or office for selection. The shopper can also go shopping with you.
Rate: Style Impeccable: $600 for 3 hours, plus the cost of clothing.
Budget option: Some stores, such as downtown locations of the Hudson’s Bay Company, offer personal shoppers for free. They’ll select items in the store for you to pick up, or they’ll shop with you.