When to Consider Outsourcing at Home

When to Consider Outsourcing at Home - USAA Member Community


We each reach a certain point in our lives where we re-evaluate priorities, jobs and our work life balances. In the business world, when there is more work than can be done by the current staff, they hire new employees. Since one cannot hire an additional family member (although I sometimes wish there were two of me so I could get more done), the option is to hire out additional help. The pressure for families to do it all themselves is immense in our culture. There is a stigma that asking for or hiring help means you are not as good as the families who manage to do it all themselves. The key is to not to compare yourself or your family with others and make decisions based on your needs. There is a time and place when asking or paying for assistance is worth the cost.


To decide whether keeping a task “in house” or outsourcing is the best decision, you need to consider four factors: Cost, Time, Priorities and Availability.


Let’s begin with cost. Compare what you believe your time is worth (be it a dollar number, or something less tangible like quality time spent with loved ones) to what the service would cost you to outsource:


House cleaning service cost: $15 per hour
Personal Cost: 4 hours (time that could be spent with toddler or spouse) and/or choose your hourly salary- for the sake of the example- $10 per hour
Total Cost to outsource: $60 (price of service) – $40 (Price of your time) = $20
Now the time and priorities factors come into play. You must decide-is the time you will get back and stress saved from service worth the $20? This is a personal decision but in my household the answer was YES.


This was our rational: My husband is much happier in a tidy household; we found that our frustration levels with one another were on a steady rise after we had our first child, because the time we spent dedicated to house upkeep dropped drastically. By hiring someone to come twice a month to help with standard household tasks, our frustration level with one another decreased and we were both happy adjusting our budget to accommodate this service.


Availability is a factor many forget to consider. Being a military family, we are often operating with one less person around! My spouse enjoys doing the yard work, but when he was deployed, this is a service we chose to outsource.  For our family, this was not a monetary based decision but availability. Being late in my pregnancy and the above 100 temperatures where we lived, neither myself nor my deployed spouse were available to complete the yard work task. Therefore it became a necessity to outsource the yardwork despite the cost. I want to emphasize again, make these types of outsourcing decisions based on your family needs.


To successfully outsource (or to decide not to) you need to engage the whole family in the decision and choose together what works best for the family as a whole. If one partner feels strongly about a task being handled in home or outsourced, it is important to have an open and honest discussion about the decision.


After having our daughter, my husband decided it was no longer an efficient use of time or a priority for him to take care of the car maintenance on the weekends. Yes, by performing our oil changes and general maintenance, it could save us a few dollars, but it became the only time (due to a busy work schedule) he had to dedicate to our daughter. Sometimes making the decision to outsource is not strictly about saving money- it is about helping you manage your time to get maximum output.


The hardest outsourcing decision I have made thus far was the decision to put our daughter in childcare two days a week in order for me to have set times dedicated to working. With a new baby due soon, I realized my dedicated nap work time and after bedtime work hours would quickly dwindle. It was difficult to give up control of my daughter for those hours a week (plus I felt the often nagging and sometimes irrational Mom/Dad). In the end, the salary I make, but more importantly the satisfaction I get from working (and with support from my spouse), we decided putting our daughter in childcare was the best decision.


Have you made the decision to outsource any of these tasks or service in your household:


Household Maintenance/Cleaning
Meal Deliver/Grocery Service
Business Services (tax help, accounting, secretarial etc.)


How did you come to that decision? Please share in the comments!



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