Consumers More Willing to Outsource Common Chores

Many adults willing to pay others to do undesirable task
Cleaning supplies

June Cleaver may have kept an impeccable house while keeping her cool in the classic 1950s television series “Leave it to Beaver,” but many consumers these days are more interested in paying others to handle their household chores.

Cleaning and maintaining a household are among the more mundane tasks associated with adulthood. TaskRabbit, an online platform that brings together consumers and workers willing to do odd jobs, set out to discover what consumers really thought about their domestic routines. To do so, TaskRabbit commissioned polling firm Wakefield Research to survey 1,000 adults 18 and older about their thoughts on common household tasks.

For many consumers, housework is not their forte. In some cases, survey respondents simply recognize their weaknesses. For example, 27% said they thought they would be more likely to complete a marathon than assemble a piece of furniture successfully by themselves. However, in other cases, common chores were simply despised. The biggest pain point was cleaning the bathroom, with 63% of respondents saying they did not like performing that task. That was followed by 43% who said they don’t like doing yard work and 42% who don’t like cleaning up after pets.

Other common chores displeasing to respondents included laundry (31%) and vacuuming (31%). Respondents even complained about relatively easy tasks; for example, 23% said they found changing a lightbulb to be unpleasant.

But consumers aren’t suffering in silence if the survey is an indication. In fact, many are open to the idea of soliciting outside help when it comes to completing household chores and other tasks they don’t want to do ⁠— and they are willing to spend money to do so. Among the tasks respondents would outsource:

  • 35% said they’d pay someone to wait in a long line for them
  • 29% said they’d pay someone to do last-minute gift-shopping for them
  • 27% said they’d pay someone to untangle jewelry or holiday lights for them

Outsourcing tasks may reduce relationship strife

While paying for help with chores is costing some consumers money, it may be saving some relationships in the process. In some households, the completion of routine chores has led to conflict and tension, as 46% of respondents said they have gotten into an argument with a roommate or loved one over “the right way” to clean something. More specifically, 27% said they had gotten into a heated argument over the best way to assemble furniture, while 23% said they’d disagreed with a loved one about the way to fold laundry. A more significant percentage ⁠— 78%⁠— admitted to arguing about household chores in general. Paying someone else to handle unpleasant tasks that generate disagreement could reduce relationship tension.

If you’re wondering whether you should pay to outsource chores, don’t just consider the money. Your time is valuable as well. For example, studies show that women have less leisure time than men, so outsourcing chores could be one way for women to free up more time for themselves. Hiring someone to take care of household chores could also free you up to put more time and energy into your career, which could give you the ammunition you need to successfully negotiate for a pay raise.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.

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