Survey Finds That People Outsource This Dirty Job More Than Any Other

published Feb 10, 2017
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Nobody likes the ongoing maintenance and household chores that accompany home ownership. But of all the tedious tasks on our to-do lists, a new survey finds there’s overwhelmingly one that we can’t wait to take off our plates. Can you guess what it is?

Nearly half (47%) of American homeowners surveyed by contractor review site Angie’s List said they plan to pay someone to help with yard work or landscaping in 2017. That’s almost twice as many people who expect to outsource at least some of their housecleaning (25%), another common category.

Meanwhile, almost a third (31%) of respondents plan to hire a handyman this year, 19% said they’ll let a pro handle their gutters, and 11% will pay for a chimney sweep or repair. As someone who’s currently underneath a foot of frigid snow, with nary a creature in sight, I was surprised to see that 18% are budgeting for pest control or an exterminator.

Note that this doesn’t necessarily mean everyone else is doing this work themselves; too many are probably just ignoring these essential tasks, while others might live in a condo where such maintenance isn’t necessary or is included in the HOA fees.

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Not surprisingly, people with higher incomes and bigger homes — with more square feet to clean and larger lawns to mow — are more likely to pay for routine services. Only 17% of members with a household income under $75,000 plan to hire a housecleaner, for example, compared to 32% of households earning six figures.

Likewise, those in the largest homes (3,000 square feet or more) were twice as likely to hire a housecleaner as people living in homes of 2,000 square feet or less. And nearly six in 10 (59%) of those large-home owners said they’ll hire out for yard work and landscaping.

Beyond these dreary maintenance tasks, most people surveyed plan to make aspirational home improvements as well: 72% said they’ll spend as much or more on home improvement this year as they did in 2016. One in four said they plan to hire an interior painter, and 19% expect to pay someone for a kitchen or bathroom remodel or to install new flooring.

So tell us: What household tasks are you willing to pay for?