29 Jan IN THE NEWS: Paid help on the rise as families get busier
Why do it yourself when you can pay someone else to do it for you?
This is the attitude adopted by a growing number of time-poor West Australians who are outsourcing everything from cooking to matchmaking — creating a lucrative business for those prepared to do the tasks others want to avoid.
It is a trend which has expanded far beyond house cleaning and dog walking, meaning it is now possible to pay someone to wait at your home for tradesmen if you can’t get away from work, or to drop your kids off at school.
Nedlands mother Tracey Hondros has hired people to clean her house, pool and do her gardening for the past two years.
Maid Charlotte Nicolini, from Manhattan Maids, also does the ironing and folding.
“It’s a big house and we are very busy,” Mrs Hondros said. “It is nice having peace of mind and knowing they’ve done a great job.”
Manhattan Maids owner Becky Jones has noticed a huge increase in demand over the past 10 years. “People want their pools cleaned, their dogs walked and taken to doggy day care, their food cooked and even their things unpacked when they move house,” she said.
“Everyone is really busy, especially families with kids. People are time-poor and these services are so readily available now.”
Jules Holliday and Sarah Wells opted to outsource their search for love. The Peppermint Grove couple met through matchmaking service Just Coffee Dating, which involves paying a $1000 subscription fee.
Ms Wells said the dating service saved her a lot of time and energy. “Having a specialist who does this for a living and knows what you want can help you make better decisions,” she said.
Just Coffee Dating owner Louise Roberts said the fee meant all her customers were serious about finding love. “A lot of our clients don’t have trouble meeting people but they are busy professionals, so don’t have much time,” she said.
“They also don’t want their profiles online for people to trawl through.”
Paul and Sharlene Moltoni took over meal delivery service Home Chef in 2013, cashing in on a growing demand for readily available healthy meals.
Mr Moltoni said his customers were mostly elderly people who found it difficult to cook for themselves or busy families who simply could not find the time.
“It’s a convenient service for people who are busy or aren’t capable of cooking for themselves,” he said.
“Our main clientele are seniors, but we also cater for people who have a busy lifestyle and want a good healthy meal.
“Our meals are created in consultation with our dietician and are a complete meal. The meals are prepared on site at our purposes built premises and we always use local suppliers and ingredients wherever possible.”
Up to 19 staff including cooks, delivery drivers and administration workers prepare meals about 1000 individuals or families from Two Rocks to Mandurah.
Mr Moltoni said demand peaked during the winter months when people preferred to eat in.
Curtin University Planning and Geography senior lecturer Amanda Davies said part of the reason more people were outsourcing simple household tasks was because the days of others lending a hand were in decline.
ABS figures revealed a five per cent decrease in volunteering to just 31 per cent of Australians in 2014.
“This decline was also seen in those who offered ‘less formal help’ to help those in other households with activities including home maintenance jobs, gardening, running errands and unpaid child care,” she said.
“If there’s an increase in the number of people outsourcing household chores to formal providers it could be partly due to the decline in assistance of volunteers – either through volunteer organisations or less formal arrangements.”
Willeton midwife Claire Ritchie knows being at home during business hours can be impossible for those leading busy work lives.
She created We Wait For You in October last year.
“We put people in your home to wait for tradies and deliveries,” she said.
“Our workforce are nurses, which we chose for a number of reasons – people trust them, they have good communication skills and are good problem solvers.”
Nurses also work odd hours, which means they can be available during the day.