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Thread: Villa housekeeper tip question

  1. #1
    bpski is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Apr 2006 Posts: 31

    Villa housekeeper tip question

    I know this has been asked and discussed a thousand times, but lets make it 1001. We are about to leave the island tomorrow and have a question regarding housekeeper tip. We typically do not rent, and do not know what would be appropriate in our situation. Before I go further by no means am I looking to be cheap, but thought I would look to the experts for advise. We have been here for a week and our housekeeper has been here 1 day and another time just dropped off towels and left a note saying she was sick. I understand that she was ill and by no means expect her to work while sick. However, my question is would the normal 10 Euro per day per room standard still apply. I would be very surprised if she has spent more than 1.5 hours here while we are here(we have not seen her which is fine). I understand there was likely some prep involved for our arrival and departure, but that would happen anyways. Should be 1. change the amount or 2. just not worry about it and go with the 10 Euro/day. Thanks for your help!!!! By the way the vacation, weather, food has been awesome. The forum has helped a ton.

  2. #2
    andynap is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,857
    So what you are saying is that you made the beds and cleaned up including the dishes the other days?


    Andy

  3. #3
    KevinS is online now
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Boston Posts: 20,371
    In this case I would likely tip for the day(s) on which services were provided.

  4. #4
    didier is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2005 flamands Posts: 5,084
    the normal on the island is around 5 euros per day, it is not based on how much work the maid actually does or how much time she spends at the villa. if you wish to leave more, thats okay too.

    unlike the restaurants, a lot of the maids pay their own health insurance as they work for several clients.

  5. #5
    bpski is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Apr 2006 Posts: 31
    The bed sheets were changed 1 time, the day she was there. She cleaned a couple dishes the day she was here. Otherwise we have done all dishes and kept everything cleaned up. Keep in mind we are VERY low maintenance and do our best to leave the place as good as we possibly can leave it. My mother has a rental home and we know first hand how frustrating rentals can be. Again, if the norm is €10/day no matter what, we are fine with that, just didn't ant to be getting taken advantage of somehow. Thank you for all the replies.

  6. #6
    andynap is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,857
    Quote Originally Posted by didier View Post
    the normal on the island is around 5 euros per day, it is not based on how much work the maid actually does or how much time she spends at the villa. if you wish to leave more, thats okay too.

    unlike the restaurants, a lot of the maids pay their own health insurance as they work for several clients.
    I don't know Diana. We are not their employers and the maids get tips for their services. We always make sure we see the maid on the last day and give to her personally so someone else doesn't get it.


    Andy

  7. #7
    didier is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2005 flamands Posts: 5,084
    the maids on this island make between 17 to 20 euros per hour. so if the maid is at a villa, she only gets paid for the time she is there, if its only 1.5 hours, then she makes at most 30 euros for the week at your villa. most maids go every other day, some go every day, depending on the villa owner.

    some maids get traveling time to the villa, others do not, depends on the employer. as I said the normal tip is 5 euros a day regardless of the time the maid spends at the villa. some renters leave 10 euros a day. around the holidays the tips are higher, the tips jump to around 20 euros or more a day, as the renters are in a festive mood.

    even after you leave, regardless of how clean you may be. everything has to be washed, windows cleaned, floors scrubbed, etc. for the next renter.

  8. #8
    cec1 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 5,696
    I think it's incredible that the maid appeared for cleaning only one day . . . as long as there wasn't some prior arrangement for limited service. I recommend that you talk with your rental agency or, if a direct rental, with the owner to discuss the situation. It sounds to me like you didn't get what you paid for.

  9. #9
    andynap is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,857
    Quote Originally Posted by cec1 View Post
    I think it's incredible that the maid appeared for cleaning only one day . . . as long as there wasn't some prior arrangement for limited service. I recommend that you talk with your rental agency or, if a direct rental, with the owner to discuss the situation. It sounds to me like you didn't get what you paid for.

    Thank you Dennis.


    Andy

  10. #10
    JEK is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jan 2004 In the ether . . . Posts: 51,762
    Showing up for work is 90% of life :)

    Assuming they do show this is a thread about tipping the housekeeper from a villa owner's perspective, and others.

    https://www.sbhonline.com/forums/thr...l=1#post862683
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party -- June 5, 2023

  11. #11
    didier is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2005 flamands Posts: 5,084
    If I read the thread correctly, the maid was sick. In this case, the agency or owner should offer a discount back to the renter for doing the work of the maid.

  12. #12
    TPunch42 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2006 San Diego, CA Posts: 1,728
    I would expect my agency to replace the maid with another one if she was sick. It seems unusual for this to have happened this way. In your situation would not tip except for the days she came. We tip $5 per bedroom per day as is recommended by our agency. We usually still tip for Sunday's as that is the minimum recommended. But that would depend on how good the job was. I would be pretty dissatisfied with my agency if this happened. But it's one of the things I expect when I stay in st Barth villas.

  13. #13
    PeterLynn is online now
    SBH Member Joined: Mar 2014 Houston Posts: 352
    We left a 5 euro bill every morning and headed out to the beach. The first two days when we returned, the money was still there. I left a note - "c'est pour vous, merci" and then every day it was gone. I think the last day we left a 10.

  14. #14
    bpski is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Apr 2006 Posts: 31
    Thanks for the replies everyone. We have spoke with the rental agency and they were surprised and not happy about a replacement not getting scheduled. They were supposed to come every day, except Sunday, after reading our original contract. As stated earlier ,our villa was fantastic and in no way did this make our vacation any less enjoyable, just wanted to see what would be considered appropriate as it seemed to be an odd situation. Hopefully we find time to upload some pics and do a trip report to "give back" to the people on this board. The information available is second to none and really helps those who are unfamiliar with the island. It gave us the confidence to drive around and feel like we knew some secrets.

  15. #15
    KevinS is online now
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Boston Posts: 20,371
    There is a difference between a fee and a tip. A fee is a required payment for services, which, in the case of a villa maid/housekeeper, is included in the cost of the rental. A tip is an optional payment, a gift of money given voluntarily in gratitude for or in recognition of good service.

    I'm sorry that maids/housekeepers only make €17-20/hour, which is more than minimum wage anywhere in the US.
    I'm sorry that they pay for their own health insurance.
    I'm sorry that the maid/housekeeper works hard to clean and prepare the villa both before my arrival and after my departure.
    However, all of the above are included in their agreement with the villa owner, and not in any relationship with me.

    I tip for services which are provided, based on the quality of said services. If no services are provided then in my opinion no tip is deserved. Additionally, as mentioned in other posts, I would be having a chat with the rental agency or villa owner about the lack of service.

    In fact, I question why the inability to provide the promised service wasn't reported by the maid/housekeeper to the agency/owner so that they could arrange an alternate.

    PS - The two villas which I rent both have excellent maids/housekeepers. They do an excellent job, and they work with me to find a mutually agreeable time to clean the villa. I tip them for the days that they work, as well as for Sundays and holidays which may occur during my residence. On special days such as French Labor Day, Mothers Day, or sometimes on the weekend, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot may change hands too. The Veuve Clicquot thing is just a me (and JEK) thing, and is not an expected practice.

  16. #16
    Bart -my real name- is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2009 Alexandria, VA Posts: 5,167
    Quote Originally Posted by KevinS View Post
    On special days such as French Labor Day, Mothers Day, or sometimes on the weekend, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot may change hands too. The Veuve Clicquot thing is just a me (and JEK) thing, and is not an expected practice.
    I'm available for maid work.

  17. #17
    didier is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2005 flamands Posts: 5,084
    kevin,

    I see that you have thought things out logically as usual. but when you say that the maids earn more than minimum wage in the usa, you could be wrong. sure if they worked 8 hours a day, the 17 to 20 euros an hour sounds pretty good. but normal is 2 hours per day on a villa, then they go to another villa for another 2 hours, and if they are lucky, they might have one more. a lot of the maids only have 2 villas and they also are not including the time they spend on the road getting to and from each villa in the hourly wage. some work at hotels and make less money than the 17 euros an hour because the hotels have to pay their health insurance and they perhaps work 4 hours per day.

    And of course everyone knows that a tip is not a fee, if it were a fee, there would be a standard fee/tip. such as in the usa, when I am in a restaurant, I will leave the "normal" 15 percent tip, unless the waiter has gone out of his way to do something extra for me. it normally takes approx. 4 hours to clean a villa after a guest leaves, they are still cleaning up after you, the same as if you were still there.

  18. #18
    JEK is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jan 2004 In the ether . . . Posts: 51,762
    Quote Originally Posted by bpski View Post
    Hopefully we find time to upload some pics and do a trip report to "give back" to the people on this board. The information available is second to none and really helps those who are unfamiliar with the island. It gave us the confidence to drive around and feel like we knew some secrets.
    Thanks and looking forward to your trip report!
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party -- June 5, 2023

  19. #19
    T3 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2012 NFA Posts: 606
    Quote Originally Posted by didier View Post
    ...unlike the restaurants, a lot of the maids pay their own health insurance as they work for several clients.
    A bit off topic but could you or someone else who is also in-the-know explain how health care coverage works in regard to les femmes de ménage?

    My understanding of the French system is that the mandatory first tier of coverage is funded mainly by employer wage-based contributions at a rate of about 13%. Would not the villa owners be expected to pay this? I believe that the employee wage-based contribution is now under 1%. It had been higher before largely being replaced by an ear-marked Contribution Sociale Généralisée tax on all income with rates of 6%-10% varying by type of income.

    Alternatively would maids get coverage via the Caisse Nationale d' Assurance Maladie des professions indépendantes (CANAM) for the non-agriculturally self-employed or Couverture Maladie Universelle (CMU) for low-income and unemployed, which requires a contribution of 8% income above the minimum threshold (near €10000) and is free below that threshold?

    My understanding is that the first tier provides good coverage for illnesses and accidents and fair-to-good coverage for preventive medicine but that the vast majority of French purchase additional second tier coverage.


    More on topic... I would do just fine without daily house cleanings, which are pretty much the only scheduled event of any day... and would be so grateful that an ill maid stayed away rather than create a house of fomites in need of decontamination that I might even tip extra...

  20. #20
    didier is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2005 flamands Posts: 5,084
    The villa owners are not always considered the maid's employer unless she works only for them and no one else. the maid most of the time is self employed and therefore works for herself. she will have to pay her own health insurance which is not included in her wages.

    I also agree with you on the maid services, if I rented a villa here, I would be happy not to see the maid all week, I like my privacy and I can wash my own dishes etc. I would still leave the maid a tip for her services for cleaning after I leave and for not bothering me while I am in the villa, plus I would not want to cheat her out of her income for the week because it was my choice not to use her.

  21. #21
    andynap is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,857
    Diana - as good as you are a cheerleader for the island, I doubt you are going to convince anyone to pay a maid for not coming to clean the villa- Sundays or Holidays excluded.


    Andy

  22. #22
    I guess everything depends on your attitude: whether she deserves a tip or not?

  23. #23
    didier is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2005 flamands Posts: 5,084
    My final thoughts on this, when you check into a hotel room in the states or elsewhere, and you only stay for one night, do you not give the maid a tip even though "she has not done anything for you since you arrived?"

    after all even though the maid has a contract for her services with a hotel or with a villa owner, she cleans before you arrive and she cleans after you leave.

    what I find really strange is that some people have no problem tipping the waitress above and beyond what is a normal tip on this french island, sometimes they tip 15 to 20 percent of the bill, I know as I have been at some of the dinners where someone goes around collecting the tip for the waitress and actually will ask me to be a party to this overtipping, they will even go as far as to say this is your share of the bill plus tip. I look at them and say, I tip two or three euros max.

    but when it comes to the maid, the same people will say, did she come today, what should my tip be, why should I tip her for cleaning up after me after I leave, she has a contract with the owner, I really don't understand the logic here.

  24. #24
    andynap is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,857
    Quote Originally Posted by didier View Post

    but when it comes to the maid, the same people will say, did she come today, what should my tip be, why should I tip her for cleaning up after me after I leave, she has a contract with the owner, I really don't understand the logic here.
    Diana- where in this thread did you get that? When I arrive I count that day as day 1 for the maid and when we leave as the last day and I think so does everyone.


    Andy

  25. #25
    didier is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2005 flamands Posts: 5,084
    Quote Originally Posted by KevinS View Post
    There is a difference between a fee and a tip. A fee is a required payment for services, which, in the case of a villa maid/housekeeper, is included in the cost of the rental. A tip is an optional payment, a gift of money given voluntarily in gratitude for or in recognition of good service.

    I'm sorry that maids/housekeepers only make €17-20/hour, which is more than minimum wage anywhere in the US.
    I'm sorry that they pay for their own health insurance.
    I'm sorry that the maid/housekeeper works hard to clean and prepare the villa both before my arrival and after my departure.
    However, all of the above are included in their agreement with the villa owner, and not in any relationship with me.

    I tip for services which are provided, based on the quality of said services. If no services are provided then in my opinion no tip is deserved. Additionally, as mentioned in other posts, I would be having a chat with the rental agency or villa owner about the lack of service.

    In fact, I question why the inability to provide the promised service wasn't reported by the maid/housekeeper to the agency/owner so that they could arrange an alternate.

    PS - The two villas which I rent both have excellent maids/housekeepers. They do an excellent job, and they work with me to find a mutually agreeable time to clean the villa. I tip them for the days that they work, as well as for Sundays and holidays which may occur during my residence. On special days such as French Labor Day, Mothers Day, or sometimes on the weekend, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot may change hands too. The Veuve Clicquot thing is just a me (and JEK) thing, and is not an expected practice.

    the answer for your question andy was in this reply.

  26. #26
    andynap is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,857
    Yes I see that but first and last day for me always counts toward the maid tip.


    Andy

  27. #27
    Voosh is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2007 Detroit Posts: 13,128
    #1, If your contract says daily housekeeping service, housekeeping should be daily. If not, talk to provider of rental about adjusting your payment. #2, If you don't require daily service, negotiate fees and terms upfront.


    We all have our own ways of saying thank you. "Formulas" are not natural, IMHO. Usually our housekeeping has been fine. In the very few exceptions, we varied from our "loosey goosey" tipping for daily service which is kinda, somewhat:

    - 2 euros per person per day, including arrival and departure day. With us that's usually 5-8 people for 7 days.

    - We keep a "kitty jar" for all the shared stuff like cooking inhouse, etc. We all put in an equal share at the start and equally contribute as it runs down. At the end, the rest is left for housekeeping.

    -All spare euros that ya don't want to keep for the next trip stay behind.

    - Any leftover food or booze is theirs, and we tell them so. Sometimes it can be a fair amount of unopened pizzas that we didn't inhale while packing the night before, wine we didn't drink, rhum that wouldn't fit in our bags, fresh produce, etc. We are huge inhalers of good food and libations. But, we have been known to overbuy thinking that we can get all of that good stuff down our gullets.

    - We treat them like the hardworking folks they, usually, are - very appreciatively. Have known some of them for years. If they don't have a babysitter when they stop by, their kids have hung out with us by the deck and pool. We don't mess things up much and are decent about picking up after ourselves. Picking up empty bottles and working the dishwasher are not a big hassle for us. They do the dirty work.

    - If possible, we directly hand euros and stuff over to our friend of the week.

    When we happen to run into them somewhere on isle, it's always a happy greeting and an introduction to their family and friends. :)

    Read the fine print and follow the Golden Rule.
    Yeah, Yeah - IMHO

  28. #28
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 9,175
    The maids at the Villa we rent work six days a week. We still tip 5 Euros a day for 7 or 14 days days. We suggest only tipping for the days they worked in the situation you presented.

  29. #29
    MrBart is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jul 2011 Fairfield County, CT Posts: 182
    I recently tipped 80 eruo for a 9 night stay which included 2 days off for the maid. I have previously tipped 50-60 euro for 7 night stay (minus one day for Sunday) for my other stays. I usually tip the maid the first day of my stay. To each their own but IMO just do what you think is right.

  30. #30
    kent1994 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Aug 2004 Pennsylvania Posts: 1,748
    In February Liz and I visited a villa on the day the guests left and before the maid arrived. The villa is in Camaruche and is beautiful. Disgusting is not strong enough to describe it's appearance that day. Drink glasses everywhere, many with cigarette butts in them, dirty dishes piled high in the sink with dirty pots and pans, sand on the floors etc. I won't even go into the bedrooms and bathrooms. We are renting the villa in February so we obviously were able to overlook its temporary appearance. We have never and would never consider leaving a house in anything like this condition. So you never know what your villa looked like a few hours before you arrived. This is of course not a scientific survey but if a maid encounters this only occasionally it argues for 10 Euro a day at a minimum.

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