The simple answer to whether Hoarders participants get paid to appear on the show is no. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t get anything out of it. Quite the contrary. Described as similar to reality show Intervention, the payment is the services rendered according to both Screenrant and Reality Blurred. The A&E show (previously on Lifetime) has evolved its services depending on the season and episode, recently helping support more home repairs and replacement furniture. Extremely intense or animal-based hoarding has also warranted additional assistance.
This differs from the TLC version called Hoarding: Buried Alive on TLC, which is reported to offer a $3,000 appearance fee plus $3,000 worth of personal organization services (via Shondaland). While the A&E show doesn’t appear to pay out any cash, Hoarders does offer mental health support to those who suffer from this debilitating disorder, providing 6-8 months of paid aftercare. The exact amount of services offered can fluctuate, and comes from “a fund, and it varies to some degree, depending upon the circumstances of the situation, but it’s a fund available to them,” according to producer George Butts.
The real value in appearing on Hoarders is the cleanup.
The cost of cleanup is significant
Cleaning up a hoarder house isn’t cheap. According to show star Matt Paxton, “Cleanouts range anywhere from $1,000-$70,000, and rats are not included!” Rocky Mountain Biohazard further breaks down the costs involved. First, there’s labor. Cleaning crews can be involve day laborers to experienced veterans, each changing the total cost per hour. If the job is out of town, there will be a per-diem involved to accommodate food and lodging while workers are away and adequate personal protective equipment to perform the task.
Next is junk removal. Those dumpsters aren’t free, instead typically ranging from $375 to $525 for a roll out container. Each container has a weight limit too. Finally, cleaning costs will average between $.75 per square foot to $2 per square foot once the trash has been removed. The cost will be higher if biohazards are involved. Removing the hoard may cost thousands and thousands of dollars if done independently, and that does not include repairs to the home or new furniture.
While there is no direct payment to each participant in the show, it’s clear that the services offered are worth a significant amount of money. The results of these episodes can be significant to the families involved, as well as cathartic and inspiring to those viewers suffering at home.
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