Expanding Your House Cleaning

If your routine house cleaning is going well, it won’t be long before you want to expand it. In my experience this can be met with mixed reviews by your house cleaner.

If you are working with a service, they may not provide custom services AKA “we don’t do windows”. Or they may want to sell you an additional service with a different provider. The cleaner who works for you may have no wiggle room to work something out with you. But some services are very amenable and will work out your new list and cost with no major difficulties.

If you are working with an individual, they may be amenable or reluctant, depending on time and skill or difficulty. If you are lucky, they are please to expand their services to you and will work out a new list and schedule accordingly.

It is always worth trying to work with someone you know first. One, you already know you like them and that they do a good job; two, if you have to replace them, they will understand if they right of first refusal.

If your cleaner is accommodating:

Make sure you manage and communicate the expectations VERY clearly. No vague arm waves and descriptions. Provide a clear list of items you would like them to care care of with the frequency and times. For example, if you decide to engage them an additional hour every 2 weeks, negotiate what can be accomplished in that hour. If you want them to clean the fridge once a month and clean one window every visit, what chore do you want them to do on the alternating visit? Be clear and make sure they have enough time.

Whatever you do, don’t leave a list every visit of 10 things you need them to do that would take them 3-4 hours and expect results. These lists used to make me want to scream. Inevitably, I would pick the one or two that I had time for, and choose the wrong ones and get yelled at.

I usually give the cleaner my list for the year, and let them take it home and review it. This gives them time to think, or get a family member to help them with the reading. It also helps if I am not there every time they come. If we’ve negotiated and documented the tools, then there are no arguments or disappointments down the line.

I also give them an opportunity to tell me how long my list will take and change our arrangement, if necessary. I am usually driven by budget, so I usually ask what can be accomplished in an hour.  Others may need their list done, regardless of cost.

I know all of this sounds time consuming, but it only needs to be done once and then you won’t have to think about it again for a long time. And hopefully you can use some of my tools to speed up the process.

If your current provider is not accommodating:

You can either replace them or add a second provider.

If you replace them, I suggest shopping around for someone who will do your extras first. Have them in for a visit or two, then if all goes well, they can clean the house once or twice. If you are still happy you can negotiate an arrangement with them for everything. Having one cleaner who does everything can be very convenient, if they do it all well for a reasonable price. It gives you more flexibility, but it is rare.

If you get another provider, or providers, this can have its own advantages. They can often get the whole list accomplished in one day, and come only a few times a year. However, they won’t always know your home well and may need more supervision. If you like to be home while your house is cleaned, this works great, otherwise, not so much.

I have a combination of the two. I like a combining a seasonal refresh by a specialist with a few extras by my regular cleaners. For example, I love having my windows done in and out all at once every spring and fall, but my walls are spot cleaned one room every other week. This method requires coordination and a good calendar, but that will be in a future post.

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Check out my last post in this series: Improving Your House Cleaning
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