Finding A House Cleaner
Now that you know what you want (see: What Are Your House Cleaning Needs?), you need to hire somebody. Your first step is to find them. Depending on your area there are some ways:
- Recommendation from a friend
- Google Maps (usually services only)
- Kijiji or Craigslist
- Local newspaper
- Local bulletin boards
- Yellow pages (usually services only)
Obviously word of mouth is best, but not always doable, especially if your peers are of the “I clean my own house” persuasion. If you have to find someone on your own, a service is easiest to start, just open the Yellow pages or Yelp or… and there are dozens of house cleaners. If you want an individual, it will be a little harder, as you will have to call around and interview. However, they almost all advertise on the free services so local newspapers, Kijiji and Craigslist will get you a pretty decent list.
Pricing A House Cleaner
Understand the full cost; call around; ask for rates. They will want to ask about the size and occupancy of your home to understand how long it will likely take. Some will quote an hourly rate and others a flat rate, some with supplies and some without, so make sure you are comparing apples to apples. It is not standard to charge travel time, so make sure they don’t. Make sure you know whether their quote includes tax or not, as well.
Understand if their rate includes insurance; this means if the cleaner breaks something or gets injured on your property, the cleaning company should cover it. Most service are insured, but most individuals are not. This should be a factor in their rate. Whether the cleaner is bonded may cost a little more as well, but is worth it.
Make sure you reiterate their quote; something like “If I understand you correctly, I will pay $20 per hour including tax and cleaning supplies for one person for 3-4 hours, so that will be a total of $60-80 all-in?” You will probably not be surprised at how often you will be corrected at this point. (Do not take this $20 as a guide; I am making it up.)
Find A Good Fit
Pay attention to their phone manner. Can you understand them, are they competent and communicating clearly; are they polite? It may seem like a small thing, but you will likely be dealing with this person on the phone every time you need to reschedule. Are they interested in your priorities and peccadilloes? Matching a cleaner and client is not as easy as picking a name out of a hat. Having a service that is incompetent is just as bad as having a cleaner who is. If you are speaking directly to the cleaner, are you comfortable, do you want to invite this person into your home? I have loved the cleaner and yet had to fire the service due to incompetence more than once.
House cleaning services will usually keep a credit card on file and bill you that way. Individuals usually want cash. They usually have a standard cleaning checklist that all of their cleaners are held to. Make sure you know their process, and are okay with it. I dealt with one company with whom I had to verbally confirm every time or they would cancel my service. After missing several cleanings, despite being a reliable customer, I had to shop around for someone new.
Schedule A Trial
Feel free to set up an initial “getting to know you” clean. This is like a trial appointment; you still pay the regular rate, but you see if you are comfortable with each other. Be forewarned however, cleaning is like sex; it is never the best the first time.
If this sounds a little overwhelming, check out my series on hiring a Virtual Assistant to outsource the process.