Firing Your House Cleaner

You’ve read Improving Your House Cleaning and you’re sure It’s Not You, It’s Them. It happens; like everything else in life, there are good matches and bad matches.  Let me tell you a few stories about bad matches:

The cleaner who was always in such a hurry that she banged and crashed her way through the house her first visit. By the time she left my dad and I were so stressed out that we were practically twitching.

The cleaner who spent the entire time she was cleaning telling my mom stories about her terminally ill mother.  My mom was too polite to walk away, and often very depressed by the end of the day.

The cleaner who happily cleaned for my family for two years until my mom got sick and we had a baby, at which point she immediately quit because it was too much work; proof that the right cleaner is not always the same for every family.

When I cleaned houses I had 10 or so clients, half loved me and half hated me; there did not seem to be much middle ground.  My boss was not the most competent scheduler as she never rearranged clients to find a good match, she just called me every night to pass on the latest criticisms from my clients. Not sure what she expected, but I eventually told her to find someone else for the ones who didn’t like me; something she should have thought to do on her own. It does prove a point though. The clients that like me best had the same priorities and saw the same things I did. Spotless bathrooms and kitchens that gleamed and smelled fresh. Clean rooms that lacked an attractive pattern vacuumed into the rug.  The clients that hated me didn’t cook, not one of them.  Coincidence? I think not.

The point is that you need to find your match.  Call the service and tell them the problem, give them specifics, let them know that your cleaner is good, just not for you.  Tell them what you are looking for.  If they argue with you, fire the service and get a new one.  This is not the first time they are hearing this, no matter what they say.  Passing a whole bunch of criticism on to the cleaner is not likely going to help, not if you’ve already been talking to them, so be wary of that suggestion.

Or maybe it is your cleaner. If they are dishonest, or lazy get rid of them. Tell the service that you never want them back and why. If the services response is anything less than “Absolutely, we’ll take care of it, we’ll get back to you tomorrow to set up a new cleaner” then be done with them too.  There are too many good cleaners looking for work to allow one that is cheating, lying or stealing to get away with it.

I had a cleaner on her trial visit who broke a frame. She put the picture and matte back on the shelf, cleaned up all the glass and wood and threw it away, never told a soul, and we were all home. She didn’t count on me finding it on my walkabout, and did a whole “I forgot” song and dance when I mentioned it.  I didn’t have her back.

If you are not using a service and need to cancel the cleaning yourself, then be honest. You can tell them, you are not a good fit for each other; if you have communicated all along, they will understand. If it’s more serious, you can just tell them you are not comfortable continuing their employment. Do not get into a drawn out he said-she said conversation, it is a no-win. Say your piece and hang up.

Before you get too discouraged. I have had other people cleaning my house for 20 years and I have a few horror stories and some funny ones too, but there are some wonderful ones as well. We had one house cleaner for 4 years, all of my daughters young life, and she was wonderful. She would still be with us if circumstances had permitted. Our current cleaners are a lovely couple whom we always look forward to seeing and who even do windows! There is a match for each of us. Good Luck!

Use my House Cleaning Checklist – Standard
Check out my last post in this series: Improving Your House Cleaning
Check out the rest of my House Cleaner series

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