If you’re thinking about bringing in a cleaner to help you keep on top of the essential chores in your home, there are a few issues you should consider.
You’ll be allowing a stranger into the inner sanctum of your personal space, which means the person you choose has to be trustworthy and honest. This person will see a facet of your life even your closest friends won’t see, so you need to be sure he or she is a good fit.
This is a daunting task, but there are ways to make it easier – and more successful. These five steps to hiring a good house cleaner won’t guarantee success, but they’ll make it far more likely.
1. Look for recommendations
While there are countless agencies and classified ads advertising cleaners, they don’t always tell you a great deal about the individual. The most reliable sources of information are the people who have used these services, so this is where you should begin your search. Get onto discussion boards and forums to speak directly with people who use cleaning services. Alternatively, ask family, friends and work colleagues for recommendations.
2. Don’t hang around
The best cleaners are often working to very tight schedules. Many are booked in advance, so they can be very hard to pin down for an interview. If you want to secure your cleaner in time for a particular event or time of the year, it’s important to get organised well in advance. Decide exactly when you want your home cleaned each week, and how often. Start contacting candidates a few weeks in advance, otherwise you could be left with times and days of the week that don’t fit in with your lifestyle.
3. Carry out a formal interview
While it’s important that you get on with your new cleaner, you shouldn’t give them a free ride just because you’re getting on with one another. Instead, you should carry out a short interview – 15 minutes should be enough time to give you the information you need. Ask about the candidate’s approach to cleaning, and quiz him or her about the various homes and offices they’ve cleaned in the past. If you have time, show the cleaner around your home, and ask their advice on matters of cleanliness and organisation.
It’s also important to ask for references during the interview. As you’ll be providing your cleaner with access to your personal possessions and the most precious people in your life, you need to be confident that the individual has a track record of reliable service. Make sure you personally follow up on each reference, and ask them the following questions:
- How long did the cleaner work there?
- Would you recommend the cleaner to your friends and family?
- What specific cleaning jobs were undertaken?
- Were there ever any problems with reliability?
- Did the cleaner work well around children and pets?
4. Set out your expectations from the beginning
Before you make a formal offer, it’s important that the cleaner knows all of your expectations — in as much detail as possible. Make a list of the cleaning chores you expect to be carried out, and go into detail about the quality of work you want to see. You might have a particular way of cleaning that you want to see the cleaner replicate. Going through all of your expectations in detail will give the cleaner an opportunity to gauge whether or not the job is right for them. It should also avoid any awkward conversations at a later date.
5. Don’t expect too much too soon
There is always a bedding-in period when a new cleaner starts work. Certain jobs may be forgotten, and others may not be done to your satisfaction. From day one, it is important to have respectful and constructive conversations about the work being done. If you allow things to continue when you’re not happy with them, the conversations will become harder.
It’s also important to let go a little. Professional cleaners have their own way of doing things. While their approach may be different to your own, it doesn’t really matter if the results are satisfactory.
Inviting a cleaner into the most private areas of your life isn’t going to be easy. But if you find the right person, the arrangement should work with a little give and take.