6 Tips for Hiring a House Cleaner
The decision to hire someone to help clean your home for the first time can be a daunting decision. First, you are going to be allowing someone, quite possibly a stranger, into the most private areas of your home. These are areas that you likely shut off when you have even your closest friends over, […]
The decision to hire someone to help clean your home for the first time can be a daunting decision. First, you are going to be allowing someone, quite possibly a stranger, into the most private areas of your home. These are areas that you likely shut off when you have even your closest friends over, so allowing someone to see behind those closed doors can feel like an invasion of privacy. Secondly, this person is going to see all your dirty laundry (literally), and you have to trust that they aren’t going to judge you on your poor housekeeping skills. Third, you need to find someone you can trust to not take (or break) your stuff. You want them to treat your home the way you would treat it, so it takes finding the right person to do that.
As daunting as it may be to ask someone to help you in your home, it is also one of the best decisions you can make. I once met with a business coach who told all his clients, “No one makes money cleaning their own home.” In other words, there is little value in cleaning your own home. Most people can find other things to do that either make them more money or provide them more joy than cleaning their own homes. Today’s tips will help you learn how to find the right person to help you around your home.
1.) Plan Ahead
When you are considering hiring someone to help clean your home, it’s important to think ahead. Most cleaners have regular clients that fill most of their schedule, so getting your first appointment may take a few days. This is even more true around the holidays. Everyone wants their home to be in tip-top shape for the holidays, so cleaners often book out weeks in advance. I always feel horrible when my house cleaning company gets phone calls from people the week before Thanksgiving or Christmas, and they need help before hosting the big events. Those spots fill up first, so if you know you’re going to need help, start calling around to book your appointment early!
2.) Get Recommendations
Once you’ve decided what type of cleaner you want to hire, it’s time to get some recommendations. Try asking people you know if they have a person or company they would recommend. Ideally someone in your circle either is either currently using a cleaner, or they have used one in the recent past that they would highly recommend.
3.) Search Online Sources
If you aren’t able to get a good referral from people you know, it’s time to hop online. A quick Google search of “house cleaning (your city name)” will provide you a long list of websites that are targeting your city with their marketing. You also might find a few more possibilities by searching on Craigslist or looking through classified ads. Once you find a few that you like, make sure to check out their Yelp and Google reviews to see what others in your area are saying about the companies. I’d recommend doing this before you even check out their websites or call them. You might only find a couple reviews, but they could help you eliminate ones that consistently let their clients down.
Keep in mind that most people aren’t quick to leave a review for their house cleaners unless they were super impressed, moderately to really disappointed, or financially incentivized. Four out of five stars is pretty common for good house cleaners. Most reviews should be fours and fives, with a couple ones tossed in to account for real life. Everyone has different expectations for how they want their house cleaned. Some people like their bathrooms to be quickly wiped down, others want them scrubbed with a toothbrush, so it’s normal for customers to be upset every now and then. If a company has ONLY five-star reviews, it may be because they are really that good at cleaning, but it could also be that they have fishy practices to get people to only leave five star reviews. As with all review sites, they can connect you with some great local businesses, but take the reviews with a grain of salt knowing that some could be fake.
4.) Ask for References
If the person or company you are looking at hiring doesn’t have any online reviews, ask them if you can speak with a few of their current clients. Smaller companies and independent contractors may not have taken the time to set up their online marketing, but they should have at least a couple people who can tell you about their quality of service. If they aren’t willing to connect you with any of their clients for any reason, steer clear. If they have a good working relationship with their clients, at least a couple people should be willing to vouch for them.
Have your questions ready to ask their references. Questions you may want to consider include:
- How long have they been cleaning for you?
- Can you tell me about the extent of the work they do for you?
- If you could change one thing about their services, what would it be?
- Have you referred them to your friends and family? Why or why not?
- Have you ever had to reschedule your service? What was that process like?
- How are they around your kids/pets?
Think of the things that are most important to you, create a list, and ask each reference the same questions. You’ll see that some cleaners will start to stand out more than others, which will make your decision easier.
5.) Be Clear in Your Communications
This tip can be a really tough one for some people. As I mentioned before, there are many different ways to clean a house, and each client thinks their way is the right way. Some people think floors should be vacuumed before dusting because vacuuming can stir up dust from the floors that then settles on the furniture. Other people think that floors should be cleaned last because everything can get knocked down on them. Some people think bleach is needed to disinfect toilets, others don’t want bleach in their homes at all. Some people want their dishes washed and put away, others can’t stand the thought of having a cleaner touch the dishes and want the dirty dishes to be piled into a clean sink. You name it, we’ve heard a complaint about it.
To help you be satisfied with your cleaning, it’s important to be clear with the person you hire to clean your home. If you want them scrubbing your baseboards with a toothbrush, tell them! If you want them to lift and vacuum under every rug, every visit, they need to hear that from you. The worst thing a person can tell their potential new cleaner is to, “Just clean it.” That could mean 101 different things, so be as specific as you can regarding what products you’d like them to use and how you’d like them to complete the job.
6.) Adjust Your Expectations
The person cleaning your home likely isn’t doing it because they love to clean. There’s a good chance that they are a people person, and are working hard to try and please you. Keep that in mind as you look through your house after your cleaning appointment. If you weren’t clear with them on how you wanted something done, it’s a great time to say, “Next time, can you do _____?” The toughest thing as the owner of a cleaning business is to hear a client say, “Isn’t it obvious they should have done _____?” Hopefully you are noticing a trend and realizing that it’s not always obvious how someone wants their house cleaned.
If you can adjust your expectations, and be willing to give honest feedback, you can create a great relationship with your house cleaner. Compliment them on the things they did well, and then point out the things you’d like done differently in the future. This will help them get to know your style, and your expectations, which will help them learn how to keep you happy down the road.
Whether you are looking to hire a house cleaner for an ongoing basis, or just a one-time cleaning before a special occasion, keeping these tips in mind will help you find just the right person to help you in your home.