Time is short, and cleaning isn't fun. After a long week of work, and busy days with family, isn't cleaning one of the last ways you want to spend your free time? If keeping a tidier home is one of your new year's resolutions, consider hiring a professional cleaner.
If you have the means to hire a professional, I definitely recommend it. My household started hiring out this service a few years ago. It started out as a special occasion treat, and after we realized how much we liked it — how much it freed up our time and made us happier at home — we decided to take the plunge and use the service monthly. Along the way we've picked up a few tips on how to hire a professional, and have a successful relationship with your cleaner:
- Get References: As with most other services, word of mouth is best. Ask friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers for referrals. Our housecleaner also cleaned one of my old offices and my employer's house. Because of my experience with her at work and my boss' long history with her, I felt very comfortable trying her out at my house.
- Research: Whether or not you are given a direct reference, also do your due diligence and research the cleaner online. Check out reviews on Yelp, Angie's List, and the Better Business Bureau to make sure there are no secret horror stories or particular employees to stay away from.
- Independent or Company: My cleaner is independent, and I very much like that. She's the only one who comes (sometimes with one or two other assistants whom I also know), and I don't have to worry about other strangers in my house. However, using a larger scale company has other benefits like liability coverage, a larger staff to accommodate your schedule, staff variety if you'd prefer to not have the same person each time, and potentially lower rates.
- Pay Rates: Make sure to find out if the service charges hourly, or at a flat rate. If it's a flat rate, find out what's included in the flat rate. If it's hourly, be sure to get a quote on the typical time needed and what is typically included in an average session. Find out how much special services cost, should you need them. If your housecleaner does a particularly good job, let them know and provide a tip or gift at the end of the cleaning session, or yearly.
- Find Specialists, If Needed: Decide if you need a specific type of cleaner. If you're looking for a 'green' cleaner, you'll need to seek out cleaners who specialize in this. Or, with my cleaner, I simply provide her with the cleaning supplies that we want used in our house, so we always know what's being used and that everything is eco-friendly.
- Communicate: Be sure to provide any important information — about building codes, pets, trash service, etc. If you have any special requests or if there's an area that needs deep cleaning or special attention, don't feel bad about it — all you have to do is ask (and potentially pay a little extra). If there's something you want your cleaner to change about their cleaning process, give them feedback early on. If a piece of furniture has specific cleaning instructions, don't forget to let them know. Likewise, if there's something they did particularly well that you appreciated, they'd be happy to know!
- Clean Before They Clean: Your housecleaner is not your organizer. Make sure to put things away, pick up, file, and generally tidy up so that the cleaner can do their job well. If things are left out it will be harder for them to clean surfaces, and you risk them putting things where you might not be able to find then later.
Do you use a professional housecleaner? If so, leave your hiring and relationship tips in the comments below!
MORE ON PROFESSIONAL CLEANING ON APARTMENT THERAPY: