Before You Hire a Housekeeper

House Spring Cleaning Maid Housework Service, Cleaner Entering Home Door
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Finally hiring a housekeeper can bring such a sense of relief, but only if you've done your homework. The truth is that when you hire a housekeeper, there are a lot of things to consider. Learn what you need to know before you hire a housekeeper.

Determine if you really need help

Think about what you really need in terms of household help. Is your battle really with clutter? If that's the case, you might be better served by a personal organizer. If your home is generally clean, but you have trouble with special projects like spring cleaning, it might only be seasonal help that is needed. But if you'd like to cut some cleaning time out of your week, then a housekeeper might be the way to go.

Research the pros and cons of independent workers vs. cleaning companies

Often companies take care of issues like insurance, references, and taxes. It's also more likely that you'd have a team of people, which can be nice if you need the cleaning done quickly. Some of the negative aspects of a cleaning company are that disreputable companies exist who don't check references and don't pay their employees well. An independent cleaner may mean a little more paperwork for you, but some people love the idea of developing a good working atmosphere with an individual vs. a company. Because independent cleaners work for themselves, there is less chance of them leaving a job, and you.

Learn about employment laws

Employment laws came seem like a scary thing to have to worry about. If you're using an agency or company, they typically take care of these issues, but to protect yourself, you'll need to check it out. If you're hiring an independent housekeeper, you'll need to make sure that the person is legally able to work in the United States. You'll also need to learn how to pay the employer's part of the social security tax.

Decide on a flat fee or an hourly fee

When considering hiring a housekeeper, one of the things that you'll have to decide is if you're going to pay by the hour or pay a flat fee. If you pay by the hour, a lot of people worry that a housekeeper will stretch out jobs to take more time. Paying a flat rate fee can worry some, that a housekeeper will rush through their work. In my opinion, it's better to pay by the hour. It's easier to figure out a fair rate, and a reputable housekeeper won't risk long-term work for an extra hour of pay. At the same time, keep in mind that there are reputable workers who do prefer a flat fee and will do a great job.

Ask around for referrals

The best place to start looking for a great housekeeper is to ask your family and friends. Ask them if they know anyone, or have had anyone who was great. One of the great things about using a cleaning service is that they have multiple people who might work out well for your needs. A lot of services will allow you to try out different housekeepers until you find one that is perfect for you.

Interview candidates

Come up with real interview questions and make sure that you're thorough with the interview. Ask questions about what they enjoy about their work. Try to find out how they work with employers. Why did they choose housekeeping as a line of work? Check references, work history, and criminal history. A lot of services will do these things in advance, but be thorough and check out the results.

Agree to a trial period

So you interviewed and found the perfect candidate to keep your home clean. Now you're ready to hire them and live happily ever after? It's a good idea to start with a trial period of two-four weeks. This will give them time to get used to your expectations and give you an opportunity to let them settle into what your home is in need of. Any less time​ and you might not get a fair assessment of what they are really capable of. If you're not satisfied after several visits and clear expectations, then there's a good chance that this relationship isn't going to work. A trial period protects you and the housekeeper.

Create clear expectations and boundaries

To be fair, you'll need to have a clear idea of what exactly your housekeeper will and won't be doing in your home. Considering co-creating a list of what chores will be done with any specific instructions you might have. Negotiating these things before work begins will help. You might want to also negotiate a way to request and pay for extra chores above the regular cleaning routine. Be sure to set some boundaries about what won't be occurring in your home. If you don't want the housekeeper using your telephone, computer, stereo, or television, now is the time to stress any of these boundaries.