Finally hiring a housekeeper can bring such a sense of relief, but only if you've done your homework. It's important to find someone who is trustworthy, particularly if they will be cleaning your home while you're at work or running errands, and will take their time to do the job properly. Ask around for referrals and consider the ins and outs of using a sole proprietor or hiring a larger cleaning company before you commit to a housekeeper.
Independent Workers vs. Cleaning Companies
A number of housekeepers work as sole proprietors of their own business, but you might be more comfortable with a larger cleaning company that hires their own employees. There are pros and cons to both: A benefit to hiring a cleaning company is that they are responsible for screening the employees to ensure that a background check comes up clean. On the other hand, if you want the same person cleaning your house every week, you should choose a sole proprietor—turnover tends to be higher with cleaning companies, and they might send someone different each time.
No matter which way you go, make sure that the company or proprietor is licensed, insured, and bonded. Being bonded is important if the housekeeper breaks or damages something in your home while being insured will cover if the housekeeper gets hurt while on the job.
Find a Referral
The best place to start looking for a great housekeeper is to ask your family and friends if they have a company or person that they use and love. 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 your needs.
Take some time to come up with real questions, and make sure that you're thorough with the interview. Ask questions about what they enjoy about their work. 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.
Decide on a flat fee or an hourly fee
When considering hiring a housekeeper, one of the things that you might have to decide is if you're going to pay by the hour or pay a flat fee, though the housekeeper or company might have their own non-negotiable policies.
If you pay by the hour, a lot of people worry that a housekeeper will stretch out jobs to take more time. However, paying a flat rate fee might mean the housekeeper rushes through their work. Discuss the options with your chosen housekeeper.
Decide on Tasks
Certain house-cleaning tasks are standard, such as sweeping, mopping, and scrubbing the showers and toilets. However, you might have to negotiate any additional tasks, such as laundry or dishes, to be done regularly. Sometimes, you can also request to add duties a couple of times per year, such as cleaning the fridge or ovens.
A housekeeper's insurance might limit certain duties; for example, house cleaners aren't often allowed to clean the exterior of windows. Any tasks that require climbing on ladders to great heights, like cleaning chandeliers or the tops of cabinets might be denied, too.
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.