15 things you should know before hiring a cleaning lady for your home…
Are you thinking about hiring a cleaning lady (or team)?
Read this before you do!
*I am not a cleaner – but I have friends who are, and have interviewed a few cleaners for this post. If you are a cleaner and feel differently from this post, please comment below the post and tell me your thoughts. I want this article to be as accurate as possible. 🙂
15 Things To Know Before Hiring A Cleaning Lady (Or Man)
Cleaners Are NOT Housekeepers
I think this is one of the biggest misconceptions people have about hiring a house cleaner.
A Housekeeper is someone hired to keep up the entire house – they handle maintaining a home with light housework and maintenance.
Typically, a housekeeper will be paid more, have fewer clients, and spend a great deal of time caring for a home for their client.
A Cleaner focuses on cleaning areas in a home on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis.
Cleaners typically have more clients and spend anywhere from 2-8 hours (depending on the job) at a home cleaning.
Cleaners are also not Organizers (that is an entirely different field and service), although I would imagine some cleaners can offer to help organize a space or two for you to help out, especially if it’s an area they frequently clean and would help them clean better in the future.
There Is A Difference Between A Regular Clean And A Deep Clean
A regular clean typically includes:
- vacuuming/mopping floors
- bathrooms (counters, toilets, floors, mirrors)
- dusting (minus blinds)
- kitchens (counters, sink, outside of appliances, cooktop, wiping down dining table and chairs)
- doorknobs and light fixtures
- light pick up
- wiping down common surfaces
A deep clean typically includes:
- everything above, plus…
- inside appliances (microwave, fridge, oven)
- fan blades
- outside/inside cupboards
- deep clean carpets or couches
- vents and light fixtures
- laundry – washing, folding, etc.
*This varies from cleaner to cleaner and isn’t standard industry-wise. Some cleaners charge hourly instead of by cleaning ‘type’ for jobs that require several hours of work.
Not Everything Is Included In A Regular Cleaning Of Your Home
As stated above, there are differences in what is included in just a regular clean of your home and what’s included in some deeper cleans.
Deep cleaning will cost more, and involve more cleaning tasks and areas in your home.
Regular cleanings are more of an upkeep of the general cleaning your home needs.
Do A Walkthrough With Your Potential Cleaning Lady Before Hiring Her
Before hiring a cleaner, it’s important to meet with them and show them your home.
This ensures you get a proper quote, and they know what they’re getting into.
Square Footage Is Factored Into Your Fee
The size of your home can really add on to the cost of cleaning your home.
And for good reason.
The bigger your home, the more manpower it will take because there is more flooring to sweep, scrub, and mop.
There is more furniture to clean under, around, and behind.
Your home possibly has more bedrooms, bathrooms, stairs, stories, etc.
Larger homes take more time and labor to ensure things aren’t missed.
So if you have a larger home, expect to pay more than your friend who has 1,000 sq. ft. less!
Your Cleaning Lady Takes Pictures Of Your Messy House
It’s true – they are snapping pics of your messy home on their phone.
They probably even have an album dedicated to your house in their photos on their phone.
This is great for business because they can show off a good before/after cleaning job for potential clients.
But, it’s also great to provide proof of services, which is why a lot of the women I’ve interviewed have mentioned they do.
They may very well share these pictures with other cleaning friends, as well, to either ask advice about cleaning a certain mess, or laugh at a certain mess they’re tackling. I don’t want to say a lot of cleaners do this, but I have seen quite a few that have – be sure to communicate that you do not give them permission to photograph your home or distribute pictures of your home during your initial communication and walkthrough if you are nervous about that.
Look For A Cleaning Person Or Service That Is Insured
Imagine your cleaning lady accidentally scratched the glass on your new shower doors…
Not trying to freak my readers out, but house cleaners are human and make mistakes just like the rest of us.
You would probably expect her to cover the cost of replacing them.
If she’s insured, she can file a claim with her insurance to help cover the cost of repairing home damages she’s caused due to mistakes she might have made during cleaning, and you can rest assured that she takes care of those mistakes, if she has any at all.
If she isn’t insured, you will have to hope she either has the funds to cover the cost of the repairs or take on the repairs out of your own pocket.
You Should Tidy Your Home Before Your Cleaning Lady Arrives
The #1 complaint I see from house cleaners online is the fact that a lot of their clients don’t tidy up before they arrive.
Cleaners are paid to clean space – but they aren’t able to effectively do their job if a space is cluttered and filled with junk, trash, clothes, etc.
Letting your dishes pile up in the sink means that they can’t scrub your sink (and dishes are most likely not part of your cleaning agreement).
If you have dirty clothes and trash all over your bathroom floor, your cleaner isn’t able to effectively sweep, vacuum, and mop the bathrooms floors.
By ensuring that counters are cleaned off, floors are cleared of trash and clothes, and random items like toys and blankets are put away, your cleaner can really deep clean those areas for you.
They may try to move things around for you to better reach the areas they need to, but it isn’t kind to make them work even harder when tidying and housekeeping duties like that aren’t really in their job description.
Communicate With Your Cleaner
If there are certain expectations you have for cleaning, ask your cleaner during the initial walkthrough if it’s included.
You can also gently remind or ask your cleaner about a task throughout your relationship.
Be sure to communicate your cleaning needs with them.
Know that the answer to your question may involve an increase in fee (if what you’re asking isn’t included in a regular cleaning, or is a very tough task), or an increase/decrease in cleaning frequency.
For instance, if you find your family of five’s home is more than you can keep up with between your scheduled monthly cleaning’s, your cleaner may recommend increasing the frequency to every 2 weeks, or weekly.
Your home, family, furniture, flooring, and lifestyle will all play roles in determining what frequency and type of cleaning your home needs.
One topic I’ve seen from house cleaners is the fact that they’ll be dusting and cleaning regularly, and all of a sudden will find a random piece of food (popcorn kernel, tortilla chip, etc.) that had been planted there by the homeowner to test the cleaner.
This, while it may make you feel better, is actually very insulting to cleaners and shows that you do not trust them to properly clean.
It feels to them as though you are setting traps up for them, and puts them on edge cleaning your home.
Your Cleaner Cleans Your Home Better When You Aren’t Home
When you aren’t home, your cleaner can really focus on the tasks at hand without having to make small talk (which takes time away from your home’s cleaning needs), work around you, or being micromanaged.
This is especially true if you have small children and pets that roam through the house.
That said, make sure you hire someone you can trust.
And as I mentioned above, communicate with them.
If you feel the need to be home the first several times they clean just to get a feel for how they work, that’s totally fine.
Also, if you work from home, know that your cleaner is understanding, but would probably still work better if you used that time to go outside with the kids/pets, or ran errands if at all possible.
A Good Cleaner Has Business Costs To Cover
Your cleaner has more than just her gas for the car ride over to your home to cover.
Here are some examples of costs they need to cover with your fee…
- employee payroll
It’s good to shop around for the right price to fit your budget when it comes to hiring a cleaning lady, but keep in mind that they perform a luxury service (manual labor) that not everyone can afford.
Your Cleaning Lady Will Likely Use Your Cleaning Supplies Vs. Bring Her Own
When it comes to certain cleaning supplies or appliances, your cleaning lady will 99% of the time use yours.
Cleaning supplies like toilet brushes, vacuums, etc. make more sense to use a homeowner’s item vs. their own.
And there are a few reasons for that…
- allergies – imagine using a vacuum to clean carpets with cat fur on them, and then taking that vacuum cleaner to the next house you’re cleaning where the homeowner has a cat allergy and using it to vacuum their carpets.
- appliance life and warranty – vacuums, carpet cleaners, and other cleaning appliances are typically made to last for one household. Using an appliance in multiple homes over the course of weeks, months, and years can kill it, and most warranties will not cover replacements or refunds for overworked appliances.
- sanitation – dragging the same toilet brush and rags from house to house to house IS GROSS.
Their Rate Is Their Rate – And You’re Better Off Paying Them More
It’s true, you can probably find a low-cost house cleaner to help keep your home free of the dust bunnies and cooktop grime – but should you hire someone and pay pennies?
Most definitely not.
As I mentioned before, cleaning is a luxury service.
And cleaners that charge less might not give your home the extra time, attention, care, or use quality products and knowledge to clean your home.
There’s a saying in the cleaning community – “You get what you pay for!”
Average cleaning costs range from about $150 for a 2-bedroom 1-bath home to about $450-600 for a 5,000 square foot home with multiple bedrooms and baths.
Of course, location (city, state), square footage, and even the presence of animals all factor into your rate.
And then, there’s the difficult customer fee that some cleaners tack onto their fee.
That’s right – the more difficult you are, the higher I can guarantee your rate will be!
Haggling the fee of your cleaning will not ensure your home gets cleaner for a lower price – it may ensure the cleaner takes less care because they feel taken advantage of.
Tipping And Bonuses Are Expected
Yes, you signed on with your cleaner (probably with a contract) to pay them for their services at a set rate, but did you know you should be tipping as well?
Just like when you pay your bill at a restaurant – it’s very impolite not to leave a tip!
Always aim for tipping between 15-20% each visit, especially for the cleaner that goes above and beyond for your home.
Your Cleaner Will Be Talking About Your Home – Good And Bad
Have you ever had a crazy or interesting patient/customer at work, and rushed home to gossip about it with friends and family?
Your cleaner is no different.
They are hopefully really kind and trustworthy – but know that things found in your home and that have been cleaned are definitely known by friends and family of your cleaner.
Hopefully, they aren’t posting them in a cleaner Facebook group for all to see, or showing pictures of your messy home to everyone they know…
But know that it’s definitely a possibility!
So that honey your child spilled all over the floor that you left for an entire week until your cleaner arrived – their entire family got to hear about it the next day!
Have you hired a cleaning lady? What has your experience been? Tell me in the comments below!