CommentsNot sure what’s up with the pic of the cleaning lady…some of us look pretty good splish splashin in the toilet. Good article glad to see somebody noticed we don’t have special powers to undergo a disaster zone and then some in 4 hrs. I might add the cleaning lady comes to clean the house don’t ask her to till a garden for you,pull all your weeds,run your kiddos everywhere and also do 12 loads of laundry added to her usual…
Yes, it is important to establish the parameters of the housekeeper’s job and then stick to them. If I need something extra, then I pay extra.
I liked what you said here. I was a housekeeper for years and so many people expected me to do 5 hours of work in three. I clean well and quickly and the longer I did a particular home the faster I could go, but one lady I cleaned for consistently added jobs she wanted me to do and told me she wanted me to do the whole house in less time. I always contracted for at least four hours since that is the time it usually takes to clean a midsized house. It the house is larger or dirtier though it will take longer. I have spent as long as 4 hours in just the kitchen the first day on the job. So if you want deep cleaning you will have to also deal with more time or less done each time until the house is once again in manageable order.
As to your question, I would never want a housekeeper now that I have been one, but one day I may need one. My favorite clients were my elderly ladies who could no longer do for themselves. They were always so appreciative.
Great points! Thank you for sharing your professional experience
I agree with you vicki. I have been cleaning for 20 years mostly for the same customers. Most are really grateful for my services but I have one gal that always leaves me long lists of what to do’s even tho I have been there for 11 years. sometimes the lists are long but I only get done what I can in the allotted time. If you are reliable and do the best job you can it is rewarding work. People will appreciate you.
Ha Ha! I remember as a child, my mother hired a housekeeper for a while to try to keep up with her brood of 4 kids, (3 boys, 1 girl). My youngest memories are not of a special event, holiday, or trip. My memories are of sitting under the table in the dinning room watching Ms. Fay cleaning the kitchen and just humming and singing while she worked. Beautiful!
Funniest experience was later, after a move across country, (MS to WA), my mother hired another housekeeper. She quit, quite loudly, announcing that the above stated brood was impossible! Maybe we were. No more housekeepers for us. lol
Although these memories are polar opposite, as an objective adult, I can say as a hint, 1. Remember that the person you hire will most likely have a relationship with your children. Consider their influence in a their lives. 2. Daily, even hourly picking up after yourselves goes a long way to save you much needed money, not to mention the possible resignation, because your brood is “impossible”. lol
ps. One should not have to clean their house before the housekeeper gets there. This defeats the purpose. xoxox
Clean the house before the house cleaner gets there? No. But she should not have to pick silverware and clothes and dirty dishes up from all over the house. She is there to clean, not to clear away your mess.
These are excellent points and I’ve used many in the past when hiring a housekeeper. I am curious though, how many days a week is sufficient? Do you have your help come one day for general and another for specific projects?
Good questions. Most of my clients hire me for once every two weeks. They clean up in the meantime. They also keep things picked up, so I can get to the job…which is cleaning. If my clients want something extra done, they either have me skip something else. OR they have me come when they are away, so that I can do extra projects that I don’t normally don’t get to.
Agreed. My house is newer than any house I have ever cleaned. I clean because it is good money made in a fairly reasonable amount of time. I would not want to hire a cleaner for my own house, because no one can clean up to my standards. It is why I am appreciated by all my clients.
Yeah, I agree…..good money.
First of all: a great article.
I know many will frown and think of “Help” the movie – and the racist view of the “maid”, but to tell the truth I’d be the first to get an assistance.. if I could afford one.
In this day and age, with our daily duties FAR greater then they were back in time, we can not manage it all. No, truthfully, we can’t. I can’t keep my house’s build process at pace, take care of my family’s home, make sure that every food item is there when it’s wanted and every cleaning item is there when it’s needed — because I forget something.. there you have it: doiing sO many things in a day, I sometimes simply forget to go and get sink-liquid.
Also, as the age progreeses, I notice my parent’s health slowly getting worce, and their enery lewel lower.. so getting help is NO SHAME at all! (I just need to do two things: get my parents to understand that and loose the pride of “I can do it” and find a way to afford a hired help).
Stellar article. Useful info.
I understand what you are saying and that might be true in your region, but I have always had the salary be a discussion between myself and my housekeeper.
I will Thank You. Thank you very much. I couldn’t agree with you more Anita. I think you can afford to call yourself a “Glamorous Housewife” when you hire someone and pay them next to nothing to do all the hard work while you sit around and post completely out of touch “advice” on your blog! Someone who has time to do this is because of her housekeeper, ironically!
See my comment directed especially at you, dear Jeannie.
See my comment below.
I am a maid and work as an independent contractor, paying taxes, providing all the cleaning supplies, and bring my own awesome vacuum cleaner as well. So I do charge for this, but am still much cheaper than a maid service such as Merry Maids because I do not have the same overhead expenses. No office, receptionist etc.
I accept new clients by referral and base my prices upon square feet, number of bathrooms, number of people and pets in the home, smoker or non-smoker, whether or not some laundry is included .
Thanks for emphasizing that maids may not do something exactly the way you would do it. And don’t be shy about asking “Can you be sure to get to the_________today? ” this helps us determine where your priorities are. Over a short period of time with a little direction, maids can tailor their cleaning to your home and Specific needs.
Perhaps I misunderstood the law. I thought that if the housekeeper had a business license (their own business,) then our business relationship was a contract and they paid their own taxes,Social Security, etc. I sold in-home products (party plan) and paid my own governmentally required fees, etc. isn’t that the same thing?
My husband has worked as a consultant and is usually hired as an independent contractor which I would see this as. It is up to him to take care of all the things you listed and not who he is employed by.
It wasn’t bitter. Coming from an unbiased view. We all complain about our jobs. I don’t feel that Jeannie was really complaining. It’s true. The homeowner can be an absolute pig and even a stuck up snob(you possibly fall under this category by your attitude) and that wears on people. If it wasn’t for the housekeeper, you wouldn’t have more time for a blog. Honestly! Be kind or don’t comment
I have a cleaning lady that comes twice a month and I hired by word of mouth. She is a real sweetheart. One thing I would NEVER do is put an ad in Craig’s List. Too Risky!
I am 78 and my husband (78 also) has had a stroke, I have had open heart and spinal surgery. A wonderful friend is paying for a darling helper to come in twice a month to clean for us…..We try to keep things picked up so she can find the places that need cleaning! lol. She is our helper and dear friend, sometimes brings us a dessert or soup, we simply could not remain in our home if it were not for her. When we come in from a Drs. appointment or grocery shopping and our home smells so,fresh and clean we think she is the most valuable person in the world! We are able to do volunteer work and have a meaningful life because of her.
When I was younger I had a helper who was Chinese, she spoke no English , but she “spoke” kindness and kept the house sparkling and the children happy, made them her ‘helpers’…what beautiful people are these individuals who contribute so much to our lives, and here we pay sports figures the big pay checks , but they will be rewarded by te One who sees all!!
I am a housekeeper, and for the most part agree with this article. My only difference of opinion is in regards to the amount of time needed to clean. , the first time will take a good while. I have to DEEP clean to get the house up to my standards; this may even take a few cleanings. Once in a routine, though, I fly through the cleanings while maintaining my level of thoroughness. I do this all day every day. I’m kind of good at it. Mostly though, I am fast because it ISN`T my house. I’m not distracred by piles of papers, ringing phones, etc.
Also, unless you hire someone for this purpose, most weekly or biweekly housekeepers are not there to pick up your dirty underwear or organize your belongings. We clean kitchens, bathrooms, dust, vaccuum, empty trash, and mop. I am reasonable and am glad to go above and beyond for my customers, but would like the same courtesy returned.
Finally, I love kids and dogs, just not ones that bite. A customer`s dog bit me once. I asked them to keep the dog up when I come. They don’t, so I’m not too happy about that.
Enjoyed your post. I too, have been cleaning homes for years. Something I have enjoyed doing for many years and hopefully, Lord willing, I will remain doing so. For me, it’s preety simple, I aim to help in anyway I can. I don’t have a “I don’t do list”, I do the normal cleaning that most on here do, however in any home there is always extras and I will try to fit those in or call the home owner if I have a cancelation and let them know I can work on some of the extra things they are wanting done but I’m not able to on a normal cleaning day.
They alway pay me extra for extra work, I don’t have a set price but all my homes take care of me and know the hard work I do.
As for pricing on homes, ofcourse all are different but I try to be affordable to each person. I don’t want to be cut because I’m unaffordable however, I need to make a living too so we come to a agreement that works for both of us.
I’m not paid for cancelations or sick pay. It’s a good idea but not one I’d bring up. I have a waiting list so if I have a cancelation then I just call the next one in line on the waiting list.
As for end of year pay, that is very appreciated and it let’s me know that you appreciate the work I do for you.
My bond with my homeowners are strong. Visiting goes hand in hand. It’s just part of it. Especially for shut ins.i know I’m there to work so I know how to clean and visit at the same time. Dusting is the perfect time to catch up.
At the end of the day I’m not just the lady that came in and scrubbed your toilets, I’m the lady that helped your elderly mother keep her home, I’m the lady that helped the woman of the house who has down a full time job to beable to spend extra time with her family. I’m also the lady who comes to clean homes where the wife has gone to be with The Lord and the husband wants to maintain the home that they built. So at the end of the day when I come to my home, cook and clean and lay my head down I know I’ve done my best to help another.
Comments like this add to the unrealistic expectations society sets on women. I am a teacher, have 3 small kids, a spouse who works 3 seperate jobs. My house is messy (not dirty) and we occassionally eat instant or easy meals. So what! We are all happy, healthy and live for each other! My kids will remember mom playing with them!
I was looking for information on someone to come in maybe 1x per week. This article seems to suggest a full time person. Any tips for a part time person?
The suggestions are the same for a person to clean once a week. Once a week is standard.
Hi Lisa. I was a weekly cleaner. Please see my response below.
Good article. I owned a cleaning service for about 10 years. I would go meet a potential client and was always very clear on what I did and did not do and would ask questions regarding their needs. Don’t take advantage. In other words, don’t tell them what you want and as time on goes on continue to add to their list of tasks without expecting to pay additionally for it. You must also consider they may have another client after you and won’t have extra time. I sometimes would do extra things for my clients without charge but it was because I wanted to. I was in business for myself and I set my price. The first cleaning was discounted and we would determine if we were a good fit for one another. Not all housekeepers are a good fit for all people who want to contract them. Some people are looking for a service that are more like a maid service. For example, would pick up their clutter, dirty clothes, do the laundry and the dishes, whereas other people want their service to come in and concentrate solely on cleaning. I did not accept everyone as a client because I had to limit the number of clients I could take and the fit was important. As a result the clients I did have I had throughout the time I was in business. Don’t expect to keep a cleaning person indefinitely. It’s back breaking work and not many people can keep it up for a very long time. My homes averaged 4000 to 7000 square ft. Imagine going from house to house scrubbing floors and toilets day in and day out. It’s has a limited life. I would also say to keep it on a professional level. I understand that when you have someone come in your home on a regular basis it may be easy to think of them as a confidant. I was always glad to hear about their family’s and jobs but it would become very uncomfortable when it got too personal, such as relationships etc. I was there to work and appreciated when the homeowner gave me the space to do that. My friends jokingly called me the Nazi cleaning lady but when my body wore out and I left the business, my former clients still continued to call hoping I started back up. One last note…don’t assume that your cleaning lady lacks intelligence and that is why she cleans. I was a former Administrative Supervisor for a international corporation that moved the particular subsidiary I worked for out of state. I chose to do this because I set the days I chose to work and it was good money. I say this because I noticed some people would treat me like I was beneath them. Those people definitely did not become my clients.
So true Maria. My housekeeper was wonderful and once when I got very sick she was there to do whatever she could to take care of me. I gave her birthday presents and gave her children Christmas gifts. I always made sure to ask her about her family because I truly cared how they were doing. When I went on vacation I knew that she would take care of my plants and make sure things were okay in my home. I trusted her and she never let me down. When I moved, I loaded her down with extras that I didn’t need and she could use. Later we became friends on facebook and I’m so thankful that I can still keep in touch with her. She was a treasure!
Very interesting perspective. However when you are working for someone who pays your bills, they are your boss. Period. And there is nothing wrong with that.
What exactly made you assume this was condescending to cleaning professionals?
Being a housekeeper for 24 years I just want to thank you for your comment. I will leave it at that.
The concern is with whether she is legally permitted to work and whether she may be taking a job away from a citizen. Check out the illegal immigrant debate going on in the presidential election.
A few months ago I asked my dear readers on Facebook if they had a housekeeper or didn’t have a housekeeper.
For those who didn’t have a housekeeper, I asked if they wanted a housekeeper. The overwhelming majority of women who answered either had a housekeeper or wanted one.
As someone who has had the same housekeeper for over 12 years, I figured I would let you ladies in on the secrets for how to hire a housekeeper and then what comes next.
This article is about hiring a single cleaning person, not a professional cleaning crew, which has a bit of different way to go about things.
Before we get started, I would really appreciate it if you checked out my new cooking show called Making It Modern, where I recreate a vintage recipe and then use it as inspiration to make a new dish more suitable for the modern palate!
Now back to the article:
How To Hire A Housekeeper
The first hurdle you have to jump over is finding someone in the first place.
There are a few ways to go about this.
Ask your friends. If you have any friends who have a housekeeper, see if the housekeeper has any openings available.
Ask a working housekeeper for referrals. Many housekeepers have friends who are also housekeepers and might know of someone who is looking for a job.
Referral service. There are companies you can call that will place houseworkers. This usually comes at a premium, but you also get a solid background check, proof of citizenship, and they come with excellent referrals.
Advertise: Place an ad in the local newspaper or Craig’s List.
One you have a few people that are interested in the job, it is time to interview them. This might seem daunting, but I assure you it is key to setting a good foundational relationship between you and your housekeeper. This is where you both get a chance to assess one another.
Typically the interview is held in your house and starts with a home tour. You will give the potential housekeeper a general idea of what needs to be done in each room, but don’t go into great detail. Remember, you might not even hire this person, so don’t waste your time.
If you are getting a good vibe from the interviewee, sit down with them after the house tour and begin to go into a bit of detail on your expectations. Here are a few things you need to discuss:
Salary: You need to tell them how much you are going to pay. Always start a little lower than the going starting salary and negotiate from there. *Edit to add: Quite a few of you have mentioned that where you live the housekeeper sets the price. If that is the custom in your neighborhood then you should accept their quote at face value.
Holiday pay: Which holidays do they have paid leave and which holidays do you expect them to come to work. The big holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas (you need to decide if both the 24th and the 25th are days off) New Years Day, Easter, and the Fourth of July should be paid holidays. The rest are up for negotiation.
Sick days: Do you pay for any sick days and if so, how many per year? It might sound crazy to pay your housekeeper for a day she is sick, but do you really want her getting germs all over your home because she needed the money and decided to work even though she was running a fever?
Days you cancel: Inevitably there will be days your housekeeper was supposed to work and you have to cancel. This is usually due to being out of town. Are you going to pay your housekeeper for those days? I would like to state that I absolutely believe you should pay for any day you cancel. Your housekeeper is relying on that job for income and even missing one day can make a huge dent in her month.
End of year bonus: I believe the standard holiday pay is 1-2 weeks worth of salary. I suggest giving this bonus at the beginning of December so your housekeeper can use it to purchase holiday gifts for friends or family.
Raises: How often do you plan on giving your housekeeper a raise and how much? Every six months? A year?
Referrals: Does this person have any referrals? If so, let them know you fully intend on calling the referrals and getting recommendations.
Once the interview is over, it is time to check the aforementioned referrals. Give them a call and let the person you are calling do the talking. You should be able to tell by both the words the referral says as well as her tone of voice if the referral was happy with the work the housekeeper did. You should also ask why the housekeeper no longer works for the referral and any other pertinent questions that might arise during the course of conversation.
Once you have interviewed and followed up on the referrals, it is time to make a choice. Pick the winner and then set up the starting date and time. You have now entered what I call “The Trial Period”.
The Trial Period
The first day your new housekeeper works will be filled more with discussions than with actual cleaning. This is where you need to go through your home room by room and give the housekeeper the details of what needs to be done. If your housekeeper reads English then a list would be highly recommended. You can also use Google translate to write a list in their native language. Then it is time to let them get to work!
Now we are getting into the subtleties of having a housekeeper. Here are the things you probably have never read about before on having a cleaning lady.
Lower Your Expectations
First of all, I think it is really important to acknowledge that your housekeeper is not a superhuman. They can only get so much done in a certain period of time and chances are, that amount is about half of what you can get done. You can’t expect someone to do as good a job as you do, especially when you just hired them and they are green. Give them time to learn how to become efficient at cleaning your house.
You also need to make sure you aren’t expecting too much from your housekeeper. I have heard stories of women who expect housekeepers to get twice as much done is half the time because, “they are professionals”. They might be professionals but they are also humans who can only do so much in a finite amount of time. If you can get your house cleaned top to bottom in four hours, it will actually take a housekeeper about six. You are always going to be able to do a better job in less time because it is your house.
Your Housekeeper Is Not You
Everyone has their own way of doing things. You need to let your housekeeper clean the house the way she cleans it, not the way you clean it. Of course if the cleaning lady needs to use certain products in certain places, such as using Bon Ami on the porcelain then by all means, tell her. But if she prefers to clean the toilet first and then the sinks when you usually clean the sinks and then the toilet, then let it slide. So long as the bathroom is clean when she is finished, who cares in what order she accomplishes the task?
A Cleaning Lady Is Not A Therapist
When you have had a housekeeper for longer than one year, the lines of boss/friend become blurred, especially if you are home while your housekeeper is around. Obviously it is completely appropriate to have small talk and know the basics about one another’s lives. But beyond that it is important to keep firm boundaries. Neither of you needs to relate every small detail of your life. Your housekeeper is neither your mother or your therapist.
Long Term Expectations
Once your newly hired homeworker has gotten beyond the three month trial period, reassess her work to make sure it is up to your standards. If you feel as if she is doing a good job then make sure to tell her. Remember, your job as boss is not only to supervise her work but also to motivate her. Who wants to work for someone who never appreciates the job at hand? I know I certainly don’t. Praise goes a long way towards keeping a good housekeeper happy.
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into finding a good cleaning lady. It may seem daunting but I assure you, the first time you come home and your home is spic and span smelling of freshly squeezed lemons and not a dust bunny in site, it will all worth it!
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Original article and pictures take http://theglamoroushousewife.com/2015/06/what-no-one-tells-you-about-hiring-a-housekeeper/ site