Is guilt preventing you from hiring help in your home?

Cleaning Articles & Guides Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

You work full time, you are a parent full time, a spouse or partner full time and you are on the go full time. You  meet yourself coming backwards, run out of hours in the day and still you will not hire the help you know need. But why? What is stopping you?

It’s that nagging guilty feeling in the back of your head isn’t it… and I bet it says these things to you:

1. Only the rich and well off have cleaners, we don’t need one, we can’t afford one. People will think that I think I am Lady/Lord Muck?

2. I should clean my own house – my house, my mess, my responsibility right? How lazy would I be to hire someone else to do tasks I don’t want to do?

3. I feel like I would be exploiting someone. What if the cleaner thinks that I think I am better than them? How do I handle being a boss/client and telling the cleaner what I want to be done without coming across all superior and Lord-Like?

guilt

Can I read minds? No, sadly I cannot, but I have worked in this industry many years and have done hundreds of quotations in peoples homes. What I have found is this: Women fight with the decision to hire a cleaner far more than men do. Men see it as a practical necessity; who has time for cleaning bathrooms? Women, however, have a harder time – they guilt trip themselves into thinking that they should be able to do and have it all; then they feel inadequate when they can’t keep a hundred and twenty-seven (often self-imposed) plates in the air at all times, it’s a vicious circle of guilt and pressure.

My advice? Let it go people! Take a deep breath and come join us in the 21st century and step out of the pre-programming of an old society and out dated gender roles: it is okay to ask  for (and hire) help! You are not a bad person for not cleaning your own toilet, you are not a bad person for sending your ironing out to be done and you are not a bad person for having a gardener cut your lawn – you are a busy person and a hard working person and you deserves to have some quality time to yourself and if you could give yourself some quality time, you would wouldn’t you, it’s a no brainer?

How to tell the guilt monsters to hush!

1. Only the rich and well off have cleaners

Maybe once upon time that was true but now, with busy lifestyles, a fast-living culture and individuals having more disposable income than before, it is no longer the case. Did you know that over 6 million people in the UK employ a regular cleaning service in their homes and this number grows year on year? Having a cleaning service is for people of all walks of life and I guarantee that there is a cleaning service out there that will suit your needs and your budget. See my earlier posts on What To Look For In A Cleaning Service and What Are the Different Types of Cleaning Service Available.

Even if you cannot afford a weekly service, you could think about having a clean every month, or maybe every quarter. At the very least I would recommend a deep clean/spring clean at least once a year to tackle all the jobs that everybody loves to avoid.

2. I should clean my own house

Firstly, says who? Where is that written other than in 1950’s Good Housewife Guides? Let me ask you – Did you build your own house? Do you grow all your own food? Do you sew all your own clothes? No, no you do not, (other than in imaginary Pintrest World 😉 ). You feel perfectly comfortable paying for those services to be done for you; why would paying someone else to clean your home be any different?

Secondly, unless you live alone, you will not be the only person responsible for making the mess. As was a great, and often repeated phrase of my mothers throughout my childhood: “I did not make the mess alone, so I am not cleaning it alone” – Now you can either 1. draw up a family/roommate cleaning rota (future post coming up about this) and live with the moans, groans and half jobs as your children/spouse/partner/roommate attempt to make you stop asking them for domestic help, 2. mutter sentences of resentment to yourself whilst you begrudgingly clean the kitchen floor because no one has mopped it in three weeks, or 3. You can hire a cleaning service to come in once a week/fortnight/month to help you keep on top of it all without all the drama and family rows. 

3. I feel like I would be exploiting someone

Now unless you are forcing someone into cleaning your bath tub I would imagine that there will be no exploiting going on. In the 1911 UK Census there were 1.3 million people employed as domestic servants, more than in any other industry; the hiring of help within the home is nothing new. Cleaners (some 800,000 thousand registered cleaners in the UK today) have voluntarily decided that cleaning is the job they want to do, just like you decided on your job or profession.

Some people see cleaning as lowly profession, even among the working classes, and that I take great insult at and is a myth I try to dispel within my own work force… cleaning is a very noble job; without cleaners, shops, schools, hospitals, doctors surgeries, dentists, heck even the roads and pathways would not be open or function the way they should. I tell my staff that cleaners are like the fourth emergency service; the silent, forever working presence to every backdrop in society. Do not feel sorry for someone being a cleaner, they are not wanting sympathy, most cleaners are happy and take great pride in their work and enjoy to clean, so you are not exploiting anybody, it is their job.

As long as you speak to your cleaner in the same manner you would speak to anyone else you interact with then there are no problems. If you are unhappy about an element of your clean or need to give a different set of instructions to your normal clean, just approach your cleaner as you would a colleague for example, in a friendly, polite and straight forward manner. Cleaners want to do a good job, they like to have happy clients and will not take offense at an area that was missed being pointed out or being given a list of different tasks.

As a final point, and just as a forewarning,  even when you hire a cleaning service you may still feel pangs of guilt and also resentment at some one else cleaning your home when you feel like you should be doing it. This is normal and is something I will cover that in next weeks post to help you overcome.

If you have any thoughts or feelings (or stories) about the topic of guilt when hiring a cleaning sevices, I would love to hear them.

Thanks for reading – Mrs Mopp x

NEXT WEEK: Top 3 Cleaning Client Problems And How To deal With Them 

 

What Different Types Of Cleaning Service Are There?

Cleaning Articles & Guides Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

In our busy and eventful lives, it is not uncommon to hear about people having a cleaner, window cleaner or gardener to help them in their homes. These are not people who have gazillions in the bank; these are every day working people who value their free time in their schedules. People just like you and I.

But with so many cleaning options and services available what is the best one for you, your home and your budget?

The Four Ways to Hire A Cleaner And The Pros and Cons of Each

pros-cons

1. The Sole Trader

By the very nature of the name, this is an individual that works by themselves for themselves. A sole trader cleans to make a living for themselves. Sole traders charge from £7 – £11 per hour. Personally I would suggest paying a private cleaner around £7 – £8.50 per hour (area dependant) as paying the higher rates of £9 + per hour does not seem justified to the value add a sole trader can bring compared to a business or franchise.

Pros

  • One dedicated cleaner for your home
  • A flexible arrangement about what work will be undertaken
  • A cheaper rate, so would suit those with a smaller budget

Cons

  • If your cleaner is sick, goes on holiday or breaks a leg what will you do? There is no back up with a sole trader.
  • You are responsible for ensuring the cleaner has insurance and references. Who is responsible if an item is damaged?
  • The cleaner doesn’t always turn up, or do the agreed hours – familiarity can breed contempt.

2. The Cleaning Business

This is a business that employs 1 or more people to clean. A cleaning business, for the sake of this article, is privately owned and run. A cleaning business provides employment and aims to make a profit on the services provided. A cleaning business will charge between £8.00 – £15.00 per hour depending on its size and services offered.  I would suggest looking at the rate in comparison to what that business gives you in return. If the cleaning business does not provide quality checks or have a customer care procedure, why would you pay more for it, than say if you had a sole trader giving you the exact same service at a discount?

Pros

  • A dedicated cleaner and a back up if your cleaner is not available
  • A cleaning schedule of what will be done in your home and procedures for the work
  • A back office function for any queries, complaints or questions.

Cons

  • Cleaning businesses can have a high staff turn over due to the nature of work, this is throughout the cleaning industry. You may always have a cleaner, it just may not always be the same one.
  • A cleaning business should have a contract and this may impose terms on you for a notice period, lock out charges and cancellation charges etc.
  • A cleaning business can seem less personal than a sole trader due to the fact there may be a chain of command or there are multiple sites.

3. The Cleaning Franchise

These are businesses that have been bought, by an individual, for the brand and the proven profitable business structures a franchisor has developed. When you deal with a franchise you will be dealing with a person who has invested money in a company to learn their techniques and their processes. The franchisee will follow set procedures for quoting and executing the work they do. The cost of a franchise to clean to clean per hour is a bit of a black art to master, as they do not tend to quote by the hour, they tend to quote by the clean. I have quoted against many franchisees over several years and still it intrigues me when I am given their price as to how they reach it. For a three bed, two bath standard home you should expect to pay £40 – 58 per clean – the clean make take 3 hours, 2 hours or 1 hour depending on the number in the team and the equipment used.

Pros

  • The business model is tried and tested, as opposed to a living-it-learning-it cleaning business
  • The customer experience, branding and marketing should be second to none
  • The equipment and materials used will always be  good quality

Cons

  • Can be more expensive than all three of the alternatives
  • A badly run franchise is the same as any badly run business regardless of the fancy systems the individual invested in
  • Contractual obligation – some franchise businesses can have contracts that lock you in for 3, 6 or 9 months – not good if you don’t like their service or have a personality clash with your cleaner or the franchisee

4. The Cleaning Agency

A cleaning agency is a little bit like a recruitment agency, they are the middle men. A cleaning agency tends to be a office based business that will leaflet drop an area advertising for it’s cleaning services and, at the same time ,recruit in the local job centres and local publications for self employed cleaners to fulfill the work. With a cleaning agency you will pay between £9.50 – £13.00 per hour depending on the area and the company you deal with.

Pros

  • A cleaning agency is a nice blend of sole trader and cleaning business – if your cleaner leaves their job, you can call for another one
  • The price range falls in between the business and sole trader
  • As with a sole trader the work is agreed between client and cleaner giving greater flexibility

Cons

  • As a client you have to make two payments – one in cash to your cleaner, on the day, and one of an administration fee, paid in advance, by direct debit to the agent
  • Agencies tend to have an extremely high turn over of staff due to the fact that cleaners cannot get enough and/or consistent hours – do you want you keys swapping hands with people not connected to one and other bar the agency they are registered to?
  • This business model, in my opinion, does nothing for its fee and does not give any value add other than finding a cleaner for you. The agency does not take responsibility of your cleaner is sick or on holiday for example, that is for you, the client, to arrange with your cleaner – you could just as well deal with a sole trader direct for the same service without the payment hassles?

I hope you have found the information useful and if you have any comments or thoughts, I would love to hear them.

Thanks for reading – Mrs Mopp x

 NEXT WEEK: What To Look For In A Cleaner

I need some help in my home… now what?

Cleaning Articles & Guides Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

Modern life is busy – we have demanding jobs, demanding relationships, demanding children and demanding social lives. So how do we “have it all” and stay on top of this game called life? Well, just as in business, there comes a time when you need to delegate the jobs you just don’t have time for/are no good at/take you an age to do/you don’t have the skills for etc. by employing some outside help.

So, before you start to drown in your martyr-dom of trying to do everything… take your underware off from the outside of your trousers and look for some help!

Do you drown in the demands on your time? Maybe time for some outside help!

 

There are many ways that we can all relieve the stress from our daily lives by hiring other people to take on the burdens for us; there are life organisers, like Tick It Off, who will take on anything you have going on; from de-cluttering tasks, to organising a party, to organising your home office or schedule, to returning your library books. There are pet groomers, pet walkers, gardeners, window cleaners, child minders, painters, repair men and, of course, cleaners.

So now that we have admitted to our self we need help, what are the next stages?

1. Do your research

Weather you are looking for a dog groomer, a life coach or a cleaner you need to do your homework. With the wonderful world of the online web, you don’t even have to leave your chair to do this! Use search engines to type in what you are looking for and in what area, then have a look at several websites (also check out any Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Google+ etc sites they may have). How does their online presence look? What types of things do they post about? Do they have a large following? Do they have recommendations or testimonials online about their business? Do they interact with their audience?

You can find out a lot on a person/business from the internet – does the business you are looking at relate to you? Do you like how they write/interact? Do they provide value to their online visitors?

2. Have 3 quotes

So you’ve looked online, there are a couple of websites you like the look of and their Facebook profiles seem to be exactly what you are looking for. Now what?

Make contact. Call them, email them or submit a website query form – How did they answer? How long did it take for someone to come back to you? Did they sound friendly and keen for your business?

Next, invite them to your home – personally I suggest seeing the top 3 you liked the look of online. Try and see the prospective businesses on the same day, if you can, so that the meetings stay fresh in your mind and are easier to compare. Ask all to bring copies of their insurance, their references and evidence of their work if applicable, then…

3. Interview the potential business

Any personal service worth their salt should be able to answer any question you throw at them regarding their services. Don’t be afraid to draw up a list of questions so that you don’t forget or get caught up with the sales pitch without actually finding out if that service fits your needs. Some questions I would suggest are as follows;

1. How long have you been trading?

2. What did you do before this business?

3. Who does the work, you or do you have staff?

4. How do you train and vet your staff?

5. Have you ever had to claim against your insurance?

6. How do you monitor your quality?

7. What do I do if I ever have a problem or am not happy with an element of your service?

8. How do I pay you?

9. What makes you different from your competitors?

10. (The million dollar question) Do you have references I can contact who will validate your service?

Just as you would at work – get the best people for the job in your home

 

Now that you have looked at the businesses online, had 3 quotes to compare and interviewed each business inside-and-out, you should have all the information you need to employ your outside help. So, make that call, offer that work to the service business and then go and sit down with a cup of tea and decide what you are going to do with that free time you have just given yourself…

 

How To De-Clutter Your Bedroom

Cleaning Articles & Guides Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

So far this week we have sorted out your Junk Mail and de-cluttered your Office Space but today we move onto the house… We can’t delay it anymore, we have to tackle the big stuff!

As with all cleaning, one should start up and work down and we are going to do exactly that, starting with the bedroom…

Is your bedroom your sanctuary? Is it a tranquil place that you can unwind and relax in or is it cluttered, with clothes strewn across chairs and in piles, DVDs/CDs/Books stacked in every corner or bulging from shelves or wires from chargers, straightener’s and alarm clocks in every socket? In our busy and active lives our bedrooms should be a pleasure room for relaxation and sleep only, not to work in, haggle in, pay bills in… just to relax and sleep.

In this post we are going to look at 3 main areas of the bedroom to  de-clutter and offer you 5 tips on how to stay on top of it all once you have a achieved you peaceful, zen like bedroom.

Where Do I Start?

 

1. Furniture

Have a look at the furniture in your bedroom and what it’s function is – ask yourself if it’s needed or if there is a better way of storing it’s contents. Do you really need all your coats and jumpers in your wardrobe all year round? Do you really need every one of your 73 pairs of shoes in the bottom of your wardrobe? Do you really need a drawer full of scarfs?

As with anything you have constant contact with,  it can become hard to see the wood for the trees and I would recommend asking a friend to help with their fresh eyes. Ask your friend how they would lay your bedroom out if it were their room, if they think it is streamlined and using the space you have efficiently; sometimes even shifting a wardrobe from one wall to another can make a huge difference to the feel of space in a room

When reviewing your furniture, should you find a particular piece that is redundant in your bedroom, look at using it elsewhere in your home, donate it to a charity (http://www.netcycler.co.uk or  http://www.frn.org.uk/)  or sell it on in your local newspaper (most local newspaper offer a free selling service for items under £200)

 

2. Clothing

Clothing will be the biggest hurdle to your de-cluttering effort in your bedroom, as most people will own far more of it than they will actually need.  In todays society we will have winter and summer wardrobes, shoes, boots, belts, scarfs, accessories, hats, bags, jumpers… Where does it all live and do we need it all?

The first task is to open your wardrobe doors (and with your tough mind from the office de-clutter), be honest with yourself, in scrutinising your clothes and ask yourself the following questions

1) Do I wear it?

2) When was the last time I wore it? (My rule is a 6 months – If you have not wore one of your winter jumpers from October to April, remove it from the wardrobe)

3) Does it fit me? – Now this may sound like a crazy question but I know plenty of folk who keep clothes that are too small as they are their “Inspirational” clothes or they keep clothes too big for them “just in case”

4) Do I like it? – Again, not a crazy question, from personal experinace, I had a dress that I very much liked on the hanger, however, it does nothing for me in real life; I would take it out of the wardrobe, try it on, hate it, take it off, hang it back up and repeat the pattern weeks/months later… Let it go

5) Will I wear it in the next 6 months? – I recommend splitting your wardrobe into Spring/Summer, Autumn/Winter. When you are in one season the other half is packed up and put in the attic, under the bed, in a storage cupboard… you don’t need your snow boots and woolly jumpers in July!

For the clothes you have managed to part company with you can donate them to your local charity shop, in a clothes bank or have it collected from a national organisation (www.clothesaid.co.uk) or sell them (Ebay, PreLoved, BigWardrobe to name a few)

 

3. Bedding

Do you have bright colours, abstract designs or many colours, patterns and fabrics mish-mashed together? Your bedding may be too busy, making the room look cluttered or smaller than it is. Take a look at the below three points to help

1) Use White or neutral bedspreads and curtains to keep the room simple and fresh looking

2) Pillows – Less is more; do you really need a gazillion “show” pillows on your bed that you have to take on and off on a twice daily basis… really??

3) Cuddly toys – If you are under 10, we should have a review of how many you have and come to a mutually beneficial solution… if you are over 10 we need to talk! The odd teddy bear, even in a grown up bedroom, can be cute but to have a collection of 15 teddy bears is too much, looks too much, attracts too many bed bugs and lots of dust. Again, less is more sometimes

 

Okay you have reviewed your furniture, ransacked your wardrobes and drawers, removed 43 teddy bears and changed your bedding from flouresent pink to white with a hint of pink… now what?

Daily Tips 

1. Make your bed as soon as you get up and out of it

2. Open blinds/curtains straight away and open a window to air the room, even if only for the 10 minutes you are in the shower

3. When you get home from work/being out hang up your clothes or put them in the laundry, resist the urge to put on a chair (in fact let’s remove the chair!)

4. Avoid bedside clutter – you only need 1 drink, 1 pair of slippers, 1 reading book, 1 tube of hand cream etc

5. Keep an eye on yourself! Review new items you buy for your bedroom and where it will live, do you have space and do you even need it?

And so to bed…