5 Tips To Help De-Clutter Your Home in 2015

5 Tips To Help De-Clutter Your Home in 2015

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De-clutter Your Home In 2015

It’s the beginning of a brand new year and everyone is full of resolutions and hope for the upcoming 12 months. As well as promising to lose weight or join a gym, I’d like you to promise one thing to your home for the next year…To de-clutter it. All of it.

We all lead crazy busy lives and lives that are filled with convenience and “stuff”. Lots of  stuff. We are a nation of work hard, spend hard people and our houses are full to busting point of things we do not wear or use.

Couple of interesting facts for y’all – Did you know that the average UK  adult has over £1,000 worth of stuff/clutter that they could sell or donate just lying around their home? Also, did you know that many psychologists believe having an overcrowded and cluttered house can lead to depression, anxiety and even weight gain? Things that make you go hmm right?

Now I understand that you may not want to throw away that stripy bat-winged jumper that you looked good in when you were 17, just in case, one day,  it should make a miraculous return to the catwalks of the world. However, sometimes we just have to face facts and be hard on ourselves and admit that we would never (ever) wear that jumper again anyway, even if the great Anna Wintour herself declared it chic. The thing is, the memories you have of being a footloose and fancy free bat-winged-jumper-wearing-individual are not trapped in a jumper and they won’t erase if we got rid of the jumper.

This is were de-cluttering becomes hard, we have to separate the emotions from all the stuff…

5 Tips To Make de-Cluttering Easier

1. Make a plan. Tackle your house room by room.

Don’t try and do your house in a day or in one weekend as, unless you live in a tiny house, you won’t manage it and that will  just make you feel fed up and discouraged to carry on. Instead of throwing yourself aimlessly at your home, be strategic and make a plan of what you will do and on what days. You have a year to get everything straight so don’t panic. Just think about it for a second – it took yeeeeaaaaars to collect all the stuff you have right? It will take a while to sort out and get rid of. Rome was not built in a day…

Plan pic

2. Start with the “lived in” areas first

Start in your lounge, for example, and then work through your home from the most used rooms to the least. As you start to de-clutter the most used spaces of your home you should start to begin to feel and see the benefits of less clutter almost immediately. Your room will look bigger and brighter AND it will now take less time to tidy and keep clean, hurrah!

3. Get a 3 box system going in your home

Have 3 boxes or large bags with you when you de-clutter each room to keep you focused and working to a system. The boxes are i) Skip/Recycle ii) Keep/Relocate iii) Charity/Sell. As you go around the room place objects into one of the three boxes. Once done, the room will be ready to be cleaned and the ‘kept’ items put back. If you have the space in a utility or garage, try to keep a regular 2 box system for skip/recycle items and for charity items and make sure everyone in your home knows about and uses them.

5 De-Cluttering Tips from Mrs Mopp

4. Find a charity close to your heart

To give is always better than to receive and if it is possible for you to do so, please think about having a regular charity box in your home. A charity that means something to you will give you motivation to keep the de-cluttering effort going. If you have good quality items or clothing, find a a charity that moves you and one you that you would love to help and be involved in. Not everyone has time to volunteer or has the money to set up a charity monthly direct debit, so donating your un-wanted items is the next best thing and very much appreciated by the charities. Donating to your chosen charity is a win-win for everyone involved – Your home gets de-cluttered, the charity makes money for their cause and someone goes home happy with a new stripy bat-winged jumper. Yay!

The Mrs Mopp charity of choice for 2015 for clothes, household items and furniture is the Shropshire Community Project – If you live in the local area, please click the link after you’ve finished reading this post (Obvs), to learn more about them and the very wonderful work they do in our County. Thank you.

5. Hold a Clothes Swapping Party

Get all your chums to sort out their wardrobes, shoes and accessories, that they no longer wear and arrange a get together to swap with each other whilst holding your own private fashion show. A good giggle, you get to see your friends in one space and everyone goes home with something new and exciting to wear without even spending a penny!

5 De-cluttering tips from Mrs Mopp

Do you have any tips for de-cluttering and learning how to let go of things you no longer need or use? Please share them below if you do, we would love to hear them.

Until the next time, happy Cleaning!

K x

 

5 Signs You Need To Hire A Cleaner

5 Signs You Need To Hire A Cleaner

Cleaning Articles & Guides Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

Okay, so you have just found that T-shirt you have been looking for all summer; as the last leaves start falling from the trees. The t-shirt was found under that big pile of laundry, you have been meaning to sort through, that was at the side of the pile of paperwork and bills that you are going to organise when you get a minute, next to the plastic tub full of bits of toys, old jigsaw pieces and random socks. Sound familiar? Maybe you need a little help.

See our top 5 signs that you may need to think about hiring a cleaner

1.  You spend your weekend/only available down-time cleaning house. Are you sure there is not something else, other than scrubbing your bathroom, you would rather be doing?

Image Via Someecards.com

Image Via Someecards.com

2. You are very good at making piles and stacking things.. in a neat way of course. You are not entirely sure what is in each pile and, if you are honest, you don’t want to disturb them to find out. 

3. You are simply overwhelmed and feel disorganised by the sheer amount of things you have to do in your  day-to-day life and just never ever seem to find the time for any of it. You feel like you are constantly putting out fires and chasing your proverbial tail.

4. Your cobwebs have a dark colour to them, there are dust bugs on your windowsills and shelves (really) or tumble weeds blowing down your hallway (not really.. well possible, tiny ones)

5. Doing a “quick tidy up” for house guests takes you waaaaaaay longer than an hour; in fact a quick tidy up for guests means putting all the clutter in the nearest room or cupboard and jamming the door shut!

Any of the above sound familiar to you? Maybe it is time to think about hiring a cleaner to help out for a few hours a week. See our guide on finding a cleaning service to suit you and what to look for in a cleaner, to help. If you are living in Telford or Shrewsbury, then please take a look at our services and drop us a line.

As always we would love to have you feedback or comments and please do come and say hello to us on Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest or Google+

Mrs Mopp x

 

 

Should You Clean Up Before The Cleaner Comes?

Should You Clean Up Before The Cleaner Comes?

Cleaning Articles & Guides Mrs Mopp Blog Spot
ecards

Images from bubbles.com

Should you clean up for your cleaner?  The answer to this, in a broad definition  would have to be no. Clean is the wrong word, a better word would be tidy. If the question was “should you tidy up for your cleaner” then the answer is most definitely yes.

You pay a cleaner to clean and not to tidy up. You will get a lot more for your money if your cleaner can get in and actually clean, rather than putting toys away or picking up clothes from the floor.

You should not have to clean up for your cleaner – the only exception to this rule is if you don’t clean at all in between cleaning visits. Whilst not cleaning your home in between weekly visits is fine, for fortnightly, monthly or longer gaps without cleaning, you should be keeping on top of certain areas or you should expect to have to pay for more time from your cleaner to get on top of 2,3,4, 6 weeks of dirt and grime.

Top 5 Things You Can Do To Help Get The Best From Your Cleaning Time

1. Put away toys in toy chests, pick up clothes from the floor, put DVDS back in the case and put back on the shelf etc. Make sure the clutter is cleared.

2. Make sure your dirty dishes are washed and put away – the great majority of cleaners do not wash dishes as standard, and from a cleaning point of view, dirty dishes can prevent a cleaner getting to the sink to clean and sanitize it and will ruin the look of a finished kitchen

3. If you are providing the cleaning materials always ensure there is enough cleaning solutions and the correct cloths. Always make sure you have a well working vacuum cleaner and that you regularly buy new mop heads and cleaning cloths.

4. Agree beforehand with the cleaner/business what tasks are to be done in the home. If the home is large, or all of the home is not used, draw up a cleaning schedule, (or a business will do that for you) and decide on what tasks will be done on what visit. Be specific in your needs and expectations

5. Know that there are certain things it is not okay to expect your cleaner to do – like take out the rubbish, sort out your recycling, put your clothes away, clean your outside windows etc. If you need help with extra tasks, by all means ask the cleaner/business if it something they would be willing to do or if they have a service they could recommend, but always be prepared to pay extra for the additional services that goes above and beyond the cleaners standard clean

If you have any thoughts or feelings on this post, I would love to hear them.

Thanks for reading – Mrs Mopp x

NEXT WEEK: How To Complain To Your Cleaner

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 Should I Look For In A Cleaner?

Cleaning Articles & Guides Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

help wanted

 

So, you have finally decided to get some help in your home. Yay! Brilliant news, just think of all that time you will have to play with, ah good times, lunch with friends, reading that long meant to be read book, taking a stroll… but before we rush ahead, we need to find the right person to clean our homes for us. But who? And how?

As, those regular readers will know, there are four types of cleaning service to choose from, so this post is written to encompass them all – some questions will apply to all business models some questions will not, use your ‘noggin on that.

Where to find a cleaner or cleaning service

  • By word of mouth – who does your friend use to clean their home? Who does your colleague use? Ask around, hear some reviews.
  • Local publications – Local sole traders and businesses tend to advertise in local press and magazines
  • The internet – Type in different search words like “cleaners in Telford” or “Domestic Cleaners in Telford” to find what you are looking for – please note that the top three results in the yellow area are paid for placings
  • By leaflet Drop – Leaflet dropping is very popular for cleaning businesses, even in this high tech age. When calling from a leaflet make sure it has actual details about the actual business and is in fact a real, registered business and not just somebody looking to make a quick buck.

Things you need to know about you cleaning Service

  • Are they insured? – What are they insured for, what does it cover? What is the value of their insurance? What is the excess on the insurance and who would be responsible for that in the event of a claim?
  • How do they vet their cleaners? – How are the employees or subcontractors referenced? Where did they recruit them? How much of the cleaners back ground do they check?
  • How do they train their cleaners? – Do they have a training process? Do they give any training?
  • How do they quality check the cleaning work? How do they ensure your cleaner is working the correct times and/or delivering the correct standard?
  • Who can I call if I have a problem or issue?
  • What do I do if I am not happy with my clean?

Things you need to know about your cleaner

  • How long have they worked for the business/franchise/agent/themselves?
  • How many other houses do they clean?
  • Do they have references and recommendations?
  • What training have they had?

Each area can go more in depth and I will be writing future blog posts on interview questions to ask a cleaner/business owner but for now you are armed and ready to find that domestic cleaning fairy to serve you and your home.

If you have any thoughts or questions I would love to hear them.

Thanks for reading – Mrs Mopp x

NEXT WEEK: The Guilt Of Employing A Cleaner In Your Home

 

 

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

Clear Your Mind, Clear your Office

Cleaning Articles & Guides Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

Day two of our mission to help you de-clutter your lives and living space. Today we talk about your office/desk space… now hands up, who has a desk that looks like a bomb has hit it?

I'm sure I had a stapler here somewhere...

Top 5 Tips to Cleaning Up Your Office

1. Clear your desk – That’s right, everything off!

Now you have a visible surface to polish and also a clean slate on which to start. Take a look at all the items that are now on the floor and ask yourself two things 1) What do I use on a DAILY basis? 2) What needs to be in reach? (This is where you have to be tough) ONLY the answers from those two questions get to make it back onto the desk everything else needs to be binned, recycled, filed or sold!

2. Book Cases, cupboards and shelves

A book case or storage cupboard is an invaluable asset in your office for giving items somewhere to live, however it is not to be used as a permanent filing stop gap for folders, books and binders, and so here’s what we are going to do…

1) Look at all books that you own and ask yourself do you need it? Is it relevant now (what are you keeping that 1980’s version of stream line your office for)? Will you ever read/re-read it?  Depending on your answers…

a) Sell them (Psst! Try not to rush out and buy more books to replace the old ones!)

www.amazon.co.uk/trade-in

www.cash4books.net

www.fatbrain.co.uk

b) Donate them to your local library, Chamber of Commerce or Local Business Hub (not your Mills & Boon stuff obviously)

c) If you really must keep all of your books, think about storing them elsewhere if they are not needed regularly. See this great post I came across to give you some ideas and inspiration “Top 5 Book Storage Ideas You Wish You Thought Of”

3. Paper, paper, paper

Ah paper, the life blood of us office types. We have masses of paper all over our offices; in drawers, binders, filing cabinets, folders, old notebooks etc. But how do we cut down on it and how do we aim to reach the utopia of a paperless office?

1) Remove your name from mailing lists – see our post yesterday about Junk Mail 

2) Paperless Billing – By swapping to electronic bills you will not only save trees but it is claimed 171 pounds of greenhouses gases, 63 gallons of water and 4.5 gallons of fuel annually for each paperless household, pretty impressive right for a small switch? Now if we could just find a way to stop them billing us in the first place…

3) If you still have to use “Snail Mail” for remote clients or friends why not tech it up a little by using digital snail mail over the internet? Will save you have stores of paper, envelopes, stamps etc and free up a tad more space in your office

www.pc2paper.co.uk

www.ukpostbox.com

4.  Manage it – You will need a recycle box/bin and a two tiered filing tray labeled with “To Do” and “To File” – now go through your piles and they can only end up in one of 3 places!

4. Let’s Not Get Too Personal

It is nice to personalise your office; have some comforts and make it individual to you, however, a little too much personalisation can distract you and I take it you are at a desk to work and be productive? Ask yourself (time to be tough again) Do you really need 14 pictures of your children/dog/recent holiday/loved ones?? Yes we know you love them but resit the urge to daydream or get lost in the picture by keeping it for the home

5. Tidy up Time!

Impose your own clear desk policy, especially if you are a home worker. At the end of every day the last 10 minutes should be sent getting your desk in order for the following day  – In a survey conducted by OfficeMax it was said that 77% of people claimed that a messy office had a negative impact on their productivity, we don’t want that, we want to be in the 23% of productive people, we have goals to achieve this year, yes?

Now let’s get cracking… everything off your desk!


Will a cleaning agency suit my needs?

Cleaning Articles & Guides Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

In this final part of “What cleaning Service will suit my needs” we will be looking at Cleaning Agencies.

What is a cleaning agency?

A cleaning agency is very similar to your typical recruitment agency – the agent finds, interviews and vets the workers and then “sells” the workers time/skills/trade to employers who may need them on a temporary or permanent basis.

This is true of a cleaning agency – With a cleaning agency, like a franchise, an individual can buy the licensed rights to use the brand name of the agency. The agency will heavily leaflet drop a set geographical area, then place ads in jobs centres to finds the cleaners to undertake the work, which they then sell to a homeowner, in chunks of the cleaners time, off the back of their leaflet campaign. Cleaning agents that you may have heard of are Maid2Clean, BellaCasa and Dolly Char and they are an ever increasing trend in the cleaning sector.

The cleaners are not employed by the agencies and are self-employed individuals, responsible for completing an annual self assessment and their own taxes and insurances. The homeowner will have to leave the agreed hourly rate in cash for the cleaner every time they have a clean – the homeowner will also have to pay the agency a fee every week by direct debit or standing order to pay for the services of the agency. The homeowner will be locked into a contract for a minimum of 3 months with a cleaning agency and please note, the agents fees are payable weather the homeowner has a clean or not that week!

The Pros of using a cleaning agency

  • The homeowner does not have to place an advertisement, interview and reference a potential cleaner, as after a brief telephone call of requirements the agency will send a cleaner to you
  • The homeowner is able to design their own cleaning rota for their home rather than with a cleaning business or cleaning franchise who will have their set standard cleans and deeper cleans
  • If you do not like your cleaner or the standards are not good enough, you can replace the cleaner with a telephone call

The Cons of using a cleaning agency

  • Even though the agency say they will interview and vet a cleaner, many times they will not physically meet the cleaner and handle all inquiries over a telephone, as more often than not the agents office is not based in the locality of the cleaning work
  • You as the homeowner are still responsible for interviewing the cleaner in your home and vetting them again for your piece of mind (written in 3 agency agreements I have had the pleasure of reading)
  • You as the homeowner will be responsible for the design and implementation of your cleaning rota, along with the quality control aspects of your clean
  • Like with a Sole Trader (which is what these cleaners are with the added cost of paying an agent) how do you know what training your cleaner may have had? How good is the cleaners insurance? Do they even have insurance? What happens if a cleaner falls and hurts themselves in your property? What happens if a cleaner spills bleach on your new rug?
  • 2 costs – cash to cleaner, direct debit to agency… very messy and complicated
  • The costs work out quite expensive when broken down as their are the two costs for the cleaner and agency as well as the cleaning materials and equipment as cleaning agencies DO NOT supply any
  • Cleaning agencies tend to have an even higher employee turnover than both a cleaning business and cleaning franchise as there are no employee schemes or training and the hours of work offered can be spasmodic and often not worth the cleaners time to travel to
  • There is no come back for the house owner – Not happy with your clean? Would like to talk to someone about it? Well with a cleaning agency you will be directed to talk to your cleaner directly or the agency will just replace… going on holiday or your cleaner going on holiday? It is up to the house owner to arrange cover for that period… Cleaner ill or broke their leg? It is up to the house owner to arrange the cover – The agent does what for their money?????

As a cleaning business owner, and obviously working within the cleaning industry, cleaning agents are not my favourite flavour of cleaning service available as I, personally, do not feel they give a value added service to either the homeowners or the cleaners involved and the only party that benefits is the agent – they offer no training, no quality control of cleans, no back office support and no structure.

If you, as a homeowner, want to be in control of the rota and the quality, then you could hire your own cleaner direct as that is what an agent offers, with a weekly cost! If you want an uninterrupted service look at franchises or cleaning businesses and if you want to just make a phone call and hire/fire a cleaner then perhaps an agent is for you but please before you make any decisions, read through all the posts in this section to see which one would suit your home, family and pocket best

Please feel free to add your comments or questions

Next blog post: How to complain about your clean

Will a sole trader suit my cleaning needs?

Cleaning Articles & Guides Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

What is a Sole Trader

 

A sole trader, also know as “one man band”, are normally individuals that work alone and have a self employed status. The sole trader will undertake all cleaning and ironing work within your home usually. The sole trader would be responsible for a self assessment annually, paying their own taxes and national insurance contributions and for their business insurances. Should the sole trader start to take on employees, they must be registered with the HMRC as an employer so that the appropriate  taxes may be paid and have their insurances amended to cover more than one individual.

The Pros of using a Sole Trader

  • Flexibility of work undertaken within the home
  • Flexibility of price as the sole trader has minimal overheads – the general rate for a sole trader is typically £7 – £8.50 per hour, although some self employed cleaners do charge up to £10 per hour.
  • The relationship between client and cleaner can sometimes be more personal as the cleaner can almost become an extension of the family as it will always be the same cleaner at the home

The Cons of using a Sole Trader

  • If the cleaner is not registered as self employed with the HMRC and is working “cash in hand” for the client, weather the client is aware or not – this changes the relationship to an employer/employee relationship and if investigated the client may be fined for not registering as an employer by the HMRC  – It places the homeowner in a difficult position as they will been seen as the employer and investigated for the correct legal trading status, tax and PAYE affairs
  • The cleaner may have minimal level insurance or no insurance at all – When interviewing potential cleaners always ask for a copy of their insurance details and would also recommend calling the company the insurance is held with to validate the policy to ensure your home is protected against damage, spills or breakages
  • If the cleaner is sick/on holiday/breaks a leg etc. the client would have no cleaning service
  • If the cleaner decides to quit or close their business the client would have to go through the process of advertising, interviewing, vetting the cleaners references and designing a rota for a new replacement cleaner
  • If the client is unhappy with the clean or the service the client would have to confront the cleaner directly to resolve the issues

Check list for a employing a self employed cleaner:

1) Does the cleaner have references you can telephone to ask about the cleaners service, reliability and standards?
2) Can the cleaner supply the client with a copy of insurance details?
3) Can the cleaner supply proof of self employed status, such as government gateway number or proof of employer status by way of their employer code?
4) Does the cleaner sub contract out work when on holiday/poorly – Who to? Who’s insurance is the replacement cleaner covered by?