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
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.
- 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
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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