When hiring a domestic cleaner, what service levels should you expect in your home?
As the more “ordinary” folk move to hiring help within their homes, some of them may have never had dealt with a cleaner before and perhaps come from a background that has never had cleaners or hired help in their homes – this post is to guide newbie homeowners employing a cleaner on a few things to expect.
A Cleaner Will Not Redecorate Your Home
Excuse the dramatics but we wanted to make a point. Some clients expect their house will be transformed almost instantly upon having a cleaner and while that is true to a point, (as yes your home should look, feel and smell cleaner when you come home after each and every clean) it may take several cleans to get your home to the desired and workable standard of the cleaner and of the cleaning service provider you have hired.
It may take a cleaner 2/3 cleans to “bed-in” to a new client’s home and to know the flow of the rooms and work out the most efficient way of achieving all tasks in the set time frame. It will take several cleans to get on top of all paintwork and internal windows, for example, especially if they have not been regularly maintained beforehand. It may take several treatments to cut through all limescale on a shower screen or on taps if the build up is heavy etc.
A cleaner is only human and can only achieve so much in a 2, 3, 4-hour time span. From experience, our domestic Moppettes are professionally trained in cleaning techniques for efficiency combined with high-standard cleaning, and yes they can clean better and faster than the average Jo, but there is a limit to how many bathrooms can be cleaned, how many bed changes can be done or how many flights of stairs vacuumed in a two hour time slot – this is true of all cleaners
How To Overcome This?
The very best thing you can do is be very clear of your cleaning wants and your cleaning needs when you have someone come to your home to quote. The cleaner and the cleaning company want to serve you well and would much rather deliver great cleaning work in 2 hours than provide lots of bits of shoddy, rushed work throughout the home. If you can only afford to budget for 2 hours a week of cleaning then be realistic on what the most important tasks are to you to be done.
If you can afford it, have a deep/spring clean before your regular cleaning service starts – some franchises will insist on this – A deep clean will clean all paint work, internal windows, and there will be a deep clean in the living areas, kitchen and bathrooms etc. The idea of having a deep clean prior to your regular service is that it will make the home easier to maintain moving forward.
A Cleaner Cleans But Does Not Tidy Up!
Okay, not strictly true because if we needed to vacuum a floor and it was littered with a weeks worth of clothes, we would, of course, pick up said clothes and fold them neatly… then we could get on with our job of cleaning.
Us picking up your clothes, picking up toys, putting away books and magazines etc is a waste of your actual cleaning time – If we only have 3 hours to do a top to bottom clean on a home and your cleaner spends 30 mins picking up and putting away items, something else may have to be missed, or it will be done in a rush (and probably poorly), as your cleaner will run out of time before they have to move to their next job.
You don’t want a half complete clean, the cleaning business owner does not want to give you an incomplete clean and the cleaner does not want to feel like they are failing as they become so overwhelmed with the tasks to be done Vs time allowed.
How To Overcome This?
The night before your scheduled clean please tidy-up for your cleaner – Get the whole household involved and explain to one and all that floors should be clear and items that should be somewhere should be put there – Your cleaner will love you for it and you will get more bang for your buck in cleaning time. Hurrah all round!
Your Cleaner Won’t Last Forever
Nothing lasts forever we all know this but allow me to explain…
There are two types of cleaner. The first type of cleaner is the dream cleaner for you to hire in your home; they are the type of cleaner that instinctively knows what is to be cleaned, they love to clean and to get quality results, and they would never, ever dream of assigning their name to bad work. Career cleaners live to clean, it is their vocation. This type of cleaner does exist, I promise, but they are rare (in eight years of running Mrs Mopp I have employed several career cleaners and many are still with me, as a good cleaner is worth their weight in gold!)
The second type of cleaner is a person that sees cleaning hours as convenient for their own life and they see it as a job they can do until they find something else. (‘Something better’, is the phrase I will hear most often, frustratingly, cleaning is not a respected job role in this country, and this does not help with retention) These types of cleaners are the majority in the UK. Harsh but true. This is not to say ‘jobbing cleaners’ can’t be good cleaners, not at all, I’ve employed many an excellent cleaner that has gone on to do other things as their circumstances have changed, the point is that these cleaners are not career cleaners, they do not live for the finish and sparkle in the same way as cleaning type number one does and no matter what pay rates, incentive schemes, employee benefits etc that a cleaning business may offer, some people never intend on staying in a role with a long term view (please believe me I’ve tried to change this view and still try daily) and so it goes, your cleaner will not last forever.
Another reason cleaners don’t last forever is that the work is very physically demanding and some people join the profession thinking they can do it (how hard can cleaning be right?) and then they discover after a week or two that it’s really not for them and they can’t stay with the pace
Cleaning businesses HATE changing cleaning staff just as much as a client hates having to have a new cleaner, but please know that sometimes they can’t help it as it may beyond their control, BUT, they will be doing everything they can behind the scenes to correct it, I guarantee it, no cleaning business owner likes disgruntled calls or emails. Not a single one.
How To Overcome This?
When looking for a cleaning business ask about how they do their recruitment, ask what capacity they employ their cleaners – some cleaning business are actually agencies and all their staff are self-employed and none of the cleaners are known to each other – ask how they keep and motivate their staff
Ask yourself would you prefer a single cleaner or are you happy for a team of two to come to your home? Many companies use two cleaners for heath and safety reasons (moving furniture, falling etc) and this can help with service disruption as there is always one known cleaner.
If you really want one person and one person only, you either have to accept, there may be times that particular individual is sick or perhaps on holiday and you would have to go without a clean, or you will have a cover cleaner so as not to disrupt your cleaning service – or if you employ a sole trader cleaner, if they are sick or on holiday you will not have a clean (nor the option of cover).
There are Pros and cons to all cleaning services – take a look at our post here that describes the different type of cleaning services available to find the one that best suits you, your budget and your cleaning needs.
The main point to take away from the post is this: be realistic with timeframes available, and with your cleaning wants and your cleaning needs. Stay open in communication with the cleaner, supervisor and/or business owner/manager to work together to find your perfect cleaning service.
It can be done, you can have a harmonious relationship with your cleaning provider, with a perfectly running cleaning schedule, I promise. It just won’t happen all in one clean.
Do you have anything to add to this post? Please post in the comments and please share this post with anyone you think may find it useful
Mrs M x
Read the previous post: Is It Time To Hire A Cleaner?
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