A Beginner’s Guide to Hiring a Housecleaner

A Beginner's Guide to Hiring a Housecleaner
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Gone are the days when having a professional clean your home was a sign that you were rich—like really well-off. With new apps, affordable prices, and so many of us working multiple jobs, hiring a house-cleaner is not only doable, but often necessary. Still, if you’ve never done it, it can be intimidating. What is the etiquette? What are the rules? Here’s what to keep in mind before hiring a cleaning service for the first time.

Figure out your budget

Lots of services offer some money off for your first cleaning, which can be tantalizing, but the best thing you can do is build a relationship with a cleaner if you plan to have them come by biweekly or monthly—and you won’t do that if the regular price is out of your budget range.

Some services, like Dazzling Cleaning, offer memberships. Theirs is called “Forever Clean” and entitles you to unlimited additional cleanings at more than 50% off. If you end up getting some sick deal on multiple cleanings, the first thing you have to remember is to tip your cleaner well. They’re still working hard, no matter what cost-cutting is going on between you and the company, and deserve to be compensated adequately.

Communicate with your cleaner

This one comes from my personal experience. Typically, days before a cleaner arrives, they’ll text you or message you through their company’s app. Even if you hire someone directly through Craigslist or some other platform, you’ll be in contact with them. It’s important to brief them on the details of your home.

Create a note in your phone or a doc on your computer with details about your space. Does the radiator make a terrifying noise every day at 12:03 p.m.? Is one area of your living room absolutely off-limits to touch? Have you noticed pest activity that could startle someone, at best, and pose a health concern for them, at worst? Think of all the things in your home that seem normal to you but might surprise a newcomer, then relay them clearly. If you don’t mention pets, for instance, and your cleaner has asthma or allergies, you’re putting them in an unfair, possibly dangerous situation that could be avoided with prior communication. Most times, they’ll just swap the gig with another cleaner and it won’t impact you at all. You also need to find out how many supplies they bring with them. Some cleaners bring mops, brooms, cleaning solutions, and all kinds of stuff, but others don’t. Ask specifically what, if anything, they need you to make available for their use.

I’ve always found it to be much less awkward if I get the hell out of the house during cleaning days. You don’t want to micromanage the person who is helping you get your dusty apartment back in order; just let them do their job. That said, you need to communicate clearly in advance how they’ll access the property, whether you’ll be there when they arrive to let them in or you have a key somewhere they’ll need to obtain.

Finally, lay out exactly what you hope to have cleaned in the time that they’re there. If you really want a deep-clean of the bathroom but don’t care as much about the kitchen, you have to say that. They can (and probably will) reach out to you if you’re not there, but if they don’t hear back, they’ll just clean whatever seems most pressing and doable to them. Make your expectations clear to avoid any issues.

Prepare your home

You don’t need to clean your whole place before they arrive since that’s, you know, what you’re hiring them to do. Still, you should give the spot a once-over and handle big things on your own if you can, so they can focus on the details. These tips come from Angi, a leading home services site:

  • Declutter your space. Remove toys, junk mail, and random stuff from your surfaces if you can so the cleaner doesn’t spend a bulk of their time figuring out how to organize your stuff. (If you actually want organizational aid, let them know this in advance; they can be really helpful with it.)
  • Clear away dirty dishes and food mess. Most cleaners don’t do dishes or handle food-related messes, but do clean sinks and countertops. Don’t leave stuff in the sink or any major messes of that nature. If you are in a time crunch and plates and food will be present, let them know in advance.
  • Secure fragile items. If you have a figurine or heirloom that means a lot to you, put it someplace safe before the cleaner arrives. Accidents can happen.
  • Put your pets away. Putting your pets in a crate or in a room you don’t want cleaned is helpful. Your pets and cleaners shouldn’t mix if you can avoid it. Communicate in advance about any pets you have, where they’ll be, and which rooms they don’t need to enter.
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