Hiring a home cleaner or cleaning company can be a daunting task. After all, this is your sanctum sanctorum, your private kingdom, and lately, the place where you do all the essential tasks to keep body and soul together.
Add to that, a house cleaner has access to areas of your home where information of a personal nature is kept. Information that could be used to defraud you, your friends, or even steal your identity.
The extra time and energy required to properly vet a person while hiring a trustworthy cleaner is definitely worth it.
Red Flags to Watch For When Hiring a Cleaner
Here are some things to keep in mind, and red flags that should make you think twice before allowing someone into your home.
1. Reputation is important. There are a number of ways one can check on the reputation of a potential hire.
Websites like HomeStars, where people can review any service done in their homes, are often a goldmine of information and reviews. Most larger centers have a Better Business Bureau, and anyone can check a company’s rating.
If you are thinking of someone who is advertising on a local classified site, like Kijiji, ask for a reference or google them. These things may take a bit of your time, but cost you far less than letting an untrustworthy person into your home.
2. Negotiate a fixed price. Most good cleaners will give you an estimate in advance based on how long they think it will take them to clean your home.
Paying an hourly rate can be a budgeting mistake if some weeks your home is in need of more attention than others. A set rate that is understood in advance by both parties removes any possible disagreement on how long it should have taken.
(A side note on this practice – cleaners are often able to shave time off when they clean for you on a regular basis. It is a mistake to micromanage this – as long as the standard you want is kept, accept the price you agreed to regardless of the time involved.)
3. Pay after the work is done, and never in cash if possible. If a new cleaner asks to be paid in cash upfront, this is a red flag and you should avoid having them in your home.
However, if cash is your own preference, be sure to be present when the work is complete to express your approval and make arrangements for their next appointment. Cleaning companies with large staff often experience scheduling snafus; so paying only when the work is complete will also ensure that your home gets done as planned.
Finally, most home cleaners agree it is much easier to achieve that “Wow Factor” when the homeowner is not looking over their shoulder the whole time. Hiring someone you trust should mean that you leave them in peace to do their work.
At first, you may not be comfortable (or able in these COVID times) to leave the house completely, but staying in a single room of the house is a considerate way to show you trust them and appreciate their work.