If life is getting too hectic and endless amounts of laundry, hoovering, polishing and cleaning is getting on top of you, it might be time to think about hiring a cleaner. If it’s the first time you have thought about this, here are some things to think about before taking the first step.
1) Which household chores do you struggle to keep up with? Is it the hoovering and polishing, or the washing and ironing, or the big jobs such as cleaning the oven, or spring cleaning cupboards, or wiping down skirting boards and walls? Decide what you want help with so that when you approach a cleaning company or a cleaner (direct), you can articulate exactly what your needs are and get an accurate price.
2) Decide how often you need (or would like!) a cleaner, find out what the hourly rate is, and decide how many hours you can afford and how often. Once a week, once a fortnight, once a month?
3) Do you want to hire a cleaning agency to send a cleaner to your home, or do you want to go direct to cleaners themselves? This is a very important consideration for a number of reasons:
- If you hire a cleaner direct, and they act as your employee, you may be subject to tax and national insurance responsibilities. If you hire a cleaner from an agency however, they will manage all employee contributions and salaries and you will simply need to pay the cleaning agency.
- If you hire a cleaner from an agency and you ever have problems with the cleaner not working to the standards you want, or turning up late, you can ask the agency to deal with the problem rather than having to have those awkward discussions yourself.
- If you hire a cleaner direct, the hourly rate will probably be less than if you hire from an agency. This is because the cleaner will not have agency overheads to manage.
4) Recommendations and trust. Before hiring a cleaner, seek out recommendations first. Find out about the cleaner and/or the agency. Do they have a good reputation? Do they retain their clients for a long time – if not, why not? This is incredibly important because you are about to let a stranger into your house, and you will probably end up giving them a set of keys too.
5) Once you’ve hired a cleaner, be clear about your expectations at the start and do not be afraid to revisit them when the need arises. Be explicit about the parts of your house you want cleaned and how you want them cleaned. Be explicit too about laundry – what should be washed, what shouldn’t. What can go in the tumble drier and what should be left aside for the dry cleaners? You don’t want a good relationship with your cleaner ruined after your favourite cashmere jumper has shrunk in the wash.