finding a good domestic cleaner – Part 2

Having looked at how to find a good domestic cleaner and hire an eco-friendly cleaning service in Part 1, I’m now just going to run down a brief summary of the pros and cons or hiring a domestic cleaner from a franchise, a company or independently.

Cleaning Franchise

Pros

  • Company should have proper insurance coverage
  • Likely to provide cleaner cover if one is away or off sick
  • May be able to provide a pair of cleaners which equals less time in the home
  • Likely to be able to provide another cleaner if you’re not happy with the current one
  • Equipment etc is usually provided

 

Cons

  • Cleaner is usually self-employed so you usually make two payments – one to the cleaner and one to the franchise – hidden costs
  • Cleaners tend to be paid low and have to do their own self-assessment for tax so there’s a high turnover of staff – not likely to have the same cleaner all the time.
  • High turnover of staff means greater risk of theft/accidents
  • Poor quality of work can be a more common issue because of the low pay
  • Because they are self-employed the cleaner may hold your key between appointments rather than the office

Independent Cleaning Company

Pros

  • Company should have proper insurance coverage in case of theft or accidents
  • Likely to provide cleaner cover if one is away or off sick
  • Often work in pairs which equals less time in the home
  • Likely to be able to provide another cleaner if you’re not happy with the current one
  • Equipment etc is usually provided
  • Flexibility with payments – you can usually leave cash/cheques out on the day or pay electronically
  • More likely to carry out checks; eg. quality control checks
  • Cleaner is usually a direct employee in this case so is subject to reviews, disciplinary procedures etc – likely to clean to a high standard
  • Company will have sought references from the cleaner  and they will have gone through the hiring procedure, so more likely to be trustworthy
  • Company will deal with employment laws and payroll
  • Cleaners should be trained by the company in correct procedures to follow whilst cleaning/in your home
  • Keys are usually kept at the office and signed in/out at the beginning and end of the day

Cons

  •  No guarantee of getting the same cleaner everytime
  • May have to pay cancellation fees for some appointments
  • May be less flexibility in rearranging appointments
  • Usually appointments are cancelled or cost more on Bank Holidays & the Christmas period
  • You can sometimes be tied into a contract

Individual

Pros

  • You get the same cleaner everytime
  • They will often use your products – you save money on the hourly rate and you know exactly what they are using
  • They may be more flexible with cancellations or rearranging appointments
  • They are usually cheaper because they have less overheads
  • They may offer additional jobs and more personalized service

Cons

  • No cover if cleaner is ill or on holiday – many have children so are not always available during school holidays
  • They may not be insured
  • The quality of work may not be as good if they have no previous experience or training
  • Need to carry out references/CRB check yourself
  • Check if they are self-employed or if you are employing them, in which case there is much more paperwork
  • If using your products they may use more than you would
  • They may not have access to their own transport which could cause problems in getting to you

Working Out the Price…

When the cleaner or a person from the cleaning company comes to ‘walk through’ your home, they will be taking in factors such as room size, how much ‘stuff’ you have, and whether you have pets or children.

Some places quote a fixed price for your clean, and some an hourly rate. Hourly rates tend to vary depending on area, here up North it starts around £8 and can go up anywhere to £20 an hour depending on the company and service.

A good way to get an idea for how long it will take to do the tasks you want doing on a regular basis is to set aside a block of time for cleaning – get all your cloths, mop etc out and ready, and check how long it takes you to get through your cleaning list. Make sure you clean to a standard that you would expect from someone else though, and not just your quick whip-around!

It’s tempting to get everything nice and tidy (and even clean up a bit) before the quotation, but resist the urge! If your house is not realistically likely to be in this state when the cleaner comes, it’s going to take them a whole lot longer than the quoted original time – so either things will get skipped or done to a poor standard, or you will have a cleaner suffering a nervous breakdown! You may be surprised just how much longer it takes to dust and hoover a cluttered room than one where everything is ‘picked up’!

For the quotation appointment, keep your home in it’s ‘natural’ state (unless you fancy tidying up before you leave for work), be clear on what tasks you want doing and what you don’t, and let the cleaning rep know about children, pets and if anyone is likely to be home at the time of the appointment.

Look out for Part 3 for some tips for improving cleaner relations!

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