Tips For Hiring Your First Housekeeper

October 18, 2018  |  
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hiring a housekeeper for the first time

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So you’re ready to hire your first housekeeper. Well, aren’t you fancy? Just kidding. Hiring a housekeeper doesn’t have to be extremely expensive. And, time is money so, any time you spend cleaning your own home is time you aren’t accomplishing other things. If you own your own business or are self-employed, and you make far more per hour than a housekeeper does, then hiring someone is just economical—you lose money spending your time cleaning. Having a housekeeper can also prevent some of the cohabitation fights that come up between couples. There’s no need to get upset about one person being messier than the other when you know a housekeeper will be over shortly to sort the whole thing out. There are some things to know before hiring your first housekeeper though, like these.

hiring a housekeeper for the first time

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Get a referral

This person will be in your home, near your private belongings, and within arm’s reach of valuables and personal documents. There’s no reason to go rogue and hire someone with no references. You probably have several friends who can refer you to a housekeeper they’ve employed and enjoyed for years.

hiring a housekeeper for the first time

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Make sure she’s insured

Make sure your housekeeper is insured. While she probably won’t be doing any heavy lifting in your home, you still want to make sure that you aren’t liable should she injure herself on the job.

hiring a housekeeper for the first time

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Make sure she’s bonded

Being bonded has to do with the protection of your belongings. A bonded housekeeper has paid into a surety company that protects you from financial loss, should she break or damage something while working.

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Be clear on what’s covered

Vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, and scrubbing are some of the given tasks. But not all housekeepers will clean your dishes or put away your laundry. Be clear on what is covered. If you want more done, you may need to pay extra.

hiring a housekeeper for the first time

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Most won’t do heights

Most housekeepers won’t go on top of roofs or climb ladders to clean the outside of second story windows. Yours isn’t high maintenance if she won’t do those things—it’s a safety issue, and it’s why there are companies specifically designed to wash your outer windows.

hiring a housekeeper for the first time

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Will she bring her own supplies?

It’s not a huge deal, but you should be clear on it in advance so nobody wastes time or money: will your housekeeper provide her own supplies? If not, then that’s an extra expense you’ll be taking on and you should consider that when negotiating the price.

hiring a housekeeper for the first time

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What sorts of supplies?

If your housekeeper will bring her own supplies, ask what sorts of supplies she uses. Maybe you only want eco-friendly supplies in your home. Or, if you have pets and kids, you should know if the housekeeper uses harsh supplies, and keep your little ones away until the place is dry.

hiring a housekeeper for the first time

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Be clear on pricing

Does she charge per room? Per hour? Per square footage? This is often up for negotiation. If you pay per hour, you have to set some expectation of how much will get done in that hour. If you pay per room, you may not want all rooms cleaned, every time—you don’t use some as much as you use others.

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If it’s hourly, set a price limit

If you go with the hourly rate, don’t forget to set a price limit. Maybe you can only afford to pay her $60 each time she comes. If she makes $15 an hour, then instruct her to stop work after four hours.

hiring a housekeeper for the first time

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Beware if she won’t be clear on pricing

There is no right or wrong type of pricing but beware of a housekeeper who refuses to give you even an estimate in advance. There will probably be some price gouging happening there.

hiring a housekeeper for the first time

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It’s normal for you to be home

Don’t feel like you’re intruding by being home when your housekeeper is at work. It is your home after all. On that note, beware of any housekeeper who insists she needs the house to herself when she works.

hiring a housekeeper for the first time

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Once or twice a month is usually enough

Unless you have several children, you can probably do just fine with having the housekeeper stop by once or twice a month. Don’t let her upsell you to once a week when you’re a tidy person living alone.

hiring a housekeeper for the first time

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It can help to pre-tidy

While your housekeeper is probably happy to help you de-clutter, you shouldn’t waste your money on that. Every minute she’s asking you where this sweater goes or putting away that photo album is a minute she isn’t dusting or vacuuming. So do yourself a favor and tidy up a little before your housekeeper comes over.

hiring a housekeeper for the first time

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But no, she isn’t judging

If you have to leave the home in disarray before the housekeeper comes over, don’t feel embarrassed; she truly has seen it all.

hiring a housekeeper for the first time

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If something is important, put it away

Don’t set your housekeeper up to fail by leaving out a very critical, time-sensitive document for her to accidentally misplace. If something is very important, just put it away before the housekeeper comes.

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