5 Tips on How to Hire a Housekeeper

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Sometimes in my work as a life and career coach, I find that a lot of my clients have the same question – so I write a blog post on it! I love helping my clients level up, and many of my clients are strapped for time, so I advise that they hire a housekeeper.

Usually, when I advise this, I’m met with interest and a bit of fear. “How, exactly,” my clients ask, “Do hire a housekeeper? How do I make sure I’m an ethical person.

How to Hire a Housekeeper

Okay, so this blog post is NOT dedicated to why you should hire a housekeeper (that’s info I usually cover with a client during a solo session, info here). In this blog post, we’ll talk about:

  • Safety & Liability
  • How to Communicate Your Needs/Wants
  • How to Find a Housekeeper
  • Questions to Ask a Potential Housekeeper
  • How to Hire a Housekeeper – Test Cleaning
  • Preparing Your Home for a Housekeeper

Safety & Liability – Hire a Housekeeper

Okay, so before we jump in, I want to talk about safety and liability.

There’s a saying that goes something like, “If you expect your domestic help to steal from you, then they will.” Domestic labor is FREAKING VALUABLE, so taking a stance of “They’ll steal from me” is freakin’ GARBAGE.

That said, you are inviting a new person to your home, so it’s helpful to do the following:

  • Take all mail (bills, etc), as well as any personal information that could be used for identity fraud – and put it in a room no one will go in. This is a good practice to do, regardless!
  • Check your renters insurance and home owners insurance to see if your policy is impacted by having a housekeeper or cleaning service
  • Ask your housekeeper or cleaning service, “Are you insured as a business?” Many folks who are domestic laborers aren’t insured, and if that’s the case then you want to understand the risk here!

How to Communicate Your Needs/Wants to a Housekeeper

The #1 issue that I see when it comes to hiring a housekeeper is that there are specific expectations that you, the client has, and it’s critical to communicate those expectations.

So, before reaching out to a housekeeper for a quote, ask yourself, “What level of clean am I looking for, here? What domestic tasks do I not want to do?” List out those specific tasks!

Questions to consider:

  • Do you want your housekeeper to focus on specific areas of the house, for example, the kitchen and bathrooms?
  • Do you want your housekeeper to wash walls, baseboards and vents?
  • Do you want your bathroom deep cleaned, ie the grout bleached?
  • Do you want rugs taken outside and smacked to remove debris, or is vacuuming ok?

^See how specific I’m being? It is critical to know what you want.

Here’s what my housekeeper, Linda, does for me:

  • Deep clean kitchen: Linda removes grease and crumbs from the stove, wiping down counters and sweeping/mopping the kitchen floor. She deep cleans my microwave, sanitizes surfaces and polishes appliances. She also wipes out my fridge, and deep cleans it about 1x a month. This does not include windowsills walls or blinds.
  • Deep clean bathrooms: Linda bleaches the tub, showers, toilet and sinks, as well as the countertop. She cleans the mirror and cleans around the toilet base (on the floor). Linda sweeps, mops and sanitizes the floor.
  • Living Room: Linda dusts all shelves, vacuums in the couch cushions and sweeps, mops and sanitizes the floor! She also windexes the mirrors.
  • Office/Studio: I have a home office and sewing studio (I’m also a fashion designer). Depending on the month, Linda may also vacuum and tidy these rooms.

^We created this list, and Linda charges me an hourly fee. She usually comes for 3-4 hours every other week. Linda does not do my laundry, change bed sheets, etc, because I choose to do that. I’d. much rather have someone deep clean.

How to Find a Housekeeper

Finding a housekeeper can be a challenge. My recommendation is to post in your NextDoor group, or in a Facebook group. Another option is a website like Thumbtack! If you live in an apartment building, you can ask the building manager who cleans the units to prepare them for a new tenant.

How Much to Pay a Housekeeper

Domestic labor is HARD work. Pricing will vary by city. My recommendation is to google the living wage in your city for a household of 3, and then multiply that wage by 1.5.

Ballpark, you’re looking at minimum $35 per hour.

As a business owner, I do write off some of Linda’s work for me as a tax deduction.

Questions to Ask a Potential Housekeeper

Ok, so this list isn’t exhaustive, but here’s what I would ask:

  • Do I need to provide cleaning supplies for you? What do I need to have ready for you?
  • Do you offer specific packages or do you prefer to charge hourly?
  • Do you have insurance as a business?
  • How do I pay you?
  • How should I prepare my home for you to clean?
  • What are common misconceptions new clients have when it comes to working with you?
  • How far out do I need to schedule?
  • Share with the housekeeper if you have children or pets

Generally, a housekeeper or cleaning service will come to your home to do a walk through and go over what you want. Be sure to very specific. I recommend having a typed up list of specific things you want cleaned! I would also send that list via email.

How to Hire a Housekeeper – Test Cleaning

Ok, so now it’s time for a test clean. I recommend that you hire a housekeeper for a one-time clean. That way, if it’s not a fit you don’t have to deal with the awkward situation of canceling service.

Preparing Your Home for a Housekeeper

For a housekeeper or cleaning service to come, you’ll need to clear off areas they’re cleaning. Also, you’ll need to be there, to be around for questions and to communicate clarifications. Also be sure no one needs the room the housekeeper is cleaning (ie don’t be trying to make lunch while they’re cleaning the kitchen).

Before Linda comes to my home, I tidy up the spaces, removing random items and making sure she can access all surfaces to clean.

Note: Christmas Bonuses

For household staff, it is customary to give a Christmas or holiday bonus. I recommend that the bonus be (minimum) what you pay for a regular full service. So, if you pay $200 each time a housekeeper comes, then the bonus should be no less than $200!

There’s The Guide!

If you’re having issues getting your household on board with hiring a housekeeper, I’ve been there! I consult with clients 1:1 on topics like this in my “Pick My Brain Session,” wherein we spend 80 minutes tackling questions like this. We can make a housekeeper plan, or you can bring a list of questions!

I have found that hiring Linda has empowered me to spend my energy on my business – and things that I love to do. It feels really good to have domestic help. By treating your housekeeper or cleaning service ethically and warmly, I think that this could also change *your* life!

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