What you need to know about hiring a housekeeper
Like any service, there are questions to ask and points to work out before bringing a vacuum- and mop-bearing stranger into your home. It’s a position of trust, just like hiring a babysitter, contractor or income-tax prepare.
“I was reluctant to hire someone to clean my house at first,” says Jana S., who lives in south Denver. “I grew up in Wisconsin, and it was sort of a point of pride that you did that yourself. But when we had our second child it just became overwhelming for my husband and me.
“So we hired the same housekeeper”
There are two basic type of housekeepers: independents who work on their own, and companies. With independent contractors, you might be responsible for issues of work eligibility and withholding taxes
Either way, make sure the cleaner is bonded and insured, for their protection as well as yours. (Bonding will help if the housekeeper damages something in your home; an insured worker can keep you off the hook for liability in on-the-job accidents.)
Some people arrange for weekly visits from a cleaning service. But unless you have a houseful of kids and pets, once every two weeks or monthly might be enough. Some people only bring in a housekeeper once a year, say, before the guest-intensive holiday season gets underway in late November. Hiring a one-time cleaner before a move is also common.
What do you expect from a housekeeper?
Services are negotiable, though many housekeepers don’t clean windows, particularly exterior ones. Others draw the line at anything involving heights.House cleaners will provide services you might not think of: They’ll pick up clothes and fold them, a boon for anyone with teenagers. They will typically agree to do wash-and-dryer cycles, and will hand-wash dirty dishes.
Accidents happen, but bonded services like us will pay for normal accidents, such as an errant mop handle hitting something.
Here are some tips if you want to hire a housekeeper company
Questions to ask: Does the housekeeper have references? Are they bonded and insured?
Children and critters: If you have pets, are the cleaners allergic to them? If children will be in the house, both they and the housekeeper should understand the standards for interaction. (Don’t ask the housekeeper to take on babysitter functions, and the kids should not be underfoot when the job is underway.)
Products and equipment: If you hire an independent contractor, you can have some leeway in what products are used. If a company provides the housekeeper, ask the company about their products. Progressive ones are using eco-friendly, biodegradable products these days. Stepstools, mops, vacuums and other equipments will typically be provided by the cleaner.