Author Topic: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?  (Read 8053 times)

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Girly

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #45 on: June 20, 2014, 09:48:39 AM »
For years I had a weekly housekeeper who,was a true housekeeper. She did all.of the above, but also laundry, complete kitchen (oven, fridge, cabinets including taking out stuff and cleaning the inside of the pantry and spice cabinet and re-lining all cabinets) cleaning windows and window treatments, wiping down doors and walls, keeping lighting fixtures clean, cleaning out my DD's hair out of the drain, changing bedding, vacuuming furniture, and honestly I,don't know what else. I, just always had this really clean house. During the week we did dishes, put dirty laundry in the baskets, and generally put things away. I hated it when she moved.mshe even kept track of the cleaning supplies she needed, bought them and gave me the receipt for reimbursement.

I have a three year old and three dogs - and this is what I have now. Both myself and my husband work at least 60 hour weeks, and I don't know what I would do without her. I do pay more than I would pay for 'just a cleaner', but this lady does it ALL.

When I first hired her, I had her coming twice a week to do all the 'stuff' the previous cleaner never did, like wipe down the baseboards, kitchen grout, clean the refrigerator, etc. The only room she is to not touch is my home office. She does the floors, garbage and shredder in there and that's it.

My husband tolerates it, but hates that we pay for 'something we can easily do ourselves'. I happen to hate cleaning to the point where I would rather work more hours doing my 'real' job so I can afford to pay my cleaner, than to spend the hours cleaning.

mrs_deb

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #46 on: June 20, 2014, 03:55:04 PM »
I used to own a cleaning company.  I told clients:  You're hiring us to clean, not to clean up.  You'll get the best results if your house is ready to be cleaned.

Which means basically, pick up outrageous amounts of clutter and mess and stuff if you want that area done properly.  My employees were not expected to pick up 750 little Lego pieces so they could vacuum your child's room.  They'd just work around it.  However, a few pieces of clothing or shoes on the floor - pictures on the mantelpiece - of course they should pick that up to clean under.

I think your cleaner handled herself poorly.

Zizi-K

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #47 on: June 20, 2014, 04:05:24 PM »
I definitely pick up for my cleaner. She comes once every two weeks, for two hours, so the clutter, dirty clothes, dirty dishes, recycling, papers and books have to be up and out of her way for her to get done the things I need her to get done. The OP's experience is nuts, though. I would find a new cleaner if that happened to me.

Ceallach

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #48 on: June 20, 2014, 09:26:00 PM »
Thanks guys, I appreciate your responses and knowing I'm not some crazy slob for not having my house perfect before she came.  All my friends were shocked and said she was unreasonable (and should have just cleaned the rest of the house instead of refusing altogether), but I wasn't sure if they were just being nice.   

I've decided if I do end up wanting to hire a cleaner again, I'll go with one of the hourly rate services.  The reason being that I prefer the cleaning done when I'm present anyway, and I'm happy to direct on a particular day and say "clean the bathroom and if there is time left mop the floors" or along those lines, rather than them doing everything everytime.    I do actually enjoy tidying, sorting and cleaning and seeing I'm going to have more time at home soon I think we will manage just fine.   Will see what happens when the new baby comes though!
"Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something"


lakey

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #49 on: June 21, 2014, 02:29:41 AM »
Unless you had so much clutter that she couldn't mop the floors or vacuum, I think your cleaner was unreasonable. Also, isn't it up to you to decide what you'd like her to do? If you want things done like mopping, cleaning walls, or windows, then yes, you need to have the areas cleared so that she can do that. But if you've been overwhelmed with children, errands, and life in general so that you couldn't clean off the table after your kids ate, then you should be able to ask her to do that. That's why you hire a cleaning person, to do the stuff you can't get to.

She's going to lose business if she thinks that it's her decision what state your house is required to be in. I don't know anyone with small children who doesn't have some clutter or messes.

Golden Phoenix

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #50 on: June 21, 2014, 08:59:04 AM »
Personally, I would fire this cleaner if i got that kind of message. Even if she actually had a point (which i don't think she did) she handled it very unprofessionally in my opinion.

Before our cleaner comes i do tidy, pick up stuff off the floor, do the washing up, throw out any trash on my desk etc. but our house is so tiny (smaller than a "trailer" or caravan) that no matter what I do it's cluttered. But she works with it.

The house is so small that by the end of the two hour block (minimum booking time per visit) she's looking for extra stuff to do and frequently offers to wash the outside of the windows, organise some of the more cluttered shelves, iron, tidy the desk, pull out the storage under the sofa, clean in it and put it all back etc.

Now that's what I call service!

I don't think that having the house virtually spotless is necessary but making it as easy as possible for her to do her job is certainly the best approach. However, a one-off "mess" due to having to leave the house in a hurry for a medical appointment, I think she should have cut you some slack. It's not like you left a weeks worth of dishes all over the house and dirty clothes and toys on every available surface. And it was just Once!

MommyPenguin

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #51 on: June 21, 2014, 09:04:25 AM »
I used to own a cleaning company.  I told clients:  You're hiring us to clean, not to clean up.  You'll get the best results if your house is ready to be cleaned.

Which means basically, pick up outrageous amounts of clutter and mess and stuff if you want that area done properly.  My employees were not expected to pick up 750 little Lego pieces so they could vacuum your child's room.  They'd just work around it.  However, a few pieces of clothing or shoes on the floor - pictures on the mantelpiece - of course they should pick that up to clean under.

I think your cleaner handled herself poorly.

I wish there *were* people you could hire to clean up, not to clean.  I mean, if my living room floor was consistently empty of toys/books/clothes/etc., I wouldn't have a problem vacuuming.  Same with other cleaning type things.  It's the fact that I have 4 kids, we homeschool and so they're home all day, every day, and that they're in that magical age where they make huge messes but aren't so good with cleaning them up, that there's just so much stuff underfoot.  If I had a budget to hire help, I'd totally advertise on craigslist to see if anybody is willing to hire herself/himself out as a "tidier-upper" instead of a cleaner.  :)

But I agree that it sounds like your house was plenty clean enough for her to do her job (I had baskets of laundry on my couch last night and yet I was still able to vacuum), and her phrasing was insulting regardless.  Glad you are finding a new cleaner, OP.

TootsNYC

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #52 on: June 21, 2014, 11:54:50 AM »
Unless you had so much clutter that she couldn't mop the floors or vacuum, I think your cleaner was unreasonable. Also, isn't it up to you to decide what you'd like her to do? If you want things done like mopping, cleaning walls, or windows, then yes, you need to have the areas cleared so that she can do that. But if you've been overwhelmed with children, errands, and life in general so that you couldn't clean off the table after your kids ate, then you should be able to ask her to do that. That's why you hire a cleaning person, to do the stuff you can't get to.

She's going to lose business if she thinks that it's her decision what state your house is required to be in. I don't know anyone with small children who doesn't have some clutter or messes.

I would not expect my cleaner to clean up the mess on the table from when my kids ate--I think that's the sort of thing the homeowner should get out of the way. If I were a housecleaner, I'd resent that.

But I could certainly clean everything else! Especially the stuff in -another room-!!! That's the part that floors me.

And especially if I'd never had this conversation with my customer, I'd just chuck the dishes in the sink and wipe down the table (because I'd probably be wiping down the table even if it was empty).
   Now, I might say to my customer, if it happened very often, "I don't really want to clean up after your daily mess--that's not the type of cleaning I'm interested in doing. So could you be sure to pick up the day's dishes, and if I see them, I'm not going to disturb them."
   And then she could decide if I'm the type of cleaning lady she wants to hire.

My cleaning lady will do tidying up; lots of them will.

shhh its me

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #53 on: June 21, 2014, 07:55:18 PM »
Unless you had so much clutter that she couldn't mop the floors or vacuum, I think your cleaner was unreasonable. Also, isn't it up to you to decide what you'd like her to do? If you want things done like mopping, cleaning walls, or windows, then yes, you need to have the areas cleared so that she can do that. But if you've been overwhelmed with children, errands, and life in general so that you couldn't clean off the table after your kids ate, then you should be able to ask her to do that. That's why you hire a cleaning person, to do the stuff you can't get to.

She's going to lose business if she thinks that it's her decision what state your house is required to be in. I don't know anyone with small children who doesn't have some clutter or messes.

I would not expect my cleaner to clean up the mess on the table from when my kids ate--I think that's the sort of thing the homeowner should get out of the way. If I were a housecleaner, I'd resent that.

But I could certainly clean everything else! Especially the stuff in -another room-!!! That's the part that floors me.

And especially if I'd never had this conversation with my customer, I'd just chuck the dishes in the sink and wipe down the table (because I'd probably be wiping down the table even if it was empty).
   Now, I might say to my customer, if it happened very often, "I don't really want to clean up after your daily mess--that's not the type of cleaning I'm interested in doing. So could you be sure to pick up the day's dishes, and if I see them, I'm not going to disturb them."
   And then she could decide if I'm the type of cleaning lady she wants to hire.

My cleaning lady will do tidying up; lots of them will.

Assuming I knew you had kids I'd expect to have to clean some table spills but only that days spills not a weeks worth(Well at least not without charging you for it ) I'd not want to do dishes but the reason would be more about the simple fact if you wash dishes for 10 families a week eventually you will break some and they many not want to deal with the risk having to replace clients dishes. In 20 years Ive broken a lot of dishes but never have I broken a floor or tub etc scrubbing it.

Marbles

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #54 on: June 22, 2014, 06:33:49 PM »
Unless you had so much clutter that she couldn't mop the floors or vacuum, I think your cleaner was unreasonable. Also, isn't it up to you to decide what you'd like her to do? If you want things done like mopping, cleaning walls, or windows, then yes, you need to have the areas cleared so that she can do that. But if you've been overwhelmed with children, errands, and life in general so that you couldn't clean off the table after your kids ate, then you should be able to ask her to do that. That's why you hire a cleaning person, to do the stuff you can't get to.

She's going to lose business if she thinks that it's her decision what state your house is required to be in. I don't know anyone with small children who doesn't have some clutter or messes.

I would not expect my cleaner to clean up the mess on the table from when my kids ate--I think that's the sort of thing the homeowner should get out of the way. If I were a housecleaner, I'd resent that.

But I could certainly clean everything else! Especially the stuff in -another room-!!! That's the part that floors me.

And especially if I'd never had this conversation with my customer, I'd just chuck the dishes in the sink and wipe down the table (because I'd probably be wiping down the table even if it was empty).
   Now, I might say to my customer, if it happened very often, "I don't really want to clean up after your daily mess--that's not the type of cleaning I'm interested in doing. So could you be sure to pick up the day's dishes, and if I see them, I'm not going to disturb them."
   And then she could decide if I'm the type of cleaning lady she wants to hire.

My cleaning lady will do tidying up; lots of them will.

My cleaning ladies (a 3-person team), when we could afford them, would do dishes. I prefered that they not do so, because they use the dishwasher as a drying rack whether or not it was half-full of dirty dishes.  ???

But, when they are late  ::), they get to cope with whatever dishes we generate while waiting for them. I'm not holding off on feeding my preschoolers indefinitely just because they are delayed. Putting together a couple of sandwiches seems to guarantee their immediate arrival. By the time we finish, someone is ensconced in the kitchen and it's easier to leave the dishes to her convenience than to squeeze in and disrupt her.

Occasionally they're early, in which case they help with picking up. (These things have to be timed just right so I'm not struggling for hours to distract two kids who want to get out all their toys now that they've cleaned up and have all this space.) They don't seem to mind, it just means they do less dusting and light cleaning that I care less about.

Sophia

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #55 on: June 22, 2014, 10:43:41 PM »
... to distract two kids who want to get out all their toys now that they've cleaned up and have all this space.) They don't seem to mind, it just means they do less dusting and light cleaning that I care less about.

What is it about open uncluttered spaces that seem to scream to kids to dump out their toys?

blarg314

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #56 on: June 23, 2014, 02:19:22 AM »

I suspect someone who agrees to a flat rate cleaning without seeing the house first isn't a particularly good bet for a cleaner!

I would say that a flat rate clean would be a bit different than an hourly or fixed time version though. For a fixed time cleaner, you could have a list of priorities, and if they have to tidy first less of the other stuff gets done. For an hourly cleaner, tidying would mean more money. But for a flat rate, tidying first means more work for the same amount of pay, so the standards for tidying first are likely to be a lot higher.

gellchom

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #57 on: June 25, 2014, 02:39:02 PM »
If I don't pick stuff up, I may never find it!

In fact, the name of our first house cleaner has become a verb in our house, meaning "to put something away, while cleaning, in an unguessable place."

"Have you seen the green widget?  It was on the credenza."

"It must have gotten Kimmed."

(Notwithstanding that Kim retired years ago; now Della cleans -- and Kims -- for us.)

Mommyoops

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #58 on: June 25, 2014, 02:52:18 PM »
I own a cleaning service. If it is a one off we have zero issue tidying up. If it is a constant thing we do a price increase in accordance with the amount of pick up needed. We give our estimate for regular service at the time of the first hourly cleaning. In home estimates are tricky because people do tend to really tidy up prior to the estimate and often times it is messier on cleaning day. Her response to you was so far off base it is ridiculous. She has found a sure fire way to lose customers in a hurry. I would let her know exactly why you can no longer use her so in the future she understands how her being so inflexible cost her clients.

jaxsue

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #59 on: June 25, 2014, 03:07:45 PM »
OP, it doesn't sound like your house was too much of a mess at all. I used to clean homes/offices (bad economy, you do what you have to do, even with a college degree!), and worked in some places that were as bad as what you'd see on the Hoarders shows. I also had one client who used quite an array of illegal drugs, and didn't bother to put them away on the days I cleaned.  :P
I could work with a lot of clutter. It's part of the job. Find a new cleaning service.