Getting the Best Results from Your Housekeeper, Maid, Janitorial Service or Cleaning Service


You come home or return to your office and you are greeted by clean scents, freshly vacuumed carpets, shining countertops, dust-free tables, clean sinks, gleaming bathrooms. This is the reason you want to have a housekeeper, maid, cleaning lady, cleaning service. Your cleaning and housework have been done for you.

Whether you don't have time to keep your home organized and clean, you truly can't stand house cleaning, or you just want someone to help you keep up with all of the housework, a well chosen and well managed housekeeper can simplify your life.

How do you get the best results from a housekeeper, maid, janitorial service or cleaning service?

Decide on What You Want Cleaned and How and When You Want It Cleaned

The first and most important thing to do is for you to determine how much you want your housekeeper to do and what cleaning tasks you want taken care of.

If you are actively living in your home and don't want to do any housework, you will probably need cleaning service several times a week (particularly if you have children and/or pets). If you have the time and energy to do daily tidying up, small clean ups, dishes and laundry, you will need cleaning service only a few times a week. If you are seldom home, don't have children or you plan to keep up with most of the daily house work and chores, having a housekeeper provide a deep cleaning every few weeks is more ideal for you.

The best way to determine how frequently you will need a maid, maids or maid service is to outline what your cleaning needs are. Go room by room to assess what needs cleaning, to what extent, and in how much detail the cleaning will need to be done.

For example, consider the frequency with which you use your kitchen. Do you cook regularly? Do you clean your dishes and counters after you cook? Do you do general daily upkeep and then need someone to come in for a deep cleaning once a week? Do you clean out your refrigerator? Or would you rather someone else did?

Examine all of your needs for each area of your home. List what you do yourself. Then list what you would like your housekeeper to do. Also list how you would like your housekeeper to clean each area of your home. If you prefer that your countertops are bleached and sanitized, your housekeeper will need to know this.

Once you have compiled your cleaning list, you will be able to use this it as a tool to not only direct your housekeeper in what she should do but also in how you would like her to do so. A good housekeeper will want to retain your business and know that making sure you are satisfied with her service is the best way to be rehired for her cleaning services.

Be sure to also note that you may ask for non-routine cleaning chores from time to time. Polishing the banister, cleaning the inside of the terrarium window, whatever your tasks may be, note them as part of your expectations to ensure that there will not be a conflict when you ask. Extra chores that are large -- shampooing carpets, detailed full window cleaning -- will merit additional pay. Again, outline all expectations so that you can come to an agreement on what services you expect and how much time it will take to complete them.

Provide a Cleaning Checklist

Good communication is almost more important than choosing your maid, maids, housekeeper or cleaning services. If you can't effectively communicate what your needs are, your housekeeper will not know what you like and don't like and as a result won't be able to provide you with satisfaction in their service.

To ensure that you are communicating well what your cleaning needs and expectations are, consider providing a cleaning checklist. A cleaning checklist will help your housekeeper understand what you expect to be taken care of during her visit. On your checklist, note any non-routine cleaning tasks you would like to have done. Not only will your cleaning checklist help your housekeeper provide cleaning service to your satisfaction but it will also serve as a record of the directions you gave in the event that a conflict should arise.

Determine a Cleaning Schedule

After your housekeeper has assessed your cleaning needs, the amount of time it will take to perform the cleaning and the expense to you, establish a schedule that is realistic for both you and your housekeeper. Make it clear that because you may plan events around her scheduled cleanings, you expect that she will be on time and on schedule. Of course, things will come up and schedules may need to be changed, but this should be an exception and not the rule.

Establish "House Rules"

If you don't want your maid or housekeeper to help herself to snacks or beverages, to have the television or radio on while she is working or to make telephone calls, let her know. Define your rules and expectations. If there is a room or object in your home or office that is off limits, make sure that your housekeeper knows this. If you prefer only environmentally friendly cleaning supplies establish this at the start (though be aware that you may have to provide these supplies yourself).

Supervise Your Housekeeper

When you begin to work with your housekeeper, you may want to stay home for the first several cleanings to establish a comfort level with her. You will want to determine if you like the way she cleans and treats your home. You will want to assess at which point you trust her to be alone in your home. Will you meet her then ask her to lock up? Will you provide her a key and alarm code? Will you always be present when she is cleaning?

After each cleaning visit, walk through your home or office to review your housekeeper's service. Make note of areas that are missed or need more attention. After the first few visits, your list should be fairly short. If you are repeatedly finding things that need more attention, you may not be communicating well what your cleaning needs and expectations are. If you continue to be unsatisfied, contact the supervisor of the cleaning service to discuss your concerns and request a different maid or housekeeper.

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