Questions to Ask When Hiring a Maid or House Cleaner

Questions to ask when hiring a maid, house cleaner or housekeeper depend on your specific needs. Here are 4 top things you want to cover in your interview to keep everyone on the same page and eliminate surprises.

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Hi there, I’m Angela Brown and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is the show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer.

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Today’s Question: Interview Questions When Hiring a House Cleaner or Maid

The question that we’re going to be covering today comes from a woman who is going to hire a house cleaner and she wants to know; “What are the questions I should ask the house cleaner when they come to my house to bid the job?”

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Answer: Interview Questions When Hiring a Maid or House Cleaner

That is an excellent question because it’s going to vary a little bit depending on what is important to you. Okay, so somebody comes to your house, these are the kinds of questions you want to ask.

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“When you come to my house to clean, do you clean alone or do you bring a team of people with you?” 

For some people that makes a really big difference. Is the person that is bidding the job the same person that’s going to be cleaning my house? Or is this the owner of the company, and they’re going to be sending someone else out?  So, you want to make sure that you know right up front, who it is that is coming to clean your house.

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Before You Invite a Perfect Stranger Into Your Home

“Are The Same People Coming Every Time?”

 “Is just one person coming or are they going to bring two or three people?” “Are those people going to change every time?” What are the rules for who is going to be in your house? Some people get really squirrely about having somebody come into their house and touch all their stuff and be around their family, and their kids, and their pets, and their elder parents and all these things. And then, next time it’s somebody completely different. These are perfect strangers coming into your home. So, you want to make sure that you know who is going to be there.

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Then another question you might ask is:

“Let’s suppose that my cleaning falls on a holiday, do you still come?” Do you work on holidays and if you do, do you charge more money?”

Because I know a lot of house cleaners, they do, they charge more money if they have to clean on a holiday. And some just refuse to work holidays altogether. So, you need to understand what that policy is so that there are no surprises if you’re planning a party, and your house cleaner doesn’t show up because it’s a holiday or something, you need to be aware of that.

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Do You Work From a Schedule?

Another question might be;

“What are the hours that you’re going to come?” Do you give me some kind of a range? 

I was always one of those house cleaners that if I said I was going to be there at 8:00 am I was there at 8:00 am. Not a minute before, not a minute late – exactly on time. My clients came to expect that. And when they referred me, they would say “If she said she is going to be there at 8:00 am, she will be there at 8:00 am.” At 8:05 if I wasn’t there, something tragic had happened. 

On the rare occasion, that I was going to be a minute late, I would always text the client and say, “I’m running two minutes late, I’m so sorry, I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

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Clarify Your Expectations Up Front

So as long as you and the house cleaner have the same policy, and you know what to expect, you’re not going to kick around for an hour, waiting for your house cleaner to show up and they’re just not there.

Now, I know house cleaners that are very creative people, and they just fly by the seat of their pants. They show up whenever they feel like it. And that’s a huge inconvenience to you as a client.

Especially if you don’t trust your house cleaner enough to give them a house key. So, now you’ve stayed at home, or from work for an extra hour to let them in the house. And then lo and behold, they are still not there. Now they’ve made you late for work. Before they arrive to clean, you’re already ticked off with them.

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Agree What Happens if They Are Unreliable

If they have a range and they say “I will be there somewhere between 8:00 and 10:00 am” Then that is your range. That is what you can kind of expect. But clarify that with the house cleaner up front.

So, there are no surprises. If there are surprises, let them know your boundaries.  What happens? One strike? Two? Three strikes you’re out?

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Agree to a Preferred Payment Method

Another question that you might ask is;

“What is your preferred payment method?”

Now for me, I did not prefer cash. Because it’s hard to keep track of. And I do pay my taxes so I prefer to keep a paper trail.

There’s also a problem with paying cash. Either party can say they haven’t been paid. You can argue that you did, in fact, pay them, but since there is no paper trail, it’s your word against theirs. If they are not the boss, and they are to turn money into the company they work for, and your money isn’t turned in, their company could take you to small claims court. Always leave a paper trail. It protects you and the cleaning company.

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If you’re the House Cleaner, Accept Credit Cards

We live in an era where anybody can accept a credit card with an app like Square or PayPal. 

And I recommend that if you’re a customer and you prefer paying by credit card, that you make that agreement up front.

So that the house cleaner knows what to expect from you. Because if one time you give her a check, and then next time you pay by credit card, then one day it’s cash, again, that’s hard to keep track of. So, once you’re in the books, once you have a preferred method of payment, pick that payment method and just stick with it.

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Question Them About Special or Extra Projects

You can also ask questions like

“Do you have the ability to do special projects?”

I know a lot of house cleaners do special projects. So, one day you might say “Could you defrost my freezer?” Or “Could you organize my child’s closet?” Or “I have a relative that’s coming in from out of town, and I want to make sure that the guest room is ready. Could you get the guest room ready today and make sure that there are no clothes in that closet? And help me move a few things so that this room is ready for my family or whatever?”

And so, if you have special requests like that, that is important to find out how that particular house cleaner works around special project requests.

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Some Maids Will Do Special Projects On The Fly

Like I say, they are creative people, and they’re like “sure, throw whatever you like at me.” And they can do that because they either charge by the hour or they charge by the job and they will just add it on as an extra payment.

Having said that, there are house cleaners who require you to call in advance. You call a week in advance or you call three days in advance. Or you call however far in advance you need to call in so that they can get that on that schedule and can allow for you to have that particular window of time. Also, that they can charge you the extra money so if you’re a check writing person, you can leave that extra money for them when they get there.

Anyway, these are a couple of questions I would recommend you asking your house cleaner just to make sure that you’re on the same page, and so that there are no surprises.

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Write Out Other Questions That Are Important To You

After that, there are probably fifty or sixty other questions that you may want to consider asking, but it’s going to come down to what is important to you? Write them down so you don’t forget when the maid comes to bid the job.  I’d give you a list, but the questions are different for every person. 

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Work Smart Not Hard

Alright, that’s it for today. If you have any questions, head on over to https://askahousecleaner.com/show There’s a little blue button, you click on the blue button, ask your question.

If you like this tip, please pass it along. Tweet it, pin it, post it, share it, and until I see you again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it. 

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About @SavvyCleaner // Angela Brown

Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru // Founder of SAVVY CLEANER // Author of the book: How to Start Your Own House Cleaning Company