Do you need to talk to your house cleaner to let them know their cleaning isn’t up to par? Are you at your wit’s end and just want the cleaning you are paying for? Do you feel you are being manipulated by your housekeeper or that they are taking advantage of you? You are not alone.
Lots of maid services don’t know how frustrated homeowners are with the residential cleaning services they are paying for. And before you fire your maid, you may want to have a heart-to-heart chat with the cleaning lady and re-set some boundaries and professional expectations.
How Do You Talk To Your House Cleaner?
How do you talk to your house cleaner so you get the cleaning you’re paying for? Now over the weekend, my husband and I went on a really hot date to a restaurant that we love. And when they brought us our food, it was the wrong order.
So, we sent it back to the kitchen and they brought us our real food, but it was cold. And it had been sitting around for a while. And we had a bad user experience. And my husband tries to justify the situation by saying it’s during COVID restaurants are having a hard time staffing their restaurants.
It’s hard to stock a kitchen when you don’t know who’s coming in. You know, when we’re done here, we’ll just go to another restaurant and we’ll buy more food and it will be a better user experience to make up for the bad experience we’re having right now.
I Had a Bad Experience at a Restaurant
Well, that’s not the point. The point is I spent some good money. I came to this establishment trying to support a local business, and I had a bad experience. And it’s not one isolated experience. This is the second time we’ve been here in three weeks and we had a bad experience both times.
I’m going to vote with my money and I probably just won’t be back. I’m not going to write them a bad rating and review. But I’m probably not going to come back like ever.
A Lot of Homeowners Are Frustrated When Their Cleaner Leaves
The reason I tell you this is there are a lot of homeowners that when the house cleaner leaves, they feel the same way and they end up cleaning up after the house cleaner leaves. And they’re frustrated and they’re angry.
Right now, I’m getting bombarded with a whole bunch of emails and instant messages and Facebook messages from homeowners who have similar situations with their house cleaner that we had at the restaurant.
One Customer's Bad Experience
I’m going to read one of those letters to you. She said, “My house cleaner cleans my house once a week. And upon arrival, she starts to chit chat. She’ll follow me around the house and into the bedroom, continuing to chit-chat. The behavior has caused undue stress, frustration, and anger. She pries into my personal business and that of my husband.”
Talk to Your House Cleaner for 60 Seconds
Now I want to stop right here and say this; both of you need to honor a sixty second meet and greet rule, which means when the house cleaner arrives at your front door, you open the door, you have 60 seconds. “Hi. How are you doing? How has the dog, how’s the family what’s happened since I saw you last? Is there anything new on today’s job? What room do you want me to start in?”
60 seconds. Boom. You’re done. And then both of you need to go in opposite directions. So that the house cleaner can get the work done she’s being paid to do. Because if either of you violates that, you’re now cutting into business time she is being paid for.
Her House Cleaner is Skipping Cleaning Tasks
The letter continues. “She does not clean the home appropriately. No dusting, at times she does not clean my husband’s restroom and does not do the countertops.”
Whoa. Okay. Now I’m concerned because as a house cleaning company, those are things that we do on our cleanings. So, I don’t know why she’s skipping.
Maybe the husband’s restroom is attached to a guest bedroom that is not used often. I don’t know, but even in a guest bedroom, we still go in and clean out the toilets so that no rings build up. So, I’m not sure what she’s doing, but that needs to be clarified.
Talk to Your Cleaner About Cleaning Under Pet Bowls
The letter continues. “She doesn’t pick up the dog or cat bowls in the kitchen or the trash cans to sweep and mop under them.” Whoa.
So, for insurance liability purposes, we don’t move sofas. But we move chairs and plant stands and dog bowls and cat bowls and garbage cans. And we sweep and mop underneath those.
The little things that we can move certainly we move those at every clean. So that needs to be remedied.
Talk to Your House Cleaner About Vacuuming
Uh, the letter continues. “When vacuuming the carpet, she doesn’t thoroughly vacuum the living room, dining room, hallway, or bedrooms.” And I say, what’s going on with the vacuum, right? Is the canister stuffed? Is the bag stuffed? Like, how is this happening?
So, whether she’s using her vacuum or your vacuum before the use of the vacuum in your home, there needs to be a 360 walk around of the vacuum to make sure the bag is empty. And the beater bars have no hair on them that are going to stop stuff from rolling into the vacuum.
So, when she’s done with the job, there needs to be another 360 walk around. You have to make sure that the belts are not frayed, that the bands are not frayed, that the cords are not frayed. Nothing is broken. So, if that is not happening, there’s probably some kind of not cleaning the equipment properly that is part of this particular issue.
The Customer Has to Clean After the Cleaner Leaves
The letter continues, “After the house cleaner leaves my home, I clean and sweep and mop the floors and do other household duties that have not been completed because of our chit-chat and wasting time.”
So, this is like us going to the restaurant. And then when we’re done, we have to go to another restaurant to try to make up for the bad experience. Right? We’ve already paid the money once and we already hoped for the great experience once. And so, what happens next? Are we going to another restaurant, even if we had a good experience there, we went in upset and unhappy because of what we just we just came from
So now the homeowner is experiencing this exact same sentiment. When they’re left, after they’ve paid the money, the house cleaner is gone, and now they’ve got to do a bunch of things that the cleaner should have done.
Why Did You Hire a House Cleaner?
Why did you hire a house cleaner? She’s not doing the job. The letter continues. I’ve discussed the house cleaner’s behavior with my husband and he becomes defensive and is in denial. And this is causing turmoil between my husband and myself.
So, on behalf of your husband, I want to say he’s probably at wits end, and he doesn’t know what to do next. He hired a house cleaner to help you out, and now he doesn’t know what to do next. And so, I’m going to say that it’s probably not that he’s trying to keep the house cleaner, but he doesn’t know where to find another house cleaner.
He probably doesn’t know what exactly is wrong. And so, he’s probably just trying to do right by you by hiring some help. So, I’m going to give your husband a free pass on this one and say that this is a house cleaner issue. Probably not your husband’s issue.
Talk to Your House Cleaner About Paying by the Job
And when we’re compensating her for hourly wages, she is scheduled for four hours weekly. I want to stop right here because if she’s scheduled to work four hours and she’s chit chatting a lot and wasting time and not doing the work, it sounds to me like she’s just running the clock.
She’s staying there for four hours to be paid. So, what I would recommend in this situation is that you pay by the job, not the hour, you compare the exact same amount of money, and she can do it in a faster amount of time. It will require no talking and actually doing the work. And then you inspect the work before she leaves. Then you give her the money.
Right now it’s not working the way that it is with her working for four hours and not doing any of the tasks, going back to the refrigerator thing. If she’s working for four hours, cleaning the refrigerator was probably built into those four hours.
Talk to Your House Cleaner About the Pain She's Causing
The letter continues. “I have severe back injuries with multiple surgeries. And I live in chronic pain by doing her household chores because of her chit-chat and not finishing the household duties is causing him additional, severe back pain and agony.”
All right, the reason why you hired a house cleaner is that you can’t do the cleaning yourself without being in pain. And the house cleaner is not doing the duties she’s been paid for, suggests to me, it’s time to look for a new house cleaner. So up until this exact moment, I was willing to give her more chances.
I don’t want to give her any more chances. Now reeling her back in might be a situation too far gone. Okay. So, at this point, I might let her go and then try to hire someone new.
You Have to Talk to Your House Cleaner About What's Going On
The letter continues. “I lack assertive skills and I’m positive the housekeeper is aware of my lack of confronting her about her unfinished housekeeping duties. The housekeeper is extremely manipulative with her poor boundaries.” Unless a conversation has been had, we can’t assume anything.
The house cleaner may be completely unaware of what she’s doing. And so, I don’t want to say that she knows she’s manipulating you. She probably does this to everyone. She probably thinks in the back of her mind, somewhere that she’s doing this to you, here’s a woman who’s had lots of surgeries. She’s probably given herself a free pass thinking she’s doing you a favor.
But the truth is neither of you are paying for therapy in this session. And so, there’s no therapy being had. There should be no talking, only cleaning because only cleaning is being paid for.
She May Not Know What She's Doing Wrong
So, I’m not knocking you, but what I’m saying is she may not have any idea what she’s doing. All right. The letter continues. “She also takes my cleaning supplies without authorization, and then she advises me, she has difficulty with her memory.” Ah, that’s theft!
So, starting today, when the house cleaner comes, they need to bring their own supplies. And then when they leave, take their own supplies, anything beyond that is theft. We need to make sure she’s bonded and insured.
And if there is theft, we know that you have home security cameras, so if there’s theft, then you go ahead and file a report and you process it that way. But there should be no taking your stuff, even if she has a bad memory.
Talk to Your House Cleaner to Clarify Expectations
All right. The letter continues. “I don’t have a list of cleaning responsibilities. My husband hired her before I married and moved into our home.” So right there, is the huge discrepancy in all of this.
The boundaries have not been clarified. The expectations have not been clarified and neither of, you know, what’s supposed to be done on the job that she’s being paid for. She thinks she’s supposed to stick around for four hours and do, who knows what?
Talk to Your Husband About Hiring a New Cleaner
Now, one of the two of you needs to have a checklist. So, what I would recommend doing at this particular moment in time, knowing what we know now from this letter, is to go to your husband and say, thank you so much for hiring me as a house cleaner.
I really appreciate your effort. It was awesome. Now I want to take the same amount of money we’ve been paying this girl, and I want to hire a new girl, and then when the new girl or the new guy comes in, there need to be new boundaries. Now you say you lack assertiveness.
You Have to Make a Decision
Here’s the thing. It’s like us sitting there at the restaurant. I had to make a decision. Do I want to go back to the manager and say, whoa, this is not good enough? I want the right food the first time. Or do I say I have one meal? And my time is limited. I would rather spend my time and money in front of my husband, eating this crappy food for a minute.
Then we’ll go to another restaurant and hope for a better chance? Or are we going to fight this battle? We decided to move on and not fight that battle because I got way more important things to do. I’m just not going back to that restaurant probably ever again. Now, with this particular situation, you will be having a house cleaner in your home probably every week for the rest of your life.
Make Sure You Talk to Your New House Cleaner
So, this is a battle you want to fight. And by that, I mean, when you have somebody new, come in, set the ground rules, set the boundaries. Make sure that they are bonded and insured, make sure that they do a 360 walk around of the vacuum, whether it’s theirs or yours. Make sure they bring their own cleaning supplies.
And make sure when they arrive. There was a sixty second meet and greet where you both say, hi, how are you doing? And then you go your separate ways, right? When they leave. There’s a sixty second goodbye.
I’m really sorry that you’re going through this. And I love the fact that you took the time to write me this letter, because you are not alone. There are a whole lot of house cleaners that don’t know this about the homeowners that have hired them. And there are a whole bunch of homeowners that are pulling their hair out, going, oh, what do I do now?
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