The Housekeeping Guide: Quality Care and Your Housekeeper
How to manage and evaluate your housekeeper, maid, or cleaning service
Congratulations! You've just hired someone who is going to make your life much easier by making your home a more pleasant place to be. You'll want to pay close attention the first few times they work to make sure you're getting what you want for the money and to make sure you and your housekeeper are on the same page about your (and their) expectations. Above all, remember that keeping the lines of communication open can go a long way towards a positive experience. Here are the items you'll want to review with your housekeeper:
- Review list of responsibilities: Go over the list together so you both understand the requirements and know if they are being met.
- Set a trial period: Agree that after two weeks, you'll review how it's going. If you are not satisfied, or if they have concerns about meeting your requirements, a trial period with an expected review date is a great way to promote discussion and to resolve issues. It also leaves a door open to end the relationship if it just doesn't seem to be a good match.
- Discuss special requests: Occasionally, you might want to ask your housekeeper to change the normal routine to take care of a special project (windows, rugs, laundry, etc). Is your housekeeper okay doing this on the fly, or is it better to make the request with a week's notice? Setting a policy for this beforehand will remove last-minute panic.
- Review methods: Remember that not everyone will do every task "your way" and try to keep in mind that as long as the end result is the same (and it's not taking an extraordinarily long time), letting your housekeeper work in "her" own way is probably the best way to go.
- Special instructions: If you have a special item you don't want broken or damaged, then remove it from the area to be cleaned. Also, tell your housekeeper about areas to "watch out" for in your home -- for example, the mini blinds that can only be opened very slowly or they break. The same goes for areas of your home you do not want cleaned or that you'd like to be off-limits. Be clear about setting limits.
- Cancellation policy: If your housekeeper becomes ill or if you have a sudden change in schedule, decide beforehand how you will handle such changes, how you will contact each other, and what will be done to reschedule a missed cleaning appointment.
- Theft policy: Remember that sometimes your housekeeper may move an item from its normal place and forget to replace it. Be up front about asking where she may have put something. If you suspect theft, deal with it immediately. If your housekeeper works for an agency, there may be policies in place to deal with this. Dealing with broken or damaged items works the same way.
- Praise: If you've completed a trial cleaning already and your new employee has done a great job, then say so! This is motivating and set a positive tone for future communication. Of course, if it didn't go well, now's the time to say thanks and move on.
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