Having a cleaner come to your home is, for many people, a worthy splurge. It can ease stress, eliminate household arguments over chores and leave weekends for family time.
“Hiring a house cleaner is the best decision I ever made. It’s worth every penny,” says Lynda D. of Sterling, Virginia. “After my first child, I realized how much cleaning I was attempting to do on the weekend and just didn’t have the energy for it. It gave us more time to spend with our child.”
The added time and removed stress isn’t exactly cheap, and so it goes without saying that you probably want the job done well. And, as noted by the cleaners we spoke with, making sure that customers are pleased with the service is just as important to them.
“As a cleaner, I depend on repeat customers. That’s the bread and butter of my business,” says Jeneva Aaron, designer, home decor blogger and professional cleaner. “So, it’s important for me to stay in touch with my clients to ensure they’re happy.”
Here, some important tips that can help you work with your cleaner to be sure your home is cleaned to your highest standards.
Kick off the relationship right
When you first hire your house cleaner, it’s important to ask a lot of questions about how they do business and also to express your expectations. Some cleaners will have a checklist of tasks they typically perform while others will want to know what services you want completed.
“My cleaner visited the house to give an estimate and ran through the items she’d clean while here and what type of products she’d use,” says Lynda.
When Lynda mentioned that she prefers some eco-friendly products to the ones her cleaner uses, together they decided that Lynda would provide those products for the cleanings.
“It is extremely important to communicate well so that everyone is on the same page as far as policies, expectations and what to expect when working with one another,” says Mary Cherry owner of residential cleaning service, Evie’s Cleaning Company in Houston. “Cleaners want to know your preferences.”
Know that special requests can cost extra
If you do want a service that’s outside the usual scope for your house cleaner, it might be doable, but you’ll have to ask clearly.
“Ask them what is included in a standard cleaning,” says Aaron. “If there’s anything else you need them to do, ask them to do it, but be prepared to pay extra.”
Aaron gives the example of a client who has an aging dog that frequently pees on the carpet. That client has asked her to deep clean the carpet for her during regular visits.
“She pays me extra to do the deep clean,” says Aaron. “Every time I go to her house, I’m prepared to get urine stains out of the carpet. If she hadn’t made this clear and agreed to compensate me accordingly, I wouldn’t do this.”
Communicate the good and the bad
“If one of our customers felt they didn’t get the quality care they expected, we strongly encourage them to let us know so we can make sure we get it right the next time,” says Claire Zeysing, founder and CEO of Make It Shine in Las Vegas. “We are constantly looking for feedback. We believe there is always room for improvement.”
How often you communicate with your cleaners is up to you — Aaron says some clients text her every week, often just to say she did a good job or to ask her to perform new tasks, and some hardly ever contact her.
“Even with the latter group, I make sure to reach out at least once a month to make sure that they’re happy and ask if there’s anything else they need,” says Aaron.
So don’t be shy! Your cleaners likely want to hear from you, whether it’s a compliment or a note that you’d like the grout to be scrubbed more thoroughly next time.
Keep lines of communication open
There’s no one right way to communicate with your cleaners — the most important thing is that you keep the lines of communication open. Of course, you want to find a method of communication that works well for both you and your cleaner. That could be:
- Phone or text: “All of my clients have my personal phone number so they can text me whenever they need to,” says Aaron. “Technology allows for a clear line of communication.”
- Email: “If your cleaner is uncomfortable giving you their phone number to stay in touch, ask for their email address,” suggests Aaron.
- Handwritten notes: “I’ll write a note if there’s something I feel isn’t clean or done correctly,” says Lynda, whose cleaners arrive while she’s at work. Aaron suggests keeping a whiteboard in your home to write notes to your cleaners if you aren’t home when they are.
- In-person conversations: Of course, if you are going to see them, it’s a good idea to politely bring up any concerns while you’re face to face.
- Specialized app: Some cleaning companies even offer communication via an app for convenience. “We also use software, in the form of an app, that helps our cleaners provide real-time status updates to our clients,” Val Oliveira, founder of Val’s Services, a Chicago-based cleaning and organizing company. “A chat feature provides a way to instantly communicate any issues that may arise. The app also provides a record of the issues for the company to review and improve upon.”
Offer a tip
“Like any service worker, tips mean a lot to us,” says Aaron. “A well-tipped cleaner will always do better than a poorly tipped one.”
Customers we talked to ran the spectrum when it comes to tipping. Some tip for every cleaning while others don’t tip at all. Lynda says she tips the equivalent of one cleaning once a year during the holiday season.
“Tipping standards are on par with other service industry jobs: 10-20%,” says Aaron. “If you have a good cleaner and you want to keep them, I’d recommend tipping on the higher end of that spectrum.”
That’s something you can ask about too — whether a tip is included in the cost or expected. In fact, let that question be one of many that you openly ask your cleaners about their service. As Oliveira puts it, “Trust and respect are fostered when both parties can communicate without hesitation.”