The Alpha’s Guide to Hiring Help

by Aminah Hanan

DISHES, LAUNDRY, WINDOWS, BATHROOM TILES …

Who has time for all that cleaning? But it must be done. Spring is here and along with shopping for must have sandals it’s also a great time to hire some good help to sweep out the cobwebs and dust that has collected in corners. If a picture perfect home, that is always ready and welcoming to guests is what you desire, let the Alpha’s Guide to Hiring Help put you on the path to finding your own domestic fairy godmother.

Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for hiring help. No matter how big or small your home or how much money you make, a clean, organized, and peaceful home is priceless. Hiring a housekeeper will make your life easier and give you free time to do more of the things you love.

Decide how often you’ll need your home cleaned and on what days; 2 times a week, weekly, bi-weekly, every season for deep cleanings, or for special occasions. Depending on your needs you may be able to secure special pricing or discounts.

Have a to do list. What rooms do you want cleaned and how often? Will the housekeeper be required to do windows, clean out the fridge, wipe down the walls, clean the oven, do laundry? Know exactly what you want and need before you start looking for help.

Have a don’t list. Is your bedroom off limits? Is handling or polishing your China or crystal a no-no? Put it in writing and let your housekeeper know up front in the initial interview.

Referrals are usually a sure fire way to secure a good housekeeper. If you know someone who has a housekeeper or uses a cleaning service ask questions about the staff’s reliability, punctuality, quality of work, and price. Someone you know personally may be the best source for candid, unbiased, free references.

Use a reputable company. Ask all the questions you would of a referring friend. The great thing about cleaning companies is that they usually do background checks. So the chance of your great grandmother’s heirloom pearls coming up missing are slim to none. However, agencies can be more expensive than hiring an independent worker.

Find out your potential housekeeper’s don’ts immediately. Some may refuse to do windows, wipe down walls, or do laundry. It’s important to find out what they’re not willing to do to make sure they’re a good fit for you. Inviting someone into your home to clean is very intimate and should be taken seriously. If you don’t have a good rapport with your help in the beginning it can be disastrous later.

Don’t be a Marie Antoinette. Your housekeeper is providing a service. They are not your servant or worse, your slave. Be considerate and never condescending. Unless special preparations are made in advance, don’t ask them to work holidays. If their scheduled work day falls on a holiday give them the day off with pay. Keep bottled water or juice in your frig along with snacks. Let them know they’re welcome to them and can help themselves.

It’s OK to give birthday and end of year bonuses. A crisp $50 or $100 bill inside a card is always a warm gesture.

Practice discretion. Don’t toss that soiled pair of panties (you know the ones I’m talking about) in the hamper with the rest. This also goes for whatever unconventional or clandestine things you may be in to. The housekeeper should not have to clean up or put away used prophylactics or other contraband.

Have a cleaning closet. If you have a housekeeper who works weekly dedicate a cleaning or linen closet for their use. They will in turn let you know what supplies they need replenished and implements they need.

Know the law. If you have regular help consult your accountant or tax professional about the tax laws and social security. This is important because you would never consider hiring help that isn’t eligible to work in the U.S. Right?

Stay out of the way. Don’t look over their shoulders when they’re working. Go out and do something. Remember one of the reasons you hired help is so you could have more time to do the things you love.

Remember you hired help to make your life easier. If they’re making it harder you’re wasting your money. If you have to let them go make sure it’s for a specific reason.  For example, they continue to sweep trash under the area rug and you’ve brought this to their attention on numerous occasions. Be firm.

Aminah Hanan is an alpha female, blogger, book lover, blog conference Program Director, crafter, Health Care Professional, and writer who lives in Chicago with her family. Email her at home@alphanista.com.

3 comments

  1. Denya Z. says:

    OMG that is on target do not let people make you feel bad for getting help, It is not a rich thing! You can get help at any level for any price.

  2. CARRIE says:

    I have really thought of this with my budget because I work 40 hours a week come home and I dont have enough time to cook and eat cereal or soup and end up all gassy for most of the night. The apt is a wreck because I cant find anything in the mornings. This would be a great gift!

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