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Cleaning Up/what to expect when paying someone to clean my home?



I am writing to ask for some advice and input on a problem I currently have. My next-door neighbor has her own cleaning business and I have been using her services for the past few years. Before the economy crash she was able to employ other workers and the service was much better. For the past year or so, she is the only person who cleans.

I've noticed that the quality of cleaning has been declining over time and am pretty unsatisfied. However, I have never used anyone else and am not sure if my expectations are reasonable. That is why I am writing- to get some input from someone with more experience in this area.

She cleans my 2 bedroom, 2 bath home about 4 or 5 times a year. I *hate* cleaning and this is the one luxury I allow myself. Before she comes, I let her know what I would like her to do and we discuss a price. She cleaned my home on Friday and I asked that she clean all rooms and specifically requested dusting and cleaning the fridge (and offered more $ for the fridge). We agreed on $250.

When I came home, I wasn't looking for problems but quickly noticed that it seemed she didn't thoroughly clean- dusting around items on the coffee table, she didn't dust the wall shelves at all, the kitchen and bathroom floors had remaining stains. In addition, she always uses my cleaning supplies. I went to clean up some of the areas to find that she had used all of my clorox wipes and my broom is missing.

My questions are:

1. is it typical for professional cleaners to not bring their own supplies and instead use the supplies in the person's home?

2. am I being too picky or are these things reasonable complaints?

I don't want to make her feel bad and make a big deal out of something if I am the one who is wrong. I just don't know what the norm is... any advice or input you can give is soooo much appreciated!

Thank you so much!

Hi Kristen;
I do understand that you have a legitimate complaint. Some of these things should be talked about beforehand as you have done and negotiated an additional fee. It sounds like she is getting sloppy and thinks that you don't notice.

Normally, there would be a list of what is required for the set price and both people sign it so that there is a 'contract' in writing. This may have been overlooked because of the fact that she is a neighbor. But, it is not too late for you to make one.

Simply say that you have talked to people that have cleaning services and this is how they go about it and you think it is a good idea. If you have to let her go, you can simply say the work wasn't adequate or if you are afraid of hurt feelings #because of the neighbor thing# simply say that a friend will be doing it.

On your list you will do it something like this:
Living Room
dust all shelves, furniture and knic knacs
vacuum all furniture and carpeting
Wash mirrors
Wash windows on inside
Wash TV screens and all electronics
Wash lightbulbs
Wipe lamp shades
disinfect remotes
Wash door handles
Then add to your list according to room. If you need the carpeting washed, this is usually additional and you pick up the cost of the rental machine.

As for the use of the cleaning agents. It can be done either way, if she brings her own, the cost is included in her price. Most people supply their own so they don't have someone using cheaper-less action cleaners; but the choice is yours.

Are you being picky? NO! You are paying for a service and it should be done YOUR WAY. Just make sure that you keep it in writing and be specific. A lot of houscleaners go by the 'list method' because it is helpful and everyone knows what needs to be done. So it i a win-win for everyone.

I hope this answers everything for you and good luck. BTW since you are questioning this part you may also want to check around and find out what the going rate for a cleaner in your area is--have your list handy. This will give you an idea if you are being overcharged for what you are getting.
Best of luck,
Jan Hayner

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Jan Hayner


If you have questions regarding home organizing, house cleaning shortcuts, office organizing, files, record keeping, organizing your children, teaching your kids how to help you clean and making it fun, I will give you the advice of a Professional Organizer, mom of four and grandma of 8. Working Smarter-Not Harder is a phrase I live by; taking the stress out of life so you have time for the fun things is my goal!


I have been a Professional Organizer for 9 years, the mom of 4 and grandma of 8,I do work for clients in the home and the work place, and am considered an expert in my field of Organization.

Faithful Organizers, passed member of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers), WIM (Women in Management),

I have had work published all over the internet and various webzines and Newsletters. I am also a columnist on Mature and an Expert on all under Self Improvement/SelfHelp/Organizing Your Home and Workspace.

I have taken various /classes on organizing on the interent, been taught by the best (other collegues in the field), and when I need to learn something, I find an expert in the field and learn from them. I am a research fanatic and enjoy learning everything that I can on a subject.

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