4 questions you need to ask before hiring a cleaner

A good cleaner is like gold dust to many home owners. See PA Feature HOMES Cleaners. Picture: iStock

A good cleaner is like gold dust to many home owners. See PA Feature HOMES Cleaners. Picture: iStock/PA - Credit: Archant

Busy lives and longer working hours mean increasing numbers of us are turning to professional cleaners for help.

Consider asking potential cleaners for references before letting them loose in your home. Picture: i

Consider asking potential cleaners for references before letting them loose in your home. Picture: iStock/PA - Credit: Archant

According to insurance company Esure, demand for home cleaners grew by more than 25 per cent from 2012-2017, while services marketplace Bark.com noted a 29 per cent rise in demand for domestic services in 2018.

But if you’re thinking of getting a cleaner, what do you need to know?

Here, Jonathan Holden, chief operating officer of Molly Maid UK (Mollymaid.co.uk), one of the world’s largest professional home cleaning services, shares some expert insight...

Is there a type of person who gets a cleaner?

“Though the people who hire help to clean their home come from all walks of life, we find that most simply lead busy lives, working longer hours or distances from their home. Having us clean their home is an investment of sorts, so they can enjoy the precious spare time they have. The few extra hours that customers get by not having to clean their home are really valuable to them.”

What services do cleaners usually provide?

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“While everyone uses their home differently, thorough cleaning of the kitchen and bathrooms is always a priority. After that, each home and service is a little bit different.

“If you have pets, you probably have a lot of pet hair and paw prints, so cleaning the floors is important. If you have kids, it’s probably making sure their rooms are dusted and vacuumed, as well as the living areas. If you have a lot of furniture, you probably want it polished and cushions straightened and tidied.

“You may not want every room cleaned each visit, only on special occasions like when you’re having guests over, or when your children are back from university. The point is that each customer’s home and needs are a little different. Good companies understand this and will tailor their service to your own unique needs - you just have to ask.”

How long do people tend to hire a cleaner for, and how regularly?

“Most customers want a regularly-scheduled clean - something they can plan for and depend on. Some want help for only a short time - perhaps through a particularly busy period in their life. But they usually end up deciding the service is a necessity, if only because they don’t spend time arguing and stressing about whose job it is to clean the toilet! A fortnightly service is by far our most popular.”

How much does cleaning cost?

The going rate for a cleaner depends on several factors, including where you live, and whether you opt for a private individual cleaner or one provided by an agency, and whether they provide the supplies and equipment or the householder does. Internet searches suggest cleaners generally earn around £10-£15 per hour - although some may charge per house/job rather than an hourly rate.

Holden says Molly Maid’s average fee is around £75 for a whole house clean, including supplies and equipment. “This depends on your home, how much is involved in keeping it clean and how frequently you want it cleaned. Remember, you get what you pay for - the cheapest price is often not the best value for money.”

How do you find a cleaner?

Internet searches, recommendations and adverts tend to be the main ways to find cleaners, and Holden says: “Unlike years ago, people aren’t too proud [and don’t] think asking for help cleaning their home reflects poorly on them, so will ask friends, family or neighbours who they use.

“Then there’s the ‘old-fashioned’ way - receiving a leaflet or seeing an advertisement in a local newspaper or magazine. The one thing we’d strongly recommend is that you ask them to visit your home to provide a quote. You’re giving this company or person complete access to your home, so you really have to meet them and make sure you feel safe and secure in providing this access.”

What should you ask a cleaner before hiring them?

Holden suggests asking these four key questions before hiring a new cleaner...

1. Are they an insured key holder?

Get details of their policy and ask them to explain what happens if something in your home is damaged, misplaced or goes missing. Consider asking for proof of insurance and how they’ll fix any damage that’s not covered through your own insurance. If you’re providing a key, ask who keeps it and how it’s secured.

2. How long have they been cleaning homes?

Make sure they’re reputable and experienced. Consider asking for references.

3. Will they bring equipment and cleaning products?

If they’re providing the cleaning products, ask what they use. If you have special surfaces like granite or other natural stone in your home, make sure the products to be used won’t cause damage. If you’re concerned about the environment, make sure any products used are non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

4. Check the legalities

For cleaning companies, ask if the staff are employees, as being an employee means they’re legally allowed to work in the UK, are paid a living wage, have a pension and pay tax. If you’re thinking of hiring an individual cleaner, ask if they have a National Insurance number, which also means they’re legally entitled to work in the UK.