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- National Post Article "What to Look for in a cleaner":
- Article in The National Post “Maid to order”
by Deirdre McMurdy
Financial Post Saturday, January 10, 2004
DON'T GET CLEANED OUT:
To get the best value and the smoothest service from a hired cleaner, mind these tips.
Follow the word: Personal references and word of mouth are crucial in finding a cleaner with whom you'll have a good comfort level. Don't ignore your instincts: this person may spend a good amount of time around your home and family.
Mutual legal obligations: Whether you use an individual or a service, check out their status with respect to social insurance, Worker's Compensation, bonding and liability insurance. Private, independent cleaners tend to cost about half as much ($15 to $18 per hour) as a service ($25 to $35 an hour), but you usually have no protection or recourse in case of theft or damage. Also, technically, you become an employer, which means you can be on the hook for injury claims and even Canada Pension Plan contributions. Review your own liability insurance to make sure it covers service people in case of injury, and notify your insurer of the relationship.
Prioritize: Write out a prioritized list of the jobs you want done every time the cleaner comes. If you're worried about fragile items or damage during silver polishing, say they're off limits or explain how you want the tasks done. Make a secondary list of "rotational" jobs, and prioritize those, too. These might include cleaning spare rooms or dusting picture frames. Discuss the prices for those extra services in advance. Devise a tertiary list of "special projects," such as cleaning out a closet.
Payment plan debate: Those who charge by the hour insist that arrangement allows clients to retain maximum control over establishing priorities and tasks. Those who charge a flat rate insist it's the best value: small unexpected extras are covered at no incremental cost.
Door policy: If you're not at home on cleaning days, what you're going to do with children and pets? The maid must know whether, for example, Fifi is allowed outside.
Mind the boundaries: Residential cleaners will typically not lift anything over 20 kilograms, climb higher than a step-ladder reaches, walk pets or undertake outside chores. Under Worker's Comp rules, they are classified as "indoor workers" and have to comply with the rules.
Quality check: Key areas on which to keep an eye include behind toilets, the edge of the floor under kitchen cupboard overhangs and under mats in entrance ways.
Deirdre McMurdy is co-host of Global TV's MoneyWise.; email@example.com; © National Post 2004f.