The maids, housekeeping, and your home

Wondering how to find a cleaner or other domestic help? This article has some helpful tips on managing your household and hiring home workers.

Updated 1 July 2019

feather duster on a table that'll help you know how to hire a maid

Key Steps:

  1. Be clear on what type of housekeeping services you need help with before hiring home help.
  2. A trial period is always a good idea to ensure you find the right maid or cleaner suited to your requirements and lifestyle.
  3. Create a cleaning schedule to help you manage your hired help.

Modern life is busy. You probably find you spend a lot of time managing projects at work and at home – sometimes it’s hard to juggle all the tasks you’re expected to do. When friends and family are not always close to hand, it’s easy to feel overloaded. Wouldn’t it be great if someone else could take care of things like house cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, gardening, and babysitting?

You might find it useful to hire a maid, or other home help. This article will provide you with some tips for hiring maids and managing their day-to-day work.

Always obtain references when hiring help – if a candidate cannot produce references this should be a warning sign to you! You need to know their background, and not just what they have told you, so you can establish if they have the skills and capabilities to work well within your home.

How to Hire Maids and Other Housekeepers

Hiring someone to help with the housekeeping can reduce your stress significantly – but only if it works well for all concerned. It’s sometimes difficult to find a cleaner, so finding a good match for your lifestyle can be a chore in itself. Use these guidelines to get off to a good start:

Before you hire home help:

  • Make a priority list of five to ten stress-busting tasks that will be the main focus for your home help.
  • Take responsibility for tasks you prefer to do yourself before you hire help to avoid problems later on.
  • Be realistic about the amount that one person can do – weigh up the value of hiring an all-rounder vs. several part-timers (one housekeeper or personal assistant, or a nanny, a gardener, a driver, a cook, a maid, and a secretary).
  • Decide whether you want your employee to work independently or look to you for guidance and instruction.
  • Brainstorm a list of ‘house rules’ – be clear about your standards and expectations from the outset.
  • Make a list of interview questions according to your priorities and needs.

How to Find a Cleaner: Interviewing and Trialling Candidates for Housekeeping Positions

Though you might find candidates through an agency or through newspaper or online adverts, a better bet is always going to be referrals from friends. But don’t be afraid of conducting rigorous interviews – your standards and expectations might not be those of your friends. Holding a trial period is also a good idea so that you learn the strengths and weaknesses of your domestic help before committing long-term.

Housekeeping Advice: Managing your Domestic Help

Micro-managing your domestic help is only going to add to your stress levels. Here are some pointers to help ensure that everything runs smoothly in your home, with minimal intervention from you:

  • Make sure your helper can read your language of preference – this helps when leaving notes or putting together instructions.
  • Create a cleaning routine, meal rota, or general schedule so that your helper can work independently without referring to you. Using a household calendar and contact book will help, too.
  • Once a week, make time to review the schedule and particular tasks together.
  • If you want things done a certain way, take time to train your domestic help – it’s an investment in the future.
  • Maintain mutual respect between all members of the household – keep the relationship as professional as possible.
  • Build up trust gradually – add spending power and budgeting responsibilities progressively as the working relationship develops.
  • Be upfront and specific about boundaries and acceptable behaviour in live-in positions to avoid conflicts over free time, visitors, and internet and phone use.
  • Budget for increased water, electricity, and food bills for live-in help, and for visa costs for non-agency workers.
Originally published 19 July 2018