Springing for Cleaning

Kimberly Delaney by Kimberly Delaney | April 1st, 2009 | No Comments
topic: Green Living

Last week I did the research on the legal and financial ins and outs of hiring someone to clean my house. I determined that my dream candidate would be an individual person who is in business for themselves and therefore will keep their own records and handle their own taxes. I figured out my budget as well. This week’s task: Find a cleaner and make sure he or she is green!

Ask around

Wouldn’t it be great to find a house cleaner who comes highly recommended by your trusted neighbor or friend? You may even get a deal because they are already in the neighborhood. When I did this, I got some endorsements for cleaners but not for green cleaners. I wavered on this. Many cleaning people just use your products so they may use nuclear-waste-blue cleaner across the street, but they can use vinegar and baking soda at my house. But then again, I really want someone who knows what they’re doing and who may even be able to teach me a thing or two.

Ask “Craig”

The Yellow Pages may have been a good place to find house cleaners a decade ago, but these days Craigslist is here and it’s happening. I limited my search to my area and then scanned for listings that put “eco” or “green” right in the title.

Living in Santa Cruz is a form of cheating since green is a pretty big deal here. I had plenty of listings to choose from. However, the pickings got slimmer as I tried to make contact. As with any Craigslist search, many simply never answered. Several of those that did either didn’t seem knowledgeable about keeping it green or were charging a startlingly low price.

Pay a fair wage

If I was ever in danger of forgetting how much work cleaning is, my weekend of spring cleaning was a big muscle aching reminder. Around here cleaning people are into price cutting. That sounds good, but just like the novice writers who think charging a few bucks an hour to get clients is a good idea, cleaners that charge unfair wages are hurting all the other cleaners trying to make a living.

I want someone who is in business and wants to stay in business, so I chose to interview the candidates who charged their clients a fair rate but still fit into my budget.

Ask for references

If they’ve been cleaning for a while, they most likely have references. This may feel like an invasion of privacy but it’s normal procedure in the cleaning world. Calling references gives you the extra piece of mind that the person you hire is who they say they are.

Do a test run

We did find someone who cleans green and is professional about what she does. She’s coming tomorrow to do some cleaning, and I feel like it’s Christmas Eve. Tomorrow the house is going to be clean and I’m not the one that’s going to to do it! Amazing. This weekend I think I’ll get out there and enjoy Spring instead of cleaning!


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