Opinions on cleaning services?
July 25, 2005 10:34 PM   Subscribe

I'm a single guy, 30 years old .. finding out that I'm spending too much time cleaning my house .. and I suck at it ;) I really think time spent cleaning would be better spent on work and a side business I have .. Wondering if you all had opinions on a cleaning service like Molly Maid.

I realize that most cleaning services won't pick up stuff, but do dusting, floors, etc. Do you think its worth it ? How much can I expect it to cost ? What services are the best ?
posted by jason9009 to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Cleaning services will clean the bathroom, etc. Molly maid will do a shitty job of smearing things around with chemicals that don't really do anything.

A housecleaner that's local and small (usually an independent person!) *will* pick up after you if you spend some time teaching her where things go. They'll either figure out how long it'll take them on average and bill you that per month, or they'll bill you by the hour.
As a side advantage, they have a chance of actually *cleaning* something because they work through referrals.
posted by SpecialK at 10:45 PM on July 25, 2005

pssssst...lots of advice over here!
posted by davidmsc at 12:07 AM on July 26, 2005

I actually worked for Merry Maids, 20+ years ago, for about 3 months. That's how long it took me to figure out that they were overcharging customers and that I could charge less independently and still earn more money to put myself through college. They did teach me to clean well and very quickly, I'll give them that.

Watch for ads in the paper and the like, call the referrals and ask anything you want to. As long as you bring it up during the hiring process most will agree to pick up after you. Walk through the house with them & tell them how you like it. Thereafter just leave a polite note or make a quick phone call if they've forgotten something or misplaced an item. Don't expect perfection until they've cleaned your place a few times & learn what you like, everyone is different. If they don't do a good job then fire them and hire another - plenty are available & soon you'll find the perfect fit.

I cleaned for a few single guys, loved them cause they weren't as picky or dirty (yes!) as the women or families. Be add extra to the pay every once in a while, and gift 2 or 3 times the normal rate at Christmas, and pay on time - they'll stay very loyal. Not only did I pick up messes (straighten things), I also changed sheets and took out the garbage. Some like to bring their own cleaning supplies and some prefer to use yours (& some customers have prefrences, too).

And expect to be charged more per hour or job for twice monthly cleanings versus weekly (it's dirtier). It's also a good thing to ask during hiring if they're willing to do 'extra' heavy jobs as well - such as oven, window, & fridge cleaning, usually charged at a higher rate.

Good luck. I have my own house keeper now and don't know what I'd do without her.
posted by LadyBonita at 1:37 AM on July 26, 2005 [1 favorite]

Nickled and Dimed gives some inside scoop on cleaning services; if I was in the market, I might to independent, too, after reading that.
posted by rainbaby at 6:19 AM on July 26, 2005

My wife and I finally decided to hire a maid several months ago, and it was one of the best decisions we've ever made. We weren't willing to pay the prices that the agencies were asking, though. We finally managed to find someone through word of mouth and are very happy with both the work she does and the price she charges. Barring word of mouth, you might also try looking on craigslist.com

The money we spend on a maid is better than a weekly trip to a marriage counselor!
posted by richmondparker at 6:32 AM on July 26, 2005

One of the employees at the coffee shop I frequent was mentioning how she was in the process of opening an "all natural" cleaning service. My floors and kitchen need quite a bit more frequent and thorough cleaning than they were getting at the time, and I jumped at the chance to have her come out and take a crack at it.

"I realize that most cleaning services won't pick up stuff..."

True. There's a gold mine to be had for some enterprising cleaning person to combine their services with what I call "tidying" -- straightening up. As it stands now, a cleaning person will make things clean, but not at all neat.

"Do you think its worth it?"

It's worth it. There's no question about that. I'd be happy to have her show up twice as often as she does.

"How much can I expect it to cost?"

You don't say how much space you have or how many bathrooms, or how dire the cleaning situation is, so it's hard to say. I pay someone $75 every other week to do floors, bathrooms, the kitchen, and any miscellaneous scrubbing. Because she's a kind soul, she also does -- by hand -- any breakfast dishes that happen to have been left out during morning rush on cleaning day. I've got a ridiculously huge two bedroom apartment with a large, well-used kitchen, two bathrooms, a tub, and two glass showers. It easily takes her four or more hours per cleaning (and generally takes me over an hour to do a half-assed floor job myself)

I believe she lowers the price to $50 or $60 per cleaning if appointments are weekly instead of every other week.

"What services are the best?"

I would steer clear of the chain services. It's possible that some commercial janitorial service might do a thorough job, but the Molly Maids and Merry Maids of the world have a very poor reputation for thoroughness. I'd suggest hiring someone who actually cares about doing the job, rather than -- as Nickled and Dimed reveals -- a chain which is barely paying its workers minimum wage and places an emphasis on making your home appear to have been cleaned as opposed to cleaning it. A crew of minimum wage workers who see only a small fraction of the fee you're paying aren't likely to be highly motivated to do an impressive cleaning job.
posted by majick at 7:32 AM on July 26, 2005

everyone says that corporate franchise cleaning services like molly maid are more interested in making you think your house is clean while smearing it unsanitarily and not really killing germs. if you want a housecleaner, i'd suggest going the private route. you may even learn a thing or two from the person--my mom hired someone to come in weekly when she was working with two kids under 5. she learned some great tips from the woman, and there was a nice rapport (i hope that doesn't sound weird...i swear there was! no "jeeves" crap).
posted by ifjuly at 8:24 AM on July 26, 2005

Go local. Ask an older local friend who has been in the town for a long time. They probably use someone. Interview them at your home, and describe exactly what you want. I have a housecleaner who comes every other week and knows exactly what to clean (kitchen, bath), and what to leave to me (dishes, clothing).
posted by Classic Diner at 8:36 AM on July 26, 2005 [1 favorite]

Another vote here for local and independent. I don't know what your professional circle is like but I could have 4 referals within an hour from coworkers if I didn't already have someone, perhaps you could ask around. Also another vote for craigslist or another community board. You'll likely also find small ads tacked up on the board at your supermarket and in whatever cruddy little 10 page circular/paper comes out in your community and takes ads for $10.
posted by phearlez at 9:16 AM on July 26, 2005

hide your stash really well, if they find it they will take it. Who are you going to complain to?
posted by Justin Case at 10:35 AM on July 26, 2005

Another vote for hiring the independent contractor. I tried a chain service once and ended up cleaning up after them. I found our housekeeper on craigslist...just be sure to ask for (and actually call) a few references. I pay $60 every other weeek for about three hours of cleaning. Also, paying in cash is always appreciated.
posted by gokart4xmas at 10:55 AM on July 26, 2005

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