cleaning questions please

toileJuly 15, 2008

I have wanted to clean homes for years but one gal cleans everyones home here.

I finally have had my shot with 2 homes but I have some questions.

Would anyone will be willing to share their thoughts with me?

I'm a clean freak and deep cleaner.

The concept of a light clean makes no sense to me.

These homes are very nice and very large in a country club like setting.

I work for 6 -6.5 hours, hard labor with no breaks.

Im being paid what the last gal made $60 (one client adds $15 making it $75 thank goodness, but will she do that everytime??)

The last gal did not spend 6 hours like I do?

I can also see where she clearly skipped areas?

But she was professional, and well liked.

So maybe she understood what light clean means at $60???

Can I still do this and do it my way? Meaning deep cleaning?


How do you clean these new huge showers made if rough rock?

The mantles are the same rock and shred my dusters?

The professional installed indoor shutters keep dust no mater how much I dust them? Do I scrub them each time? Thats a 3 hour job alone?

The master baths take 3 hours to get sparkling? Not sure what to do about that?

Will the one house with 2 dogs ruin my non animal Dyson?

Will the hairs contaminate my home?

My baby is SEVERLY allergic to dogs/cats?

What about the huge Lands End dog beds covered in deep hair?

Its odd lying that thing back down on a wood floor I just made spotless?

What about bathroom rugs covered in hair?

Can I toss them in the dryer on air cycle?

I did this yesterday but was that really ok?

I simply cant believe the girl before did backbreaking work for $60 in these sort of mansions?

I called around today and everyone is getting $100 + for those places?

I even have to use my own chemicals because clients just leave small bottles of this or that?

Im so thankful to out my clean freakness to work, and a little spending $ is nice.

but I want to do right by myself as well as the client :D

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Toile, I think what you need if you are doing this as a business is to look for cleaning forums for professionals. Two come to mind. Global Cleaning Association, Independent cleaners purchacing association. I too do this for a living and have found these forums helpful.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 2:11PM
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You are doing too much for too little. Yes, everything needs to be clean, but you are probably charging too little. As for the deep cleaning chores, you can handle it two ways--do one deep cleaning chore each cleaning day, and let the owner know you will rotate those chores and list them for the owner as to what they will be. Or ask the owner to let you know when they want something deep cleaned FROM YOUR LIST and that it will be an extra charge.

Yes, the dog and cat dander will be a problem for your child. You might want to have your own household vacuum and not use it on clients' homes. Or use the clients' vacuums.

Tell your clients which cleaning supplies you want and what to buy for you, including any special mops or dusters and agree as to where they will be stored. Also ask the client to have a sack of clean rags for you every time you come. At the end of the cleaning day, put the rags by or in the washing machine for her to run them as she likes--no fabric softener.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 2:50PM
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I think you should charge more. Sixty bucks for cleaning a house is terrible! Since you deep-clean, charge by the hour. I'd think $15 an hour sounds about right. And if your child has allergies, don't get that vacuum anywhere near your baby. Keep it in the car or garage. Or consider using the client's own vacuum. Explain the situation. My guess is that any Dyson can handle pet hairs. I wouldn't worry about the vacuum breaking or wearing out, but I would worry about my child!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 4:41PM
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Thanks so much everyone :)
I joined the group listed and it was very helpful!

I found out more info too.
Since the local lady, who worked for PENNIES for 9 years has retired early, these folks are getting estimates from local people I spoke with today.
These families were so used to the old gal they are SHOCKED at todays going rate.
They say no...... hire others...... who do nothing, then call back and pay the going rate.

Its amazing how one person who major underbids can skew a whole town for a decade!
No one I spoke with today would clean these homes for $60 and they only clean for 2 hours or so.

I can't believe I did 6 hours...but I really take pride in shiny sparkly houses...
I think Im just not cut out for working cheaply though.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 8:34PM
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Oh Toile, I know exactly where you are coming from! I too am a very thorough cleaner, and to be honest, I kinda hated having a cleaning service/person come out because I always saw 'missed' things. I used to say I should have a cleaning business because I would do such a good job. But the truth is, no one would have paid what it would cost to do such a dedicated job. Good luck whichever path you choose!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 11:43PM
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If you "deep cleaned" something in my housew ithout me telling you just what to do, I would not like it at all.
I dont' want my heavy sofa's pushed around on my hand made rugs, Only I dust and wash my shelves of antique glass ware and only I polish the silver candleabra. I don't want you washing the morror with the antique gold leaf frame because glass cleaner sprayed on the frame will ruin it.
Learn to do what the client wants, not what you thinks hould be done.
I like to hire a cleaning person by the hour, not by the job, because some days I might say..."today we'll work together and take down all the bedroom curtains. I'll wash and iron the curtains and you do the windows then help me re hang them.
$15 an hour is a good fair amount to pay.
Linda C

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 10:22AM
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The professional installed indoor shutters keep dust no mater how much I dust them? Do I scrub them each time? Thats a 3 hour job alone?

Heavens, no! You take the round brush attachment to the Dyson and vacuum the dust off them. And I'm not even sure I would do it every week.

This attachment would cover more area:

Here is a link that might be useful: Dyson dusting brush

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 10:33AM
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Lindac, I simply had to reply to your post because of assumptions.
Not to be disrespectful but many things in my own were more valuable than even the homes I clean. So I know a little somthing about taking care of fine things.

This is about getting me following her EXACT requests, not trying to skimp.

The doc asked me to move all her furniture and vacuum and mop.
Same with the whole house.
I did ONLY what she asked.
Heres the thing I actually DID what she asks where other cleaning ladies did what they could get away with.

Some others I have spoken with quickly run a rag over the whole house, where I did what was asked, scrub.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 5:51PM
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Hi toile!

In what state do you live? $60 has not been the going rate since the late 60's! I don't know how to post the various links but just type "eteinne" in the search box at the bottom of the page. There are 2 on which I have posted. 1 is "How much do you pay for house cleaning?" and the second is "How do you tell an existing client you want to raise the rate?" Read them and I think U won't have a moments hesitation about the increase in your price. If you do a good job they will pay!

I have just re-read those posts and there is 1 family I have been working 4, 20 years. I thought that it was 17 years. That's a long time for a cleaning person. The 1 son just turned 21 so this just dawned on me. He was just born when I started there. None of these kids have ever known another cleaning person with the exception of my self. I just told the kids that if anyone was cleaning at this place things would have to change. The 2 boys leave all of the $ around all over the place. There was $4,000, in Mike's bedroom! On the floor, on the dresser, in the garbage, etc. I counted it all out and placed rubber bands around the various bills and put them into a "Zip Lock" bag. Mike has yet to go to the bank! I just don't get this at all?!


    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 10:11PM
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Small update, Client A ....does not want to pay more than $60 so I wont go back for cleaning #2.

I have been a stay at home mom/housewife for 15 years and will just go back to that.
I assumed my cleaning obsession would be a good thing for others.
I'm done with this little experiment :D

I have learned keeping a spotless home does not mean you should be a housekeeper for others LOL.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 12:39AM
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I don't know if you will see this because this thread has dropped to the second page, but . . . I was thinking of your situation, and maybe there is a niche market for your deep cleaning services if you market yourself correctly.

Rather than a stable of regular clients who you work for weekly, promote yourself as a "Deep Cleaning Professional." Your market would be rental agents, people about to move into a new but used house, and people who normally clean their own houses but every once in a while want it really clean. You could offer spring cleaning, pre-Christmas cleaning, pre-sale cleaning or pre-special occasion cleaning.

You would charge twice the hourly rate of the people who do surface cleaning, and my guess would be that people would be willing to pay that amount because it isn't weekly.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 11:33AM
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graywings I almost missed this.
Your so sweet to think of me and what a great idea!
Its actually a REALLY great idea.

I got an unusual call this week.
Im sort of worried It will be the same thing all over again.
It was the sweetest little retired lady. She hired 2 people before calling me and practically begged to hire me.
I told her I would do it once and then we can both see what we think.
I will also do the neighbors house.
They live in one story retirement homes and it pays the same as the mansion did :O

I may just do these homes only.
It would be 4 times a month total.
I KNOW I will spend too long there...thats just how I clean....
But she was SO sweet..I felt bad saying no right off the bat.....
They have health issues and just can't clean like the used to etc..

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 5:52PM
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Angerman Hardwoods

Toile, you need to increase your rate, my gosh, you're way too cheap to do an excellent job. I, too, do clean houses part time and my rate is $20ph and the move-outs cleaning is $25ph. I keep my radius at 12 miles for the cost of the gas and not to fight with the traffic/travel time.
If they can't afford to pay that much then they can do the job themselves because housecleaning is HARD WORK.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 12:22AM
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Toile, I just wanted to say that when I lived in Orlando, and my husband had already relocated to take his job in CA, I was alone with three kids, and as mentioned in another thread, I'm not so great at cleaning. Finally, I paid someone for a deep clean - she came with a friend, and she spent ~5 hours at my house (her friend was there for about half that time). I paid her, if I recall correctly, about $250. My house was a 2-story w/ ~2200 sf, no shutters (LOL) and very few knickknacks - just an overwhelmed mom w/ 3 kids, a house for sale, a hubby who was only there one weekend a month, and a stream of potential buyers coming through all the time.

Of course, I still saw things that were missed, but I am so grateful for all the things that WERE done, like the absolutely spectacular job she did on the tile in my shower.

I wish I could find someone who could help me get back on track here, but so far, when I ask around, all I get are the teen daughters of friends who want to make a little money. And while I can appreciate that they want to work a bit to earn some cash, I really prefer someone who is competent in what they're doing. :)

Sounds like your two newest prospects will work fine for you. Best of luck!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 6:18PM
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I've just started a cleaning business......for those of you who clean professionally, what is your best advice to someone in the business? I feel I'm thorough....I charge by the hour (I realize rates vary across the US, so I don't have a question about that).... Most homes I can do in 4-5 hrs (providing not tons of knick knacks sitting around)(I don't take breaks, etc.) Tips of the trade is what I'm looking for. Things that make your time count & helps you accomplish the most.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 9:39AM
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Toile - You should have charged them double that!

I pay my housekeeper $60 ... that's for three hours, and she does the following in a 2200 sq foot house every other week:

1 - Thorough clean the bathrooms and kitchen (one bathroom is seldom used)
2 - dust everything (this is AZ)
3 - vacuum and mop all floors (all tile)
4 - scrub kitchen floor thoroughly
5 - clean all counters and sinks
6 - One or two "extras" ... like a deep clean of the baseboards, washing some windows, whatever hasn't been done recently. This fills out the three hours, then she leaves.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 11:20PM
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From what you described doing, you are a doll, or maybe a chump. You should definitely be charging more- $100 sounds right. And you should insist your customers supply their own cleaning supplies-including a vacuum and all cleaning supplies/products. You don't want to destroy your own personal vacuum on their pet hair! Please reconsider what you are doing (too m uch) and how much you are charging (too little). Good luck! I wish you lived around here-I would gladly hire you at $100!!! Good luck!!!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 1:48PM
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Back in the day (early 1960's) myMom had a "cleaning girl" come once a week and scrub her linoleum kitchen floor. She paid her a dollar. She also paid me a dollar a week allowance for doing my "chores", dusting and vacuuming the dining room and living room three times a week and taking out the household garbage once a week. Now for a kid in 1962 a dollar is plenty. We still had stores that sold "penny candy" LOL. But times have changed and you can't get household help for a dollar anymore. Spending $60 to $100 a week on a cleaning service is the norm.Maybe check with some cleaning services, describe what you want done (actually what you are currently doing) and ask for an "estimate."

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 10:58AM
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