As easy as it is to hire a housecleaner or housekeeper, you should also know when it’s time to fire the housecleaner. Having a housecleaner or maid means you are the employer. Having good communication right from the start is the best way to avoid issues later on. Knowing what your housecleaning needs are, and being clear about what you do and do not want to be done, is an important part of homeowner responsibility. When you are unclear in your directions it can make for a sticky situation. Establish open, friendly lines of respectful communication and make sure you provide regular feedback.

Hiring a sole proprietor

Individual cleaners are likely to work and advertise their services on a personal level as sole proprietors. While individual cleaners may have lower rates, hiring them can come with risks. For instance, you will be solely responsible for running any background checks. If they suddenly decide to quit, it will be on you to find a replacement. They may not have a staff of cleaners so if they are sick or on holiday, you may not get your house cleaned.

When you interview a sole proprietor there are some red flags to watch for:

  • Unprofessional attire when coming to the interview
  • Lack of references
  • They want their wages in cash without any record
  • Poor attitude. Cleaning is not the most desirable position, but if the interviewee seems to be outright disrespectful or apathetic, the work is not going to be top notch.

If the hassle and risks aren’t for you, you might consider hiring from an agency.

Housecleaning Agencies

Agencies charge higher rates, but the quality of the work and the security might be worth the price difference. Background checks and random drug testing are usually performed on their employees, they can generally provide back-up staff if someone calls in sick, they may bring their own equipment, and very often they go through a training period prior to working in someone’s home. When hiring an agency, there are a few things to be aware of:

  • Ensure they have a professional training and hiring program.
  • Avoid businesses that don’t have a list of services. This leaves an area of unknown and grants the cleaner the ability to deny a task.
  • Don’t work with companies that don’t have follow-up options. If you can’t contact the office regarding a complaint, no one will hold the cleaner accountable.
  • Refuse any company that tries to send an individual who hasn’t undergone a background check.

How to fire your housecleaner

If the housecleaner seems unwilling to adjust to your needs and you sense that it isn’t going to work out, you may be forced to terminate them. If you’ve signed an agreement or contract, be sure you read over the fine print. There may be clauses for 30-days notice, for example.

Theft, substance abuse, consistent no-shows or tardiness are also all sufficient grounds for termination. You can begin with warnings when it comes to attendance or work performance, but there’s no reason to tolerate theft or substance abuse. Be sure to make notes of every conversation you have with them if you think you may need to fire them. This will protect you should a simple termination turn into a legal matter.

Be honest with your housecleaner about your reasons for the termination and be sure to have this conversation face to face. One advantage of hiring an agency is that they can act as a go-between between you and your cleaner, making termination a far less personal and uncomfortable experience.