9 Replies Latest reply: Aug 4, 2019 11:25 AM by hmmmm RSS

    How do you ensure your housekeeper/cleaner does a good job?

    scowol Active Contributor

      Hi All,


      My rental properties are in another state, so I rely on a housekeeper to clean.  I've gone through a few cleaners in the past decade, and have felt that my current cleaner is great. I've had my current cleaner for about a year and all the reviews since then have been 5-star, with a few even remarking how nice and clean the house is.  Great so far!   Last night we traveled to our property.  We actually had a cancelation and decided to take the slot for ourselves.  However, we kept the originally scheduled cleaning for our arrival and departure and didn't tell our cleaner that we were arriving.   While I would prefer to be transparent, it might have been a way to validate how well our properties are being cleaned for a typical guest.  Below is the list of items I discovered: 


      • Dirty cookie sheet inside the oven
      • Toothpaste splatter on the tile backsplash of guest bathroom
      • Debris on floor in both bathrooms (floors appeared to have been mopped, but not swept/vacuumed)
      • A couple of clothing price tags and stickers from new clothes in the guest bedroom floor and closet
      • Children coloring books left out from prior guest and left out on living room desk (almost as if they were on display)
      • 10 pool towels left out (only 6 are requested to be left out)
      • Wads of used (snotty) Kleenex face tissues were shoved inside a nightstand drawer and left
      • Small bathroom garbage bag was placed in the kitchen garbage bin
      • Half open bag of laundry detergent pods left under kitchen sink from a prior guest, and no dishwasher detergent was left out (I have a closet full of supplies)


      I admit that I am VERY PICKY.  I can understand that one of these may have been inadvertently missed, but this seems to be quite the list.  


      For those of you that are remote from you property, have you ever "checked up" on your housekeeper's cleaning quality as a supposed guest? 


      How have you gained trust that your housekeeper is truly cleaning to you standards?

        • Re: How do you ensure your housekeeper/cleaner does a good job?
          planthealth Active Contributor

          We have 4 VRs so if we arrive in town to work on them and stay in #1, we have had it where #2 was cleaned so it could be booked but never did book. Then we go to #2 to work on it and see its cleaning condition. Our location has a lot of NOT clean VRs and our cleaner "does a good job" as you describe in your first paragraph (good reviews for us etc).


          She does seem to spot damage to the condos. But I am continually annoyed by catching sticky knobs in the kitchen, coffee spilled down the front of kitchen cabinets, ceiling fans getting overlooked (not dusted), I find guest belongings in drawers from 2 guests ago, empty water bottles and dust bunnies under beds.


          We let our cleaner know when a guest comments on something not being cleaned. We tell her when we see something we have discussed with her before, like the drawers not getting checked. We have also, after looking for a year, found a "back up" cleaner because our primary cleaner lives an hour away. I have started to rotate my back up cleaner into the schedule one cleaning per month. She seems to be doing a better job but this will give us opportunities to see it for ourselves and ensure that she will be reliable, can do last minute bookings etc etc.


          So we DO let our cleaner know we "check" on her when on town, we discuss some but not all shortcomings with her, and we are constantly looking for better.

            • Re: How do you ensure your housekeeper/cleaner does a good job?
              scowol Active Contributor

              Thanks for sharing the examples and frustration you have also had.  All of the items you shared seem to be what a guest will do!  The key is to find a cleaner who will make it perfect.  


              I know that my cleaner has "helpers" and I suspect that in this case she didn't clean herself, and/or follow up to inspect.  I suppose an owner is always going to notice every little spec of dirt.  I'm hoping that this is a one-off, and so I think I'll let her know we unexpectedly visited and share the list.  I might just request that she personally clean or at least inspect.

            • Re: How do you ensure your housekeeper/cleaner does a good job?
              db.meyer Senior Contributor

              The only way I found to ensure that my cleaner does a good job is to either have driven the 2+ hours in my previous location or in my current location (only 1 hour away), and to either do it myself or follow after her/them to do what she misses.  I'm sorry that doesn't help, but I have found no one cleans like I do or expect.  If you are not getting negative reviews or comments, I guess you should be happy about that?

              • Re: How do you ensure your housekeeper/cleaner does a good job?
                green_mango Active Contributor

                I feel ya.  I am 700 miles away and a self-admitted micro-manager because I like everything just the right way - and I have it that way for a good reason, so it would annoy me when my cleaner would do something different that she thought was better without running it by me.  I just got started with a new cleaner and we're working on it - I came to stay after she had cleaned a few times and I realized she wasn't adequately cleaning towels - using the speed cycle and no bleach, so for my week vacation with family I did well over 20 loads of laundry washing every single towel and sheet and duvet cover.  For cleaning I made a detailed list.  I don't think she read it.  So, I'm making another more detailed list....  I have a Shutterfly photo album picturing everything exactly how I like it.  I don't think she's looked at it. 


                I have heard of apps where you have checklists and request photos - I'm thinking that'll be my next step.  It's very tough in my market to find a cleaner who will do all the laundry also, so I am really trying to get into the groove with our new cleaner and give things a shot to work out as she's got some definite good qualities.  Breezeway might be one of the apps - not sure what the others are called to compare.

                  • Re: How do you ensure your housekeeper/cleaner does a good job?
                    scowol Active Contributor

                    green_mango  Thank you--I can totally relate--especially the speed washed linens.  I noticed every time coming to the house that the last setting on the waster was speed wash+ (which on our washer is a 20 minute cycle).   IMO, that is basically a setting for being in a "time emergency" only.   I have one of those label makers and it just so happens that the control panel is black on white on the washer. So we carefully covered up that setting and it just looks like extra space amongst the other settings.  So you cannot see that setting now.  Voila - it's never left on that setting.

                  • Re: How do you ensure your housekeeper/cleaner does a good job?
                    bonesxxx Active Contributor

                    I have a somewhat similar situation except my rental is only 45 minutes away.  However, that's not close enough that I inspect after each guest leaves as I also have a full time job requiring some travel.


                    I think the old saying "you get what you pay for" applies to our situation in the STR market.  Unless you are in a high volume area like a beach community or outside Disney World where there may be full time companies doing STR cleaning, nobody is getting rich off our business.  This is especially true if your rental is remote.


                    So, I started paying $100/cleaning (which is very good considering it's a 1,200 SF cabin which can be vacuumed completely using only 2 outlets :-).  It takes about 2-3 hours to clean.


                    Long story short, I canvassed my 'neighborhood' and found a retired school teacher who is also a widow living on a fixed income.  She has time and could always use extra money BUT she is not in the cleaning business -- I had to sell her on the idea.  Long story short, she decided to try it and it's been great for going on four years (stops to knock on wood).  She likes greeting my guests and, for her, the extra $500-$700/month goes a long way.


                    I am already scanning my area for Diana part 2 in case she decides to stop doing it... One thing is for sure, it will be another retiree and not a pro.

                    • Re: How do you ensure your housekeeper/cleaner does a good job?
                      hmmmm Senior Contributor

                      I don't feel you are picky, I expect mine to be almost  "deep cleaned" each cleaning. 
                      I do pay way too much, but the key for me, is I am here.  I know thats why  it works.

                      I still go in the 6 rentals and double check, do the odd and end thing and double check.

                      Unless you can find some like bones...has, I am not sure it can be a sure bet.