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To think cleaners should do the hours they're paid to do?

(29 Posts)
Pasteurella Mon 15-Dec-14 22:19:05

We've had a series of cleaners now who we've been paying to do 5 hours a week of cleaning (split 3hrs/2hrs at £10/hr). The pattern goes like this - they start off doing the full five hours, then after a few weeks it goes down to maybe four, then 3 and a half, then 3. At no point do they suggest I give them less money. We're fine with tea breaks or leaving a bit early instead, and trust me, there's more than enough work to keep them going in our house if they wanted to.

We've just got another one, who I'm a bit depressed about because I quite like her, who's left after less than 1.5 hours when she was supposed to do 3 so it looks like she'll be going the same way.

I used to work as a cleaner when I was a student to make ends meet, and I did work the full hours (and wasn't particularly well paid for it even by standards 20 years ago). Why is it assumed to be OK now not to?

I'm working for the NHS on a band 6 salary now, and the reason that three hours for 50 quid is important is that that's when it actually gets more per hour than I get paid, so it's not worth having a cleaner any more. I just prefer to get a cleaner so I can spend more quality time with the kids (and I work shifts so am frequently very tired), but I'm getting pretty disappointed by the whole thing.

Is there something I'm missing here, or should I be approaching it differently?

beeny Mon 15-Dec-14 22:21:08

I have had exactly the same experience,don't know the answer?

DustInTheWind Mon 15-Dec-14 22:22:49

Why not make it clear that you pay by the hour?
2hours work = 2 hours pay.
Are they getting everything that you wanted done in the time, and to your satisfaction?
Do you have a written contract setting out the expectations and payments?

Lovetheleaves Mon 15-Dec-14 22:23:34

Yanbu . I gave up having a cleaner due to the same problem. After the initial this cleaner is great etc etc I would notice they were cutting hours short and not cleaning behinds beds and couches etc. I eventually decided to do it myself.

Tinkerball Mon 15-Dec-14 22:24:26

Have you actually discussed this with them and what did they say? That should be your first course of action.

UncleT Mon 15-Dec-14 22:25:02

Not sure what to say other than yes, they should without doubt be doing the hours they're actually paid for, unless specifically and exceptionally authorised otherwise. If people fail to turn up reliably or fail to do what they're paid for, they will get told and given an opportunity to improve, then sacked if no improvement occurs.

Pasteurella Mon 15-Dec-14 22:26:08

There's no way of policing it as I very rarely see her DustInTheWind - she has a key to the house, and it's only on the rare days I'm at home or happen to be coming in and out of the house that I know what hours she's worked.

I could suggest it and hope for her to do the decent thing I suppose.

EachandEveryone Mon 15-Dec-14 22:26:18

I work shifts as well which is why I have one. I don't know if she dies the full two hours when I'm at work. When I'm off if I pop out to the shops she's invariably finished and gone when I get back. I don't know the answer I have a small flat but she never does anything other than the basics so I end up dusting the blinds etc on my next day off. I really like her. She's on good money and it's all cash in hand I imagine. I can't reduce her money it seems petty. I guess if they've done a good job there's nothing you can do.

PiperIsTerrysChoclateOrange Mon 15-Dec-14 22:27:02

Set out clear what you want done in those 5 hours.

if they leave early dock that amount, 3 hours work is £30

Pasteurella Mon 15-Dec-14 22:31:30

I'd really like her to do the full time because there are things that she leaves. I've got two boys on the spectrum and a DH that also works very long hours and feel a bit swamped by all the stuff I have to do sometimes, so would really like her to be a magic person that comes and sorts everything out for me. Might be a bit much to ask though grin

DustInTheWind Mon 15-Dec-14 22:32:30

'There's no way of policing it as I very rarely see her DustInTheWind'

Then you judge on results. So a checklist with jobs/tasks for her to do and check off, then you see what sort of a job she's done and if it meets your standards.
If she's getting through everything well, then perhaps a professional is just faster than you'd be at the same thing.

MrsNuckyThompson Mon 15-Dec-14 22:32:35

Yanbu. We've had this with every cleaner. I think unless you have the time micro manage / write lists you just have to sack and start again.

We always used an agency but have recently started using a personal recommendation who is brill. Might be worth asking round or even posting on a local mums group etc

Pasteurella Mon 15-Dec-14 22:32:36

I will have to have a talk and sort out some ground rules as suggested I suppose.

listsandbudgets Mon 15-Dec-14 22:35:31

I don't pay my cleaner by the hour - I pay her for getting the job done. I have had this problem in the past and its led to resentment from me. When I hired this cleaner I asked her to quote for the job and made it clear I expected it to be completed. I reckon what I pay her would normally be a three hour job. Sometimes it takes her 2 1/2 hours sometimes it takes her over 3.

If they're not working the hours and they're not doing the job then I would be very unhappy.

Janethegirl Mon 15-Dec-14 22:48:58

Consider getting a takeaway instead of a cleaner and use the time you'd spend cooking doing the cleaning yourself.

Proclean Mon 15-Dec-14 22:54:01

I have a quality cleaning service and charge a flat rate for our teams to deliver an itemised standard service (additional items are charged out as extra and initial cleans and deep cleans are a lot more money than regular maintenance cleans). This is my business model, with the focus on quality and detail rather than time restrictions which I personally find rather limiting. I quote based upon size and condition of home plus how many family members etc.

HOWEVER, if we were selling time ie the HOURLY business model like the agencies do, we would have to stay for x amount of hours (of course duh!!)

Trading standards dictates that if selling cleaning at a flat rate (like we do) you are accountable for the completion of the items on the service list at the service level promised at the point of sale. However if you are selling time then you are accountable for (guess what) oh yes TIME spent on premises, even if you are supping tea or reading a magazine you have to stay on the premises for x amount of hours as sold to the client at the point of sale!

This is why, as a quality focussed service we are flat rate, it works out better for delivering a detailed service without restrictions but if we were selling hours we would blooming well deliver those hours as is the law.

Personally i find the hourly model rather limiting and devaluing, to me the 'product' we sell is a clean house and different teams take different times to deliver the level of service i have trained them to do! This is why we don't offer hourly rates, plus, as you can imagine it is a selling point to offer a complete detailed service every time, BUT I strongly disagree with an hourly service breaking the terms of the agreement of which is their chosen business model.

We have picked up many clients who used to have an hourly service before us and found it to be substandard, not that they all are, of course, but it is pretty common!

This whole 'I am hourly but will stay as long as I feel like or don't feel like' thingy annoys the crap out of me as you may have guessed! I'd best calm down and go to bed!

Proclean Mon 15-Dec-14 22:59:18

Btw it's just occurred to me, £10 per hour seems really cheap, it could be that she is not a professional and is not covered with the necessary insurances or knowledge of the industry. It does not sound viable as a business to me! this could explain the problems with unprofessional behaviour, she may not even be aware of trading standards!

Fishingforadvice Mon 15-Dec-14 22:59:18

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Me624 Mon 15-Dec-14 23:04:36

We pay our cleaner for 3 hours. I prefer the hourly model because I don't want to pay for more than that but our house is quite big and she said when she first came round that it would probably take her 4. We agreed she'd do 3 and that she would always do the downstairs, the bathrooms and our bedroom, but she'd rotate the other bedrooms so they only get done every other time each. That's fine really as they don't get used much so aren't very dirty at all, just need a bit of a dust.

We're always out at work when she comes so I don't know for sure if she stays the full amount of time but as long as the house is clean enough when I get home I don't mind too much. DH sometimes gets home early and she is usually there. Sometimes she brings an assistant so two of them do it in half the time - again, fine by me, the price stays the same.

frustratedashell Mon 15-Dec-14 23:05:27

I am a domestic cleaner. If I finish early I do extras,like wiping out the fridge or kitchen cupboards or drawers. People pay for a certain amount of time and it's only fair that they get it.

QTPie Mon 15-Dec-14 23:09:23

I have been fairly lucky with cleaners.

Initially a cleaner IS likely to take longer to clean a house - as they get to know the house, they may well speed up.

I have always paid hourly rate (£12 an hour, they supple materials) and my cleaners have only charged me for hours done. Current house is 4 hours (well 2 hours for 2 people), but it is a big house (although normally only two or three of the bedrooms cleaned each week).

Make very clear what you want done and that you pay for time done.

TattyDevine Mon 15-Dec-14 23:13:11

This is frustrating, and something I just can't see changing.

Every cleaner I have ever had has eventually managed to work out the "bare minimum" they have to do, and that's what I end up getting, unless I stay at home the whole time they are supposed to be here and follow them around with a stopwatch.

I've tried private cleaners and agency cleaners, and whilst both are better than having no cleaner, they all seem to default to a "what they can get away with" type scenario.

If I complain to the agency, they moan that they don't have enough time and the agency try and make me pay for more, which if I do I get for a couple of weeks or a few before the same scenario happens again (i.e, following them around and timing them).

A private cleaner will do it for a couple of weeks then default back unless once again I follow them around.

It seems to be human nature to either do the bare minimum or try and swindle.

One cleaner who got fired eventually whittled her 3 and a half hours down to an hour when I was at a neighbours across the road seeing her come and go.

Its very disappointing.

Its very hard to get a cleaner to tick off a list of jobs, unless you pull them up on each list every week - more work than doing it yourself.

People may say "do it yourself then" in which case they are missing the point.

PhaedraIsMyName Mon 15-Dec-14 23:13:27

Pretty much why I gave up on cleaners. I wouldn't mind them doing less hours than they were paid for if they got through the work but they didn't.

Me624 Mon 15-Dec-14 23:13:54

While we're on cleaners, how much do people tip at christmas? This is the first year we've had one so I'm not sure what's reasonable.

giraffesCantFlyWithReindeer Mon 15-Dec-14 23:15:11

I pay my cleaner for the job and up to her how long she takes. Not sure if that's better or not

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