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to expect cleaner to arrive without husband and 10 month old son?

(34 Posts)
charleymouse Thu 17-Sep-09 12:25:29

Okay, house is a disaster area. I am a slovenly wench who needs all the help she can get.

Last week I succumbed and asked an agency to pop out and give a quote for cleaning. The chap reckoned three hours a week would do it. £6.50 per hour direct to cleaner and £3.00 per hour monthly direct debit to franchise. Lady who would do cleaning is in his car outside as he has just been to show her another job and should she come in straight away or aarange another time. She popped in and I showed her round, how to work things (vacuum cleaner etc) and where cleaning things were kept.

Agreed to this and signed up for first clean last Thursday pm. Cleaner arrived with husband and ten month old son in pram. They waited outside for 3 hours. Did ask them in as felt awful but it was a nice day and they pootled about and played in the garden. She explained they were going out after she had finished.

She did an okay job and I showed her all the things I expected her to do (except mop the floors throughout which I had explained at first visit I wanted) She did not mop floors in ensuite or bathroom. She had vacuum cleaner on carpet setting when vacuuming oak floors and I had to show her/explain again how to change the setting (or will scratch floors). I am assuming English is her second language as she has a very strong accent (I am crap with accents) so I assumed I had not made myself clear in instructions.

I asked her to finish 15 minutes early as had to collect DH but gave her the full amount + 50p. (had no change) and drove her and her family back in to town centre.

Arranged for same time today (pm) as DD on half days at school. But she would prefer am after settling in sessions, fine I am okay with that. She rang up an hour and half ago asking could she go now and who was in house? Difficult over phone due to strong accent as I usually try to lip read a bit if people have strong accents.

AIBU to think this is odd after we had arranged pm and now I am panicking I have told someone I hardly know my house is empty. Realise I may be paranoid and was burgled years ago and it still bothers me now.

WWYD? I also think it odd the franchisee did not ring up after she had been to check if all was okay. Should I ring them. Bit unsure of the etiquette here and do not want to upset anyone.

Please advise.

Tombliboobs Thu 17-Sep-09 12:45:04


The Dh and Dc arriving with her was a one off so wouldn't worry about that. She asked if she could change her time, again not a problem you said no. You not trusting her about telling her the house is empty seems very distrusting. What do you think she is going to do?!

The franchisee should phone as good business sense, but you could phone them if any problems.

Not getting the hang of the hoover etc straight away, give her a chance.

mumsiebumsie Thu 17-Sep-09 12:59:11


Not really seeing the issue here - but if you're not keen on her then call franchise and ask for a different cleaner.

charleymouse Thu 17-Sep-09 13:10:46

I don't know Tombliboobs, just do not advertise to anyone my house will be empty if I can help it.

Thanks mumsiebumsie.

Just think it odd her DH and child were brought to work, on her first day. Especially when she said they were going out straight after. My intital thought was oh somewhere near to my house but I dropped her off nearer to her home than my home IYSWIM. Did not make sense them being there. Only thing I thought was the house is a bit isolated and she did not want to arrive on her own due to her personal secuirty. Just if that was the case would have preferred to hear that.

She also did not have a watch and kept asking me what time it was, if I am paying by the hour I want her to stop for the three hours how will she know that if she does not know the time? Sorry for dripfeeding, thought I had covered everything in initial post but this has just come back to me.

Okay IABU,

Will see how she gets on today. I think I am just wary as have not used an agency cleaner before (and just remembered franchisee did not seem exactly sure of her name or how long she had worked for him now I think about it).

charleymouse Thu 17-Sep-09 13:11:43


Morloth Thu 17-Sep-09 13:22:25

Give it a couple of weeks, if she doesn't settle down into it then I would ask for a change of cleaner from the agency. You are spending the money to alleviate stress for yourself not to cause a different type!

Aussieng Thu 17-Sep-09 13:36:25


The Agency should have vetted her - did you not ask whether they would be doing this?

Are you planning to always be in the house when she is there standing over her and correcting everything she does? If so then I don't think she will last long - tbh you sound a bit too uptight to have a cleaner.

As with everything some cleaners are rubbish some are good but few cleaners EVER clean exactly the way you would yourself. The point is that it just takes a bit of the pressure off. I just liked getting home from work and having the house look clean and tidy -even if it was not perfect. Basically, either relax or do it yourself.

BTW - if she was contracted for 3 hours and YOU cut it short, you are not doing her a favour by paying for the full 3 hours - she was entitled to it.

I never had a problem with any cleaner - I know some people would be on her saying AIBU to sack my cleaner because she dared to leave the pledge out on the bench but FFS! They certainly never burgled me!

WhereYouLeftIt Thu 17-Sep-09 13:42:45

"(and just remembered franchisee did not seem exactly sure of her name or how long she had worked for him now I think about it). "

Whoah - warning bells all over the place!!

DesperateHousewifeToo Thu 17-Sep-09 13:58:25

In this situation, I would definitely only arrange times for the cleaner to come when you can actually be there for most of the time, if you can.

After a couple of weeks, I would be there when she arrives and leave any specific instructions, then go out.

I have only given keys straight away to cleaners who have been personally recommended by friends and who they have known/used for a while.

The company should be able to answer your questions about the cleaner, that is what you are paying them for.

Give her a few weeks to settle in before making any decisions.

If this lady does not work out, I'd ask around for a recommendation from friends instead of use an agency.

charleymouse Thu 17-Sep-09 14:32:01

Oh have had a cleaner before just not used an agency one before. The agency website does explain about vetting etc and they have insurance for accidental damage as well.

I did not stand over her and watch everything she did but she needed to know where things were and where to put things. I tended to try to be in another room so as not to pressure her that is why I did not realise she had not mopped the bathrooms until after she had gone. I am also not precious but cleaning a solid oak floor with the vacuum on the carpet setting would scratch the buggery out of the floor. I explained this at first visit and twice on the day she was here and physically showed her how to change vacuum and check setting to make sure it was correct.

I realise if I cut it short I have to pay but I paid 50p extra (not a lot I know) and drove the three of them into to town to save them having to catch the bus which is not that regular and a 15 minute walk away.

Well after her asking if she could come this morning and me saying no this afternoon after 1.30 around 2.00 would be ideal she said okay (I think) she has not yet turned up. I did say if it was not convenient for her then don't come but I think she said she would.

She has just knocked on the door but I will need to leave at 5.00 to get DS from nursery what do I do when she is late and can't get the three hours in? I have not got her a key cut yet as will be in for next few visits.

MoonTheLoon Thu 17-Sep-09 14:40:21

I don't think YABU or uptight.

Would any of you turn up to your new job with DH and baby in tow? I bloody wouldn't whatever my job was. Also, if you have agreed a time for her to come she should come then not ring you at short notice to change it, again, so early in a new job.

Not mopping the floors - she may not have had enough time for everything, I am assuming that you give her a list of jobs you would like done and she does what she reasonably can in the time.

Give her a little longer and see how it goes but if she messes around with times more than occasionally or brings people to your house I would get someone new.

charleymouse Thu 17-Sep-09 14:42:55

Okay the franchisee said "her name is XXXXXX and she's worked for me for..... ooh..... years"

When she came in she said her name was YYYYY but I took this as an anglicised version of whatever he had said.

She has just asked me if there is a care home nearby as she is/was a carer and only cleans to fill the gap. She has also just said she has only moved to the area two months ago from London. Now I am happier with her but peed off with franchisee. He has obviously lied.

Also stupid pregnant brain that I am has just realised I may have signed up for a three month contract. What do I do?

charleymouse Thu 17-Sep-09 14:47:55

I didn't give her a written list just explained what I wanted her to do to franchisee, then her on first visit then again on first day of work.

She seemed to be filling time at the end (wiped a few cupboard fronts down) so I just assumed she had finished upstairs, she actually cleaned outside windows shock which I had not asked for. I probably should have checked round before she went but just assumed asking to vacuum and mop all floors included bathrooms and did not want to appear to be control freak and follow her in and out of every room.

MoonTheLoon Thu 17-Sep-09 14:57:04

Perhaps she didn't take it all in especially if English is a second language. I would ask politely again.

charleymouse Thu 17-Sep-09 15:12:00

Thanks Moon, will just check with her before she leaves today that she has mopped throughout.

I have to say I would never have taken DH or child to new job or if I felt a need to I would have made sure they were out of sight. It made me feel uncomfortable that they were sitting on a bench outside my front door as I felt I should have had them in for coffee FGS. grin

MoonTheLoon Thu 17-Sep-09 16:01:58

Yes I wouldn't have liked it either. Good luck!

Bathsheba Thu 17-Sep-09 16:26:14


Are your longterm plans to be in or our when she is cleaning - remember its not the smae as telling a stranger when your house is empty etc and you have the "protection" of the franchise if snything goes wrong/missing.

And as for having her husband there - that souns emminently sensible for her first time in a complete strangers house - look at it from THEIR side - she could have been going anywhere and he was there far more for her security, comfort and protection rather than anything else.

MoonTheLoon Thu 17-Sep-09 16:30:51

Bathsheba are you serious about protection going to her cleaning job when she had already met Charleymouse and been to her house? Again I would say, would you do this when you were starting a job?

posieparker Thu 17-Sep-09 16:33:44

A couple of things I note:

Is this time for you? If so they are awful. I don't believe they vet their cleaners. Getting a cleaner form a franchise like this one is bascially paying them to arrange a cleaner and then paying them every hour for that introduction. An absolute rip off. You do not have the protection of the franchise even if she breaks everything in your house. I had a racist, a liar and a lazy cleaner from timefor you.

The fact she brought her DH was unprofessional.

Get yourself a local cleaner, advertise in a launderette or something or gumtree. Be home for the first three or four cleans (be in and out and check cleaning.) If you have a foreign cleaner make sure you talk though products, my polish cleaner tried using Cif on everything, even wooden sideboards!

BethNoire Thu 17-Sep-09 16:38:10

Actually bathsheba has a point: she may have ben vetted but you haven't I had a job that invovled going alone to houses where I new there were violent ex's etc and my DH would on occasion sit outside JIC (worked for a charity)

On that absis maybe best to assume? Give her a good chance.

Bathsheba Thu 17-Sep-09 16:38:59

Yes I'm completely serious...!!!!

I wouldn't take my Dh when starting a job, but then I'd probably be working for a large company in an office building, not in a complete strangers house.

I have a cleaner. When she came to meet us the first time I realised what a huge leap of faith she was taking - esp as she hadn't long been in the coutnry, was finding our house by bus etc etc (as it stands she is a huge asset to our family, speak way better English than me, finds her way around our bus systel like a pro and I adore her..)

We tell people to take sensible precautions when meeting people from the internet/classified ads etc for the first few times, why shouldn't it be reasonable for a cleaner to take her husband the first time she is in a new location alone - even if its just to help her find her way to the right bus stop (as it seems they arrived by bus on this occassion as the OP gave them a lift into town). I know people in this city who have lived here all their life who have turned down invitations to places because they would need to go somewhere they "didn't know" on the bus and are too anxious to go without a trial run with their husband - yues thats an extreme example but I know people like that.

The husband and child didn't impinge on the OP's house at all and were clearly happy to wait around for the 3 hours as required.

Lottie456 Thu 17-Sep-09 16:40:17

I've had some similar experiences with previous cleaners. One lady scracted our wooden table and another was never off the phone, always late and went early.

Anyway, my point is you don't sound happy with your arrangement and the agency don't seem to be on the ball! You need to be confident with the person your letting in your home and paying to clean it. The fact that she brought her OH and baby on the first day would make me on edge too.

It sounds to me she's less of a help more of a stress. I would give her one more chance then ask the agency to send someone new. Your employing her to do a job and you need to feel relaxed and confident she will turn up on time, do what you have both agreed on re mopping floors, bathrooms etc. The fact your going through an agency i would expect a certain level of professionalism.

AngryFromManchester Thu 17-Sep-09 16:41:37


I am deadly serious too because you know, lots of people have accents in this country. It really is not at all difficult to understand people. if you get out more

AngryFromManchester Thu 17-Sep-09 16:43:20

I now feel immensley guilty for writing that post after reading your profile. Sorry x

MoonTheLoon Thu 17-Sep-09 16:55:51

Bathsheba, I go to new clients houses all the time, on my own. My work know where I am and what time they expect me back. I wouldn't take my husband with me and certainly not my child. They did put out the OP because she felt obliged to invite them in and, even though declined, knowing they were waiting outside made her feel awkward and uncomfortable. The OP said the cleaner was going on somewhere with her DH and DC and if that was the case they should have found somewhere nearby to wait.

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