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Looking for a housekeeper - any advice?

(18 Posts)
Iamapolytoo Sun 30-Aug-09 10:38:15

Kicking and screaming we have decided that we really do need a housekeeper or rather if we knew what a housekeeper would expect to do as part of their duties then we might need a housekeeper.

Any pointers people could share would be much appreciated. grin

mmrsceptic Sun 30-Aug-09 10:58:49

Start with the duties.

Childcare at all? If it will feature at any point in her job you'll need to point it out at the start. It would be easy to take someone on thinking it's just for the house, then try to start using her for a little bit of child care here and there, "just while they're watching tv and you pop to the shops" but that sort of thing grows like topsy and can become An Issue.

Secondly, cleaning, cooking, shopping, inextricably linked with timing and hours. Where do you most need to keep control and where do you most need to relieve yourself of effort?

Shopping will involve handling money. She will need to know this.

Divide those up. Where to clean. Everywhere? Is she to use her initiative: for example, emptying the fridge, defrosting the freezer, cleaning the sofa covers, or will you set up a routine?

What to cook? Is she to be there early, for breakfast? Is she to cook an evening meal before she leaves for the day? Is she to use her initiative on what to prepare?

Flexibility. Discuss at the earliest point. If you need it, do not take on someone who says they are not very flexible and hope to work around it. If you want flexibility, decide on the number of hours at the start of employment, not the number of days.

Make everything as clear as possible before you start. Meet her at least twice and if possible, go to her house. That will give you a good idea about how good a housekeeper she is.

Word of mouth is good but not infallible. Find out what they did in their previous job, write it down, think about it later and then tell her what will change about working with you.

Be clear at all times. This is a major level of trust and you need clarity and honesty on both sides very early on.

mmrsceptic Sun 30-Aug-09 11:00:17

of course it might be a He blush grin

thisisnotwhatifancied Sun 30-Aug-09 11:04:26

does a housekeeper live with you rather than a cleaner who visits? Housekeeper sounds much posher.

nannynick Sun 30-Aug-09 11:37:22

thisisnotwhatifancied - Yes a housekeeper is generally live-in, though no reason why they couldn't be live-out - would need to live very local though as could have an early start and late finish.

Iamapolytoo - what sort of thing are you needing help around the home with? What staff do you currently have? (A housekeeper could as part of their role, supervise other household staff.)

Iamapolytoo Sun 30-Aug-09 13:33:10

Wow more help in a couple of hours than surfing the net ever seemed to give me!

I will be back later.

Thank you everyone

limonchik Sun 30-Aug-09 13:36:25

I would never let a potential employer round to my house!

makedoandmend Sun 30-Aug-09 13:40:55

How bizarre - I posted this earlier

Does anyone know what kind of charges are likely for a live-out hk?

limonchik Sun 30-Aug-09 13:46:49

Depending on where you live I'd guess between £6 and £10 an hour maybe? More if there's childcare involved too.

BoffinMum Sun 30-Aug-09 22:24:11

I had a housekeeper once in my other life (don't ask). wink

She did about 15 hours a week cleaning, did the laundry, and catered for parties, also cleaning up after them as well.

She also nicked our groceries from time to time and moaned about us behind our backs to random people, even after we had been exceedingly generous to her and her family, so we let her go.

I don't have much luck with domestic help. Don't get me onto the topic of household pets. That's even worse. blush

makedoandmend Mon 31-Aug-09 12:11:48

BoffinMum - how much did you pay her if you don't mind me asking.

Sorry it ended badly. (but am intrigued by household pets stories!)

MaDuggar Mon 31-Aug-09 12:24:52

Im surprised you need a housekeeper with all those adults in your house grin

BoffinMum Mon 31-Aug-09 13:06:52

It was a few years ago so that wouldn't have any real meaning now, plus she was half of a couple (her DH was our gardener), and they also got a three bed staff flat in a Very Posh Area . My goodness, how grand I sound. I wish I was that well off now. ;.)) (Actually I don't - it was a goldfish bowl kind of life).

mmrsceptic Mon 31-Aug-09 16:46:42

I know what you mean Boffin.

I have a number of people in my employ and wish it was none.

Iamapoly: be aware you will lose your privacy and it will increase the amount of organising you have to do. No more slinging school letters, bank statements and dentist's cards in the sludge pile. They will be tidied away somewhere undiscoverable, and pieces of toys will be put back in the wrong box, and the last bit of something you were saving will be chucked because it looks like rubbish.

MrsWobble Mon 31-Aug-09 20:08:39

not sure if what we have qualifies as a housekeeper but we have a daily help who comes in for 5 hours a day to do the cleaning and laundry and, in term time, to do the afternoon school run and cook tea for the children. It works extremely well for us - mainly because she is completely reliable, very thorough in her cleaning, excellent at laundry and the children like her.

we have a standard weekly routine for the cleaning but this then gets adjusted depending on what needs doing eg if we've had visitors then the spare bed needs changing.

we employ her through an agency so it's not the cheapest option for help but means we no longer have all the employer hassle we had when we still had nannies.

when we were working out what to do we considered a live in housekeeper but after years of live in nannies we really valued having the house back to ourselves and also, despite being a messy family, there's a limit to how long it can take to clean the house.

BoffinMum Mon 31-Aug-09 21:58:28

The best non-privacy moment was when she barged into my bathroom whilst I was plucking my bikini line with no pants on and didn't even apologise! shock

You have to have a somewhat Georgian attitude to your private domestic life if you're taking on lot of staff IMO.

mmrsceptic Tue 01-Sep-09 06:46:18

absolutely.. a friend woke up to find the room being cleaned around her

I mean there's enthusiasm and there's over enthusiasm

BoffinMum Wed 02-Sep-09 11:52:16

LOL! grin

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