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What's reasonable for a 2 hour weekly clean for a 3 bed terrace?

(11 Posts)
dizzy77 Tue 16-Apr-13 19:43:36

I need to have a word with my cleaner. She's been reliably cleaning with an assistant for about the last 3 years but has recently become quite ill and things have dropped off (eg last week there was a ring in the bath after their visit and i keep having to mention skirtings). In fairness, so has my level of filling in as we have a nearly 2yo and I'm 7mo pg with number 2, i can do much less and we're around the house more and make more mess. I do tidy surfaces and clear floors so its not a complete disaster area. My "performance management" up to now has been admittedly a bit oblique, consisting of things like "the Hoover doesn't seem to be picking up as well as it should so I've changed the bag, let me know if you think it needs doing next time."

As she can do less (particularly as her illness may get worse before it gets better) and is keen to continue working, I'm happy for her and assistant to work out responsibilities across the 2 hours (they usually do about 90 between them) but I think I need to reset minimum expectations or I'll keep getting cross about things. We then also have a basis for if it becomes impossible to keep up I can reasonably find someone else.

So does this sound feasible for 2 hours to you?
• hoovering hard floors & carpets
• mopping kitchen & dining room laminate, including moving kitchen chairs out & back
• dusting visible surfaces, shelves, sills, accessible skirting
• cleaning (small) bathroom, including toilet inside & out, sink, taps & bath

These last 2 could alternate fortnightly
• dusting both sides of 3 part bay Venetian blind (I do it with a fluffy duster prob takes 8 mins - she says they do this but the impact is not visible
• taking all items off bathroom floor & boxing & hoovering & wet dusting.

What do you experts think? I've got no real sense of how long it takes as its a while since I've done all this together.

WTFisABooyhoo Tue 16-Apr-13 20:59:44

with 2 people there every time? yes that all sounds reasonable for a 2 hour period. although how big is the bathroom and how much is on the floor and what do you mean boxing it? confused sorry if that is really obvious.

i have a 3 bed terrace and in 2 hours on my own i can do windows (inside only) and mirrors, dusting surfaces, hoover all over, mop all hard floors, cleaning the bathroom (basin, toilet and bath+showerscreen) and strip and re-make beds. but only if the surfaces are all clear and the bedlinen is in the hotpress all ready to go on the beds. however i am fit and healthy and i'm not being paid so i do it quickly and not always to as great a standard as i would expect if i was paying for it. but then there are two of them doing your so i would say your list is quite doable.

pmgkt Tue 16-Apr-13 21:06:23

I'm a cleaner and I think your expectations are more than fair if they don't have to tidy up before they have to start. In my own house once tidy, I can do kitchen lounge 3 bathrooms, 1 loo 4 bedrooms, Hoover, dust and do conservatory in that time

bananananacoconuts Tue 16-Apr-13 21:20:56

bloody hell i clean for someone but i'd much rather clean for you!!!
sounds very manageable for 1 never mind 2!

NaturalBaby Tue 16-Apr-13 21:26:41

I had 1 cleaner for 2hrs in a 4 bed semi but stressed that the floors, kitchen and bathrooms where the priority so I only expected the bedrooms to be hoovered. We have 2 bathrooms and a cloakroom.

kneedeepindaisies Tue 16-Apr-13 21:29:26

I'm a cleaner and for 2 people in that time it sounds realistic.

The last Venetian blinds I cleaned looked like I hadn't done them too but they were very dusty to start with. grin

dizzy77 Tue 16-Apr-13 21:48:18

Thanks for input sorry I wasn't clear. They currently do about 90mins, ie 2 people are here for 45-50mins, and the place is tidy ish- they'll put what isn't already in a pile in a new one and clean round if I haven't got there first (I don't think this takes long and I try to minimise it). I don't think I'm BU but hopefully that's because you haven't interpreted me as getting 4 hours of cleaning each week when I'm paying for 2. There's no ironing, linen changing etc just the "big" cleaning stuff I listed i want to prioritise, eg the kitchen surface & sink gets done each day really when we use it so we font need the cleaners to pay it attention beyond the floor.

Bathroom is small, think a bath and about same space of floor, so the boxing is for the pipes & runs behind sink & loo and has cleaning products etc on it, theres a bin, brush and loo roll holder ob the floor that i want to be cleaned under. Venetian blinds are a pig I agree but when I do them they look done!

WTFisABooyhoo Tue 16-Apr-13 21:58:03

ah yes that makes sense. so both are there at the same time for 1 hour so it is two woman hours of work.

blush @ me not realising what boxing was! grin yep that still sounds doable. my bathroom sounds a bit bigger than yours and literally takes 5 minutes to do including the floor.

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 17-Apr-13 11:45:04

What you are asking for is entirely reasonable, unless you're in denial about the level of filth and clutter in your house. Even then, there's no excuse for things like a ring in the bath. I mean, if a house is really fucked up and I can't clean as well as I'd like because of the clutter, then I may not get everything done. But, what I start will be done right. So, no ring in the bath, even if I don't get to something else like skirting boards.

Also, it sounds like you are on an hourly arrangement, so 90 minutes between them is not OK. If they worked for two full hours, and didn't finish everything, then the answer would be to buy more time. But, they're clearly leaving when they think they're done and they are not done.

Don't be "oblique." Talk to her and tell her in a straightforward manner that she is not doing as good a job as she once did. If your house is in a significantly worse state than when she started cleaning for you, acknowledge that. But, point out the total time she is (not) staying and say that she should at least A) stay the full time and B) finish what she starts to a high standard.

forevergreek Wed 17-Apr-13 14:44:59

The only thing I would say is 45 mins is tight timing wise. The first few 5 mins spent finding/ gathering cleaning things, last 5 tidying back. So only 35mins. After mopping they can't really go back in those areas as need to dry. I know you have two but one can't mop until the other has hoovered. Would it be better to just have one cleaner for 90 mons alone, rather than 2 for 45 mins?

I must also be very slow, as we have a 1 bed flat and it takes me a good 30 mins to Hoover everywhere ( lifting rugs/ under tables/ nozzle in corners etc).
We also have a cleaner/ housekeeper. She comes in 6 hours a week (3hrs x2 days). In 3hrs she hoovers, mops, cleans bathroom and kitchen, changes bedding/ washes and puts fresh on ( on a king size, and x2 cotbeds). She also cooks x2 meals and cake/ muffins etc. so approx 90 mins cleaning and 90 mins cooking. She is very efficent imo, and will usually cool first then tidy whist food is cooking.
She is great and we are v grateful as means we can all return home at 7pm after 12hr shifts at work/ in childcare and eat and been in a clean house.

Ok so after that essay, maybe it is too much to clean a 3 bed house in 90min. As in comparison over a week our cleaner spends at least 3 hrs on a one bed ( that it v minimalist )

dizzy77 Wed 17-Apr-13 19:43:16

Thanks so much for the input. I hope I'm not in denial about the state of the place (it would be minimalist if it wasn't for the toddler), im not asking for hospital hygiene, but also compared to friends houses who have similar arrangements most stuff is on shelves, in cupboards or in piles.

I agree I've been a bit opaque in the past and [chicken emoticon] left a clear note today explaining I'd like to help them prioritise over the 2 hours i pay for to get done what I expect to have done. I should have addressed this sooner but was taking ill health into account: now it's clear things may get worse before they get better my intention is to support them to do the job I pay for for as long as its feasible, I'm not a charity and with mat leave and mat pay looming cleaning help will remain under review. I keep it up for the sake of my marriage frankly. She replied apologising that I felt the need to leave a note and understanding my intention and the place has been done to a higher standard. I will be around for their visit next week so I can show my face and not be a complete coward about it, I am genuinely concerned for her health. I also can't put aside that she's providing a service to a standard I'm not happy with and my clients wouldn't hesitate to fire me in similar circumstances.

Katy yes, we're on an hourly arrangement, decent local rate (i rounded up) and I think for a while they've been leaving when they think they've finished. In fairness I'm probably not as sharp at my job as I was 3 years ago and lots more responsibility has been piles on me meaning I can't do everything to such a high standard, but the bath ring was the final straw.

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