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Becoming a Housekeeper

How Can I Become a Housekeeper

How do you become qualified to be a housekeeper?

Your choices must reflect your cleanliness and organization. For example, is your own home clean? Do you present a clean and organized appearance?

Begin by housekeeping for your friends and family members. Once you have done housekeeping for someone, ask that person to write a letter of reference for you.

Maintain a file of reference letters (these will come in handy when you are job seeking). (Never give prospective employers the originals of these letters. The originals should stay in your file. Copies of these letters are what should be distributed to prospective employers.)

Obtain bonding and professional liability insurance coverage.

Print business cards and brochures.

Distribute your cards and brochures.

Developing referral networks with other housekeepers (who may have as many clients as they want/need), insurance companies (who pay for housekeepers to clean after insurance claim-triggering events such as a basement flooding), etc.

Take advantage of opportunities. For example, see if a local radio station will interview you on air periodically, as circumstances warrant. Perhaps you may do an on-air interview in June about housekeeping when children are home for the summer.

By taking each of these steps, you will have become qualified to be a housekeeper, and you will have done the self-promotion work necessary to project your qualifications. Then, you should be able to secure some professional housekeeping jobs that are right for you.


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Interview Preparation for a Housekeeping Position (As an Independent Contractor)

An interview is a sales pitch: it is your opportunity to sell your services to your prospective client.  It is wise to prepare for an interview to ensure that you are making the most of the opportunity that is your interview.

Your prospective client will likely ask you a variety of questions to determine if you are a good fit for their housekeeping position.  Good interview preparation includes having ready, well articulated answers on the following subjects:

why you are the best housekeeper available,

what services you do/don't offer (i.e., do you do windows?),

what supplies you do/don't provide (i.e., vacuum, mop, detergents, etc.),

whether you work solo or as part of a team, and

what your charges are.

In advance of your interview, you should also prepare a list of professional references, or you can compile a variety of letters of recommendation from past or current clients.  Copies of these documents can be provided to your prospective client during the interview.  (You should retain the originals of these documents.)  All reference lists and letters of recommendation should provide contact information on those individuals willing to speak on your behalf.

Next, you should prepare questions to ask of your prospective client to ensure that the prospective client's housekeeping position is a good fit for you.  Such questions may include:

  • how often the prospective client wants you to clean his/her/their home,
  • how thoroughly the prospective client wants you to clean his/her/their home (just "once over lightly" or should the home pass the white glove test?),
  • how much of the home the prospective client wants you to clean (all of it or just a portion of it),
  • how large is the area (all or a portion of the home) that you are to clean (2000 sq. ft., 3000 sq. ft., etc.),
  • how many obstacles, difficulties, etc. are present in the home (i.e., will you need to move large, heavy furniture to vaccum each week?  are there lots of expensive and fragile decorations that you would have to be extra careful with? etc.),
  • how many people live in the home and what kinds of messes they typically create,
  • how many pets live in the home, what the breeds of those pets are, what kinds of messes they typically create, and what hazards may be associated with the pets (i.e., does the big dog bite?), and
  • what cleaning supplies the prospective client will provide versus those that he/she/they will expect you to provide (and, among those that you are to provide, what cleaning supplies does the client prefer or forbid).

Finally, you may want to prepare a template housekeeping contract.  Many housekeepers use a template housekeeping contract: then, as they learn the information above during the interview, they can write the information in the contract.  When the position is offered and accepted, both the client and the housekeeper can then sign the contract, showing that they have agreed to the provision of what specified services, the timeline for the provision of those services, the compensation due as a result of the provision of those services, etc.  By having this contract ready, you can prevent a host of subsequent difficulties over what was/was not agreed to at the time of the inception of services.  

By taking these steps to prepare for an interview for an independent contracting housekeeping position, you will be well on your way to creating a positive first impression and landing the job.

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Starting off a New Housekeeping Job on the Right Foot

Congratulations! You have a new housekeeping position.  What do you need to do to make sure the job starts and continues to go as smoothly as possible?  Following are some tips to do just that.

  1. Hopefully, you have a housekeeping contract with your new client.  The contract should specify what services are to be rendered, where the services are to be rendered, how often the services are to be rendered, what the charges will be for the rendering of the services, etc.  This contract should have been signed by you and your new client prior to your first day working for your new client.
  2. Agree to an introductory period: a time in which both you and your new client are learning each other's expectations and making adjustments as needed.  A typical introductory period may be two to four weeks.
  3. At the conclusion of the introductory period, have a scheduled meeting with your new client.  Discuss what is working well and what is not working well, share suggestions, ask questions, etc.  Decide if the working relationship is acceptable to both parties:  if so, continue the working arrangement; if not, end the working arrangement in favor of finding a better fit elsewhere.
  4. If you decided to continue the working relationship, schedule periodic meetings to ensure that good communication is occurring throughout your working relationship.  That way, as issues arise, you each have the opportunity to discuss them rather than let them fester.
  5. Both during and after the introductory period, remember a few rules of housekeeping etiquette:  if you open it, close it when you are done; if you move it, put it back where you got it; if you break it, confess, apologize, and offer to reimburse for it; if your client has a shoe-off household, then take your shoes off as you enter the home; and if your client is present while you are cleaning, minimize the conversation (unless your client prefers to visit with you) and show deference to your client.

By taking these steps, you can start off your new housekeeping job on the right foot and keep your client happy throughout your working relationship.

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