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Hiring someone to clean your home is a big deal. You’re not simply letting a stranger into your personal space. You’re trusting them with your safety, comfort, and one of the most important aspects of your wellbeing – cleanliness.

You may not think cleanliness is that essential to your life, but studies show otherwise. However, while cleaning is important, it’s also time-consuming. Like a starving beast feasting on our leisure one minute at a time.

So cleaning is usually among the first household chores to get outsourced. Yet are you choosing the right person or company for the job? Are you asking the right questions before you make up your mind or do you simply go with the lowest bidder? If you’re not sure, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this article:

  • How important is cleanliness to our mental health? 
    • Clutter and productivity
    • Clutter and stress
    • Cleanliness and sleep
    • More than cleaning. Wellness
  • Should I outsource cleaning?
  • How do I make the right choice?
    • Hiring a self-employed cleaner
    • Hiring a cleaning company
  • Conclusion

How important is cleanliness to our mental health? 

Our domestic environment is more important than ever. Especially now that many people are working from home, maintaining a clean and organised home has become a matter of both personal and professional responsibility. And it goes deeper – it’s also a matter of productivity.

Clutter and productivity

A 2011 study at Princeton University shows clutter makes it more difficult to concentrate. So if you’re working in a messy room, you’re not going to be as productive. If your pay is based on results and not simply time, then you might actually be losing money by not taking care of your cleaning.

Clutter and stress

Even if productivity is not a factor, wellbeing definitely should be. A 2010 study published in the scientific journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin showed the way we talk about our homes matters. They used linguistic analysis software to divide study subjects into groups after self-guided tours of their homes.

What they found makes perfect sense – women who described their homes as cluttered and full of unfinished projects were more stressed and more likely to be depressed than women who described their homes as restorative and restful.

Cleanliness and sleep

What about sleep? A good night’s sleep can make all the difference. It allows you to replenish your energy and face the world with a renewed sense of purpose. Bad sleep, on the other hand, can make you feel exhausted, stressed, and unmotivated.

But what can you do to improve your sleep? Surveys show 75% of people sleep better on freshly cleaned sheets. So the answer is simple – change your sheets more regularly and make your bed in the morning.  

More than cleaning. Wellness

Cleaning isn’t just about cleanliness. It’s about wellness. So when your home is messy and cluttered, it’s hard to take on life’s challenges. That’s why a clean home can be one of the most important resources for restoration.

It’s almost impossible to relax in a messy environment. Because all the clutter contributes to your stress, you can spiral even further into a vicious cycle. Your home is messy because you’re stressed and you’re stressed because your home is messy.

Cleanliness is a form of self-respect and care. You care for yourself by caring for your environment. So break the cycle. Or, if you can’t do it yourself, find someone to do it for you. 

Should I outsource cleaning?

This point is pretty straightforward. To answer this question, you first need to answer several others. If you’re clear with your needs, then you can go ahead and make a decision easily.

  • Do I have time to clean? With work, commute, and other responsibilities, cleaning is often left on the back end.
  • Do I often come home to a mess? The more you put out cleaning, the harder it is to do.
  • Do I find cleaning an annoying chore? Some people genuinely enjoy cleaning. Most hate it.
  • How often do I clean my home? Studies show most people in London spend around 3 hours a week cleaning, on average. And those are divided into different cleaning sessions.
  • Can I afford to outsource cleaning? The good news is cleaning is relatively affordable. You can peek behind the curtain of cleaning services pricing and decide for yourself whether it’s within your budget.
  • What’s more important – to spend a couple of hours cleaning, or do something else like reading a book, go out, or spend time with family?

Answering these questions will make it clear whether hiring someone to help with domestic cleaning is for you.

How do I make the right choice?

You’ve decided to move forward with outsourcing your cleaning duties (otherwise, you wouldn’t still be reading). Now what?

Now you need to figure out what matters most to you in terms of service. Once you know your preference, it will be pretty obvious whether you should go with a cleaning company or a self-employed cleaner.

As we’ve established, cleaning isn’t just about cleanliness. You’re not paying someone to dust off your hallway mirror or scrub your toilet. You’re paying for reduced stress, better sleep, and a better overall sense of wellbeing.

With this in mind, there are several factors you should consider. Here’s what I mean:

  • Quality – how well the service was executed.
  • Security – can you leave your keys with this person and trust them not to run away with your jewellery?
  • Professionalism – do people who come to clean your home know what they’re doing and are they using a consistent process?
  • Experience – can’t be a seasoned professional doing consistently good work without a few years of experience under your belt.
  • Training – experience means nothing if all it does is embed your errors.
  • Attitude – letting someone into your home is a big deal. You don’t want that person to have the wrong attitude or treat you poorly.
  • Quality control – sometimes it’s necessary for someone else to check up on the cleaning process and make sure it’s all going smoothly.
  • Flexibility – need to reschedule? You want the other side to be flexible.
  • Confidentiality – what happens in your home should be private. The last thing you want is for you to become the talk of the town for the wrong reasons.

Cleaning, as you can see, is a complex service. It’s more than scrubbing surfaces with a mop. The question is – should you hire a self-employed cleaner or a company?

There is no right answer. There’s plenty of capable, professional, courteous and all-around great self-employed cleaners. There’s also plenty of shady, no-good companies who are only interested in getting paid.

However, there are certain pros and cons you should take into consideration before making up your mind.

Hiring a self-employed cleaner

Why would someone want to work as a self-employed cleaner instead of working for a company? Different strokes for different blokes, but a few trends emerge if you take the time to ask around. Some of them are pretty legitimate:

  • They want to be their own boss (an idea close to my heart).
  • They want to choose their own clients.
  • They can afford to charge less than a company, and still make more money (the difference is often 1 or 2 quid an hour).

Some, though, are shadier than a trenchcoat-wearing guy in a dark alley in Westminster at 2 in the morning. Those include:

  • They are receiving benefits and they don’t want that income stream to stop. Hence why they need to be paid in cash.
  • They don’t want to deal with all the requirements a company would have for their work. Bear in mind, even if you’re happy with the service, a company supervisor who knows what to look for might not be.
  • A very small percentage are just dishonest people who are simply looking to make a quick buck by robbing their clients. Those people are usually undocumented (which you might not know if you didn’t ask for a licence and sign a contract with them), so they’re almost impossible to find once they run off with your jewellery or other valuables.

Dishonest self-employed cleaners are relatively rare. But it’s still a good idea to protect yourself by signing proper documentation.

You should also bear in mind self-employed cleaners wear many hats. They are cleaners, they do their own accounting, and marketing, and sales… Which can be a lot for a single person. Oftentimes, this comes at a price.

  • Quality – it’s possible to find a very competent self-employed cleaner. That being said, the fact that they need to take care of all the other aspects of running a business means quality can suffer.
  • Security – if you’ve signed a contract and the proper documentation, then you’re good. If you haven’t, then you may not even know the real name of the person you’ve hired and let into your home. You’re completely at their mercy and discretion.
  • Professionalism – again, you can find very professional self-employed cleaners, but they’re rare.
  • Experience – only top-tier self-employed cleaners have a proven track record and they usually come with recommendations.
  • Training – rare, unless they’ve worked for a company that invested in their training.
  • Attitude – depends on whether the cleaner has long-term goals to work with you or simply wants to get paid for the week and forget you exist.
  • Quality control – none to speak of.
  • Flexibility – it’s rare. If your cleaner gets sick or takes a vacation, you’re out. And if you want to change the time of your appointment but those slots are already taken, then you’re out of luck.
  • Confidentiality – if there’s no confidentiality contract, it’s completely at the cleaner’s discretion.

Hiring a self-employed cleaner instead of a company is usually cheaper and there’s a reason for that. Even if you find the right cleaner for you, there’s still a bunch of cons you need to take into account. Then again, if you’re looking for a low price, you can’t find lower than a self-employed cleaner. The question is are you willing to take the risk to save a few pounds?

Hiring a cleaning company

Working with a cleaning company would be the more expensive option, but there’s a reason for that. Cleaning companies offer a division of labour, and so everyone can be an expert at what they do.

You have cleaners who only focus on cleaning, marketers who only focus on generating leads for the business, accountants who only focus on accounting, etc. If run well, a company is like a well-oiled machine.

  • Quality – because cleaners only focus on cleaning, they can provide a better quality service. Furthermore, a company’s reputation depends on its consistent quality of service. So whether you get one cleaner or another, the outcome should be the same – a clean and healthy home.
  • Security – since the company bears all the responsibility for their cleaners, there’s usually a vetting process before someone gets hired. Moreover, cleaners should come uniformed and wearing a badge, ensuring they are who they say they are. It’s not in the interest of any serious company to neglect this.
  • Professionalism – because everyone in a cleaning company stays in their lane, you can expect a high level of professionalism. On top of that, you’ll probably get better customer care and communication.
  • Experience – cleaners can quickly gain experience due to the sheer volume of work a company provides. And it can be easily proven.
  • Training – consistent standard means consistent training. That’s why companies try to get their cleaners to the same level of excellence as quickly as possible. After all, cleaners are the face of the business.
  • Attitude – you can always expect a professional attitude. Especially if you get a dedicated person to deal with your particular needs. The company’s reputation depends on it.
  • Quality control – every self-respecting company has supervisors who make sure cleaners live up to the company standards.
  • Flexibility – because there’s a team of cleaners working for the company, it’s a lot easier to be flexible and manage appointments. Someone got sick or is on vacation? Someone else can cover for them. And because of the other factors above, you won’t even know the difference.
  • Confidentiality – it’s the company’s responsibility to come up with a confidentiality agreement for every cleaner to ensure every client’s privacy.

Hiring a company is more expensive, but also offers a ton of benefits. At the end of the day, the difference in price comes down to peace of mind.

Conclusion

While it’s not always easy to make up your mind about whether or not you should invest in outsourcing your cleaning needs, I hope this article has helped you make up your mind.

Hiring a self-employed cleaner is usually cheaper, but it does come with some downsides. Hiring a cleaning company is more expensive, but there are benefits attached to the higher price tag.

In the end, there is no right answer – just one that works for you.

Disclaimer: Samyx Cleaning is a cleaning company and this is a cleaning blog. None of the advice above should be interpreted as medical advice. If you have any medical or mental health problems, make an appointment with your general physician or a mental health specialist.

Samyx Cleaning - Branding Consultant - Atanas

Author: Atanas Dzhingarov

Hi, I’m Atanas - brand consultant and writer. I’m helping Samyx Cleaning create the best cleaning company blog on the Internet. Join us on our journey and learn how to live a cleaner, healthier, happier life in the process.